Monthly Archives: October 2006

Air Canada’s Innovative Fare Strategy

Air Canada has introduced an innovative fare strategy, where customers add or substract from the cost of the base fare according to what features they want.  Let me say that in English.  Let’s say a round trip ticket from Montreal to Toronto is $150.  Air Canada will charge you $15 for a seat assignment.  But they’ll also take $7 off if you agree not to change the ticket.  And they’ll take $5 off if you don’t check baggage.   And $3 off for not taking frequent flyer miles.  That last one is interesting, because they’re putting a value on the miles, which most airlines are loathe to do.  A handful of European airlines have toyed with this system, but this is the most advanced that I’m aware of.  Look for someone (US Airways?) to implement something like this in the next year.  I wouldn’t be surprised if 2 years from now, this was how every fare was sold.

Northwest to Retire Last of DC-10s

We’re nearing the end of a (very long) era at Northwest Airlines, as the carrier announced that it flew its last ancient DC-10 to Europe on Sunday, replacing the aging widebody with new A330s.  Northwest will continue to use DC-10s on its Minneapolis to Honolulu route through January (yes, the movie is projected on a screen at the front of the cabin.  Just like in 1974.)  Someone out there can correct me, but I believe they are the last US airline to fly DC-10s, and, until now, flew the oldest fleet in the US.  The A330s, though, are quite nice, with (angled) lie-flat seats and video on demand.

Week in Review

Hello all…I’m back from flying around the Middle East at 4 o’clock in the morning, so I thought I’d do a quick round-up of what we missed last week:

Virgin Atlantic deferred its A380 orders until 2013.  For all the doom and gloom, the 747 was also a few years late.  45 years from now, we will have forgotten about this delay.  Because some of you will be dead by then.

Kurdistan in northern Iraq launched its first tourism campaign since the war started.

If you thought it was easy to start a website printing fake boarding passes, you’d be right.

If you thought riding the baggage carousel around Manchester (NH) airport would be fun, you’d be wrong.

And finally, you may remember the Wendy’s promotion where you collected cups to get free flights — well, it turns out it cost the airline $1.5 million.

A Bad Day for Oasis Hong Kong Airlines

Oasis Hong Kong Airlines, the new budget carrier offering $128 tickets from London to Hong Kong, was supposed to have its inaugural flight yesterday.  I say "supposed to" because after having passengers sit on the plane at the gate for 5 (yes 5) hours, the airline learned that Russian authorities never granted flyover rights to the airline.  Oops.  For its part, the airline says that that isn’t their fault.  Which doesn’t matter at all if you’re a passenger who just sat on the runway for 5 hours.  The carrier put passengers up in a hotel and offered less than $100 in compensation. 

A Bad Day for JetBlue

Not one of JetBlue’s best days:

First, they announce that they had a loss (a slight loss, to be honest, but a loss nonetheless) in a quarter when other airlines were reporting profits.  They also said they were scaling back growth plans, which sounds like a bad thing but is actually a good thing, as they weren’t able to grow as quickly as they wanted to profitably. 

Then (or perhaps before), the FAA reprimanded the carrier for performing its own little study (without the FAA’s permission) where they allowed pilots to fly 11 hours in a day — instead of the normal 8 — to study how alert they were when they flew the additional hours.  You probably didn’t want to know that.

A Few Notes…

The next time my friends consider asking me for travel advice, I’d like them to please keep this in mind:  I am currently in the middle of a 9 hour and 15 minute layover in Dubai.  This trip will include a 4:35 am flight, a 4:15 am flight, and a 2 am flight (all in coach).  I have a 9 hour and 15 minute layover and a 6 hour and 30 minute layover.  There is no way you could construct an itinerary worse than the one I am on now.  If you’re so inclined, I’d like you to find me an itinerary that includes worse flights than these.  For a guy who thinks about flights/fares/schedules as often as I do, you would think I could’ve avoided 15 hours and 45 minutes of layovers.  In the middle of the night. 

On the plus side (and I’ve written about this before, so I’ll leave it at this), this is a pretty cool airport to be stuck in.  For about an hour and a half.

Terrorists Don’t Get Frequent Flyer Miles

The New Yorker has a little piece about Jeppesen International Trip Planning, a division of Boeing, that provides flights for suspected terrorists being extradited to the ends of the earth.  Most interestingly, is that one of the flight crews bringing a suspected terrorist to Kabul, then spent 2 nights at a luxury resort in Majorca on your dime.  Sweet gig.

Posts Next Week

Hi all…Posts next week may be sporadic as I’m going to Qatar and India, where I’m speaking at the EyeforTravel Travel Distribution India conference.  The OTR’s going on the road.  I will, of course, let you know if anything interesting happens. 

Earn 50,000 Bonus Miles on British Airways

British Airways has a great offer (you need to be a member to see the page with the deals) for members of its Executive Club:  Fly in first class or Club World by the end of the year, and you’ll get 50,000 bonus miles.  Fly in World Traveller Plus (or full fare World Traveller) and get 25,000 bonus miles.  World Traveller Plus seats are less than $700 during the winter, so 25,000 bonus miles is a great deal, especially if you have a couple of work trips planned anyway…

Bad Halloween Costumes for the Airport

Thanks to Gloomy Joe for this heads up: has a pretty amusing article about costumes people have actually worn to the airport on Halloween.  I’m a huge fan of "drunken pilot."  Enjoy…