International Low Cost Carrier News…Plus Southwest

Coincidentally, there are a bunch of stories today about low cost carriers around the world.

Malaysian low fare juggernaut Air Asia has announced that it will pay $69 million to set up a joint venture in neighboring Singapore. Singapore, once dominated by Singapore Airlines, will see 3 new budget carriers entering the market this year.

Similarly, the Air Asia-backed Thai AirAsia has introduced $2.50 fares from Bangkok to Chang Mai, setting off a fare war in that country with its other budget carrier One Two Go. The funniest part of this story is that Thai AirAsia’s inaugural flight, packed with dignitaries and press, had to make an emergency landing. No one was hurt.

Easyjet is expanding into Eastern Europe, introducing round trip flights for about $50 from London to Budapest and Ljubljana (in Slovenia). At the same time, the New York Times today has an article about Wizz Air (which I mentioned a week or two ago) entering the low cost market in Poland.

And in an announcement that US Airways execs had been dreading, Southwest announced their fares out of Philadelphia, tapped off with $29 one-way fares to Providence. US Airways charges nearly 5 1/2 times that amount. Yikes. US Airways will be gone from Philly within 18 months, just as they pulled out of Baltimore as Southwest grew its presence there.

Four nuns were kept off an American Airlines flight because they were considered, along with 2 others, a security risk. So in the span of a week, American has had a captain ask all the Christians on a flight to identify themselves, while keeping 4 nuns from boarding a flight.

And finally…I noticed that on Alaska Airlines’ fare rules it notes that for non-refundable tickets, the “TICKET IS NON-REFUNDABLE. WAIVED FOR DEATH OF PASSENGER.” If you die, you get your money back.

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