How’s THIS for a headline?

So I’m going through a list of headlines for the airline industry, and I read this doozy:

Hawaii Island Air unreliable according to their CEO

Umm, WTH?

You seriously want to tell the flying public that your airline is unreliable?  That’s like having the boarding agent take your ticket, scan it, and tell your passengers, “Hold on tight during the flight; I hope nothing happens to the plane!”

That’s just seriously unprofessional.  This is a CEO who doesn’t want to be in his job.

I totally understand the underlying message; Hawaii Island Air needs a good, stable, reliable aircraft for them to be able to grow.  So why not say that?  In these days, newer aircraft are going to be more fuel efficient and can carry more passengers farther on less gas than older aircraft can, while allowing the airline in question opportunities to grow.  So why not say something like that?

Just wow…

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Paying Our Respects

I originally posted something similar to this over at CatastropheCast.com, but thought it should go here as well…

I’m not only a regular business traveler, but I’m an airline geek as well.  I have been my whole life; when other 7 or 8 year olds wanted to be astronauts and firemen, I wanted to be an NTSB aircraft crash investigator.  Seriously.

But I digress.

There’s something to be said about paying proper respect to those that deserve it.  It’s something nice, but doesn’t get done that often.  For example, did you know that one of the most horrific, largest loss of life airplane crashes on United States soil was American Airlines Flight 191, a DC10 that crashed in Chicago back in 1979?  There were 273 souls lost in that crash.  But as for a monument or memorial for these people?  It didn’t happen.  Not until a group of schoolkids got together and did a 2 year project, raising funds for it.  The memorial didn’t officially exist until 2011.

Another noteworthy crash, the crash of Continental Airlines flight 11, en route from Chicago to Kansas City to Los Angeles, happened in 1962.  The crash is noteworthy because it was the first time a jet (not turboprop) plane was brought down as an act of terrorism; a man bought a life insurance policy and then blew up the plane with 6 sticks of dynamite, the result of which started the era of passenger screening that we all yammer on about to this day.  But that crash didn’t have any type of memorial, either.  Not until fifty years later, when 100 people – including the surviving family members of victims and other townsfolk – gathered in Unionville, Missouri, and dedicated the memorial on May, 2012 on the 50th anniversary of the crash.

We owe these people something.  Something more than they’ve gotten.  For every significant crash (and where possible), these people shouldn’t be forgotten to history.  They should be honored, because their lives were not lost in vain; their lives, and the subsequent loss, has reshaped all of our histories.

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Well, American’s decision is made

They’re going with a mixture of both Airbus and Boeing.  Stupid, really, from a purely single-fleet standpoint.  I mean Alaska and Southwest, both all Boeing 737, have basically been able to streamline maintenance and training.  Now that there’s a mixture, train half the staff one way, train the other half the other way.

I can see why they did it.  In the largest order in aircraft history, they are trying to get rid of their gas guzzling MD80s and modernize their fleet, to maximize fuel efficiency.  But still.  They’re minimizing training opportunities.  ::sigh::

Here’s the video they’ve already produced as notice to the world about the announcement.


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Almost nose to nose

Almost nose to nose here at the N terminal at SeaTac. What a big, beautiful girl, despite the livery.

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When good business decisions go bad

Usually a company will make a business decision, evaluate, and then implement. I’m going to pick on a company that I personally love, because they are about to do this very thing. But they made the wrong decision. It’s about Alaska Airlines and their commitment to WiFi aboard all of their planes.

Yeah, on-board servicing is good.  Airlines make billions of dollars in “add on” fees.  In 2009, the largest airlines combined to make almost eight BILLION ($8,000,000,000) in fees ALONE!  So adding something like WiFi, which is a nominal amount of capital for a large return, is a no brainer.  Alaska tested a service called Row 44 for their WiFi service on N644AS, a 737-800.  And it was GOOD.  Excellent service, because it was satellite based, not ground-transmitter based.  I used it, several times.  Blazing speeds, perfect results.  I was even able to stream video from my home television via my Slingbox, and had PERFECT service.  How’s that for watching an NHL playoff game on a plane that has no onboard entertainment, sans digEplayer units that contain static content?

All was perfect.  Customers were happy.  Customers were able to use the service no matter where Alaska flew.  And then Alaska grew.  They weren’t only going to be in Alaska and the “lower 48” (plus Mexico and Canada), but as of this fall, 10% of their market will be service to Hawaii, from several West Coast cities.

And then Alaska threw out Row 44 in favor of Aircell.  A service that is LAND based.  A service that means NO service on flights to Hawaii.  And problems outside 100 miles of the 48 states, so as for Mexico and Canada service, not so much.  And even flights to the namesake state of Alaska will be hampered until you are in US airspace.

What kind of plan is that?  It’s a plan that’ not so good.  When you are going to admit that you are already going to cut out profit potential by about 15% to 20% (10% Hawaiian service, probably another 5% to 10% in service to Mexico, Canada, and travel to Alaska via Canada), that is a business model couched in failure.  But why are they doing  it?  Well Southwest wants to get their planes outfitted with Row 44.  So Alaska is going to get on the Aircell/GoGo In Flight Internet bandwagon along with American, Delta, blah blah blah.

Add WiFi to planes.  Good.  Sacrifice a good business plan for an asinine reason?  Come on, Alaska.  You’re better than that!

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