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Damage Control: American Revokes Curbside Fee

May 30, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News | 4 comments

American Airlines has decided to drop across the country its $2 per bag curbside check-in fee.

The airline has been the target of anger and jokes ever since it decided to start charging $15 one-way for a first checked bag (yep, no such thing as a free checked bag on American anymore).

It would seem they’re trying to eke out a little good publicity in the wake of all the bad. What do you think — too little, too late?

A Pot-Stirring Pilot and Crying Babies

May 30, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News,Travel Tips | 47 comments

Was just checking out the informative “Ask the Pilot” column on Salon.com, and found an amusing nugget.

Pilot/author Patrick Smith, with tongue-in-cheek, was writing about airline marketing ideas, and proposed this one:

Here’s a challenge to any airline daring enough: a rule that requires the medicating, muzzling or sequestering of all children under 4 years old — below deck would be nice, or out on the wing.”

No doubt he was simply stirring things up, to get a lively reaction (and to judge by the comments, that’s exactly what he’s getting!) — but what do YOU think?

DO we need a “kids-only” section on airplanes?

POLL: 41 Million Flights Skipped Due to “Hassles”

May 30, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick | 0 comments

According to a recent poll commissioned by the Travel Industry Association (TIA), 28% of U.S. air travelers said they “avoided” at least one flight in the past 12 months — which is estimated to have cost the travel industry more than $18 billion dollars.

Now, since it’s difficult to prove a negative, it’s hard to say if all these folks really had planned to take these flights they avoided.

But I think what’s most telling here is, that more than half the respondents said they would fly more often if flying was easier, with less hassles.

A TIA spokesman said, this “should be a wake-up call to America’s policy leaders that the time for meaningful air system reform is now.”

Everyone wants “meaningful air system reform” — the question is, how?

AIRLINE FEE LIST — All Domestic Airline Fees in One Handy Guide

May 30, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News | 0 comments

Planning a trip, but not sure if you’ll have to pay for one bag or two?

Not clear if you’ll get a free snack, or pay for those pretzels or shell out for those peanuts?

You’ve come to the right place. Click here to see your one-stop-shopping guide to ALL the airline fees.

And I’m sure we’ll have to update this — as the fees keep piling up.

So please — check back regularly.

Silverjet Stops Flying: Is There Any Future for All-Business Class Carriers?

May 30, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News | 0 comments

It looked like it might be the beginning of the end for Silverjet when they suspended share trading on the AIM last week after failing to receive funding they believed was coming their way. Even though the UK-based all-business class carrier insisted they would continue to fly, it seemed to many that Silverjet was headed down the same path as now defunct business class carriers eos and MaxJet.

Today, Joe Brancatelli of JoeSentMe confirmed that despite Silverjet’s optimism, the carrier has ceased flying. Joe also reports that Silverjet is still fighting to stay in commercial air travel, but as we’ve seen, commercial air travel has not been kind to business class carriers:

“Silverjet says it is trying to arrange alternate funding to resume operations, but, given the state of things with airlines, that looks extraordinarily doubtful. And, if you are keeping score, that means all three all-business-class airlines launched between the New York area and Greater London have now folded. Only L’Avion, which flies between Newark and Paris/Orly, remains in the all-business-class category.”

Rising fuel surcharges and increased airfare have sent many business travelers back to coach. This coupled with competition from larger carriers like British Airways and Virgin Atlantic has finally taken its toll on the New York to London niche all-business class market.

Top 10 Possible New Airline Fees

May 30, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News | 3 comments

I had a little day dream today about possible new fees that airlines (or for that matter the government) might charge to recoup the cost of fuel — I figured you might have some suggestions as well so fire away …

  1. Humongous Carry-On Bag Relief Fund (to bail outluggage manufacturers who over inventoried reasonable size carry-on bags)
  2. Charging people by the pound at check-in (one could of course diet — or not –after ticket purchase but before departure requiring a scale & credit card transaction at check-in)
  3. “Bigger” Plane Surcharge (non grounded MD-80 vs. CRJ)
  4. Boarding Group Order Surcharge (complimentary to the $15 first check bag fee, as those that board last will be charged because of no bin space and forced to gate check)
  5. Clean Seat Back Pocket Fee (to cover the cost of a HazMat team coming in between flights)
  6. Unmarked In-Flight Magazine Fee (to replenish after the HazMat team or the guy who tore out the male pattern baldness advert page)
  7. Bag Never Lost Insurance Fee (cover the cost of adding a Mission Impossible tracking microdot to each bag — check that we can’t even sort out GPS for planes …)
  8. Refreshment Cart Starting Location Fee (guaranttees the cart will start on your end of the plane)
  9. Working Seat Back Fee (to protect us against the dreaded Knee Defender)
  10. Customer Satisfaction Survey Ballot Box Stuffing Surcharge (so that airlines will rate higher than the IRS and Gas Stations on next years U. Michigan survey)

BTW, I posted a current airline fee chart for those who want to see a comparison side-by-side.

Omen from Australia? Road Warriors There Ditching Business Class

May 29, 2008 | Posted in: Uncategorized | 0 comments

A question from an online Australian publication called “The Age”:

Is business class a thing of the past?

Well, in their neck of the woods, the answer seems to be “yes”.

According to a survey taken in the Australian state of Victoria, only about 10% of business travelers are still flying business class! And 47% of those business travelers looked for the cheapest airfare available.

But, interestingly enough, the road warriors and companies surveyed also said that business travel is still a necessary expense. They just don’t want to pay more for it than they have to.

Will we be seeing the demise of business class in the U.S. anytime soon? More crowding in “cattle” class? Your comments, please!

DOT’S Peters in Iraq to Certify Air Traffic Controllers

May 29, 2008 | Posted in: News | 0 comments

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters did a little traveling this week (presumably on government aircraft so she didn’t have to worry about any of those new checked-bag fees).

She wound up in Baghdad to present certifications to 3 Iraqi nationals, who became the first tower-certified air traffic controllers “after completing months of rigorous instruction based on international aviation safety standards”.

Another 22 controllers are expected to receive certification soon.

And just so you know, Iraqi Airways and Royal Jordanian fly in and out of Baghdad with regular scheduled service, as do cargo carriers DHL and Federal Express (through its regional affiliate Falcon Aviation).

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