September 2009

“We are all too familiar with the sometimes draconian policies and less-than-stellar customer service,” Clay Hawley’s e-mail began. “This story is the opposite of that.”

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One of the more interesting airline soap operas playing in Europe over the past three years has been the Ryanair romance of Aer Lingus. Two years ago, Ryanair offered the Irish national carrier almost €1.5 billion. Last April, the low-cost carrier proposed again with a €748 million offer. None of these entreaties were accepted.

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Ut.) was reportedly in an altercation with TSA personnel at Salt Lake City airport when clearing security for a trip back to Washington DC. Chaffetz, who was one of the sponsors of the anti-whole-body-scanner amendment to the TSA Authorizaton Act earlier this year, feels that he was singled out because of his anti-TSA stances.

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Last week Southwest Airlines brought out its big guns to keep load factors healthy. They announced double credits for all flights between now and October 31. While other airlines have been involved in significant cutbacks to service, Southwest has been deploying its fleet and fine-tuning its schedule keeping their overall number of flights relatively constant.

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If I were a bettin’ man, I’d put some money on a big airline filing for bankruptcy protection in the not-too-distant future.

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A Singapore Airlines A380 from Paris to Singapore had to turn back mid-flight because of an engine failure.

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In 1991, Robert Annenberg paid $150 for life membership in Senior HHonors Gold VIP program. Last year, Hilton terminated his membership without warning. Is Annenberg’s elite status gone?

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Most major airlines have figured out the cash cow of selling some of their better seat assignments. Now British Airways is going them one better, by in most cases charging for all pre-assigned seating

As usual, this change is being announced as “giving you more control.” For the general public, British Airways has only pre-assigned seats for full fare tickets. All passengers travelling on discounted tickets, even discounted business class tickets, must wait until 24 hours in advance. And that option has been only available to passengers who check in online.

Starting October 7, 2009, any passenger can get a pre-assigned seat at any time, up until the online check-on opens. If they pay for it. The cost for a transatlantic flight in economy (World Traveller) or premiim economy (World Travel USD $30 each way. Passengers on discounted business class tickets will pay $90.

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After reading this article about unruly fliers, I wondered how many air travelers had seen other passengers misbehaving. I’m not referring to parents who allow their children to run up and down the aisles. Or people who cram so much in overhead bins that if they open mid-flight, your life may be at stake. Annoying […]

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Hotel occupancy and pricing are both still falling in spite of the billions of stimulus dollars that have been promised to the economy. August occupancy rates are at 60.7 percent and the revenue per available room are dropping more than the annual average. The scene is not good.

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