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August 03, 2007

Northwest's Pilot Scheduling Issues May Be Over

Northwest's summer of discontent may be over:  The carrier announced that it has reached an agreement with pilots that should keep all (most?) of their scheduled flights in their come the end of the month (this would be a stark difference from the past 2 months, when the end of the month has led to a bunch of canceled flights).  Another way to put it:  Northwest was selling seats on flights it knew it wouldn't be flying.  Nice.  I think this goes to the heart of why people tend to hate airlines:  if we cancel, we're charged $100, if the airline cancels, well, um, nothing happens.  You're outta luck.  Go fly someone else (unless you live in Detroit or Minneapolis, where you don't have much of an option).

In any case.  The deal covers a bunch of pilot rules that aren't important here, but just know that if you're a pilot and you show up for work every day between now and September 3rd, you'll get a bonus of 15% of eligible earnings.  Yes, you did read that correctly.  A bonus for showing up to work for a month. 

August 3, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

August 02, 2007

American Airlines to Test In-Flight Wi-Fi

Give American Airlines some credit here:  The carrier says that they will test on-board wi-fi on its 767-200s beginning next year.  The CEO of the company providing the technology (AirCell) says that airlines can break even if they charge $10 to use it.  Not too shabby...

August 2, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (4)

August 01, 2007

OTR's 1,000th Comment

A quick bit of housekeeping:  The OTR received its 1,000th posted comment over the weekend.  Thanks everyone for keeping the conversation going.  Especially all of you spammers out there who keep putting ads for V1agr@ in the comments section.  Oh, and the guys with betting sites who put in comments.  You've been great.

August 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

British Airways Receives Record Fine for Price Fixing

Turns out the British government doesn't like it when you fix prices:  British Airways has to pay a $245 million fine because of a price fixing scheme.  Staff from the airline approached Virgin staff a few years back and discussed matching fuel surcharges.  That's a no-no.  And while they paid a fine, you, the consumer, were screwed the worst.  Oh, and you won't see any of the money.

BA may have to pay upwards of $700 million to settle similar allegations in other countries.

August 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Midwest May Actually Consider AirTran's Offer

Midwest's board, which has acted like a bunch of children in regards to AirTran's merger offer, looks like it might be growing up.  The company announced that the board is forming a special committee (something they should've done months ago) to seriously consider the offer.  Midwest is a public company, and the board owed it to their shareholders to actually not dismiss the offer out of hand and simply focus on keeping their board seats.  Pathetic.  Anyway, I bet this thing goes through by the end of the year.

August 1, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (0)

July 31, 2007

Sheikh Delays British Airways Flight for 3 Hours

While Qatar Airways is known for its customer service, apparently Qatar royalty are not...

A Qatari sheikh delayed a British Airways flight in Milan for 3 hours last week when he discovered that 3 of his female relatives were seated next to men they didn't know.  Muslim tradition forbids women to mix with men outside their family.  Why they didn't reserve their business class seats, I don't know.  In any case, none of the other passengers in business class would switch seats (obnoxious in its own way), causing the sheikh to storm into the cockpit to confront the pilot about the situation.  As you might imagine, the pilot, who had already started the plane's engine, was none too amused and kicked the Qatari family off the plane.

The end.

July 31, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 30, 2007

Brazil's President: I'm Afraid to Fly in Brazil

In an absolutely extraordinary public relations move that is either complete genius or complete insanity, Brazil's president said over the weekend that the air safety situation is so poor in Brazil that he is afraid to fly.  Sayeth he: "It's no secret to any Brazilian that we have an aviation crisis...Personally, when the airplane door closes, I deliver myself to God. Even with my luck in the hands of God, I confess I'm afraid. I confess this publicly because I am not embarrassed to say we are afraid."  Yowza!

July 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Northwest Cancels 500 Flights Over the Weekend

Northwest canceled 500 flights over the weekend, due either to pilots acting improperly (according to management) or pilots not being scheduled correctly (according to the pilot's union).  For several months now, pilots have hit their 90 hour flight limit (please do not write saying that this is a small number of hours to work for the month.  Flying hours only count the actual number of hours in the air plus taxiing) early in the month, leaving a shortage of pilots.  Northwest won't hire more, which is upsetting the union. 

In any case, while it's a small number of the total flights, if you have a Northwest flight booked late in the month you should call the airline the day before to make sure it's actually flying.

July 30, 2007 | Permalink | Comments (1)