Monthly Archives: February 2009

EasyJet Steward Tries to Fly with 8 Times the Legal Limit of Alcohol

A steward for EasyJet was on a plane beginning to work a flight from Gatwick to Belfast when fellow staff noticed that he was acting “erratically” and his breath smelled of alcohol.  There was good reason for that:  he was later found to be 8 times (impressive!) over the legal limit.  The police were called and he was arrested in front of other passengers.  Most impressive of all is that his lawyer claims the steward was not drinking the day of the flight and that the high level of alcohol was due to one hell of a night out the evening before.

Is Ryanair Really Thinking of Charging 1 Pound to Use the Toilet?

Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary is drawing attention (again) for suggesting that the airline is considering charging 1 pound for passengers to go to the bathroom.  Reuters quotes the executive as saying that the airline has looked into this before (they would add a slot on the bathroom door), and they’re re-considering the move again.

Feel free to drink all the $3 water you want — This isn’t going to happen.  Every so often, Ryanair makes a crazy suggestion (they’ll fly to Niagara Falls, for example) that generates some publicity and is never heard from again.  This is one idea they’ll flush away before implementing (sorry – I was trying to think of a cheesy local news – type ending for this…)

Ten People Indicted for Southwest Airlines Ticket Fraud

A grand jury indicted 10 people involved with a scheme that re-sold Southwest Airlines tickets they had stolen.  The plan was led by a Southwest administrative assistant who took the tickets (which, get this, were supposed to be given away to people who helped sick passengers on planes) and gave them to friends, who then re-sold the tickets below face value.  Well done.  Those indicted face 20 years in prison.

11% of the World’s Planes Are Now Parked in Storage

A new survey finds that 2,300 planes – 11% of the world’s total – are now parked in storage.  The industry hasn’t hit the lows of 2001, when 13% of all airplanes were placed in storage, but it’s pretty significant.  This may appear to be a bad sign, but what it really shows is that airlines actually have some flexibility with their fixed costs, and that they’re doing a pretty good job of matching capacity with demand.  (Hotels, which cannot park their buildings in the desert, are in deeper trouble than the airlines right now).

In case you were wondering, US airlines account ffor about 1/3 of those planes, with 800 parked.  On the flip side, Emirates plans to grow capacity by 14% this year (though I disagree with Cranky’s suggestion that this will result in lower fares on the airline – they’ve done a great job of keeping yields high.  Plus, I’m not sure how many people will jump on cheaper flights from Dubai to Khartoum).

Did a United Pilot Call His Passengers “Idiots”?

The Consumerist has a mildly amusing story about a business traveler overhearing his United Airlines pilot calling coach passengers “Idiots” over Channel 9.   Maybe this is why pilots hate Channel 9,

El Al Business Class Seats Available on eBay (The Actual Seats, not a Ticket)

El Al is selling several pairs of business class seats (the actual seats – not a ticket) on eBay – but you have to hurry because the auctions close on Wednesday.   Pairs of seats are going for less then $500 right now.  Oh and it appears to be local pickup only (though I’m guessing you could arrange for someone to ship them to you).  The bigger issue, of course, will be when you try to bring these things in your house and convince your wife that they’ll be great for watching movies.

$489 for 4 Nights Hotel & Airfare to Rome

(Via Frommers):  Tour Crafters is offering a 4-night air/hotel package to Rome for $489 from New York.  Breakfast is included and you must travel by the end of March – what a bargain…

Ryanair to Eliminate Airport Check-In Desks

Taking a page from the Alaska Airlines “Airport of the Future,” Ryanair announced that it will close all airport check-in areas by the end of 2009.  Passengers will check-in online and the airline, as they say, will pass the savings on to you.  Incredibly, 75% of its passengers already check in online.  I’m fairly certain all US carriers will eliminate check-in desks by about 2012.

US Airways to Reinstate Free Drinks

US Airways CEO Doug Parker seems to have decided that all the whining isn’t worth it:  the airline will no longer charge $2 for a soda.  The carrier had gone all a la carte when oil went through the roof, but now that prices have come down, they’re rolling back one piece of that model.  Don’t worry – they’ll still earn nearly half a billion dollars this year from a la carte sales…but just not from soda.  If you miss paying for your soda, Spirit is still selling it on board.  (I don’t have a problem with charging for it – if people are willing to pay, why not?  They’re running a business…Healthy airlines are good for all of us.)

30 Injured When Northwest Flight to Tokyo Hits Turbulence

A Northwest 747 carrying more than 400 passengers from Manila to Tokyo hit unexpected turbulence, injuring 30 people on board, 2 seriously.  You’ve probably seen a bunch of stories on the local news after the US Airways accident blabbering on about the dangers of birds and airplanes, and whether the same thing could happen to you – right here in Tulsa! blah blah blah.  The only real danger you face on a plane is from turbulence.  I’ve written about it here before:  people are hurt by unexpected turbulence all the time.  If you keep your seatbelt fastened, you will be fine.  Keep your seatbelt on, and stop worrying about the birds.