Monthly Archives: July 2007

Sheikh Delays British Airways Flight for 3 Hours

While Qatar Airways is known for its customer service, apparently Qatar royalty are not…

A Qatari sheikh delayed a British Airways flight in Milan for 3 hours last week when he discovered that 3 of his female relatives were seated next to men they didn’t know.  Muslim tradition forbids women to mix with men outside their family.  Why they didn’t reserve their business class seats, I don’t know.  In any case, none of the other passengers in business class would switch seats (obnoxious in its own way), causing the sheikh to storm into the cockpit to confront the pilot about the situation.  As you might imagine, the pilot, who had already started the plane’s engine, was none too amused and kicked the Qatari family off the plane.

The end.

Brazil’s President: I’m Afraid to Fly in Brazil

In an absolutely extraordinary public relations move that is either complete genius or complete insanity, Brazil’s president said over the weekend that the air safety situation is so poor in Brazil that he is afraid to fly.  Sayeth he: "It’s no secret to any Brazilian that we have an aviation crisis…Personally, when the airplane door closes, I deliver myself to
God. Even with my luck in the hands of God, I confess I’m afraid. I
confess this publicly because I am not embarrassed to say we are
afraid."  Yowza!

Northwest Cancels 500 Flights Over the Weekend

Northwest canceled 500 flights over the weekend, due either to pilots acting improperly (according to management) or pilots not being scheduled correctly (according to the pilot’s union).  For several months now, pilots have hit their 90 hour flight limit (please do not write saying that this is a small number of hours to work for the month.  Flying hours only count the actual number of hours in the air plus taxiing) early in the month, leaving a shortage of pilots.  Northwest won’t hire more, which is upsetting the union. 

In any case, while it’s a small number of the total flights, if you have a Northwest flight booked late in the month you should call the airline the day before to make sure it’s actually flying.

Skybus Gets Approval for Mexico, Bahamas — Just Like We Said

As the OTR noted in its supersecret world exclusive 3 months ago, Skybus has applied for service to Mexico and Bahamas.  Yesterday they received approval to fly to those countries and will launch service to Cancun and Nassau in early 2008.

Brazil’s Gol: Please Don’t Fly Us

Brazil’s Gol has told passengers not to fly until next week while the country’s chaotic air traffic system gets back to normal.  This is unprecedented (at least as far as I’m aware) – Sao Paulo’s domestic airport was diverting flights to its international airport, causing a bit of havoc there, including forcing some flights to divert to Rio.  As bad as the summer has been in the US, Brazil’s air passengers have had it far worse.

In fact, the government fired the defense minister yesterday (he runs commercial aviation in Brazil) because of the collapse of the system that culminated in the TAM crash last week.

Great Fares to Latin America

American Airlines has launched a real live fare sale (not one of those so-called fare sales where the fares aren’t any better than usual) between south Florida and Latin American and/or the Caribbean.  How cheap?

Miami – San Pedro Sula, Honduras is $49 each way
to Nicaragua?  $59
Guatemala? $69
Costa Rica? $69

Whew, they sure are annoyed with Spirit.

Fares are good through early December, with regular Thanksgiving blackout dates.  Oh, and you need a 3 day stay.

Want to Be the First to Fly on Singapore’s A380?

Singapore Airlines is auctioning off seats on its inaugural A380 flight on eBay…  Before you freak out, proceeds are going to charity.  The flight will take place some time in October and fly from Singapore to Sydney.

Don’t Freak Out about Terrorist “Dry Runs”

The terror hype machine is in full force:

News organizations are reporting that the TSA has told its air marshalls and security officials that terrorists may be preparing for a "dry run" for terror activity in a US airport.  Your local news should be hyping this story as if the end of the world is near, but even a TSA spokesperson says that these alerts are not uncommon and that people should not panic.  News organizations, of course, are burying the "don’t panic" part in paragraph 327.

Virgin Blue to Launch Long Haul Subsidiary with Flights to the US

Flights to Australia may be about to get a bit less expensive:

Virgin Blue, the Australian airline with ties to the Virgin empire, has announced that it will launch a new airline called V Australia to fly long-haul routes from down under.  These routes will include flights to the US, but no cities have been announced.  I’m certain fares will drop, though, as limited competition to Australia from the US has kept fares higher than flights of similar distance.

United Introduces Flat Seats in International Business Class

I forgot to mention this yesterday, but United Airlines has announced that it will begin introducing lie-flat seats in their international business class cabins beginning this fall.  The seats will be available on its 747s, 767s, and 777s (though it will take 2 1/2 years to fully outfit the fleet).  These will be the best seats available on a US carrier (as if that matters).  The downside is that the new configurations will drop the number of business class seats available significantly (21 fewer on the 747s) — so, bye bye upgrades.