Monthly Archives: October 2005

$9 Fares to the Caribbean from the East Coast (and Midwest)

Just a quick note:  Spirit Airlines has $9 fares (plus a ridiculous amount of tax) for selected November and December dates from a bunch of cities (New York, Detroit, Chicago, to name a few) to a few cities in the Caribbean.  Yes, $9 each way.  With taxes, it comes to about $60 each way.  An amazing deal in any case.

DC-6 House

I promised myself I would never bore readers with vacation stories, but this one actually makes some sense for the site:  We were driving some back roads north of Fairbanks over the weekend when I spotted an old airplane on the side of the road.  In someone’s front yard.  Yes, I thought, this is rather odd.  Despite the No Tresspassing signs, my friends and I took a look and here’s what we discovered:  someone has taken this old DC-6 and is turning it into a house (you can see it in its somewhat more current form here about 1/3 of the way down the page—it’s the 4th photo).  They’ve since removed the wings (also sitting in the guy’s front yard) and the nose.  As a complete airplane nerd, I thought it was rather cool to find an old airplane sitting on the side of a back road in some guy’s front yard.  My friends preferred to sit in the car where it was not 14 degrees.  Go figure.

Northwest Scraps Planned Bangalore Service

If you were happy about Northwest’s planned service between the US and Bangalore, India, I have some bad news:  due to rising fuel costs, the airline announced that it has scrapped the service before it ever launched.  The new service was scheduled to have launched on October 30th.

AirTran Gone from Expedia

I won’t bore you with the details of this, but AirTran tickets are no longer available on Expedia.  Because of a new agreement the carrier has signed with Cendant, which owns the Galileo distribution system and Orbitz, AirTran was either kicked off of Expedia or pulled its inventory off the online travel agency, depending on whom you believe.  It doesn’t really matter, other than the fact that you won’t be able to buy AirTran tickets on Expedia for now.  In any case, the move was made as a way to reduce distribution costs through 3rd parties.  I imagine they’ll be back on Expedia because every time there’s been a dispute between an airline and Expedia, they’ve kissed and made up.

Song, Part 2

I just wanted to clarify a bit about the elimination of Song.  This is actually great news for Delta flyers.  They’ll have a much, much better product on their transcon flights with opportunities for upgrading.  It’s good news for Continental frequent flyers because the former Song flights will likely now count toward elite status (the old Song flights did not).  It will also make Continental frequent flyers realize how weak our beloved Continental’s transcon service is compared with Song.  I’m still not sure I understand how adding amenities to the Delta mainline planes will reduce costs, but there you have it…

Delta Says: Bye Bye Song

Delta announced today that it is merging its Song service into its mainline Delta service.  Sort of.  It will eliminate the Song brand starting May of next year, add first class seats to its 48 Song aircraft, and integrate the Song amenities (on-board TV, MP3s, good snacks) into another 50something aircraft.  Delta will then deploy the Song-like service on all flights over 1750 miles.  What I’m confused about is how will they let people know that they’re on a Song-type aircraft?  And won’t they then end up with two very different experiences under the Delta brand?  And isn’t the best way to differentiate these two services through 2 brands?  I’m confused.

Limited News and $599 Israel Package

Hello all.  Just a quick note to let you know that due to the lack of news and a trip I’m taking tonight to Fairbanks, there won’t be any posts today or tomorrow.  Unless something really good happens—then I’ll probably find an Internet connection.  But while I’m freezing to death in Alaska, you can take advantage of this amazing package to Israel.  $599 gets you a flight from New York and 5 nights hotel in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem through tour operator Gate 1 Travel.  The price, which is less than a flight alone, is good in January and February.

Nigeria’s President: No More Safety Loopholes

In an address that will hardly inspire you to go fly a Nigerian airline, the country’s president said yesterday that he wants to eliminate safety loopholes that likely lead to the crash that killed more than 100 people over the weekend in Lagos. Said the president, “I have directed the aviation ministry to ensure strict compliance with maintenance and operational requirements and standards for all aircraft in order to plug loopholes and ensure passenger security and safety…”

Uh, what was the aviation ministry doing before when it wasn’t ensuring passenger security and safety?

Northwest Considers Outsourcing Flight Attendants

Bankrupt Northwest Airlines is considering a plan to outsource many of its flight attendant positions, including the prized overseas routes coveted by attendants with high seniority.  The airline is seeking to replace American flight attendants on 75% of its trans-Atlantic routes, eliminate them entirely on its Indian routes, and drop them by half on intra-Asia flights.  The flight attendants would be replaced by locally-based workers who are, you have already guessed, paid much less.  If this move is made, it would put competitors at a significant disadvantage, and it would just be a matter of time before others make similar moves.  You can probably expect foreign pilots in the cockpit in a few years as well…

EVA Airways’ Hello Kitty Airplane

If you travel through Asia, you’ll no doubt notice the vast array of Hello Kitty products (the rice cooker being my favorite).  To keep up, Taiwan’s EVA Airways has painted a 747 with a livery featuring Hello Kitty.  You can see the photo here.