Monthly Archives: May 2008

Silverjet Shuts Down

I was off by a couple of days…Silverjet shut down operations today blaming the usual mix of fuel and blah blah blah.  They’ve been doomed for a while, and when a recently announced bit of financing fell through it was all over.  If you’re booked on them, give your credit card company a call.

In only slightly related news, if you care about Eos’ bankruptcy, it’s worth noting according to this bankruptcy filing that as they were running out of cash, they managed to give a number of their execs bonuses of more than $200,000 in December ’07 and January ’08.  Good stuff.

American: Feel Free to Tip Our Skycaps

In an age of fees for everything, American has actually eliminated one:  The airline has decided to drop its $2 fee for skycaps at all its airports.  Even better, it’s ended its ludicrous standoff with the skycaps and is permitting passengers to tip them again in Boston (if you missed it, AA was in a dispute with Boston’s skycaps and forbade tipping).  All’s well that ends well.

A Quick Update on the Airline Apocalypse

I thought it might be useful/depressing to pass along a quick overview of the horrible/annoying/depressing things we’ve seen happen since the fuel hike:

Northwest/Delta merger (less service + higher fares = unhappy flyers in Minot)

American’s $15 first bag fee

Everyone else’s $25 second bag fee

US Airways removes snacks from domestic flights

American cuts domestic capacity 12% and decimates San Juan hub

Eos, MAXjet, Aloha, Skybus, Champion and ATA shut down.  Mesa, SilverJet and ExpressJet poised to shut down.

jetBlue defers 21 a320s

jetBlue defers launching LAX service

US Airways, after begging for China route, begs to delay Beijing launch

$100 antler fee on Frontier (damn you, Frontier!)

Return of the Saturday Night stay

Airlines attempt to raise fares 16 times.

Ticket changes cost $150.

And there you go…the state of the industry. I’m going to bed.

10-Day Vacation to China – $899 Including Air

(Via Travelzoo)

We haven’t seen one of these in a looooooong while: smarTours is offering an 8-night/10-day air & hotel package to Beijing and Shanghai for just $899 per person. Yes, that’s crazy. Prices include airfare from San Francisco, hotels, the flight between Beijing & Shanghai, and, perhaps most importantly nowadays, fuel surcharge. Taxes add another $150 or so. There are a handful departure dates available in December, January and February.

Shocker: American Airlines to Discontinue Stansted Flights

A headline on a Reuters story today says that American Airlines will discontinue their JFK-Stansted service “to manage costs.”  Um, I believe the costs they are managing are the costs of driving Eos out business.  Which they did.  Great job — keep up that fair competition.

Brothel to Reimburse American’s $15 Bag Fee

I know that my readers will be interested in this:  Nevada’s Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel has offered to reimburse its customers $15 to cover American Airlines’ fee to check a bag.  I’m not sure if they’ll give you cash or $15 in services rendered.

If You Found Marijuana in Your Suitcase at Narita, Let Customs Know

A customs officer at Tokyo’s Narita airport trying to test whether drug-sniffing dogs could find marijuana in a suitcase, forgot which piece of luggage he placed the drugs in and now someone is walking around Tokyo with about 1/3 of a pound of pot in the luggage.  Customs officials say that it is against regulations to test their dogs by picking a random piece of luggage (for this very reason – typically they used a marked suitcase).  They ask that if you find 1/3 of a pound of marijuana in your suitcase to let customs know at Narita.  Which, given my experience with people speaking English in Japan, should be an interesting conversation.

Roundtrip Flights to Hawaii from New York and Philadelphia, Under $300

You can view all the details here, but if you move quickly you can get roundtrip flights from either Newark or Philadelphia to Honolulu or Lihue (Kauai) for between $270 and $290 round trip.  It’s good for midweek travel August – early November and the first 10 days of December (see the link for details).  Fly on United from Newark or Continental from Philly.

Frontier: Those Antlers Are Gonna Cost Ya

(Thanks to IAH-PHX for passing along the best story of the week)

Frontier has updated their list of fees they charge for various things (checked bags, unaccompanied minors, antlers) and they…um…wait. Did I just write “antlers?” Yes I did. Those bastards at Frontier are going to charge me $100 to send my antlers on the plane. The old $75 fee was fair. Now, they expect me to pay an extra $25 to bring my antlers. What am I supposed to do, leave them at home? Not travel without my antlers? But what if I find myself in a situation, as I do frequently, that requires antlers. Then what am I going to do? Go antler-less? I don’t think so. That doesn’t really sound like an option.

So I’m going to have to try to squeeze my antlers into the overhead bin, which would be fine on a 767 with nice overhead bins, but Frontier only flies narrowbodies, so that’s not a real possibility. And they don’t fit under the seat in front of me – not my antlers, anyway. Perhaps your antlers do, I dunno. So I’ll have to sneak them into my carry-on luggage, which is already chock-a-block with 3.7 oz tubes of contraband antler cream – I’m not sure it’s really going to fit in there.

One thought is to buy the antlers a ticket and send them as an unaccompanied minor (the fee is only $50), which is interesting, since Frontier seems to assume that the safety of my antlers are worth $50 more than the safety of my kids (which, depending on how much screaming they were doing that morning, may be true). Frontier had a pet-in-cabin fee, but they’ve apparently eliminated that. But what if you only have the antler part of the pet? Is that the whole pet? Would they have charged me the whole amount? Who knows. All I know is this: my antlers are getting a frequent flyer card on some other airline, because they’re not going to put up with this nickel and diming any longer.

Oh deer.

Delta to End Bucharest Service

In a bit of bad news for my friend Corina (and everyone else who wants to fly to Romania), Delta will end their nonstop JFK-Bucharest service in October as part of a larger set of cutbacks they’ve been announcing. Posters on Airliners suggest that low business class loads are the culprit, and I’d buy that as the reason. Here’s the full set of discontinued routes:

Atlanta-Edinburgh
Atlanta-Fort de France
Atlanta-Pointe Pitre
Atlanta-Tobago

JFK-Bucharest
JFK-Dakar-Nairobi
JFK-Gatwick
JFK-Guatemala City
JFK-Lagos
JFK-Orly
JFK-Punta Cana
JFK-Santiago (DR)
JFK-Santo Domingo