Monthly Archives: June 2010

Air Pacific Offers Kids Fly Free to Fiji

Air Pacific is offering a Kids Fly Free deal for flights to Fiji from Los Angeles August 1 – February 28 (Dec 15 – Jan 15 is blacked out).  The offer is good for one child or infant ticket with each adult round trip ticket purchased — round trip fares start at $1200 or so for 2 people (not too shabby).  Add-ons are available from other departure cities and, bonus, the child fare does not have to pay the add on.  To book, you must call the airline at 800-227-4446 before August 15th.

US Airways Pilot Charged with Taking Obscene Pictures of 16 Year Old Girl

A US Airways pilot was charged with taking obscene photos of a minor, after he was caught using a cellphone to take pictures up the skirt of a 16 year old girl at Philadelphia International Airport last Thursday.  Several witnesses alerted police, who are now getting a warrant to search the pilot’s cell phone.

United Airlines Pilot Drops Pants at Brazil Airport

A United Airlines pilot dropped his pants to his ankles as a joke during a security screening at Rio de Janeiro’s airport on Saturday, a joke that lead to him being detained briefly at the airport.  You may be thinking to yourself, “Gee, you don’t see the words ‘joke’ and ‘security screening in Rio de Janeiro’ together too often.”  There’s a reason for that.  Security had asked the pilot to remove his belt as part of a routine security check, and he thought it would be funny to drop his pants.  Brazilian security officials, despite the country’s general permissiveness toward the less-than-clothed, didn’t find it funny and kept the officer for questioning.  He was released and allowed to fly back to Washington, DC.

Oddly enough, you may remember that a few years back another pilot at Sao Paulo was detained after giving the finger while being photographed by passport officials.

Police Board Ryanair Flight to Hand Out Water and Chocolates

A Ryanair flight from Prestwick Airport in Scotland to Girona, Spain, was stuck on a runway for 6 hours because of an air traffic control strike in France.  Passengers became increasingly upset after Ryanair staff refused to give them food or water due to what they said were “legal restrictions.”  I don’t know what that means.  In any case, police were called on board to restore order, and were later hailed as heroes when they (gasp) went into the terminal and bought water and chocolate for the passengers.

(As a side note, there are a couple of sketchy details that make me wonder how much of this whole thing is true, and how much is the Sun tabloid blowing things out of proportion.  Either way, when the police come on board with chocolate, it makes for a good story.)

Twitter Is Creating a Generation of Whiny Travelers Who Complain About Everything (Boo Hoo)

A couple of recent articles note how travelers are using Twitter to complain in large numbers about travel experiences.  Do a quick search on Twitter Search for “worst hotel room” and look at the complaining:

worst hotel experience ever!”
Worst hotel/pub ever!!”
“We are in THE worst hotel in all of Cannes”
“Last (hotel) was the WORST ever!

That’s from the past 3 days.

The Wall St. Journal article tells the story of a sales guy on a business trip who was unhappy with his room at a Marriott in Orlando.  He then Tweeted, “I have the crappiest room in the hotel.”  Supposedly the front desk manager saw the tweet, then upgraded the guy.

Now, perhaps it was the way I was raised, but why in God’s name wouldn’t he just go down to the front desk, chat with the nice fellow, and ask for a different room?  Or as I once read from a travel columnist, when you check in just tell the front desk clerk that you’d like the 4th room they would’ve given you.

Either way, why wouldn’t you just go downstairs and ask nicely?  Why does everyone complain constantly on Twitter?  Look at a search for “worst airline”…

“They remain to be the country’s worst airline.”
“Hey @flyfrontier, you’re officially worse than @delta, thought no airline could be THAT bad. Worst customer service.”
@Delta =worst airline evr. Horrible service
This may be the worst airline flight experience so far this summer:
Delta! Worst airline food

Those are from the past 12 hours.  Seriously.

Is it all so bad?  Can it all be the worst?  As my favorite Shakespeare quote from King Lear says, “The worst is not, So long as we can say, ‘This is the worst…”

I’m a realist — I know that things go wrong in travel sometimes.  But we have choices — go speak with a manager.  Be courteous, even when in a stressful travel situation.  Ask for a supervisor to come sit with you in the lobby and discuss the issues.  Have realistic expectations for what a $39 flight will get you.  Every $79 Pricelined hotel room will not be the Presidential Suite.

Twitter certainly has its uses, but the never-ending flow of complaints has already gotten old.  Quit your whining and do something about it.  Go have a conversation with someone.  Like an adult.

LAN to Offer Easter Island Service from Lima Beginning in January

Great news for anyone looking to use frequent flyer miles to visit Easter Island, LAN will be offering nonstop service twice a week from Lima, Peru, to Easter Island beginning in January.  Flights are only offered twice a week, and unfortunately they don’t connect with continuing Tahiti service, but having a second option (in addition to Santiago) to use miles to get to Easter Island is great for travelers.

Depart Lima 12:55am, Arrive Easter Island 6:15am, Sunday/Wednesday
Depart Easter Island 1pm, Arrive Lima 5:50pm, Sunday/Wednesday

Human Heads (Without Attached Humans) Seized from Southwest Flight

A Southwest Airlines baggage handler in Little Rock alerted police last week when he saw 60 human heads being loaded onto a plane without human bodies attached to them.  The heads (which I assume were flying free, as they were in the baggage compartment) were allegedly headed to a medical research company in Fort Worth before authorities intervened.

There is some question as to whether the heads were obtained legally.  Said a local coroner, “We just want to make sure these specimens here aren’t a part of (a) black market.”  Indeed.

The supplier of the heads (well, the company supplying the heads, not the former person with the head) had its business license revoked last year.

Spirit Airlines Strike Is Over: Flights Resume Friday

The Spirit Airlines strike is over — no details yet on the agreement, but they will be back in the skies on Friday.

Impressively, they sent out an email touting “Strikingly Low Fares” about 3 minutes after the agreement was announced.  Glad they’re making lemons out of lemonade.

The Flight with the Worst Routing and Timing Is…

If you ever had to get up at 4:15 am for your quick hop from Boston to Philadelphia and then complained about it, you should stop whining:  I’ve discovered the worst flight in the world.

Togo-based airline Asky just announced circle service from Lome, Togo; to Douala, Cameroon; to Pointe Noire, Republic of Congo; to Brazzaville,  Republic of Congo; to Cotonou, Benin; back to Lome, Togo.

You would not just be skip-hopping across West Africa – that’s not the bad part.  The bad part is that here are the departure times:

1am – 345am (Lome – Douala)
430am – 6:15am (Douala – Pointe Noire)
7am – 7:45am (Pointe Noire – Brazzaville)
8:30am – 11am (Brazzaville – Cotonou)
11:45am – 11:30am (Benin – Lome, you lose an hour)

You are up all night.  You flight stops every 2 hours.  You have quite possibly the worst flight time in history (the 430am from Douala to Pointe Noire).  You could probably write a novel about that one.  If you’re flying from Lome to Brazzaville, you’ve been up all night trying to sleep as the plane takes off and lands a few times.

And at the end, you’re in Brazzaville.

American Will Sell You Early Boarding, Reduced Change Fees and Standby for about $9-$19

American Airlines is rolling out a program called “Your Choice” that offers passengers the ability to buy a package of amenities for a price somewhere between $9-$19 per flight (depending on distance).  The amenities in the first package (called Boarding and Flexibility) include:

– Group 1 Boarding
– $75 off your change fee
– Free standby for an earlier flight that day

You’ll note that Elites get early boarding and free standby already.

Later this year they’ll be rolling out the ability to just purchase early boarding for a flat $10 per flight.

I’m sure that news stories will refer to this as a fee, but it’s really just the ability to buy yourself a bit of flexibility for a few bucks (or an insurance policy, however you want to look at it).  Most airlines will price this way in the coming years, so get used to it.  I just find it funny that some people still refer to network airlines as “full service carriers.”  Ha.