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When Passengers Go Crazy (And What Can We Do About It?)

March 31, 2009 | Posted in: Ask Rick,Delays,Passengers,Security,Travel Safety | 1 comment

A couple of years ago, when I’d rant about air travel – it usually had to do with lack of customer service (which of course, has pretty much long since disappeared).

Now I find myself ranting, from time to time – about passengers.

Not all of them – not even most. Just those “special few” who can make flying such a trial.

I’m thinking of the woman on a recent Southwest flight who started slapping fellow passengers for no apparent reason; the fellow who traveled across the Atlantic on a crowed plane while suffering from an infectious disease; then there was the man who got antsy while waiting as his plane idled on the tarmac, so he got the emergency door open, slid down the slide and scampered across the runway.

We – the well-behaved majority – pay the price (especially when planes are diverted for emergency landings as was the case with the passenger-slapping woman). There are missed appointments or missed connections and other inconveniences. All because of a very few – but sometimes very troublesome – idiots.

Has this happened to you? If so, do we have to start instituting an IQ test for travelers? Or just stop serving alcohol?

If anyone has any suggestions on how to deal with the situation, I’m all ears.

United’s Cheap Airfare Sale Sets Off a Frenzy of Fare Matching!

Good news for anyone who contemplated a summer vacation this year – the airlines are ferociously competing for your business.

It’s almost like – a nationwide airfare war!

Don’t sit on the sidelines – not when United has cross-country deals for as little as $99 one-way. Just go to FareCompare.com – and see who’s matching: AirTran, Alaska, American, Continental, Delta, Frontier, Northwest, Southwest, and US Airways.

And United Airlines, meanwhile – has added cities to its sale! Please know that this United sale ends April 5th – with travel good through the latter part of July.

What are you waiting for??

Much More WiFi Coming to American Airlines Planes

March 31, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News | 2 comments

If you fly American Airlines, you probably already know they’ve been offering WiFi on 15 of their 767′s – but now they’re expanding their service.

Plans are underway to install in-flight internet service on another 300 domestic aircraft (MD-80′s and 737-800′s). This will happen over the next two years.

I know the Road Warrior/Laptop Brigade will appreciate this.

But tell me this — is it enough to make you choose American over other airlines?

Airfare Sales Just Keep Rolling In – North America Style

March 30, 2009 | Posted in: Airfare News,Airline News,United | 0 comments

It has gotten to the point where I just assume Monday night we’ll get another sale – no disappointment this evening as four airlines fire out broad based domestic U.S and Canada airline ticket sales.

United Airlines filed a mega-sale between over 8,000 cities in North America.

At the same time Air Canada and WestJet filed some huge discounts on airline tickets between over 5,000 city pairs. Finally our northern brethren have gotten a serious price break.

Don’t forget Sunday, JetBlue launched a sale that has been aggressively matched throughout the day – I expect some serious matching tomorrow, proving again that in recent times Tuesday at 3pm is the sweet spot to shop for deals (it gives time for all the other airlines to match so that the maximum number of cheap seats are in the market place).

I have also started Tweeting airfare deals info as well (I’ll have a new blog template in a few weeks with complete integration).

Meanwhile, look for these deals and more, on FareCompare.com - as always. And enjoy! It doesn’t get much better than this for air travelers.

Holiday Travel: Cheap Airfare for Popular Memorial Day Destinations

March 30, 2009 | Posted in: Airfare News,Destinations,Holiday Travel | 0 comments

Memorial Day – May 25th this year – used to be an extra-pricy weekend for flying. Not anymore.

There are plenty of low-priced airfares for the holiday – to some of the most popular destinations. So unless your heart is set on a picnic in the backyard, here’s your chance to jump-start your vacation!

I’ve listed some of the great deals I’ve seen just today – and these are on a variety of airlines – with departures on May 23 and returns on the 26th. Check out FareCompare.com for more dates and prices.

Prices below are roundtrip and include all taxes and fees:

  • Chicago to D.C., $205
  • NYC to Orlando, $219
  • LA to Orlando, $229
  • Dallas to Las Vegas, $230

Why Don’t the Airlines Get the Same Kind of Loyalty as Coke or Pepsi?

March 30, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick,Pricing Activity | 7 comments

If you saw my recent post on the possibility of Delta dropping Coke for Pepsi, then you probably noticed that it got a lot of comments.

People, it seems, are pretty darn passionate about their soda pop!

And you have to wonder – why? I know I’ll sound like a heretic here, but face it: Coke and Pepsi look the same, they cost the same and some folks think they taste the same (or pretty close). So what’s the difference? Plenty, say many of you.

Okay, now let’s look at the airlines: these days, there are fewer and fewer differences. For one thing, even the legacy carriers are firing out sales as well as matching the airfares of the low cost discounters. And service isn’t so different, either: most have gone the “bag-fee” route.

The head of US Airways might as well have been speaking for all airlines when he told SmarterTravel that there’s been “very little consumer pushback” to the fees (even though comments on the blog would suggest otherwise), and that includes the beverage fee US Airways introduced – and dropped – because nobody else matched it (and because it was turning the airline into a joke).

It can’t be mere marketing or branding – both Coke and Pepsi have had award winning ad campaigns over the years – but so have the airlines (think of all those gorgeous United ads).

So – what’s left in terms of airline loyalty? Keep reading…

Why Don’t the Airlines Get the Same Kind of Loyalty as Coke or Pepsi?

Even the Queen of England is Watching Her Travel Expenses

March 30, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Europe,Security | 0 comments

Queen Elizabeth has decided to put a new private jet “on hold” for now – at least until the economy improves.

She’ll still travel – but it’ll be aboard charter planes and RAF aircraft.

The point of the private jet was to improve security for the monarch – and her family – and senior government officials who would have access to the plane. But it’ll have to wait for awhile.

What I found most surprising about this story is the size of the private plane in question – it seats just 12 – hardly the ultimate in luxury, at least compared to some of the corporate aircraft used by high flying U.S. CEO’s – until recently, anyway.

Certainly doesn’t allow for much of a royal entourage.

Meet Randy Babbitt, the President’s Pick to Head the FAA

March 30, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,DOT,Travel Safety | 1 comment

Randy Babbitt was an airline pilot for 20 years, who then morphed into a union activist (two terms as head of the Air Line Pilots Association in the 90′s), and lately worked as an aviation consultant.

Now President Obama wants him to head the Federal Aviation Administration – and be responsible for the air traffic control network which coordinates air space for more than 30,000 commercial flights per day.

Both labor and management have praises Babbitt – who’s said he has three major goals in the FAA:

1.) Get moving on modernizing our air-traffic control system; 2.) Fix strained relations with the nation’s controllers; and 3.) Bring “science” to determining work-hour limits for those who fly and control the planes.

He has – as they say – got his work cut out for him.

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