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Airline Traffic Drop Slowed in June

July 31, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News | 0 comments

Last week, many of the airlines held conference calls to discuss their Q2 financials. During the calls, several themes seemed to repeat over and over. There was a sense (by many, but not all) that the industry had “reached the bottom” and “evened out.” The following quote from the Continental call summed up what many airline executives had to say, “(there are) indicators that decline in revenue has stabilized.”

Despite the signs of stabilization and “bottoming out,” no one was eager to predict how long of a recovery period was in store.

Recent numbers from the IATA support some of what was said in the meetings:

“The plunge in global airline travel eased in June as traffic declined 7.2 percent from a year earlier, the International Air Transport Association said. The fall was less severe than the 9.3 percent drop in May, which IATA said might be a “floor” to the traffic slump caused by the recession.” (from Bloomberg)

Keep Reading… Airline Traffic Drop Slowed in June

Southwest to Make Bid for Frontier

July 30, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Southwest | 0 comments

Southwest Airlines made an announcement today that it will make a bid for Frontier Airlines, setting up a bit of a duel with Republic Airlines:

“Denver-based Frontier filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2008, after Southwest moved into the Colorado market, and last month received a $108.8 million offer from Republic, which is in the midst of a buying spree in the industry.” (from CNN Money)

Despite the offer from Republic, Southwest is confident that it will be successful. If you’ve been following their latest Twitter updates you may have caught messages such as these: “Goal is to integrate F9′s operations into SWA’s in a reasonable amount of time.” and “We have the resources to be successful in the bid. Southwest Airlines bid will be superior in every respect.”

It’s reported that Southwest’s bid will be at least $113.6 million, so perhaps their confidence is warranted. We’ll keep an eye on the situation, and let you know what happens.

Continental Joining the “Little Guys” with Satellite TV

July 30, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick | 7 comments

Continental has been installing DirecTV on 18 of its planes – and in the next couple of years, expects to offer it on more than 200 of its jets.

Obviously, they hope it will set them apart from other legacy carriers – and maybe position them as a “must fly” airline. Right now, fliers on JetBlue, Virgin America and Frontier already enjoy live TV.

And, enjoy they do – one of my employees says she always tries to fly the “little guys” with the TV screens, because it makes time pass more quickly (she also confessed, she doesn’t always put her headphones on – just gapes mindlessly at the pictures).

Would TV push you in the direction of Continental? Now what if you had to pay for it – Continental charges economy customers $6 for the service – while JetBlue and VA are free. Thoughts?

Lost Pilot Creates Spine-Chilling Moments at JFK

July 30, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Pilots,Travel Tips | 0 comments

Imagine you’re the pilot of a 747 – coming in for a landing at JFK – and suddenly a little single-engine plane appears right in front of you!

Fortunately, the pilot of that Taiwanese jumbo jet was able to abort the landing, avoiding disaster, but – it was close.

The culprit was a 69-year old retired Navy pilot who was looking for Republic Airport on Long Island last weekend, when he apparently got lost. He was eventually escorted to Republic – by a police helicopter!

Meantime, air traffic controllers were clearly upset. One radioed, “I don’t know what he’s doing – he’s going everywhere.”

By the way, the pilot was flying an “experimental” plane that he built himself. I recommend the next time he’s in a “do-it-yourself” mood — he add GPS.

One Airline Now Lets You Smoke on Their Planes. Well, Sort of.

July 29, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News,Ask Rick | 0 comments

Ryanair, the low cost carrier that may bring you pay-toilets and standing room-only flights, is once again leading the way with – “smokeless” cigarettes.

Yes, Ryanair now allows passengers to suck away on “smokeless” cigarettes that contain no tobacco and no smoke, but they do have nicotine in them and a water vapor that mimics the look of smoke.

Naturally, Ryanair employees are selling these things on their planes. A young friend of mine witnessed the sales pitch but saw no takers. Maybe it was the price: Ryanair sells a pack of ten smokeless cigarettes for 6 Euros – the equivalent of a regular pack for about $17.

Of course, that’s the point -it’s just another way for Ryanair to make a buck.

Have a SAFE Vacation with My Travel Tips, seen on ABCNews

July 29, 2009 | Posted in: ABC Column,List,Tips and Tricks,Travel Safety | 0 comments

I devoted my latest weekly column on ABCNews.com to safety tips while traveling.

Here’s an abbreviated rundown of my “safe vacation tips” – and see my column for the complete list and more details:

  • 1. Select a go-to person: this is a trusted friend or relative, back home, who is always reachable and has copies of all your important papers (you should, too) like passport and credit card numbers, as well as contact info for reporting lost cards. If you’re traveling on foreign soil, be sure they have addresses for U.S. embassies (find those at the State Dept. website).

Keep reading for the rest of the tips!

Have a SAFE Vacation with My Travel Tips, seen on ABCNews

Aerflot Attempts to Overcome “Aerflop” Image with Sex Appeal

July 28, 2009 | Posted in: Ask Rick,Flight Attendants | 5 comments

According to a story in the Moscow Times, Aeroflot – the Russian airline long known for angry flight attendants and customer service difficulties – is changing its image.

One thing they’re doing: hiring “eye-catching girls” who will have to comply with weight and height regulations. Sounds like a return to yesteryear.

The airline also consulted a sociologist – who apparently dabbles in fashion. Aeroflot’s new CEO said, the “sociologist told us that, unfortunately, the color of our old uniforms was a repulsive color, that it made passengers nervous”. New uniforms are on the way – in non-repulsive red, beige and navy (and if anyone can tell me what the old uniforms looked like, please do).

Keep reading, there’s more…

Aerflot Attempts to Overcome “Aerflop” Image with Sex Appeal

VIDEO: Frontier’s “Talking Animals” Ad is a Big Hit

July 28, 2009 | Posted in: Airline News | 0 comments

I am informed by the ever-vigilant Dallas Morning News that a Frontier Airlines ad has won a regional Emmy award – and you can see why below.

Sure, the airline industry has long been a troubled one – but they’ve also generally had terrific TV commercials. Name your favorites.

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