Monthly Archives: January 2008

Saturday Night Stays Are Back (In Some Cases)

Ah the good old days. Remember back in 2005 when Delta introduced SimpliFares and they were going to cap fares at $599 each way and end Saturday night stays? Those days are looooooong gone.

This article notes that a number of airlines (including Continental, American, United and Northwest) have re-introduced Saturday night stays in a handful of markets (ie, where they have no low fare carrier competition), and they’re happy with the results. Continental has also imposed 3-day advanced purchase rules where once there was no advanced purchase requirement. The airline has noted no falloff in demand, so look for these rules to grow to more markets.

Speaking of which (sort of) — A friend was recently flying between New York and Cincinnati and tickets were a very reasonable $1600 round trip (about the same cost as a business class ticket to London on SilverJet). So to combat this ridiculousness, I set him up with 2 one-way hidden city tickets which lowered the cost to about $600. Great. Except they canceled the flight home and I was terrified that instead of routing him to New York, they would route him to the final destination on the ticket, rather than to the stopover city. In the end, they did not. But I bring this up mostly as something to keep in mind should you buy a hidden city ticket — have a backup plan if your flight is canceled.

(if you’re wondering what “hidden city” means, it’s this: Let’s say a ticket from New York to Detroit was $1200, but a ticket from New York to Minneapolis with a stop in Detroit was $200, Detroit is the so-called “hidden city,” because that’s where you’re going to get off the plane. Should you try this, remember not to check any bags and to NOT give your frequent flyer number, as airlines can, theoretically, retaliate against you if they find out you did this.)

(Quick follow up: Long time Reader Doug asked what I meant by “retaliate.” If an airline figures out that you’ve done a hidden city ticket — which goes against the contract of carriage — they are not above closing down your frequent flyer account and taking away your accumulated miles. If you’re going to do this, DO NOT give your frequent flyer number.)

JetBlue Introduces Refundable Fares

I forgot to mention this 2 days ago:  JetBlue has rolled out fully refundable fares (previously, their fares required a change fee, albeit a small one).  New York to Florida is about $399 each way, while transcons are about $549.  In many cases that is more than double the lowest available fare, so you may be better off buying the cheap ticket and changing it if you only anticipate changing the ticket once.  Even so, this change will certainly appeal to business travelers looking for some flexibility (and free TV).

Continental to Install Live TV…Eventually

Good news for Continental fans: the airline will install JetBlue’s LiveTV on nearly of all its fleet beginning in early 2009 (the whole process will take about 18 months). Wi-Fi will also be available (for free) so you can use your blackberry in the sky.

First class passengers will get the television for free, while coach passengers will pay $6 (a fee I’ll gladly pay not to have to watch Two and a Half Men, which is what I generally have to watch on Continental.)

Yet Another Problem with a Ryanair Ad

Just a day after annoying the president of France with an ad poking a bit of fun at him, Ryanair has had another advertising problem:  the British Advertising Standards Agency (ASA)  said that an ad showing a schoolgirl with the tagline promising the “hottest back to school fares” was “irresponsible and offensive.”

In  response, a Ryanair spokesperson said, “We will not be withdrawing this ad and we will not provide the ASA — Absurd Silly Asses — with any of the undertakings they seek.”  There ya go.

French President Threatens to Sue Ryanair Over Advertisement

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has threatened to sue Ryanair over an advertisement that shows him with First Girlfriend Carla Bruni and the caption, “With Ryanair, all my family can come to my wedding.”  Several other European politicians have had their photos used without permission by Ryanair, but only a former Swedish Prime Minister has actually sued the airline.

Air Canada Flight Diverted After Co-Pilot Suffers Nervous Breakdown

An Air Canada flight from Toronto to London was diverted to Shannon, Ireland, after the co-pilot appeared to suffer a nervous breakdown during the flight.  According to reports, he began “acting in a peculiar manner and was talking loudly to himself” (which is normal on a subway, but not so normal in a cockpit).  The captain notified authorities at the airport that a crew member was ill, but passengers had to wait for a replacement crew before continuing the flight.

Naked Flight for Naked Passengers

For some reason a German travel agency is going to offer flights to a nudist resort where passengers do not have to wear clothing (in case you were wondering, crew have to wear clothing for safety reasons.  I’m not sure what those reasons are.)  Flights start July 5.

German Tourist Lands in Sidney, Montana, not Sydney, Australia

For the second time in as many years, a German traveler headed to Sydney, Australia, mistakenly bought a ticket to Sidney, Montana, and landed in the small outpost before realizing what was going on. How someone could end up on a prop plane from Seattle and think that they’ll continue flying 7,000 miles is a little nutty to me, but there ya go.

10 Injured on United Flight to Chicago

We’ve seen a couple of stories recently about turbulence causing injuries, but I’m including yet another:  10 passengers were hurt when a United Airlines flight from LA to Chicago hit severe turbulence over the Rockies.  If I’ve written it once, I’ve written it, uh, 4 times or so — the only real danger you face on an airplane is hitting turbulence while you’re not wearing a seatbelt.  Buckle up.

737 Hits Calf in Indonesia

A Merpati Nusantara Airlines 737 landing on the Indonesian island of Papua hit a calf on the runway at Merauke Airport over the weekend.  The airport wasn’t fully fenced in from the nearby village from which the calf escaped.  One of the plane’s engines was damaged, but no people were injured.  The report also says that it’s not clear whether the calf was injured, but I’m guessing he ended up delicious.