Monthly Archives: April 2005

Goodbye to Verizon JetConnect

A little story as background:  A couple of years ago when Verizon launched JetConnect, their inflight email and instant messenger service, I was still with Jupiter Research and I wrote a note to our clients saying, in a slightly snarky way, that I thought consumers will stay the hell away from this because, after all, shouldn’t people have some peace and quiet when they’re traveling on business?  Do they really need to send email during a 2 hour flight? 

Well, it turns out I was half correct.  JetConnect is going away, but not because people don’t want to send email in-flight.  As anyone who has flown has noticed, people will Blackberry happily for 4 hours…they just didn’t want to pay a rather reasonable $5.95 for a slow e-mail connection.  Verizon will now focus on putting wi-fi in planes.  Nice.

World Airways Buys North American Airlines

Here’s an airline merger you likely won’t care about:  World Air Holdings (parent of World Airways) purchased North American Airlines for $35 million.  If neither of those names ring a bell, World Airways provides military charter services (for the most part), so you typically see their planes dropping off troops in the Middle East.  North American Airways does similar work, but also offers scheduled service to, of all places, Guyana from JFK.  And, as a little followup to my note yesterday about entertainment options on full service airlines, even tiny North American Airlines offers the handheld DigiPlayer on flights to Oakland. 

Independence Air to Offer Digi-Player

Independence Air announced that it will offer the hand-held Digi-Player entertainment system on its flights to the West Coast.  The small entertainment unit, which offers 10 movies, 10 episodes of television shows and a bunch of music, costs $10 per flight.  Kinda steep, but not a bad option.  The press release all sneaks in there a line about also show the "Independence Air-exclusive comedy shorts starring "The FLYi Guy""  Hm. 

So, a quick re-cap on "full service" airlines vs. "low fare" carriers.  JetBlue, Song, Frontier, WestJet and Independence Air all offer some form of on-demand or live television entertainment at little-to-no cost for travelers on most flights.  Meanwhile, the so-called full service airlines offer no domestic on-demand or live television services (if I’m wrong, please correct me), and most offer no entertainment at all on a large number of their domestic flights.  Explain to me again why I shouldn’t fly JetBlue?

Volare Executives Arrested

You may (or may not) remember an Italian low fare carrier that collapsed last year called Volare.  Well, today there may be a bit more insight as to what happened.  Italian police have arrested several Volare executives, accusing them of diverting cash from Volare’s accounts into a new airline they were starting.  The new airline, MyAir.com, is up and running, apparently on the stolen cash from Volare. 

Drunk Guy Tries to Stop Plane

A drunk man surprised passengers on an EasyJet plane at Nice Airport when he was seen on the tarmac next to the airplane screaming, "Open Up, I want to get on!"  Apparently late for his flight, he skipped security and ran onto the runway, trying to get the plane to stop for him, as if it were a bus.  The best part is that it was actually the wrong aircraft…

787 and A380 News

A couple of pieces of airplane news:

Air India agreed to purchase 50 Boeing aircraft, including 20 787s in a decision that has taken absolutely forever.  The article notes that the 787, which looked quite cool in initial drawings. is no longer quite as cool, with both the nose and tail becoming more traditional.  Info on the change is supposedly available at Boeing’s website, but I can’t find it.

And you’ll have to watch the news to check out video of the A380’s maiden test voyage.  Pretty amazing.

Delta Bankruptcy a Possibility—Again

A financial analyst put out a report yesterday noting that Delta is currently burning through $4 million of cash a day, putting it in a bankruptcy scenario by the end of this year.  If this sounds familiar, that’s because we saw this exact situation last year.  As mentioned in every airline story, fuel costs are killing the airlines, even as they get their other costs in line.

Very Light Jet Service to Launch

A USA Today article looks at a new wave of on-demand light jet services that will be launching soon.  Basically, you’ll be able to go to a website and say that you want to go from here to there at these times, and they’ll let you know if there’s a plane available to take you.  The flight on the four-seat aircraft would cost a bit more than full-fare coach (though i’m guessing that they mean the old, pre-Simplifares, full fare coach).  If this idea is interesting to you, James Fallows wrote a book about it a couple of years ago that’s worth checking out.

A Bit Too Much Information…

I wanted to share a quick story from my flight back from Fort Lauderdale last week:  The woman in front of me was sitting in the window seat next to her husband.  She was a bit agitated and kept standing up and looking around at the other passengers near here.  It was clear she was hoping a different seat would open up.  I was able to piece this together because she said to her husband, in full voice, "I CALLED THE AIRLINE AND TOLD THEM I WAS ON A DIURETIC AND THAT I NEEDED AN AISLE SEAT.  HOW AM I GOING TO BE ABLE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM FROM HERE?"  If that doesn’t sum up a Fort Lauderdale to Newark flight, I don’t know what does.

Ryanair to Ban Staff from Recharging Cell Phones

You think your company is cheap?  Ryanair has banned its staff from recharging cellphones at work in a bid to save electricity.  Yes, you read that correctly.  The linked article has all sorts of information on various reasons why you wouldn’t want to work at Ryanair.