Well THIS isn’t totally unexpected

The list of winners from the World Airline Awards was announced recently – and nobody in North America was even CLOSE to being at the top of the list.  Then again, I’ve flown almost every single US based airlines, and can tell you there’s really nothing to compare to an overseas airline and their service.  Hell, the 7 hours I spent on an overnight flight from Abu Dhabi to Geneva in coach beats any amount of time I’ve spent in first class for a bunch of US airlines.  ::cough:: US Airways… United…  ::cough::

The top five airlines are:

  1. Qatar Airlines
  2. Singapore Airlines
  3. Asiana Airlines
  4. Cathay Pacific
  5. Thai Airways
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Hey American Air – How about you buy your namesake?

I had an interaction with user47 on Twitter a couple of weeks ago over this tweet:

As you can tell, I wholeheartedly agreed with @user47 – a company like American Airlines (the name alone just screams American unity) looking to buy foreign planes is really disingenuous.  We have a fine aircraft maker here, and the Boeing 737 is the best selling airplane ever.  But it looks like American wants to go with Airbus.  And that sucks.

I partially choose airlines based on their aircraft.  Alaska Airlines, “Proudly All Boeing” isn’t just a slogan.  They were the launch customer for the 737-900, and are all Boeing 737 in their mainline service.  While I liked Frontier, who started out with a fleet of 737s, they’re an all Airbus airline now.  And honestly, I tend to avoid them.  Same thing with United, though now that they’re merged with Continental, and are considering replacing original UAL Airbus flights with Boeing, I may go back to them.  They just have to get their customer service straight.

So American?  Do the right thing.  Don’t order Airbus; order Boeing.  But who am I?  Just an aviation geek that plans their flights around aircraft and service…

UPDATE 07192011 @ 15:31: Apparently Boeing is doing a big-old reacharound to American to try and get the business, and not let Airbus walk away with the whole order.  Woohoo!

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Rock Diaz? You’re a dick

That’s all I got to say about it.  Today In The Sky has the story of a guy who impersonated a soldier just to get a fucking free upgrade.


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In which I have NO compassion for airlines

There’s a headline out today that screams, “Airlines Say Fee Boost Considered by Obama Would Raise Fares, Hurt Demand“.  I went into it with a clear mind wondering what all this would entail.  So, reading the article, I thought the proposal must be ungodly.

It’s $2.50.

Yes, the airlines and the ATA are up in arms because there’s a proposal – that’s not even a proposal yet, because it’s not yet been proposed – to raise the fee from $4.50 per segment to $7.  Seriously?  You people are whacked.  Even a full 4 segment round-trip fare would only go up a maximum of $10.  Who in the hell looks at a $210 fare and goes, “I’d pay $200, but I won’t pay $210.”  Is that really such a problem?  The public isn’t going to scream, “I’m not paying that extra $5 or $10 for my vacation, because I want to spend it on a latte.”

As a business traveler that travels a MINIMUM of 40 weeks per year – usually around 50 – I wouldn’t even notice the extra $400 per year.  And honestly, your average family of four that gets one week a year to travel who regularly pays $1,000 for four round trip tickets isn’t going to balk at $1040, either.  They’ll probably balk at the extra $20, $25, $50 or $75 (per bag – each way) fee that the airlines have used to make absolute billions over the last couple of years.  But balk at $10?  Screw that.

And if airlines want to reduce their expenditures, how about starting with stopping the lobbying?  Go to Google and input “Airlines spend lobbying” and you’ll see figures like $660,000 or $1,470,000 for one airline alone.  For one quarter of one year.  Yeah, I have absolutely no compassion for the airlines balking at this.

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Security is a JOKE

With all the headlines going on about security, invasive TSA pat-downs (where a lesbian friend of mine has commented she’s had her labia touched – TWICE), and the like, what exactly is this getting us?  Where are we, as a nation, going?  Are we any safer?  I think the words you’re looking for are “HELL” and “NO”.

Not only is it getting worse, it’s getting noticeably worse.  Case in point?  Two separate incidents that I personally have witnessed over the last couple of weeks has led to three different people running out onto the taxiway of the Wenatchee Pangborn Field airport.  Yes, this is a small field, with commuter service.  But isn’t that all anyone needs?  You get access to a larger plane (a Bombardier Q400) and you can pose a threat to just about any building, large or small.  And if you wanted a larger plane, then hell – you can land at a larger airport and use your plane to commandeer another one.

Two weeks ago it was two kids that ran out through the double-door exit onto the taxiway to meet their parents.  Today, I was almost knocked down by a 50 year old lady who ran through the same double-doors and out onto the taxiway to meet someone.  Can you imagine what a couple of armed goons could do?  And how is it we still don’t double-check every piece of cargo that goes in the belly of the planes we ride in?  Too expensive?  Bullshit.

We have the illusion of security going through to catch our flights.  The TSA isn’t going to do anything serious about it unless we, as the traveling public demand it.  They’ll simply continue to jump at the latest hotspot and make us put something else on the conveyor belt when we go through the magnetometer.  It’s pathetic.

UPDATE: I just talked to someone at Pangborn Field (Wenatchee).  They weren’t aware that anyone had breached the exit out onto the runway, though they’ve had that concern.  TSA isn’t going to do anything about it.  Why?  They’ll require Pangborn to manage the exit, not TSA, for whatever stupid TSA reason the TSA can cite.  Again, I say, SECURITY IS A JOKE.

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A whole new way to lose your luggage

Okay, so there have been some bonehead business ideas.  The Microsoft “Kin” phone, which was supposed to be an iPhone killer, but lasted all of about 4 weeks.  When Dell decided to fire the Dell Dude and get rid of that ad campaign, because he was caught with marijuana.  Spirit Airlines wanting to charge for carryon baggage.  Ryan Air wanting to install pay toilets and standing-only “seats” to pack more people on to flights.

But this one mostly takes the cake.  UPS wants to start sending your luggage to your destination instead of you taking it on the airplane.  And not just your luggage, but actual cardboard throwaway boxes.  You pack your stuff in them, they’re not as protected as if they were in a real suitcase.  You have to pack and send them out WAY in advance, because if you send them the same day, you might as well plan on vacationing with no clothes or necessities.  And just think of the extra carbon being created, extra fuel being wasted, etc because you chose to send via UPS instead of in the belly of the plane.

But here’s what gets me.  A quote from the article:

She conceded that airlines can usually deliver luggage faster than UPS but said luggage shipped by UPS can cost $30 to $80 less per package, depending on the route and the weight of the box.

$30 to $80 less?  Per package?  I mean hell; if you don’t have status, first bag is usually $25.  Second bag another $25 so $50 in fees total.  The plane goes with you to the airport, goes through fewer hands (and thus is harder to lose – and less options for it to be stolen), arrives with you at your destination, and is ultimately convenient.  No packing a week ahead of time.  What, when you use this service, you pack your stuff, then realize that the weather is going to be drastically changed, but you’re going to be stuck with jackets and skis when all the snow will be melted and you’ll want shorts when you show up.  Is that how it goes?

Oh but there will be suckers that fall for it.  There’s one born every minute.

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Who gets the last laugh in a labor dispute?

Wow.  Just wow.  Yes, there are labor disputes galore.  And yes, the unions are the ones that usually give the concessions and the airlines are the ones that come out on top.  But it’s not always who wins, but who gets the last laugh that counts, to some degree.

British Airways is about to come out with mobile boarding passes.  That’s great!  They’re a great option for the traveling public.  To promote this in their recent magazine, they showed a photo of a mobile boarding pass.  Who was the boarding pass assigned to?  Osama bin Laden.  Not only that, but he was flying first class to Washington DC.

So while British Airways may win the war, they’ve been made a laughingstock.  And to the person who actually did it – good on you!

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Next time Someone asks me what I do, and responds when they hear I travel each week with, “Wow, that must be so glamorous!”, first I’m going to show them this picture. Then I’m going to beat them.

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Excellent article on Airlines from SmartMoney.com

There is a really excellent article on “which airline should you choose?” posted over at SmartMoney.com.  It goes through four different aspects of air travel, and tells you what airlines do good, and what airlines do bad.

Seriously – can things get any worse for Spirit Airlines?  They are getting a ton of bad press about their $45 fee for carryons, $5 surcharge for using their WEBSITE (which is a load of crap!), paying for a preassigned seat, etc.  Spirit Airlines truly has made some sucktacular decisions.  Maybe they’ll reconsider, if their traffic drops off.  I mean paying for a discounted fare from Spirit, then paying for where to sit on the plane, the convenience of using their website, to bring on a carryon bag.  Hell, you’ve paid your way out of your discount up to a regular fare!

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