Monthly Archives: September 2008

Air Tahiti Nui to Discontinue New York Flights Until the Summer

Air Tahiti Nui introduced non-stop flights to New York back in 2005 with the hopes of convincing New Yorkers to make the long trek to paradise instead of the 3-hour hop to the Caribbean.  That never really happened, with loads on those flights reportedly hovering the 30% range much of the time.  The airline cut back, making all flights connect through Los Angeles recently, but they are now announcing that they will cut all New York flights entirely, except for June 26-October 15, when they will re-start nonstop service from New York.

Delta to Offer First Class on Shuttle Flights

Delta will create a first class cabin on its Shuttle flights between Boston, New York and Washington, DC, beginning in December (US Airways’ shuttle already has a first class cabin.)  The flights will also feature in-flight broadband once that service is rolled out.  While Delta would obviously not introduce first class service if they didn’t think it made economic sense, it’s difficult to understand why someone would actually pay the $679 one-way fare on the 30 minute flight (yes, I know, most people have corporate discounts on the Shuttle).  Plus, you should just take the Acela – there is no better non-private travel experience in the US.

Pilot Fired for Giving Controls of 737 to a 15-Year-Old

A pilot for Turkey’s Anadolujet was fired after he allowed a 15-year-old to sit in his seat while the plane was flying from Ankara to Erzurum (and while the pilot went to the bathroom).  The co-pilot had control of the aircraft, but the teenager did have access to the controls.  In 1994 an Aeroflot plane crashed over Siberia when the pilot allowed his son to sit in a similar location and accidentally switched off the auto-pilot.

Woman Lands in Wrong Sydney Airport

(Thanks, One Mile at a Time):

A sculptor from Buenos Aires heading to Sydney, Australia, for a vacation last week was surprised when she landed in Sydney, Nova Scotia.  She said she knew something was amiss when she got to Halifax and had to board a Dash-8 prop plane, which probably would not have made it the 12,000 miles to Australia without refueling 78 times.  Strangely enough, this same thing happened back in 2002 to a couple of other idiots.  Also remarkably, the woman decided to stay in Sydney for 9 days anyway and have her vacation there.

11 Injured by Turbulence Near Bali

I keep writing about turbulence issues to drive home this point:  you are far, far, far, far more likely to be injured by turbulence than you are to be involved in a plane crash, so stop worry about whether airlines are “safe” and keep your seatbelt on.  Case in point:  11 were injured, some seriously, when their China Airlines 747 encountered turbulence near Bali.  Six passengers were seriously injured, including suffering broken necks.  Wear.  Your.  Seatbelts.

Use Your Star Alliance Miles to Go to Baghdad

(Thanks, USA Today…)

Looking for a fun spot to use your United Mileage Plus miles?  Does Baghdad sound good?  I mean, everyone says the so-called Surge has made it safe there, right?  Certainly you can travel there no problem.  And if you have 40,000 Mileage Plus miles you can go there for free:  Turkish Airlines announced that it will begin 3-day-a-week service to Baghdad beginning at the end of October.  For some reason, Iraq is not listed as one of the countries available in the Star Alliance Award chart, but I’m guessing that’ll change now that there’s nonstop service.  40,000 miles is a steal!  Have fun!

Continental Brings Back 500 Mile Minimums for Elite Members

Continental heard the whining, and now they’re making a change:  After announcing that they were removing the 500 mile minimum for short flights, they have reversed that for Elite members and will continue to give 500 miles for short flights.  Nicely done.

(The longer version is that Copa Airlines, Aero Rep├║blica, Hawaiian Air, Island Air, U.S. Helicopter, SNCF Rail and some Amtrak trains will still have 500 mile minimums for everyone.)

Jerry Lewis Gun Charges Dismissed

I know you’ve been actively following the case against Jerry Lewis for trying to bring a gun unto a plane, so I thought you’d like to know there’s been a resolution:  it’s been dismissed.  Turns out the unloaded gun was a gift (?) given to him a year ago and he had forgotten (?) it was in his luggage.

(thanks to reader/cardiologist Doug)

6 Nights in Paris, Including Air & All Taxes, $799

(Thanks, Frommers)

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen good air/hotel package deals to Europe, but perhaps the tide has turned:  Go-Today has a 6 night air/hotel deal to Paris in January for just $799 – and that includes the ridiculous airfare taxes and surcharges.  You have to book by September 24th and that price is only for January 8-23, but it’s a great deal since air alone is about $725.

Gotta Love Those Canadians: WestJet Eliminates Fuel Surcharges

Yesterday, Air Canada said that they would eliminate their second bag fee and display fuel surcharges in the base fare… fantastic.  Canadian discounter WestJet went one step further and announced they were eliminating fuel surcharges altogether because they said they would once the price of fuel dropped.  Any bets on the first US airline to eliminate their surcharges?  I’m going with Nobody Airlines.