Monthly Archives: June 2006

All Smoking Airline?

A German businessman says that he’s planning to launch an all-smoking airline called SMINTair (Smokers International Airways), serving Dusseldorf and Tokyo with a leased 747.  He says that Japanese businessmen aren’t served well by airlines that forbid smoking (ie, every airline).  I seem to remember Morton Downey, Jr. threatening to launch an all-smoking airline in the late 80s or early 90s.  Whatever.  This will never fly…

(Thanks to reader Gloomy Joe for the head’s up)…

Northwest to Retire Its Last DC-10s

In a sad day for old airplane lovers, Northwest will retire its last 12 DC-10s by January, 2007.  The DC-10s joined the fleet starting in 1972, and if you’ve flown one of these bad boys recently that will not come as a surprise to you.  In an age where some airlines offer hundreds of programs on demand, and live TV in coach, the DC-10s were still projecting one movie on a wall 15 rows ahead of you.  I last flew one on Northwest from Paris in 2002, and while it had seen better days, it reminded me of when I got to fly as a kid.  On the plus side, they’re being replaced with A330s and 747s, which have much better in-flight entertainment.

British Airways Workers in Brothel?

Six British Airways cabin crew are facing firing after they refused to work a flight becuase they were too tired after a sleepless night.  Why were they so tired?  Because they slept in a brothel near JFK.  How did that happen?  The airline put them up at the Diplomat Motor Inn, which is apparently rented by the hour on some occasions.  The staff said they were up all night as prostitutes and pimps (their words, not mine) were using all of the rooms in the hotel, including on several occasions trying to get into the room they were staying in.

But the best part of this is that the headline in the Daily Mail was "British Airways Staff Face Sack After Night in NY Brothel."  The prostitutes also faced sack all night, but that’s kinda different.

8 Day Tour of India for $1099, Including Air

Friendly Planet has a great deal on a quick trip to India in September:  For $1099, you’ll get a flight from New York, 6 nights hotel in India (Delhi, Agra, Jaipur), daily breakfast, and transfers between cities.  This price is cheaper than booking a ticket on your own to India (well, it’s pretty close).  For an additional $600, you can get a 5 night extension to Nepal, including air and hotel. 

Aloha Airlines Retro Livery

For all of the livery nerds out there, Aloha Airlines has repainted one of their 737s in the color scheme it used in the 1960s — quite cool.  Pics are here. 

Rush Limbaugh Detained at PBI Because of Viagra

Rush Limbaugh was briefly detained at West Palm Beach airport after customs agents found a bottle of Viagra in his luggage that was not prescribed to him (it was prescribed in the name of his doctor).  You can insert your own joke here.  I’m going with: he was trying to grow his conservative base.

There’s no word whether this would affect Limbaugh’s agreement with prosecutors that helped him avoid likely jail time for prescription shopping.  In case you were wondering, he was returning from the Dominican Republic on a private jet.

Goodbye to Airfone Service

You will likely not care at all that Verizon’s Airfone service will disappear from all airplanes by the end of the year.  The wildly expensive product never really caught on, as people didn’t want to pay 69 cents a minute for a terrible connection.  Verizon tried to expand its product to include instant messenger and email (they called it Jet Connect), but even at reduced rates, it was a product without a market.

Back in my analyst days, I got in trouble with Verizon when I wrote that people shouldn’t use Jet Connect because business travelers deserve a break from the office when they’re on a plane.  I then found out that Verizon was a client and they were rather pissed off.  Oops.

Meanwhile, when I was looking for the article where I pooh-poohed the product, I found this article from June 2004 where I predicted that JetBlue would be the first US airline to offer in-flight Wi-Fi.  Indeed, JetBlue just won a license to offer in-flight broadband.  I wasn’t right all that often as an analyst, but sometimes I feel vindicated.  Even if it’s 2 years later.

Girl Fight Diverts JetBlue Flight

A red-eye JetBlue flight from Newark to San Juan was diverted on Saturday after a woman got into a fight with two other passengers immediately after takeoff.  No word on what the women were fighting about (unfortunately), but the plane was diverted to JFK where, as you’d assume, the offending passengers were removed.

AirTran Gives $100 Apology

AirTran had a massive computer problem last Tuesday that caused huge delays for nearly all of its passengers at Atlanta’s airport.  In a move that deserves lots of publicity, they are mailing $100 vouchers to the 15,000 passengers who were affected by the problems with their computer reservation system.  If you think about all of the times an airline has caused a delay and then given a half-assed apology, this is pretty impressive.  Something to remember the next time you’re deciding between AirTran and Delta…

Airlines Investigated for Price Fixing

British and US authorities have launched an investigation into possible price fixing for flights across the Atlantic.  British Airways seems to be the main target of the probe, but American Airlines has received a subpoena, while United and Virgin both said they’re cooperating with authorities.  These 4 airlines all fly from the US into London Heathrow.  The investigation is looking into whether airlines colluded on fuel surcharges, which have now reached GBP35 ($65).  If you’ve ever wondered how it happened that airlines were charging the exact same amount for fuel surcharges at the exact same time, this may help answer that question.