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September 24, 2005


Hi all.  I'm in Latvia and Lithuania for the week, so postings will be sporadic (or not, I'm not sure.  If I have access, I'll write).  We'll talk when I get back.  Or while I'm there.

September 24, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 23, 2005

New Hawaiian Airline to Launch

The Mesa Air group (a company that operates regional carriers) is planning to launch a new airline flying between the Hawaiian islands sometime in 2006 to compete with Hawaiian and Aloha.  No word on the name of the carrier, but this is good news for travelers, as I'd expect fares between the islands to drop.

September 23, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2)

A320 Has Had Several Landing Gear Problems

The NY Times is reporting that Airbus A320 aircraft have had seven incidents where airplanes were forced to land with twisted front landing gear.  There is no word whether the incidents are related, though an Airbus-mandated fix of the problem has not solved the issue.

September 23, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Massive Security Delays at Houston Intercontinental

You know how when you arrive at the security gate at the airport and there are a few people ahead of you and you start whining to yourself how much it sucks to travel since 9/11? (OK, maybe that's just me).  Well, we've got nothing on the poor schmucks who were waiting, get this, 4-5 hours (yes, hours) to get through the security lines at Houston Intercontinental yesterday.  A combination of 110 TSA workers not showing up and the mobs of people trying to escape the hurricane caused a miserable scene Thursday morning.  On the positive side, the wait was down to less than an hour by the end of the day.

September 23, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 22, 2005

Delta to Cut 9,000 Jobs

Just a quick note:  Delta just announced that they will cut 9,000 jobs, cut executive pay by 15% (the CEO will take a 25% cut), cut domestic capacity by 20%, increase international capacity by 25%, and eliminate 80 more aircraft.  It's quite impressive how quickly they've pulled this plan together...implementing it will be a different story.  That said, they clearly want to reinvent this airline and I'll give them credit for understanding that small changes won't help.

September 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Plane Fakes Emergency to Watch Soccer Game

Stories like this are the reason why I still get up early to write this stupid thing:  A chartered Gambian airplane faked an emergency landing so that passengers would not miss a soccer match they wanted to watch.  I'll explain.  The Air Rum (?) L-1011 had 289 Gambians onboard on its way to Lima, Peru, to watch its team play in the FIFA Under 17 World Championships (outside of the US, people charter planes to fly halfway around the world to watch 15 year old play soccer).  The plane was late, so the pilot radioed the airport in the city where the team was playing (Piura) and said that it was running low on fuel and needed to land there instead of in Lima.  So, the plane landed in Piura and the passengers were able to attend the match.  Peruvian authorities are still figuring out what penalties (if any) they should impose.  Even so, I'm pretty impressed.

September 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

JetBlue Plane With Landing Gear Problem Lands Safely

A JetBlue A320 with its front landing gear rotated 90 degrees landed safely (video available) at LAX after circling the airport for three hours.  The flight from Burbank to JFK was diverted nearly immediately after the pilots realized what had happened. Passengers were able to watch their own flight on the news on the in-plane TVs.  The pilot made a pretty amazing landing on its back wheels (a la the space shuttle) and all arrived safely.  An America West A320 had a similar problem several years ago and landed without incident.  JetBlue flies all new planes, so the age of the aircraft is not an issue (actually, the age of the aircraft is rarely an issue, but I thought I'd mention it anyway).

September 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Say Goodbye to Delta's Simplifares

You may remember all of the hoopla around the Delta Simplifares program, where they eliminated many restrictions and lowered their top fares.  Well, bankruptcy may have killed that program.  The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that the airline is eliminating many of the lowest fares and requiring 3 day stays and Saturday night stays on others.  All good things must come to an end.  I'm sure the other majors are thrilled with the move.

September 22, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 21, 2005

US Airways to Lose Powerstrips

Sometimes it's the little things that make a huge difference.  Those who fly US Airways have had the small but incredibly useful perk of powerstrips for their laptops (as a Continental guy who runs out of laptop power after 2.5 hours, this is a nice little benefit).  WAS a nice little benefit, I should say.  The airline announced that it will remove the powerstrips from its planes as a cost cutting measure (though they will remain on its trans-Atlantic A330s).  No power for you.

September 21, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

JetBlue to Post First Loss

After 18 consecutive profitable quarters, JetBlue's CEO said that the airline will likely post a loss when it announces earnings.  JetBlue's incredibly impressive run was marred by a combo of fuel prices and the hurricane, though its profits had been shrinking significantly over the past several quarters.

September 21, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 20, 2005

Fare Sale to China

China Southern Airlines is offer a $499 round trip fare between LA and Guangzhou, China for travel this fall. Not usually a route that sees a ton of fare sales, so if you've been waiting, here's your chance.  Taxes and visa fees add a bunch to the total cost.

September 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

New All Business Class Airline Launches to London

MaxJet Airways, a new all-business class airline, has announced that it will offer $1,600 round trip fares from New York to London Stansted beginning in November.  You may be saying to yourself, didn't upstart EOS just also announced all business class service between those two cities?  Yes.  Yes they did.  Not a good sign.  Plus, existing carriers have already shown that they are willing to discount their business class to those levels (Continental had those fares this summer), so expect a nice drop in business class ticket prices to Europe.

September 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Two European Airlines to Test In-Flight Cell Phones

Do you hate people yammering away on cell phones?  Would that drive you completely nuts on an airplane?  Then you might want to stay away from TAP Air Portugal and BMI late next year.  The two carriers will test in-flight cell phone usage on a handful of intra-European flights late next year. While the $2.50/minute surcharge should keep yapping to a minimum, it's not enough of a minimum for me.

September 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Independence Air Bankruptcy Today?

Several newspapers are suggesting that Independence Air may file for bankruptcy as soon as today.  The carrier, which has struggled since day 1, has faced strong competitive response from incumbent airlines in competing routes, including an unsustainable $29 fare between DC and Lansing.  Unlike Northwest and Delta, there is a real possibility that Independence Air was just disappear.  So if you've got a free ticket on the airline, you may want to book that trip for the next month or two.

IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE NOVEMBER 7TH BANKRUPTCY FILING OF INDEPENDENCE AIR (rather than my 8 weeks old post above about the possibility of a bankruptcy), PLEASE CLICK HERE.

September 20, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

September 19, 2005

Business Class Specials to Europe

Air France has cut the price of their business class tickets to Europe by about 65% for a limited time.  Fares from the east coast to Paris start at less than $2,300 round trip.  Not too shabby.  A 50 day advance purchase is necessary, though.  Shabby.

September 19, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Delta, Northwest Considering Merger?

Media reports are starting to emerge that Delta and Northwest may consider a merger to help them become the US' largest airline.  Some analysts note that because of the small amount of route overlap. a merger could make sense.  Don't believe a word of these stories.  The fleet integration alone (the airlines only share one aircraft in common) would be a massive undertaking.  Both Delta and Northwest will shrink themselves out of bankruptcy---we haven't begun to see the beginning of service cuts.  There's no way they'll be able to manage a merger.

September 19, 2005 | Permalink | Comments (0)