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May 11, 2007

Ryanair to Advertise Fares with All Fees Included

Ryanair has been bashed repeatedly for being consumer unfriendly, but they announced a very consumer-happy move yesterday:  all of their advertised fares will now include taxes.  While this seems like a small deal, advertised fares can have upwards of $150 in taxes missing, so that $99 advertised fare to London actually works out to be $375.  Quite a difference.  US carriers have (obviously) fought including these fees in their fares, but it's ridiculous that they don't...

May 11, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 10, 2007

Aero Asia International Airlines Closed for Safety Violations

I'm asked all the time about whether a given airline is safe.  The answer is virtually always, "yes."  Unless you were about to fly Pakistan's Aero Asia International.  The government shut the carrier down for failing to meet safety standards.  The airline had 3 domestic and 3 international routes.

May 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

KLM Testing Charging for Exit Rows

KLM is testing charging passengers 50 Euros (about $275,000 given how weak the dollar is) if they want to sit in exit rows on longhaul flights.  While you may say this is petty, I would GLADLY pay the $70 to guarantee myself the extra legroom.  The test is being conducted on flights to Singapore, Curacao, and Manila.

May 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Neeleman Ousted as JetBlue CEO

Back on February 19th, after JetBlue's operational disaster, I wrote, "If Neeleman weren't the founder, I would expect a board to oust him over this.  But they won't..."

I was wrong.  The board fired JetBlue's CEO and founder David Neeleman today, replacing him with former COO Dave Barger.  Who knows why it took 3 months (and why they did it once JetBlue had improved its operations), but it goes to show, you can launch a successful airline and still get fired. 

Neeleman will remain as non-executive chairman of the board.

May 10, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

May 09, 2007

Did KLM Help the Nazis?

A new documentary accuses Dutch carrier KLM of aiding Nazis to escape to South America after the second world war.  In a refreshingly candid response, a spokesman for the airline says:

"The checks we have done in our archive so far have not delivered any specific information about this sort of transportation. But that does not mean that it has not been done."  At least I admire that they're not categorically denying the whole thing.

The investigation suggests that the airline may have helped Nazis escape Germany by flying them without the proper papers to Argentina through Switzerland. 

I don't need to re-write the whole article here -- it's worth a read.

May 9, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 08, 2007

AirTran: We've Got Beer!

Longtime OTR readers know I LOVE press releases about nothing.  AirTran has a good one today, breathlessly announcing that to celebrate its new flights to St. Louis, it will have Budweiser products on board that were produced THAT VERY SAME DAY!

On the down side, you have to drink Budweiser.

May 8, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 07, 2007

How Air Canada Has Changed the Industry

USA Today has a good overview of the revolutionary changes Air Canada has made since a post-9/11 financial disaster.  Specifically, they simplified their fare structure, made nearly every cost associated with travel transparent (ie, reserving seats, checking bags), introduced flight passes and flight subscriptions, put entertainment in regional jets, and sold off its frequent flyer program.  You'll note that most of those changes specifically benefit the consumer, by allowing them to pay for the parts of travel that matter to them (the ability to change tickets, etc), and not pay for the rest (I don't care where I'm seated).  Other airlines have begun to follow suit with some of those initiatives, but no carrier has embraced a wholesale re-thinking of their business.  Bravo.

Meanwhile, Delta has launched a new ad campaign all about its revolutionary new initiatives, such as texting you your flight status (you can already text GOOGLE for your flight status), and in-flight TV (revolutionary as of 2000, when JetBlue launched it).  Delta has made huge strides, especially when it comes to flying to places where they can make money.  Well done.  But touting seatback TV seems a little odd, as its  gone-but-not-forgotten cousin Song had that long ago. 

May 7, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

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