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March 23, 2007

No Cellphones on US Airplanes

Good news:  The FAA is not going to permit cellphone use on planes.  Whew.

March 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Anatomy of a 24 Hour Delay

Salon's Ask the Pilot column has a nice piece about what happens when your flight is twice diverted to other airports, causing a 24 hour delay (which is what happened to Patrick Smith, the writer of the column).  The most interesting tidbit:  the pilot and co-pilot flipped a coin over who would make the unhappy announcement that the plane would be diverting a second time.

March 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

European Union, UK and US Pass Open Skies Agreement...For the Most Part

The European Union, UK and US passed an open skies agreement that would allow for greater airline access between the areas.  Airlines will be free to fly from any country in the EU to the United States (currently, for the most part, airlines can only fly from their home country to the US).  This is, of course, good for competition.  The other headline is that London Heathrow will be opened to competition.  Currently, only 4 carriers are permitted to fly between LHR and the US (BA, Virgin, AA, and United).  Continental has already said they'll apply for Houston - LHR service next year.  Don't hold your breath, though, as Heathrow is already overcrowded and there are no landing slots left to give.

Also, the UK wasn't particularly thrilled about this whole thing, so the agreement won't actually go into place for another year.  Plus, the EU has the right to suspend this whole agreement by 2010 if the US doesn't loosen up its airline foreign ownership rules.  This is all a nice first step, but it's hardly set in stone.

March 23, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 22, 2007

RegionsAir Shut Down -- American Airlines Affected

(I'll give credit where it's due, USA Today has been all over this story):

In case you thought only airlines based in Equatorial Guinea and Kyrgyzstan got closed down for safety practices, look no further than Tennessee,  where the FAA foreced regional carrier RegionsAir to shutter its doors.  Initially the airline said that the closure was due to a "paperwork issue," but a bit more info has come to light suggesting that the FAA found some of its pilot training to be lacking. 

So, you've never heard of RegionsAir, so why should you care?  Well, they serve as a regional carrier for American Airlines and Continental Airlines.  And cities in 7 states have had air service shut down because of this mess.  Several cities, including Cape Girardeau, Mo.; Jackson, Tenn.; and Owensboro, Ky may not get service back at all.

And, of course, there's a taxpayer angle to all of this, as RegionsAir was receiving up to $3.5 million a year in federal subsidies to provide air service to underserved airports in southern Illinois. 

All in all, a big mess and you were footing part of the bill. 

March 22, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 21, 2007

Virgin America Receives Permission to Fly

After many, many months of haggling, Virgin America received tentative approval to fly, assuming they make a handful of changes (new CEO, re-finance some of the investment).  The airline should now launch with San Francisco to New York service in mid-summer, with additional transcon flights coming later in the year.  As always, more competition is good for customers, especially when it comes with great in-flight entertainment.

March 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Miami Airport's Alcohol Problem

Officials at Miami's airport are reminding passengers that you cannot carry duty free liquor on the plane because of the insanely stupid rule about having liquid in 3 ounce or smaller quantities.  Officials at the airport confiscated more than 6,000 pounds of liquor in February alone (yes, pounds.  For whatever reason that's how they measured it).  Passengers coming from cruises and Caribbean vacations seem to be the primary cause, as they've forgotten that they could potentially blow up an airplane with a fifth of rum.

March 21, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

March 20, 2007

Ralph Fiennes' Stewardess Friend: I Was a Prostitute

A Fiennes mess he's gotten into:

Just when I swore I would never mention the Ralph Fiennes mile high tryst again, they keep pulling me back in:

The flight attendant who had the previously discussed unprotected sex with Mr. Fiennes in an airplane bathroom now says that she used to be a high priced prostitute in Sydney.  She reportedly used to make about $1,500 (or less depending on the article you read) a night.  Oh, she was working this job while also working as a flight attendant. 

And even better:  she returned to the brothel where she used to work after getting fired (in case you were wondering, she worked at the Gateway Club at Petersham and Stiletto in Sydney and went by the name of Skye.)  If you were interested in having a Fiennes experience at the brothel, you're too late:  she's re-quit her job. 

March 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

How to Complain to an Airline

The Wall Street Journal has a good article (sorry, subscription required) today about how to complain to an airline.  A couple of good points:  don't say you'll never fly them again (let's be honest, no matter how bad an experience you have, you'll fly the airline again; be succinct with your complaint (you'll feel good rattling off every slight you've ever felt, but stick to the basic facts of the specific incident); and ask for reasonable compensation.  Oh, and hope that you actually get a response. 

March 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

March 19, 2007

Dead Passenger Upgraded to First Class

British Airways has apologized (or in their case, apologised) for upgrading a passenger who died mid-flight to first class.

I'll explain.  A passenger on a London to Delhi flight died mid-flight.  According to the article, due to turbulence her body repeatedly slipped down off her coach seat (this is awful).  BA inflight staff moved her to an empty seat in first class, along with her daughter who, not surprisingly, was crying for the remaining 5 hours. 

According to this article, a fellow passenger complained to BA about the trauma of witnessing this situation and was told to "get over it." 

March 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

A380s to Land in LA, New York

It's not too late to head over to LAX or JFK, where A380s will be landing for the first time on US soil at 12:30 pm Eastern and 9:30 am Pacific time.

March 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Southwest Says, "I'm Sorry"

The NY Times has a pretty good article about the guy at Southwest Airlines whose job it is to write apology letters for when something weird happens on a flight (some examples are here).  Well worth a read.

March 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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