Monthly Archives: March 2008

Aloha Air Calls It Quits After 60 Years

Following 60 years in business, Aloha Air will end passenger service today after seeing repeated losses once Mesa’s go! entered the market with fares that were cheap and completely unsustainable. Aloha saw competitors come and go over the years (Princeville Airways? Mid-Pacific Airlines?), but the combination of high fuel and $19 fares meant the end was inevitable. Sadly, it also means the end of one of the great throwback liveries, seen here.

On a personal note, Aloha’s demise is sad as well, as my first trip far from home was taken, in part on Aloha. At 14 I went to Kauai with my father, and we took the short hop from Honolulu to Lihue on Aloha. I had always been a nerd of the airline variety, and the idea of flying an airline that sounded as exotic as Aloha seemed inconceivable to me. When you’re 14, Hawaii seemed like the ends of the earth — when my father had gone there in prior years, his phone calls took on an other-worldly quality, with a 5 second delay between his speaking, and my hearing his voice. And when he’d call and say “good morning” even though it was 4 o’clock in the afternoon at our home in New Jersey, it seemed all the more a destination that was beyond my comprehension.

But my getting older, coupled with technology advances, makes Hawaii seem far, far closer. Everywhere is far, far closer than it is when you’re 14, and I think one of the reasons of my love of travel is chasing that feeling I had when that Continental 747 landed at LAX on the way to Honolulu, marking my first time in California and really, my first time outside of the northeast (and Florida, which is like the northeast, only warmer). After several hundred thousand miles and trips to obscure places for the sake of making a trip to an obscure place, it’s obvious that I’ll never re-capture the feeling of seeing Encounter at LAX for the first time.

Aloha represented part of that for me. A trip to a place that seemed in another world on an airline that only existed in that blip in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. That 17 minute trip set off a lifetime of travel that is one of my great passions. Aloha represented all of that for me. And I know that no 14 year old is getting jazzed up about his first trip on go!.   I’m sure this is how many people felt about Pan Am, as it represented their first times seeing the world.  And how much more painful it was for those folks as they saw the once-great livery plying the Trenton-Portsmouth route on the latest incarnation.  Let’s hope Aloha can retire with some dignity intact.

Man Misses Flight Because of MacBook Air

You can read the full story here, but suffice it to say that when the TSA workers at San Jose’s airport did not realize that a MacBook Air was a computer, they caused a guy to miss his flight while they discussed whether it was a computer.

(Thanks to longtime reader D-Lux)

Passenger Forced to Remove Nipple Ring

I’m almost (almost) getting tired of these ridiculous TSA stories. Oh wait, no I’m not:

A woman was forced to remove her nipple ring when she tried to board a plane in Lubbock, Texas. You can read the story for the details, but really, what does it matter other than a woman had to remove her nipple ring so she could get on a plane.

David Neeleman to Launch Brazil-based Airline; Gol Likely Pooped Self (figuretively)

JetBlue’s founder David Neeleman announced that he has raised $150 million and ordered 36 Embraer aircraft to launch an as-yet-unnamed airline in Brazil.  Neeleman hopes to get the Sao Paulo-based carrier off the ground in early 2009.  If you speak Portuguese, you can check out his site about the airline here.  If you do not speak Portuguese, you should find a friend or stranger who speaks Portuguese and ask them to translate.

The new airline will offer the JetBlue frills of free TV and leather seats, while the E-195 aircraft should allow him to make some money flying with fewer people than primary competitor Gol does with their 737s.  I imagine the fine (and cash-rich) folks at Gol, who, to be honest, knew this was coming, cannot be happy about this situation.

Gol has changed the face of aviation in Brazil, opening the skies up to lots of people who never flew before.  But there’s always room for a better product with a lower cost base, and I’m fairly certain Neeleman can provide that.

Eos: Welcome to Newark, Capital of New Jersey, or the US, or Something

Eos Airlines’ press release touting its new service from Newark to London-Stansted notes, “With up to 58 flights per week serving these two capital cities, you’ll be sure to find the schedule that best suits your individual travel needs.”

Um, what is Newark the capital of?  Essex County?

Appeals Court: Airlines Can Let Passengers Rot without Food during Delay

A federal appeals court has overturned New York’s law requiring airlines to provide food and toilets during a long flight delay.  If it makes you feel better, the court said that the idea of the law was good, but that only the federal government has the right to pass such legislation.  Don’t look for Congress to pass a similar measure any time soon.

Travvies Nomination

Mark Ashley over at UpgradeTravelBetter is once again running the Travvies, a bunch of awards for travel blogs.  He’s looking for nominations, and if you like Online Travel Review, it will only take a second to click here and write in the comments that you’d like to nominate this site for best single-author travel blog.  Of course if you don’t like this site, I’m not sure why you’re reading it.  But then again I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh specifically because he drove me crazy.  So there ya go.  Anyway, thanks for your support.

Drunk Passenger Causes Flight Diversion in Poland

A Lufthansa flight made an emergency landing in Katowice, Poland, after a drunk, Russian-speaking passenger made a ruckus on the flight and started screaming that he was a terrorist (one could argue that getting drunk and screaming that he was a terrorist actually does make him a terrorist.  But that’s neither here nor there.)  The passenger put up no resistance when he was arrested.

Skybus CEO Steps Down Amid Changes

Skybus’ founder and CEO Bill Diffenderffer has stepped down amid strategy changes at the carrier, leaving the airline’s CFO to run the show.  Diffenderffer raised the capital to start Skybus and launched the airline last year.  But, as we’ve discussed here more than was really necessary, the initial strategy was flawed from the beginning.  That said, the airline has made a number of changes (primarily point-to-point flying that no longer focuses on Columbus quite so much) that I think will put them back on course.  The linked article notes these service changes:

It has canceled a CMH-Niagara Falls service and a second daily CMH-Milwaukee flight scheduled to begin April 1. On April 15 it will discontinue service from CMH to Chattanooga and halve twice-daily service to New York Stewart and Chicopee, Mass. From Greensboro it will discontinue flights to Gulfport/Biloxi and reduce service to Gary, Wilmington, Del., Punta Gorda and Stewart.

Pilot’s Gun Goes Off on Plane

Not sure if you knew, but pilots are permitted to carry guns on their planes.  I only know this because a pilot’s gun discharged on a US Airways flight from Denver to Charlotte over the weekend.  The airline has not released further details on how the gun went off, but they have taken the plane out of service as a safety measure.