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November 03, 2006

7 Days in Budapest and Prague, $699

Gate1Travel has a great deal to Central Europe:  For various dates between now and the end of February, you'll get a flight and 5 nights hotel in Budapest and Prague for just $699.  Sure it's cold.  That's not my problem.  I'm just passing along the info. 

November 3, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

November 02, 2006

Fake Boarding Pass Site Shut Down, Owner Surprised

A grad student who was running a website allowing you to print fake boarding passes was surprised when the FBI raided his house and took all of his computers.  Imagine that.  No charges have been filed, as it's not illegal to print fake boarding passes.  Yet.  Bring on the Patriot Act!

(thanks to Erik at SEO Speedwagon for the heads up.  Or possibly for the head's up.)

November 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Diabetic Man in Coma After Airline Disallows Insulin on Board

A diabetic man fell into a coma on a Qantas flight to New Zealand after the airline refused to allow him to bring his insulin on board.  Airline staff told him that the insulin was too "dangerous" to bring on the plane, despite the fact that he had flown with it many times before.  It was only a matter of time before the insane security rules lead to something like this. 

November 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Earn Miles for Watching Ads

A start-up called e-Miles is offering you miles to watch advertisements.  Before you quit your day job to stay home and earn miles all day, you only earn about 20-30 miles a minute (which is actually a bit better than what you earn sitting on a plane).

November 2, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

November 01, 2006

India Online Travel Conference

A couple of people have asked for a quick rundown on the EyeForTravel conference I attended in Delhi about online travel in India.  Some (many? most? all?) may not care about this, so skip ahead.  If you do care:

a) I'm happy to discuss this at length.  Feel free to shoot me an email to discuss; and
b) Here's an overview of my key takeaways from the event:

There are a whole bunch of companies trying to get into the online travel space in India, as everyone is anticipating a boom in the market there.  At this point there are 5-7 online travel agencies in India, 5 or so Meta Search companies (similar to Kayak), 4-5 offlien travel agencies opening online travel sites, plus Expedia & Travelocity coming in the next few months.  That is way, way, way too many companies to serve the rather small online population.

Consolidation is inevitable, and we're now looking at a war of attrition, as companies look to spend the hard-earned VC dollars they've raised.  But to what end?  The bulk of the online travel agency business is centered on selling cheap air tickets, for which they make little-to-no commission.  This is unlikely to change for several reasons, not least of which is there is a shortage of hotel rooms (unlike in the US), and an airline industry that is losing so much money that the government is ont permitting any more airlines to start up.  Fares will only head up, not down, in the future -- not a good sign for selling cheap airfares online.

India also has lots of quirks for running online travel businesses (which I won't get into here), but needless to say it's  not quite as easy as throwing up a website and hoping everything goes well. 

As I said, I'm happy to discuss details with people who care about this -- I'd be eager to hear other people's thoughts.

November 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Ryanair Says Bingo

In yet another move showing why Ryanair is not like other airlines, the carrier announced that customers will now be able to play Bingo online while booking flights.  It's early in the morning, I know.  So perhaps this will make more sense to me later in the day.  But if you like Bingo (and my wife likes Bingo), feel free to head on over to Ryanair's website to bingo your day away.  I guess.

November 1, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (1)

October 31, 2006

Air Canada's Innovative Fare Strategy

Air Canada has introduced an innovative fare strategy, where customers add or substract from the cost of the base fare according to what features they want.  Let me say that in English.  Let's say a round trip ticket from Montreal to Toronto is $150.  Air Canada will charge you $15 for a seat assignment.  But they'll also take $7 off if you agree not to change the ticket.  And they'll take $5 off if you don't check baggage.   And $3 off for not taking frequent flyer miles.  That last one is interesting, because they're putting a value on the miles, which most airlines are loathe to do.  A handful of European airlines have toyed with this system, but this is the most advanced that I'm aware of.  Look for someone (US Airways?) to implement something like this in the next year.  I wouldn't be surprised if 2 years from now, this was how every fare was sold.

October 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Northwest to Retire Last of DC-10s

We're nearing the end of a (very long) era at Northwest Airlines, as the carrier announced that it flew its last ancient DC-10 to Europe on Sunday, replacing the aging widebody with new A330s.  Northwest will continue to use DC-10s on its Minneapolis to Honolulu route through January (yes, the movie is projected on a screen at the front of the cabin.  Just like in 1974.)  Someone out there can correct me, but I believe they are the last US airline to fly DC-10s, and, until now, flew the oldest fleet in the US.  The A330s, though, are quite nice, with (angled) lie-flat seats and video on demand.

October 31, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

October 30, 2006

Week in Review

Hello all...I'm back from flying around the Middle East at 4 o'clock in the morning, so I thought I'd do a quick round-up of what we missed last week:

Virgin Atlantic deferred its A380 orders until 2013.  For all the doom and gloom, the 747 was also a few years late.  45 years from now, we will have forgotten about this delay.  Because some of you will be dead by then.

Kurdistan in northern Iraq launched its first tourism campaign since the war started.

If you thought it was easy to start a website printing fake boarding passes, you'd be right.

If you thought riding the baggage carousel around Manchester (NH) airport would be fun, you'd be wrong.

And finally, you may remember the Wendy's promotion where you collected cups to get free flights -- well, it turns out it cost the airline $1.5 million.

October 30, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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