Monthly Archives: March 2005

Paris for $200 Round Trip

Thanks to the Travel Guy for the heads up:  Air France has $200 round trip fares ($329 with tax) from New York to Paris in April.  And what’s better than Paris in April?  Or April in Paris?

Ryanair: $8 for Tap Water

Does Ryanair charge $8 for a litre of tap water?  Apparently, according to Britain’s Daily Mail.  The newspaper reports that Ryanair sells "Blue Rock" sparkling water for GBP4 per litre ($8 per quart, as we would say); turns out that Blue Rock sparkling water is just tap water with air bubbles added to it.  Ryanair’s spokesperson had no comment, but I’m sure they would’ve involved telling EasyJet to screw off for some reason.

Low(ish) Fares to New Zealand

Thanks to Travelzoo for the heads up that Air New Zealand is having a sale offering seats from LA & San Francisco to New Zealand for $650 round trip in May and June.  While that’s hardly cheap, it’s a great deal when compared with the $1000 it usually costs.

(Travelzoo also notes an $862 r/t fare from NYC to Bangkok on Thai Airways that is interesting only because it is on the first nonstop ever between the two cities.  That is a loooooooong flight.)

Unions Ratify Continental Deals

Continental’s fortunes improved yesterday as their pilots and mechanics unions ratified new contracts, giving the airline some breathing room.  Flight attendants, it turns out, did not ratify their contract, but the airline’s CEO is quite certain that they’ll reach an agreement after the pilots and mechanics agreed to new terms.

Low Spring Fares to Ireland

American Airlines has a nice sale going on right now, offering r/t fares from NYC to Shannon, Ireland for $298 through mid-May. 

Yet More Job Cuts, Pay Cuts at Delta & Northwest

I can’t even keep track anymore of which airlines have asked for which givebacks and which airlines are laying off their staff, but I do know that Delta and Northwest both had bad news for its employees yesterday.

Delta said that as part of its bid to reduce its costs by $240 million it will lay off between 1600 and 2000 of its technical operations staff.  The reductions are possible because of a new maintenance outsourcing agreement.

Meanwhile, Northwest added that it actually needs to save $1.1 billion in labor costs (not the previously announced $950 million) to keep the airline out of bankruptcy.  The pilots union said they won’t agree to cuts until other employee groups agree.  Northwest’s unions have already given one round of givebacks and don’t seem particularly eager (shocker) to give another.  Northwest actually has a pretty strong cash position, so a bankruptcy filing is not expected any time soon.

Lots of Weirdness…

Something strange was happening yesterday, as there are a whole bunch of odd stories to share:

–A Cubana IL-18 (that’s Russian, if you’re keeping track) slid off the runway in Caracas yesterday, injuring 13 during the aborted takeoff.  I’ve dragged my wife on a Cubana flight in the past, so I’ll make sure she doesn’t read this.  When an old Russian plane slides off a Venezuelan runway, does anyone even bother to investigate?

–46 passengers were injured when an EVA Airways A330 hit some serious turbulence outside of Tokyo.  One news report notes, "Some injured people were bleeding and young children were crying and screaming."  I’m sure the children would have been crying and screaming anyway.

–A drunk passenger punched a Qantas pilot while the plane was still on the runway in Cairns, Australia, after the pilot asked the man to settle down.  He did not settle down and was dragged kicking/screaming off the plane.

–And finally…A Midwest Airlines employee was loading baggage into the cargo hold of a plane and somehow got locked in there as the flight took off for Philadelphia.  He landed safely.  By the way:  It’s worth clicking on the link to see the photo of the wacky WLTX news team.

Europe Specials Continue

With the Easter weekend, there wasn’t much news in the travel world.  But that doesn’t mean there aren’t great specials to Europe this spring (nice segue!).  Go Today has 2 pretty good deals for this time of year.  $399 gets you a package with 6 nights hotel and airfare from NYC to London through the end of May.  That same price gets you a package with a flight from NYC and 6 nights hotel in Paris.  Can’t beat that.

Vacation Day

Hi all.  I’m taking a vacation day today, so there’s no posting today.  I’ll leave you with a great spring fare sale from SWISS (now owned by Lufthansa).  Through the end of May they have $404 round trips from New York to Geneva.  Can’t beat that…

Oh, one other thing I thought was interesting:  If you were wondering why Southwest keeps making money and basically every other US airline does not, Salon’s Ask the Pilot column has the answer:  While most other airlines are stuck paying $50something dollars a barrel for fuel, Southwest has hedged its fuel buying so it is paying $25 a barrel for 80% of its fuel this year, and $31 next year.  Good work. 

Biman Bangladesh’s Buying Spree

My friends will often ask me if a given airline is safe.  Usually it is something ridiculous (Is Frontier safe?), and in response I mock them for their stupidity.  That was a joke. Har. All US airlines are safe.  That wasn’t my point.  My point was that sometimes even airlines that sound slightly sketchy are perfectly safe.  Biman Bangladesh Airlines, which doesn’t sound too promising, is actually quite normal—they are purchasing 10 new long-range aircraft, including  6 A330s and 4 777s.  Nice.  So the next time you’re flying to Dhaka and you’re thinking about whether to fly on one of Northwest’s aging DC10s, or a brand spankin’ new Biman Bangladesh 777, you may consider the airline you’ve never heard of. 

Editor’s Note: This example was, of course, hypothetical, as Northwest doesn’t fly to Bangladesh. They do fly to Bemidji, Minnesota, which sounds a little bit like Bangladesh if you say it really fast.