21 September 2008

Air Canada sheds unpopular fee for 2nd bag

Crude-oil prices were rising into outer space this summer when the airlines started adding fees for checked baggage.

Now that oil prices are dropping back to earth a bit, at least one airline — Air Canada — announced it's eliminating the $25 fee it charges for a second piece of baggage. Air Canada had never charged for the first checked bag, a practice at many U.S. carriers, including Northwest Airlines.

Will other airlines follow Air Canada's lead? "With oil prices coming down, customers don't want to be nickeled and dimed," said Vaughn Cordle, an analyst with airlineforecasts.com.

Southwest Airlines also is stoking consumer ire, Cordle noted. It's touting its no-baggage fee policy in TV ads, including one spot featuring rejoicing passengers singing "hallelujah!"

The nickel and diming adds up, however. Northwest started charging $15 for first checked bags in late August and said it took in $370,000 on Aug. 31 alone. Annualized, the airline expects to collect up to $200 million.

16 September 2008

CHICAGO — United Airlines has doubled its fee for a second checked bag to $50, citing volatile fuel prices.

United says the $50 one-way fee will apply for tickets bought beginning Tuesday for travel beginning November 10 within the U.S. or to or from Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Travelers in first or business classes, "Premier" frequent fliers and active-duty military personnel traveling on orders will be exempt. United estimated the $50 fee would apply to about one out of every seven customers.

Fuel prices have declined in recent weeks as oil prices have fallen, from a high of $147 a barrel to below $96 a barrel on Monday. But United says fuel prices remain more than 50 percent higher than last year.

How To Get The Most Out Of Your Flight Attendant

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

This is a video I found of two former flight attendants giving the traveling public some tips on how to get the most out of your flight attendant!

They hit on a few points that I have spoke about in the past. They are pretty funny but alot of what they say is true!!!


Classic Airline Commercials

Hello All, BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

I saw this post and I had to post it too! I have always said since all of our latest airline troubles that the industry is going back to a formof 1960-1970's style of flying. Hats, coats and purses are going to be about all you will be allowed to carry on an aircraft. So when I saw this post on gadling.com I had to post it to my readers too! It's many of the old commercials from the past and it's from some of the airlines that no longer exist!!! Sit back and enjoy....I did!!!


Take a walk down memory lane - 10 vintage airline commercials
by Scott Carmichael Sep 15th 2008 @ 10:00AM
Taking a page out of the "they don't make them like this any longer" book, I've compiled a list of 10 fantastic vintage airlines commercials. Take a walk down memory lane with me, and see how flying looked back in the 70's, or listen to people tell you how awesome their (now bankrupt) airline is.

Wien Air Alaska - "When it comes to experience, Alaska's first airline has the last word" (1981)Yes, that is a video of Captain Wien, father of our very own Kent Wien! The video took 35 takes to get right, because pilots are apparently better at flying a plane than acting on command. And here is a bit of trivia for you; Wien Air Alaska was the second airline in the country, and at one point they flew to more places in the world than any other airline (excluding Aeroflot). Sadly, Wien Air Alaska ceased operations back in 1984. I just hope they found a good home for the Canada Goose!

Eastern Airlines - "we earn our wings every day" (1984)Eastern Airlines is another airline that is no longer around. They closed up in 1991 leaving 18,000 people without a job or pension. This video clip taken in 1984 and shows a bunch of very happy employee/owners, completely unaware that just 7 years later their investment would be worthless.

Republic Airlines - "Nobody serves our republic like republic" (1982)Catchy music? Check! Smiling flight attendants? Check! Catchy slogan? Check! This 1982 commercial has everything that made 80's commercials the hilarious relics they are today. Republic Airlines was born in 1979 out of a merger of 2 other airlines, and in 1986 Northwest Orient Airlines and Republic Airlines merged to form Northwest Airlines, which is still operating strong today. The old Republic Airlines hubs (Detroit, Minneapolis-Saint Paul and Memphis) are still the main hubs for Northwest today.

Northwest Airlines - first airline to ban smoking on domestic flights (1980)Remember when checking in at the airport meant picking smoking or non-smoking? This commercial from 1980 shows Northwest Airlines bragging that they are the first airline to ban smoking on domestic North American flights.

Continental Airlines - "If you can't fly Continental you might as well not fly at all" (1977)Ah, the 70's... This commercial is the cheesiest of them all. The theme song is soap opera meets bad radio jingle, but it's the kind of bad song that sticks in your head.

United Airlines - Gene Hackman flying the friendly skies (1994)This is the youngest commercial in the list, but even at 14 years old it shows how much has changed since then. The commercial brags about the 1000 flights and 135 destinations United flies to every day. In just 14 years they have grown to 3200 flights and over 200 destinations. Of course, it also shows that 14 years later, they are still using Rhapsody in Blue for all their commercials.United Airlines - The new DC10 jetliner featuring the Friendship Room lounge in coach! (1971)Here is an early United Airlines commercial where they get to show off their new DC10 jetliner. Featuring specially designed spacious seats, and a luxurious lounge in coach! This 1970's plane shows just how miserable flying as become nowadays.

Braniff International - The end of the plain plane (1965)A funny commercial from a time when it was still considered acceptable to brag about your attractive flight attendants. This clip tries to convince people that Braniff has the most colorful planes and "that they won't get you there any faster, but it sure will seem that way!"American Airlines - Doing what we do best (1982)Warm meals in coach, full service no matter what you pay and a skycap who opens your cab door to help you out. It's how flying used to be, just 26 years ago. This vintage AA commercial is another from the feel good era.

TWA - Steak in coach! It's the new widebody L-1011, it's built for comfort! (1977)The last Lockheed L-1011 rolled off the assembly line in 1984, after just 250 of them were built. They can still be found today, but none are in operation with any major US carrier. This TWA commercial shows the spacious wide body cabin, the fantastic steak dinner in coach and the captain explains that their Rolls-Royce engines mean you'll get a smooth ride!

09 September 2008

Continental Adds the First Bag Fee; Is Delta Next?

Looks like Continental has decided to start charging $15 for the first checked bag at the same time they work on devaluing their frequent flier program. Yep, they’ve got some bad news for everyone in this round of changes. The tersely worded statement released by the airline was released on Friday morning, and it leaves a lot to be desired. For an airline that has been gaining an increasing reputation for a premium product, this seems to fly in the face of what they’re trying to do.The statement itself was odd in that it had no quotes from senior management and made no effort to try and offer a rationale. I suppose this isn’t surprising because it’s harder to explain in the face of declining oil prices (down below $108 last I checked). So why would they do this now?
Maybe those fall revenue forecasts are coming in lighter than they thought, so they’re trying to boost them up quickly. Then again, there are so many holes, it’s not going to have as great an impact as they might want. Full fare coach, military, and elite members don’t have to pay. But don’t worry, those elite members have far more to be angry about.Continental is eliminating its 500 mile minimum accrual per flight. You’ll now get actual miles flown. But even more likely to bother the best customers than that is the reduction in bonus miles earned. Silver elites will now get a 25% bonus over actual miles flown instead of a 50% bonus. And Platinum elites will get 100% instead of 25%, matching the Gold elite bonus which remains unchanged. This change makes some sense. The levels were previously aligned with Northwest’s levels, and now these new ones will match United. While both of these make some sense, taking away a perk always angers people, and these are Continental’s best customers.For Continental to do something like this is surprising. It leaves Delta as the lone holdout from the first bag fee among legacy carriers. At NBTA, Delta CEO Richard Anderson made it clear that they thought one free bag was a fair deal and that they were committed to it. True, they charge $50 for the second bag, $25 more than everyone else, but that probably doesn’t make them nearly as much as a first bag fee would.So we now have Northwest and US Airways which have made it clear they want to be at the bottom of the food chain. American and United are sitting in the confused middle, lacking a consistent message. Continental and Delta are at the top, but Continental seems to be making some ill-advised changes that put their strategy in question, to some extent.Will Delta follow? Or will they continue to stand by their promise to offer a premium coach experience? Will Continental continue to devalue its offering?Update 9/8 @ 813a: Apparently, Continental CEO Larry Kellner has given a little bit of the rationale to his troops on why they implemented the bag fee:
As you may have seen, we announced a $15 fee for the first checked bag for certain customers earlier today. While it’s not our preference to do so, given the current environment, we are losing our competitive stance with other carriers. We had hoped that we would see more customers choosing Continental with other airlines charging for the first bag, but we didn’t see that happen, so we think this is the right thing to do for Continental.

From Flight Attendants to the Flying Public: We're Sorry

Hello All BlkAv8tor2003 Checkin' In!!!
I received this in an email from a flight attendant I know. I found it on airliners.net and also on DISboards.com, both of which attributed it to "author unknown." I also found it at http://cabincrewblog.com/ too and I added some of my comments in red below. (When you have some time on your hands, you might want to follow those links and read the comments left by members of those boards.) I have a feeling that this message will 'go viral' and will start showing up on cabin crew message boards any minute! Meanwhile, I'm awarding the unknown author a Gold Star for really complete coverage of the issues -- but if you have any items to add, you are welcome to post them in the comments section below this article. Maybe flight attendants should print this and hand it out to passengers, or maybe paste it on the underside of tray tables -- you know, so it will be visible when the tray table is in its full upright and locked position!

Most of the things on this list you can beat so you do not have to run into these items as a problem. Be proactive...(read my blog for additional tips) and enjoy your trip with few surprises!!!

We're sorry we have no pillows.
By an inflatable one that you clean because the pillows on a plane are not as clean as you think!
We're sorry we're out of blankets.
Put a single sheet in your luggage if you need some type of cover while flying, again you cleaned it and you know where it's been!
We're sorry the airplane is too cold.
Learn where to sit on the planes you fly on...it's not always about getting the aisle. Emergency exits on narrow body aircraft are by a door at the wing and it's going to get a little drafty in this area. Dress for travel or bring a light weight jacket or sweater that you can pack easily. The front of most planes is a little warmer because that's the shortest distance the ducting has to travel and the outside air temp is -20f at cruise altitudes! Plus you less likely to get airsick if the plane is cold!
We're sorry the airplane is too hot.
Planes run hot because there is alot of body hit inside this metal tube, flying in the hot sun and high humidity. Dress for travel, get comfortable (within reason) drink fluids (you can bring on kid juices like Capri Sun "frozen" and as it warms up you have a drink that is OK for the short term for you and or your kids.
We're sorry the overhead bins are full.
If your fellow travelers would slim down their bags to one of a smaller carry-on this would be a little easier. Board on time and don't be late especially first flight of the morning. Your bags should be within 2-3 rows of where your sitting. Use a half size roll aboard instead of a full size. Remember it's coming to the point that they (airlines) will start charging for your carry-on bags and then this society will go back to a form of 1970's style of airline travel. Coats and hats and baby care bags is your going to see before too long.
We're sorry we have no closet space for your oversized bag.
Most carriers removed the bigger closets from their aircraft to open up some of the leg room or add seats to the capacity.
We're sorry that’s not the seat you wanted.
You didn't save your seat when you initially purchased your ticket. Late getting to the gate due to your fault or the fault of connecting flights. Always choose a back up favorite seat because if you thought of it someone else did to!!!
We're sorry there’s a restless toddler/overweight/offensive smelling passenger seated next to you.
Kids/toddlers....what can you do? Parents bring your kids things to keep them busy like small toys, DVDs, coloring books, electronic toys IE. game boys. The parents that don't know they have kids and are traveling with them are the worst. They didn't know the kids were going on vacation with them when they left the house. (Right *wink*)
Overweight is a touchy area and don't think the crew has any power to change this situation...remember Americans are fatter than most adults around the world. I just say be courteous and let that on roll off your back. You can also talk to the agents to see if it is possible to change your seat or flight (extreme case) but be nice about it and respectful to the other persons feeling and you may get what you want.
Offensive smelling passengers is tough too by culture, region and even the temperature outside and inside the plane. We are all different and sweat differently. Try using or carrying a small bottle of essential oil that is mint flavored and put a small dab under your nose it's pleasing to the nose and it last for a long time making it easier for you to not smell bad odors.
We're sorry the plane is full and there are no other seats available.
Planes are going to be full but what did you do to not get caught up? Check the flight seats availability when you made your reservation, saved your seat, checked-in on-time! Inquire how full the plane is before getting to the gate, giving up your seat for compensation and choice of flights and seats. Traveling with some flexibility in your travel plans...I know this is not always possible. Barter, wheel and deal with the agents and pay attention to conversations in the boarding area and sit near the agents boarding podium, you will be surprised what you hear which could be valuable later.
We're sorry you didn't get your upgrade.
People are getting more savvy as frequent fliers so get your butt in gear and work your frequent flier benefits.
We're sorry that guy makes you uncomfortable because he “looks like a terrorist”.
Be conscious of your surroundings and the people around you! Don't be a stupid American remember America is a country of many different cultures and just because of the current world problems everyone that you cannot understand their language, religion, dress or attire does not make them terrorist!!! Remember Oklahoma City was terrorized by an American so don't assume anything and don't turn a blind eye either. Just keep your eyes open and if your uncomfortable let a crew member know what's up and let them handle it from there.
We're sorry there’s a thunderstorm and we can't take off.
Most people barely watch the weather on their evening news so don't think you all of a sudden are a weather person and can remedy the delays of airlines because the weather looks good where you are at that point and time. Weather for the airlines is based on departure city, en route and destination city actual weather and forecast. If your traveling across country pilots have to figure out what the weather will be doing 4-5 hours later, right around your scheduled arrival time. Storms along your route of flight can slow things down too. Turbulence reports and in flight weather diversions all come into play here...if you want a good breakdown let me know I show you!!! Don't assume the airline is holding you hostage or something because the weather is sunny where you are there are many different factors to take into consideration.
We're sorry we don't know when it will stop.
Airline agents are not weather people, they more than likely see the same weather you do on The Weather Channel or CNN. They don't read minds or have inside info on when things are going to change. Just have something to do and wait it out. Winter time travelers should expect long delays every time they fly it's going to happen going in and out of bad weather cities. Summertime is the same when it comes to extremely hot temperatures, thunderstorms and turbulence. Look at the weather where you are leaving from and going to at the least so you can expect delays. Remember the airlines only obligation is to carry you from point A to point B and it doesn't say how! It's on your tickets or boarding envelope read it and know your rights!
We're sorry you're crammed into a space so small that if you were an animal PETA would protest.
You chose to fly and the airplanes have not changed in years! If this is uncomfortable to you fly on a private jet or charter a flight. You cannot complain about something your barely paying for! Remember this is not a hotel or fine dining restaurant....what do you expect for moving through the air at 550 MPH. The airlines give you some comfort and something to pass the time away don't go in expecting 5 star dining and accommodations you will get your feelings severely hurt!!!
We're sorry our plane has no music or video entertainment for your 3 hour flight.
Almost everyone own a CD/DVD player, MP3, Ipod or laptop that can play music these days even the PDA type cell phones play music. Bring your music or movies you like for you and your kids. Think ahead and you won't even notice the airline didn't have them and It's FREE!
We're sorry we ran out of your favorite soda.
Do I really need to explain this one???
We're sorry there are no more sandwiches.
BYO!!! BYO!!! BYO!!! Bring Your Own!!! Why would you leave it up to the airlines to feed you? If you wait for the airline to feed you and you get left out you get what you deserve! Bring what you want that could be more healthy, what you want, freshness and little room for error!
We're sorry that Budweiser costs $6.
Why are you drinking Budweiser on a plane anyway? If your going to drink on a flight drink something that will be worth 6$, Bud is not a 6$ beer and there isn't that much partying to do while flying!!!
We're sorry we don't have diapers for your baby.
The flight crew and or the airline did not have a baby you did!!! Your the parent and you knew the baby was traveling when you woke up that morning so act like it! Airline crew members don't want to hold your child nor are they allowed. Don't ask them to change your child and be respectful on the flight when you do a diaper change. Diaper changes happen in the bathroom not on the seat in the middle of the plane! Having a child is not a pass card to acting stupid!!!
We're sorry we don't have milk for same baby.
See my previous statement regarding baby care!!! (Your the parent and you knew the baby was traveling when you woke up that morning so act like it!)
We're sorry you can't hang out by the cockpit door waiting to use the bathroom.
Turbulence can happen anytime and nothing near the bathroom is soft so please follow the rules!
We're sorry you can't hang out at the back of the airplane.
Same as above!
We're sorry you have to sit down and fasten your seatbelt.
A decompression can suck a 200lb man right out of his seat through the passenger window in 2 seconds... Despite what you saw on Myth Busters it can happen!!!
We're sorry you have to put your seat up for landing.
If an evacuation becomes necessary the people behind you cannot get out quickly....Common sense!!!
We're sorry we don't know when we're going to land.
Well just think most airliners can't fly for ever so don't board a flight if delays are going to be a problem for you.
We're sorry we don't know whether your plane to (substitute any city in the world) will be waiting for you when we land.
Plan on it not being there for you and alot of the decision of letting it go is usually based on the fact that the down line delays are going to be amplified! The crew doesn't have a computer on board that has connecting flight info but they do receive some info from the ground.
We're sorry we've been diverted because we ran out of gas waiting to land.
Most flight have such big reserve fuel requirements that when they are en route and incur delays and have to divert the flight is approaching the reserve limits. Pilots don't like to divert because of all the things they have to do because of the unplanned stop. If you as the passenger are thinking ahead and assuming you won't get there (your destination) on time or same day you won't be surprised when changes happen!!!

We're sorry for these and so many other things that we have absolutely no control over but which we are held accountable for EVERY SINGLE DAY. Please understand. Flight attendants are not the enemy. We share your space. More than anyone - we want to have a nice, pleasant travel experience.There is a reason behind everything we ask you to do. It may be a FAA directive. It may be security related. It may be a company procedure.We don't just make stuff up. We don't spend 8 weeks at the flight academy learning how to pour a Coke. There are many things that flight attendants are watching for constantly on every flight FOR YOUR SAFETY. It’s not because we're bored or so controlling that we just enjoy telling people what to do. I, for one, would like to have one flight where I didn't have to repeatedly tell people to put their seats up for landing. Seriously. Can't you just do what we ask sometimes? Without the glares, eye rolling and disdain? For the record - putting your seat up for landing may not seem that important to your personal safety. However, it is very important for the person sitting BEHIND YOU. If you have ever tried to get out of a row where someone has their seat back you know it can be a challenge. Try grabbing your ankles (emergency brace position) or getting out of that row quickly with smoke in the cabin. Understand a little better now? Many of the things we ask passengers to comply with are FAA directives. Like carry-on bag stowage and exit row requirements. And like when we can serve drinks (in the air) and when we can't (after the aircraft door is closed or on an active taxiway). We are only allowed to move about the cabin during taxi out for safety related duties. We can't get you blankets, or hang coats, or get you drinks. It’s not because we don't want to. It’s because we are held personally responsible if we fail to comply with FAA directives. Meaning that the FAA can fine us personally up to $10,000 if we fail to comply with or enforce an FAA Directive. Like no bags at the bulkhead. No children in the exit row. No one moving around the cabin during taxi. Perhaps now you know why flight attendants get a little testy when people move about the cabin when they're not supposed to. It’s not the company that gets in trouble for that. It’s us. Personally, I wish the airlines would show worst case scenario safety videos. Like what happens if you walk through the cabin during turbulence. There could be a guy who has just fallen and smacked his face on the metal armrest and now has a bloody, gushing broken nose. Or an elderly lady who now has a broken arm because someone walking to the bathroom fell on her.Maybe a passenger with a broken neck because somebody opened an overhead bin during turbulence and a suitcase fell out and onto the person sitting beneath it. These things can easily happen in a fast moving, unstable air environment. Please just trust that we are looking out for your best interest and stop fighting with us about everything we ask you to do. It is exhausting.Finally, please, please direct your hostility and frustrations in the direction where they will be most effective: The customer service department. They are the ones equipped to handle your complaint and implement procedures for CHANGE. Think about it. Complaining to the flight crew about all your negative travel experiences is about the same as complaining to the office janitor because your computer isn't working. It may make you feel better to vent about it - but it really won't fix anything. More than anybody we are already aware of the lack of amenities, food, service and comfort on the aircraft. Please share your concerns with the people in the cubicles at corporate who need that information to make better decisions for the flying public.It’s frustrating that so many people are in denial about what the travel industry is about now. The glory days of pillows, blankets, magazines and a hot meal for everyone are long gone. Our job is to get you from point A to point B safely and at the cheapest possible cost to you and the company. So be prepared. If you are hungry - get a sandwich before you get on the plane.If it’s a 3 hour flight, anticipate that you may get hungry and bring some snacks. If you are cold natured - bring a wrap. Think for yourself and think ahead. Otherwise, don't complain when you have to pay $3 for a cookie and are left with a crusty blanket to keep you warm. We hear often that the service just isn't what it used to be. Well, the SERVICE we get to provide now isn't what it used to be. When I was hired, my job was to serve drinks, meals, ensure that safety requirements were met and tend to in-flight medical issues. Since 9/11 my primary job is to ensure that my airplane will not be compromised by a terrorist. 9/11 may be a distant memory now to many, but be assured that EVERY DAY a flight attendant reports to work he or she is constantly thinking about 9/11. We feel a personal responsibility to ensure that something like that never happens again. We can never relax. We can never not be suspicious about someone’s intentions.It is difficult to be vigilant and gregarious at the same time. Especially when most of us are working 12 hour days after layovers that only allow 5-6 hours of sleep. Not because we were out partying and having a grand time on the layover - but because the delays that you experience as a passenger also affect us as a crew, so that what was a 10 hour layover is now 8 hours which doesn't leave a lot of time to recover from what has become an increasingly stressful occupation. Despite everything, I still enjoy being a flight attendant. I am writing this letter because I do still care about my profession and about the public perception of flight attendants. In the increasingly challenging travel world it is becoming more imperative than ever for people to just be decent to each other. I can go through an entire day without one person saying anything remotely civil. I will stand at the aircraft door and say hello to everyone who enters and maybe 50% will even look at me and even less will say hello back. I will try to serve someone a meal who can't be bothered to take their headsets off long enough for me to ask them what they want. Most of the time the only conversation a passenger has with me is when they are complaining. Is it any wonder why flight attendants have shut down a bit? After suffering the disdain of hundreds of passengers a day it’s difficult sometimes to even smile, much less interact. We are human. We appreciate the same respect and courtesy that passengers do. The next time you fly, try treating the flight attendants the way you would like to be treated. You may be surprised how friendly your flight crew is when they are treated like people.