Is there anything Michael O’Leary won’t do for publicity? He’s gone on record claiming that seatbelt rules for aircraft are pointless. Apparently, he’s never heard of something called turbulence, or thinks it doesn’t apply to him…This is surprising. Back in September of this year, for example, turbulence hit a Ryanair flight from Dusseldorf to Palma Majorca, injuring two crew members and a passenger. Or maybe he missed April, when a Ryanair plane plunged 20,000 feet in an emergency descent caused by a sudden loss of cabin pressure on a flight from Bergamo to East Midlands. He insists they are not necessary because a seatbelt will not save you in the event of a crash. But a crash is not the only danger in the air. And a seatbelt may not save you in all cases, but you are certainly better off with one than not. And why would he remove seatbelts? To remove the back ten rows and add standing room only cabins for budget travelers. Air travelers can just hang on to the handle, like a subway. O’Leary is likely right, if you tell people that for it is two dollars for a flight, forty dollars extra for a seat, [...]
Back in July of 2011, we made the Case against Codesharing. But lately, we’ve seen a few articles that have made us revisit the issue. Codesharing is where the airline that operates a flight(operating carrier), allows a second airline(marketing carrier) to place its flight number on the flight, and sell it as if it was their own. This is not to be confused with a traditional interline agreement, which covers ticketing and baggage, and the filing of combined fares. This allows airlines to work together more efficiently. But in interline, all carriers act as themselves. When you add in codesharing, it is harder to figure out whose check-in counter and plane you are actually flying on. This is despite legal requirements the operating carrier must be identified on all itineraries. There is no benefit to the customer of this sort of relationship. It only makes things more confusing. Over the last few years, JetBlue has become well known for partnering with international carriers, allowing both interline agreements and one-way codeshares. JetBlue doesn’t really put its flight number on other airlines. This is because, for its business model, it doesn’t need to. Since we wrote about this in 2011, the DOT has [...]
American Airlines is coming under fire today, and it isn’t just because they allegedlydiscriminated against Glenn Beck. This is for their actions involving a sixteen year old with Down Syndrome and his family. The teenager was booked with his parents in first class from Newark to Los Angeles on Sunday. American Airlines commented that the teen was excitable and running around, and the pilot unsuccessfully tried to calm him down before telling the family he posed a risk to passenger safety. The boy’s parents insist the pilot did not come near their son, or interact with him in any way. In fact, they insist they never entered the jetway, and have flown several times with their son without incident, although this was their first first class trip. It is their belief that American didn’t want him to fly in first class because of his disability, and plan to sue the airline for discrimination. There is some video, showing the teenager playing quietly with his hat, and an American Airlines representative ordering the video off, but nothing that proves either side. However, we have to agree with the parents, who point out that their son is no different than a 4 [...]
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In December 2010, United announcedit was leaving Apollo, the reservations system it had used for decades, to switch to HP’s Shares, which Continental used. United actually created the Apollo Reservations system in 1971. The airline evaluated Apollo, SHARES and “several other options” and chose HP SHARES as the “best customer and employee alternative and because its ability to handle a migration in a reasonable amount of time.” United is now SHARES largest customer. The first weekend in March, United cutover to SHARES. The initial transition created problems with long hold times and other issues as people called to try to fix issues, but passengers complained about long waits to talk to agents and associated issues. From most reports, United, five months after the switch, has yet to resolve the issues. As friend of the blog, Cranky Flier commented, United’s operation is a mess and is not improving. Today, United’s system went down for 2 hours, cancelling and delaying flights. United actually had to ask the FAA to issue a ground stop to prevent its flights from taking off to its hubs. This proves that United, despite complaints, is not solving these problems. Hopefully, they will solve this problem soon, before they have no customers [...]
JetBlue Flight Attendant Roberto Rodriguez is suing JetBlue, claiming he was unfairly dismissed from his job. According to Rodriguez, he and a fellow flight attendant he’d shared a room with arrived late at the airport for a flight due to his hotel not providing the requested wakeup call. Arriving barely in time for the flight, the flight attendant and his roommate were removed from the flight and asked to take a breathalyzer test. Rodriguez suffers from epilepsy, and has to take regularly timed medication. He insists local JetBlue staff denied him access to his medication as they awaited testing for more than two hours, until they finally permitted him to take it just before he was to be tested. But, shortly afterward, he slipped into an epileptic seizure and was taken to the hospital. After he was released, his manager sought to have him sign a report, claiming he failed a preliminary breathalyzer test and refused a followup. He insists he has no recollection of taking a test, that JetBlue refused to show evidence of said test, and that he could not have refused a followup as he was having a seizure at the time and was in no condition [...]
In June of 2009, we reported on how Continental Airlines had lost a young girl who was travelling under its unaccompanied minor program. Another similar situation has arisen with United Airlines, which merged with Continental, to the point that there is a petition on change.org, asking United to either redesign or discontinue its Unaccompanied Minors program. At the end of June, United was flying a ten year old girl from San Francisco to Traverse City, Michigan via Chicago for a summer camp program. Her parents received a call from the camp that the girl was not on the flight and the United representative in Traverse City had no explanation. So, after a twenty minute hold with United, a representative initially insisted that the parents were mistaken, and the girl had arrived. This prompted another ten minute hold where it was discovered she had somehow missed the connection. When asked to confirm where their daughter was, and being told that wasn’t possible, it prompted another forty minute hold. The two parents split up, and the other called the United Premier line, and found out that the unaccompanied minor service in Chicago had apparently forgotten to show up. They had also forgotten [...]
Frontier has announced it will be launching service from Trenton, New Jersey to Orlando International Airport in Florida. The service will be twice weekly, on Monday and Friday, and operated using A319 aircraft. Service will begin November 16th. Trenton-Mercer Airport is a bit of an odd place for Frontier to be trying to fly. They are not big in the Northeast, but have been growing in Orlando. They are a better known brand in the west, especially having dismantled their presence in the midwest, formerly routes operated by Midwest Airlines, but even there they are having trouble. By comparison, in the last thirty years, many airlines have tried and failed to make things work at the airport. Currently, Streamline Airways is the sole carrier serving the airport. They began in April after a three year period with no commercial service, and the only route they operate is Trenton to Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts(12 miles outside of Boston). The route is served with thirty-seat Embraer 120 turboprops operated by Charter Air Transport Inc, their parent company, as public charters. They cater mostly to business travelers. Frontier would be targeting leisure travelers in this market, a technique that has worked well [...]
The post Frontier Launches Flights from Trenton to Orlando – Why? appeared first on Flight Wisdom.
It is always sad when we lose another airline.
Delta will shut down its subsidiary Comair as of September 30th. The writing has been on the wall for a long while. Comair primarily operates 50-seat regional jets, an aircraft type that many carriers are scaling down.
Comair was founded in 1977. It became a Delta Connection carrier in 1984, and Delta acquired full ownership in 1999.
Part of the reason for the loss of Comair is the decreasing popularity of the smaller regional jets, which have the reputation for being cramped and uncomfortable. We have to say we prefer the slightly larger 70 seaters for comfort, but not every market can support these aircraft.
Comair was the first regional carrier to start using the Canadair Regional Jet, and was at one point the largest regional jet operator in the world. Once fuel prices began to rise, airlines started reducing their dependence on these aircraft.
So, what is the future for short routes? There has not been a resurgence in the demand for 40-70 seater turboprops in the United States. Despite the fact these aircraft are cheaper and more fuel efficient than regional jets, if slower, airlines aren’t buying. So, the future is less service in some markets.
- Delta’s New Pilot Contract Kicks Off the Great Regional Feeding Frenzy of 2012 (crankyflier.com)
- I-Team: Comair shutting down? (wcpo.com)
- Delta to Shrink Its Fleet of Small Jets, Significantly Improve Customer Experience with New Pilot Agreement (crankyflier.com)
- RAA 2012: Regional airlines poised for massive fleet renewal (flightglobal.com)
- Pssst-Wanna Buy A Regional Jet Cheap? (aviationqueen.wordpress.com)
- Brazil’s Embraer jets are sized right for U.S. market (travel.usatoday.com)
- Delta partner to fly nonstop between Love Field and Atlanta (aviationblog.dallasnews.com)
Maintenance problems ground airplanes all the time. To be realistic, what is the alternative? Would any passenger rather fly on an unsafe plane? But it took that many days for replacement parts to arrive, which is shocking in this modern global economy.
What about flying in an extra plane? For an airline like United, they have many aircraft, but they are usually all scheduled in use or in maintenance checks, as is the case with most airlines. If it isn’t flying, it is losing money. For an airline to add an extra section on a domestic route is more logistically possible than positioning a plane for a 13 hour flight.
What about renting a plane? That is an option many airlines do not try, but realistically, it is not as if one can go down to the local Wright Brothers Rent a Plane and secure a 200+ seat aircraft that has the range to operate Shanghai to Newark.
What about rebooking on another airline/flight? That may work for 25-50 people, but with capacity down and load up, finding empty seats for that many people is difficult.
That isn’t a defense of United Airlines. More an explanation of how complicated airline logistics is. Even if you cancel the next flight and use that plane to bring the stranded passengers home, what is better: 200 people 3 days late, or 600 people, 1 day late?
Back in Shanghai, United opted for the former, prompting passengers to stage a revolt and a blockade, trying to prevent the next flight from boarding. They relented when they were promised their plane had been fixed and was ready to go. However, by the time the revolt was sorted out, the crew had exceeded their hours, and the flight had to be delayed once more.
Five years ago, in July of 2007, a Continental(now United) Airlines plane en route to Newark from Caracas was diverted to Baltimore. The passengers organized and staged a protest till they were allowed to deplane. Events like these encouraged the DOT to create tarmac delay rules.
In a story we reported on five years ago, China’s aviation authority asked fliers to stop complaining about air travel there, after Chinese passengers had apparently been fighting back by refusing to leave aircraft until compensation is paid for late flights, storming runways in protest, and breaking down locked doors when herded into lounges after unannounced diversions. Bad airline service is what they revolt about, as opposed to all of the other problems China has.
In the United States, a country known for emphasizing individual freedom, we just take it. What was United’s response? ”The situation clearly didn’t go as smoothly as we would like. We did not meet these customers’ expectations. We hope they will give us another chance.” To ensure that, along with their refund, they received a $1000 travel voucher on United, because there is nothing passengers who nearly revolted over their last airline experience want to do more than try again.
What do you think United should have done? Difficult logistic situation, major mess? Leave your comments.
- United fliers stage ‘mini-revolt’ on China delay(travel.usatoday.com)
- Stranded in Shanghai: Passengers endure 3-day ordeal trying to fly from China to Newark(nj.com)
- United passengers stranded 3 days in Shanghai(miamiherald.com)
The post Long Stranded Passengers Revolt – Is United at Fault? appeared first on Flight Wisdom.
In the airline industry, the passenger name record(PNR), is a single record in a computer reservation system that contains a single reservation for one or more passengers.
The problem is that PNRs have no memory. They represent one trip. They do not represent the passenger’s relationship with the airline. For that, in the 80s, airlines initially created frequent flier programs.
Frequent flier programs are loyalty programs that reward travelers for the volume of travel they complete. However, the value of the programs as a loyalty program have eroded by the ability to accumulate status without flying a single mile, through credit card programs and other partnerships. The programs, which were designed to recognize and encourage customer loyalty, seem to have become moneymakers, rather than customer service and retention tools.
The airline industry is not the first to struggle with the issue of wanting to know more about its customers. Most industries spend a large amount on marketing with the goal of attracting customers, however, comparatively little on customer service, which would allow them to retain customers.
British Airways is rolling out a new program, called “Know Me” to provide greater individual service to its customers. Staff using the system, which will be iPad based, will have access to all the passenger data the airline has. They will even add Google Image Search to try and include a photo of the customer, so they can be identified. The airline wants to use the system to personally recognize 4,500 customers per day by the end of the year.
The creepiness factor of a companies creating dossiers on each of their customers aside…bear in mind that many companies already do this. Much of the airline industry, focusing on the reservation as the single unit of customer interaction, and relying on either legacy systems that date back decades, or systems that are successors to same, is behind the rest of the sales world in trying to be aware of who their customers are…at least in the context of their relationship with the airline.
Eliminating the data mining possibilities, which we know are a big business consideration nowadays…selling people based on your analysis of previous behavior, what about the customer service possibilities? What if the airline notices you failed to get your vegetarian meal on the last flight, and makes an extra special effort to ensure it is delivered as promised this time?
Your relationship with the airline should not reset with each new reservation. Some airlines have made some progress with this, but most still approach things from the PNR perspective, as opposed to the customer perspective. Maybe it is time for a change?
Moving from the PNR to the Customer Record originally appeared on Flight Wisdom – Life Has No Complimentary Baggage Allowance. All Rights Reserved.