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April 20, 2007

Paula Abdul and Southwest Airlines

Only because it's a slow news day will I include a link to a story about Paula Abdul getting pissy about not being able to board a Southwest Airlines flight before everyone else.  The only important part is that (supposedly) when a passenger overheard her complaining Southwest staff, he shouted to her: "You're no Sanjaya."

I'm so embarassed.

...I just remembered that this is not Paula's first weird Southwest incident:  last year she was late for a Southwest flight from Vegas to Burbank and she caused a security breach that made it necessary for all passengers to be-rescreened upon landing.  Who knew that she was a Southwest frequent flyer. 

April 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

April 19, 2007

Blackberries on Planes

On both directions flying back and forth this week to Boston on the Shuttle, I sat next to people who Blackberried during the entire flight.  Both were asked by flight attendants to put the devices away, both pretended to do so until she was gone, and both then pulled said devices back out again.

I am struck that adults in the middle of their business careers can act like petulant 4 year olds.  One of the people complained to his seatmate that because the flight was delayed, he was going to use the blackberry whether the airline liked it or not.  This was an adult speaking.

When you're stuck in a tin can with 150 other people for an hour or three, some rule of order has to apply.  We, as passengers, don't have to like it.  But we do have to follow the rules - even when they don't make sense.  It's not a democracy on a 757.  I don't know why we can't use Blackberries.  I don't know why they say "You're free to move about the cabin" when "You can walk around now" actually sounds like English.  I don't know why it costs 4 times more to fly from New York to Boston than from New York to London.  I don't know why the government thinks 3.7 ounces of toothpaste will lead to a terrorist incident, but 2.3 ounces won't.

But whether we like it or not, that's the state of flying today - small annoyances, punctuated by having to take off your clothes when you go through security.  Acting like a child by refusing to put away your toys when you're told to clean up doesn't benefit anyone.  And, frankly, it makes you look like a jackass. 

Next time a flight attendant (who didn't make the rules, mind you) asks you to do something you'd prefer not to do, just smile and realize that sitting in a can without a blackberry for 3 hours is still better than being in the office.

Carry on...

April 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

Off-duty Northwest Pilot, Drives Wrong Way Down Highway

An off-duty Northwest Airlines pilot led police on a bit of a crazy chase after he drove his rented Hummer the wrong way on I-94 near Port Huron, Michigan.  Turns out the pilot had a bit of a cocaine binge, then decided to drive over the Blue Water bridge to Sarnia, Ontario.  But he decided he didn't want to pass through customs, so he turned around on the Interstate, heading in the wrong direction.  Long story short, he was arrested.

(thanks to long-time reader IAH-PHX for this)

April 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Interesting New Concept for Airline Seats

(Thanks to reader Simon for this heads up:)

An aircraft interior design firm has introduced a new seating layout that could change the way we fly (see here for photos).  Basically, the middle seats in coach all face backwards.  The way it's set up allows for wider seats, which is a good thing.  Don't expect to see it any time soon, but it's good to know people are thinking about ways to make it more comfortable in the back.

April 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3)

April 18, 2007

Jumpjet: Private for the Cost of Coach?

I don't know much about them, but a new company called Jumpjet has launched, offering the use of a private jet for roughly the cost of coach tickets.  Here's the deal:

They have several different packages, but at the most basic, you pay a $500 signup fee, and then $1,800 a month for 3 months.  For that, you get 2 round trips on a private jet per month, and you can take 3 people with you.  Doing that math, that's about $1,000 for 4 round trip tickets on a private jet.  Flights have to be less than 1,800 miles or so, though packages are available if you need to go coast-to-coast.  If you have a vacation home, or do frequent business elsewhere, this is a helluva deal.  Good luck convincing your spouse of that.

April 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Flightmemory.com: A New Site for Airline Freaks. In a Good Way.

New site I wanted to tell you about:  Flightmemory.com.  Short version:  You go to the site and you type in all the flights (or some of the flights) you've ever taken.  You can put in the basics (where you went) or detailed info (the tail number on the plane).  Then the site creates a map of everywhere you've flown, and shows you stats about the number of miles you've traveled and a whole bunch of other stuff that will likely be interesting to you if you actually know the tail number of the planes you've been on (I don't mean this in a sarcastic way at all.  It's actually quite cool.)  Check it out -- you'll be hooked.  Maybe.

April 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (3)

April 17, 2007

Indonesia's Airlines Deemed Unsafe

Two bits of news about aviation in Indonesia:

--The United States has downgraded Indonesia's airlines, saying that they do not meet international standards for safety.  The government tells travelers in Indonesia to use non-Indonesian airlines for their flights.

--In an unrelated note, a former head of Garuda, an Indonesian airline, was arrested in connection with the murder of a civil rights campaigner in 2004. 

Pretty much a banner day for Indonesian aviation.

April 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Air Sahara to Be Re-branded Jetlite

Quick follow-up to the story yesterday about the Air Sahara - Jet Airways merger in India:  Air Sahara will be re-branded Jetlite, and offer service somewhere between a no-frills airline and a traditional airline (AirTran, maybe?).  Jet Airways will launch service to New York and San Francisco later this year.

April 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

$899 Round Trip to London in Business Class

Silverjet, one of the all-business class airlines to London) has launched a promotion where you get a free one-way ticket for each one-way ticket you purchase (ie, 50% off a roundtrip to London).  In exchange for telling them what frequent flyer program you are a member of, you'll get a round trip ticket for $899 -- even cheaper than MAXjet (and quite a bit nicer).  Silverjet has angled lie-flat seats and a dedicated terminal at London Luton airport (not as far away as you might think).

April 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4)

April 16, 2007

British Airways Crew Delays Flight for 13 Hours Because They Were Sleepy

A British Airways pilot delayed his flight from Delhi to London for 13 hours because he said he and his crew did not get enough sleep the night before.  The pilot claimed his hotel in Delhi was quite loud, and because of that he was unable to sleep.  As a safety measure, he said, he delayed the flight so the crew could get some rest.  Passengers were given hotel rooms but, due to a shortage of available hotels, had to share rooms with strangers. 

April 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Midwest Rejects AirTran a Third Time

Midwest's board rejected AirTran's offer for a third time on Friday, leading AirTran to put out a statement calling Midwest's board "delusional."  AirTran had upped its offer to $15.75 a share for Midwest, whose stock had closed at $8.13 on Friday (maybe AirTran is delusional). 

April 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

$15 to Change Your Seat

American Airlines is implementing a $15 fee to change your seat if you call the airline to make the change.  The carrier says it is just putting its fee structure in line with other airlines (not sure if this is entirely true).  There's no fee if you make the change on their website or on their automated phone line.

April 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

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