Monthly Archives: November 2005

Open Letter to Guy in 9F

An Open Letter to the Guy Sitting Next to Me Last Night on My US Airways flight from Fort Lauderdale:

Dear Sir,

I just wanted to let you know how honored I was to be sitting next to you last night.  I know you must be an important person of some sort since you could not put down your Blackberry during the flight.  Sure, the airlines all ask the passengers nicely not to use these things during a flight, but you are an important person, with important tasks, and, well, frankly those rules don’t apply to you.

I’m certain that the messages you were responding to at 9:15pm were urgent.  I’m certain that whatever you were procuring or human resourcing or financing could not possibly wait until you landed.  I understand that, and I enjoyed basking in the glow of your own importance.  And the glow of the Blackberry.

I know that it’s important for everyone else to follow rules, even if we think they’re stupid.  Except for you.  No, the plane isn’t going to crash if you use your Blackberry, Mr. Procurement Guy, but the airlines have asked us nicely.  And in exchange for your $79 flight to Florida, all they ask is that you turn the damn thing off.  Is that so difficult?

Have a nice day,

Frontier May Face Cash Shortage

This one sorta came out of left field:  Frontier Airlines said yesterday that they may face a cash crunch because of the intense competition expected in Denver due to Southwest’s arrival.  They’re also not particularly thrilled with a bankruptcy-boosted resurgence from United.  Don’t go cashing in your Frontier miles just yet, but this announcement just goes to show how crazy the competition could get in Denver. 

Though, truth be told, Southwest tends not to lower prices to levels where they’re not making money.  Their prices are low, but their success is just as much about their no-bullshit factor when it comes to changing flights and their low full fare prices.  Prices will get lower, sure, but neither United nor Frontier wants a nasty fight with $9 fares.  Competition will be healthy, and there’s plenty of room for all three carriers.

Ryanair Strands Passengers in Crazy 36 Hour Adventure

I feel like there’ve been a bunch of these crazy stories lately, but here’s another:  A group of passengers on a Scotland-bound Ryanair flight from Hamburg, Germany, had their flight cancelled and faced a 36 hour journey home via bus and train.  In short, the flight was cancelled, Ryanair offered a GBP5 refund, and the passengers decided they’d get home on their own.  Bad choice.

Kingfisher Bids for Air Sahara

A bit of merger news out of India:  Upstart Kingfisher Airlines has bid to acquire Air Sahara.  Unless you’re from India (I’m not), this may mean nothing to you.  But the crazy thing is that Kingfisher just launched six months ago, and Air Sahara is an established airline.  Kingfisher, though, has made no secret of its plans to expand at an insane rate. 

Hey Look, It’s Me…Like You Care

If you read the LA Times, you can see me yammering about the Expedia/Hilton $1 Tokyo rate glitch here.

United’s TED to Sell Small Items Onboard

United’s TED lowfare carrier will begin selling a bunch of crap on their flights.  After the long weekend, that’s all I’ve got.


Hello all,

I’ll be taking a few days off for Thanksgiving, and I suggest you do, too.  Unless you don’t live in the US, in which case you should go back to work.  See you next week and have a great holiday.

Air Zimbabwe Cancels All Flights Because of Fuel Shortage

Air Zimbabwe grounded all of its flights on Monday because of a fuel crisis in the troubled country.  Longtime readers of this site know I have a particular fondness for the struggling carrier after taking an Air Zimbabwe flight a few years back (6 passengers on a 737).  You may remember an earlier incident this year when the airline was criticized for flying a flight from Harare, Zimbabwe, to Dubai with only 1 passenger onboard. 

There’s no word on when flights will resume.

Smoker Tries to Open Aircraft Door In Flight

A drunk French passenger on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Brisbane, Australia, tried to open the aircraft door and (I guess) go outside for a smoke.  While they were in the air.  The passenger was pretty high on a mixture of alcohol and sleeping pills and says she does not remember the incident.  Which is exactly what I would say in that situation, assuming the door hadn’t opened, in which case I wouldn’t be saying much of anything.  A judge reprimanded her with a not-particularly-stern, ""You must understand, if you are on a plane you must behave yourself."

Baggage Cart Hits Ryanair Plane

A baggage cart smashed into a Ryanair jet at London Gatwick yesterday, damaging the plane and stranding 185 passengers.  Nobody was injured in the incident, and passsengers were offered refunds.  This piece—that passengers were offered refunds—is actually the notable piece of news.  Ryanair has a pretty strict "no refunds under any circumstance" policy.  It’s good to see that they’re willing to bend that policy slightly when a baggage cart runs into an airplane.