Monthly Archives: May 2006

Maybe Those Airline Loans WERE a Good Idea

The WSJ reports that the Air Transportation Stabilization Board (the government entity set up to give airlines loans after 9/11) was somehow able to turn a $300 million profit on the $1.6 billion in loans it gave out to America West and others.  The board was widely derided (ok, derided by me and a few others) for handing out taxpayer-backed loans to prop up ailing airlines.  But it turns out they did their homework, denying loans to airlines that were not financially fit (United) and making smart investments.  Well done.  Now please, let poorly performing airlines fail.

Bereavement Fares Join Your Dead Relatives

According to a Wall Street Journal article, airline bereavement fares are disappearing as fast as your elderly third cousins.  You used to be able to go to relatives funerals for 50% off of full fares.  Now, US Airways has eliminated these fares altogether.  Continental has reduced the discount to 5% off fares below $499 and 10% off fares above $500.  The other part of this that sucks, is that you’ll now have to pay a change fee if the date of the funeral changes, whereas bereavement fares used to have no change penalty.  Way to go!

90 Minute Flight Takes 48 Hours

If you enjoy reports of flights gone awry, this is a pretty good one.  This article has the details, but in short, a 90 minute trip in the UK took 48 hours, involved five aborted landings, a cancellation, an unscheduled stop at another airport and more than 2,000 miles.  And a tortoise sanctuary. 

Enjoy.

WestJet to Air Canada: Sorry We Spied On You

One of the odder ongoing sagas in Canadian aviation just ended when WestJet admitted that it had been spying on Air Canada and collecting flight operations information illegally.  While Air Canada was in bankruptcy in 2003 and 2004, employees from WestJet accessed an employee-only website for Air Canada, where they discovered financial data about Air Canada’s routes, which WestJet then exploited (oddly enough, much of this data — load factors, for example — can now be gleaned from airline websites by checking available seats on a given flight).  WestJet had previously denied any wrongdoing, but has now changed their story and admitted to using the unauthorized website.

OTR Offices Are Closed

With the holiday weekend here in the US, the OTR offices are closed Friday through Monday (we have a very generous vacation policy).  Have a great weekend, and we’ll be back on Tuesday.

$679 for a 4 Night Package to Montevideo, Uruguay

Go-Today has a fantastic deal on a package from New York, Miami or Los Angeles to Montevideo, Uruguay.  Travel between August 15 and October 31 and you’ll get a flight and 4 nights hotel for just $679.  That’s cheaper than air alone by almost $200.  Book by June 15th.

How Does a Regional Jet Get to Hawaii?

With the news that Mesa’s new airline called Go! will be flying regional jets between Hawaiian islands, I was kinda wondering how you get a regional jet to Hawaii since it’s too far to fly nonstop from the mainland under normal circumstances.  If you were wondering the same thing (and I’m sure you weren’t), here’s the answer (thanks to the folks at Airliners.net):  you take out all the seats and you fill the cabin with fuel tanks.  You can see what that looks like here and here.

Woman’s Death on Plane Goes Unnoticed

A passenger on a Delta flight from Fort Lauderdale to Salt Lake City died during the flight, but no one noticed until she did not get off the plane.  Flight attendants did not notice the woman until everyone had left plane except her.  Which she did not do because she was dead.  In case you’re wondering, this is not how I want to go.

Ryanair CEO to Drop Pants

Michael O’Leary, Ryanair’s CEO, said he would walk naked through Warsaw if Polish carrier LOT removes the fuel surcharge from their flights.  We can only hope they do not.

United Airlines to Fly Nonstop to Kuwait

United Airlines is introducing 3-times-a-week nonstop service from Washington (Dulles) to Kuwait City beginning in October.  This is significant because it’s the only nonstop service between the US and Kuwait City (Kuwait Airlines flies to the US, but through a stop in London), and because they’re banking on cargo and mail traffic to make it profitable.  While the latter often helps with profitability, I thought it was interesting that United was talking it up in a press release.  US airlines have made a massive push internationally and they’re getting smarter about cherry-picking routes with little-to-no competition (such as Delta’s US-to-Kiev flight).