Browsing archives for May, 2008

This Could Be SilverJet’s Last Weekend Flying

EOS, Silverjet, Uncategorized 23 May 2008 0 Comments

Shares in SilverJet were suspended today as the airline announced that it did not receive the Middle East funding it had announced a couple of weeks ago (basically what happened to Eos).   The business class carrier was expecting a $5 million to keep themselves afloat, but the cash never arrived in their account (the old check-is-in-the-mail issue).  That their shares aren’t trading is a terrible sign, and I would expect them to announce shutdown in the next couple of days.

Openskies Open for Booking

Openskies, Uncategorized 22 May 2008 1 Comment

In case you wanted to fly between Paris and New York on BA’s new Openskies, they’re selling tickets on their website as of today.  Flights start June 19th.  Looks like summer economy fares are about $1,000 round trip; premium economy are about $1,500 round trip, and biz class are about $3,500.  In the fall, the economy fares drop to about $600 and premium economy jump up to about $2k.

The End of the World as We Know It; or, American to Charge for Checked Baggage

American Airlines, Spirit Airlines 22 May 2008 1 Comment

You’ve no doubt seen elsewhere that American is now going to charge you to check your first bag. All of the stories, I’m certain, will have quotes from some travelers saying they’ll never fly again, and other quotes from travelers saying that they understand airlines have to make money. That’s the crux of the story.

As I wrote in my obituary to the airline industry a couple of months back, we are already in the era of the no-frills full-frills carrier, and this move simply demonstrates this effect further. Last week I booked some tickets on Spirit Airlines and my father was saying how ridiculous it was that Spirit charged you to check a bag. I was saying that when they frequently charge $2 for tickets, a bag charge doesn’t seem all that crazy. I guess a bag charge wasn’t crazy, regardless of who you fly.
The longer-term question for me is this: the airline industry is extremely cyclical and assuming things get good at some point, how will American (and the other no-frills full-frills carriers) position themselves? What’s their brand stand for? How will they ever possibly compete with Southwest?

I’m not at all saying this was a bad move — these carriers have to do something drastic given the fuel costs, but long term I’m not sure how they survive. Which is basically what JP Morgan wrote yesterday: that basically every airline (save Southwest and Allegiant) were bankruptcy risks. If I hadn’t already written the obituary, I would now…

Drunk and Naked Pilot Arrested…And So Is Drunk, Not Naked Flight Attendant

Northwest Airlines, Weird Airline Stories 21 May 2008 3 Comments

I’m not even sure this story makes any sense, but here goes:  A pilot and flight attendant for Pinnacle Airlines (Northwest) were in Harrisburg, PA, the night before working a flight.  They went to a bar, got drunk, headed back to the hotel, decided to hook up in the woods, somehow got separated, and the evening ended with the pilot being found naked (save for a pair of flip flops) hiding in a shed, while the flight attendant was caught breaking into a fire department vehicle looking for a flashlight to go find the pilot.

Whew.

The two were arrested, and their morning flight was delayed an hour and a half while another crew was brought in.

San Antonio Spurs Sleep on Champion Air 727

Uncategorized 21 May 2008 0 Comments

You probably weren’t wondering how the San Antonio Spurs celebrated after their Game 7 win over the New Orleans Hornets. But if you were, I’m sure you thought they were at a strip club.  You were wrong, but you won’t be jealous: the team boarded their nearly-bankrupt Champion Air 727 and attempted to go to Los Angeles for their next series. Instead, they sat on the tarmac inside the 727 because the plane had mechanical difficulties. Then, because all of the hotel rooms in the city were booked up, they slept on the plane while it sat at the airport. It finally departed at 630am.

Ryanair to Charge for Priority Boarding

Ryanair 20 May 2008 5 Comments

I think it’s helpful to look to Ryanair to see what new fees those of us in the US can look forward to in the next year:  The low cost leader previously had allowed those who had checked in online to go through priority boarding for free.  The result?  The priority boarding line was often longer than the non-priority boarding line.  So they’ve come up with a better solution:  It’ll now cost you GBP4 (or 5 Euro, about $8) to get priority boarding.  Online check in is still free (for now).

How to Fight High Fuel Costs: Steal It From an Airplane

Weird Airline Stories 19 May 2008 0 Comments

An airport worker in Portland, Maine, came up with a novel way to fight the high cost of heating his home:  he stole fuel from a JetBlue A320 parked at the airport to use for home heating.  An airport employee was seen filling up a 5-gallon jug with jet fuel from a JetBlue plane before it took off.  Following an investigation, the airline determined that the man had stolen 25 gallons of fuel from the airline.  While that is certainly a problem, the bigger problem is that some random dude was touching an airplane — which is not good.  It is especially not good considering all of the terrorism-related security nonsense we go through.  JetBlue says that the theft caused more than $3,000 in additional costs, including fixing a loose gas cap assembly.

The man has since been fired.

Flight Attendant Lights Fire on Plane Because He Didn’t Want to Go to Saskatoon

Northwest Airlines, Uncategorized 16 May 2008 2 Comments

A Compass Airlines (Northwest) flight attendant set a fire on a flight he was working because he was upset he had to fly the route.  The 19-year old idiot was not happy about having to fly from Minneapolis to Saskatoon, so he set a small fire in the aircraft, which cause a diversion to Fargo, North Dakota.  There are many, many questions here, but I’m curious — if he was working for a Northwest regional affiliate flying out of Minneapolis, which exotic routes was he hoping to fly?  Thief River Falls?  Minot?

Man Who Hijacked Plane Now Works at Heathrow

British Airways, Uncategorized 16 May 2008 1 Comment

A man who was part of a gang that hijacked an Afghani airplane in 2000 is now working as a janitor at Heathrow airport.  Nazamuddin Mohammidy was one of 9 people who hijacked an Ariana Airlines 727 in Afghanistan and demanded to be flown to England, which they were.  Long story short, the hijackers were allowed to stay in England.

Mohammidy eventually took a job with a company that provided cleaning crews to British Airways’ training center at Heathrow.  This whole story came to light because he was arrested after being caught driving a car around Heathrow’s Terminal 5 without a license.  Fret not – he was released after that arrest and is back working at the airport.

Miserable Story of Italian Jailed for Entering US…on a Flight

Uncategorized 15 May 2008 0 Comments

(Thanks to UpgradeTravelBetter)

An Italian man visiting his girlfriend in Virginia was jailed for 10 days after customs agents at Dulles Airport falsely claimed he had asked for asylum upon entering the country (asylum from Italy?)  The story is worth a read, as it doesn’t make sense at all and serves as a warning to European visitors that the US can lock them up for quite literally no reason at all.