« July 8, 2007 - July 14, 2007 | Main | July 22, 2007 - July 28, 2007 »

July 20, 2007

The Worst Travel Article Ever Written

Slate has published the worst travel article ever written.  Under the headline, "The Worst Airline in the World" it publishes what is basically a list of complaints about delays on TAM suffered by the writer during a recent vacation in Brazil.  While I loathe articles that use a handful of delays to indict an airline's competency or safety, this goes even further, somehow tying together the poor writer's delay with the deaths of 200 people on a TAM flight to Sao Paulo, suggesting that similar reasons caused both situations. 

That a reputable (and usually quite good) publication like Slate would actually publish this pile of crap is just pathetic.  Please, go read it (see link above).  You'll love where she complains about the quality of the hotel the airline puts her in, then makes a nice leap suggesting that because the hotel's infrastructure was weak, that the whole transportation and tourism infrastructure must be weak, and hence 200 people died. 

This is a vile pile of crap, and I can't believe Slate paid someone for it.  Blech.

July 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (5)

Stowaway in Airplane Wheel Dies

A man died yesterday hiding in the wheel well of a United flight from Taiwan to San Francisco, the 59th person to die attempting this in the past 50 years or so.  Officials say the man died either from asphyxiation (not much oxygen at 37,000 feet) or froze to death (-40 below).  He was wearing several jackets, but that wasn't nearly enough.  incredibly, 16 people have done this and survived, most recently in 2004 when someone stowed away on a flight from Dominican Republic to Miami.

July 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Etihad Drops Sri Lanka Flights -- Kinda Sad, Actually

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad has announced that it will drop flights to Sri Lanka beginning in September because tourism has dropped so significantly since civil war-related violence has picked up again.  I really only mention this because it because it's actually really sad.  The country suffered civil war for years, finally becoming peaceful in 2002 or so.  I somehow convinced my wife to go in 2003, and found it to be an absolutely beautiful, untouched place.  The tsunami came along and killed a ton of people and, to add insult to injury, civil war violence started up again, killing any hopes of tourists coming back in any numbers.  It's a pathetic situation that doesn't get discussed much in this part of the world, but there it is...

July 20, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 19, 2007

Virgin America Seats for Sale

Virgin American began selling seats today for its launch on August 8th.  You can see the full schedule in the link, but basically they'll be flying from JFK to San Francisco and LA; between San Francisco and LA & Vegas; and between Washington and San Fran & LA.  Transcon fares start at $139 from New York in coach up to $389 in first.  Not groundbreaking, but not bad.  First class is a good deal, and I'd expect the majors to match.  Always good to have more competition, isn't it?

July 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Ciao, Alitalia?

Italy's Economy Minister (that would be Minister of the Economy, not a low priced Minister) said that if Alitalia cannot be sold, it will be liquidated.  Hard to believe that such a venerable carrier will never fly again, but it's certainly looking that way after a 7 month auction closed with no buyers.  If you'd like to own an airline that will never make any money, you should call the folks in Rome.

July 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Cheap Trips to Egypt and Paris

Frommers has a couple of great deals this week:

Foreign Independent Tours is offering a 5 day air/hotel package departing New York to Cairo, Egypt for $999.  Airfare alone is usually more than $800.  Departures are only December 1-12.

Air Tahiti Nui is offering a $575 round trip fare from Los Angeles to Paris for fall and winter travel.  The impressive part is that it's also good during Christmas/New Year's week.  Bon Voyage!

July 19, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 18, 2007

Pilot Steals iPod at Security Checkpoint

A Mesa Airlines pilot is accused of stealing another passenger's iPod as they passed through a security checkpoint in Jacksonville, Florida.  The pilot said that he assumed the iPod was abandoned (yeah right) and would've just been taken by checkpoint personnel.  Incredibly, the pilot told police his flight was 15 minutes late and they let him fly on.

July 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Delta (Sort of) Strands to Alaska Kids in Salt Lake City

A 15 year old and a 10 year old travelling on their own from Dothan, Alabama to Fairbanks (through Salt Lake City) on Delta found themselves stranded in Salt Lake City for 20 hours after they missed their connection.  Delta gave the kids hotel vouchers and basically told them to go fend for themselves.  Their family is blaming Delta, which deserves some of the blame, but the airline said the kids were not registered at unaccompanied minors and did not know they needed assistance.  But, still...

July 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

MAXjet Applies for Seattle - Shanghai

It will never happen, but MAXjet has applied to launch Seattle to Shanghai service in 2009.  It would be the only all-business-class airline serving Asia.  No chance they get the nod, but it suggests that MAXjet is looking beyond its London routes if it ever hopes to make a profit.

July 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Judge Tried to Close Airport Where TAM Plane Crashed

You can find news about the TAM crash that killed 200 people elsewhere, but the key piece of the story is that a judge ordered Congonhas, the Sao Paulo airport where the incident occurred, to be closed earlier this year because of concerns the runway was too short.  The ruling was deemed to harsh and quickly overturned. 

July 18, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 17, 2007

Senators Tell Delta How to Do Route Planning

I found this to be annoying:

USA Today is reporting that Delta will drop service from Binghamton, NY, to JFK and Atlanta in September because they could not make the route profitable.  That's not annoying.  What's annoying is that NY Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton "blasted" the decision, with Schumer saying, "Delta's move is premature and poorly thought out. The New York City service had a solid start, and Delta needs to give it time to take root and let it prosper, while the Atlanta route has consistently carried a high volume of passengers."  Schumer also works in route planning for Delta?

What's annoying is that when the airlines go bankrupt they get called to task by Congress for running their businesses into the ground.  Then these senators start whining that the airlines aren't continuing unprofitable routes.  Please, stick to what you know best (I don't know what that is, specifically...)

July 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Miami Airport Evacuated Because of Human Ashes

A concourse at Miami Airport was evacuated yesterday because a passenger had human remains in their carry-on bags.  Screeners said the bags contained "suspicious" materials.  I'm just surprised the airlines didn't try to charge for an additional passenger.

July 17, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 16, 2007

Airline Apologizes to Passengers Stranded for a Week at JFK

Officials at Scottish carrier FlyGlobespan have apologized to the planeload of passengers it stranded at JFK for a week (a week!) after the aircraft it was scheduled to use on its flight to Ireland was struck by lightning.  With that plane knocked out of service, a replacement needed to be flown in from Glasgow.  However, because of the heightened security at Glasgow, they couldn't fly the plane from there (that sounds suspicious to me, but I can't argue with the random article I've linked to).  It took about a week to get all of the 200 passengers out of JFK and onward to Ireland.

July 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Three Drunk Passengers Force Emergency Landing in Russia

Two separate incidents involving three drunk passengers forced a Pulkovo Airlines plane to make an emergency landing shortly after taking off from St. Petersburg on its way to Turkey.  Drunk man number one reportedly slapped a female passenger sitting next to him after she declined his romantic advances.  The second set of drunks got into an unrelated right over an unreported issue.  All three were arrested upon landing.  (Editor's Note: I'm not reinforcing stereotypes, I'm just reporting the news...)

July 16, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)