On Ryanair’s hell on near earth, mobiles on board

Oh dear! The end is near. Last April I wrote a post on the European Comission clearing the way for mobile phone calls on air (On flying misery, and the death of the last mobile-free remnant). Well, serious airlines like Air France-KLM, TAP and BMI have been running trials on the idea, but the FT reports today that the flying coaches of Ryanair are going to be the first fleet to be fully equipped with it (Ryanair opens skies to mobile phones).

 The other day, on the 148 to Victoria, an African man was shouting so loudly on the phone, that it was a poem to see the other passengers’ eyes opening and closing with his words… even the driver had to use the speakers to tell him to be quieter, but of course he couldn’t hear him. Continue reading

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On the leaders we deserve and the end of the Alitalia saga

Back in June, right when il corrotto Berlusconi won the now seemingly annual Italian elections on a cocktail of populism and general amnesia, I warned of one of his very electoral promises (keeping Alitalia Italian and afloat) was nothing but cheap talk.

Well, as we are used to by now, the electoral promises of the politician of the day were stupid at the time, useless and scared off the few potential investors who could have saved the airline. Continue reading

On air miles working against frequent flyers

Apparently, in case of overbooking or flight cancellations, and completely opposite to what common sense might suggest, frequent flyers are left behind instead of the odd leisure flyer.

So you think that because you are loyal to XYZ Airways for your business and leisure flights they will be loyal to you? You feel special because you flew first class on your last holiday (with the air miles earned through business flights paid by your employer, by the way, do air miles qualify as pay in kind? Are they taxed?) All that glitters is not gold. Continue reading

On selfishness, bankruptcies and airlines

Here we go again Hobbes, a new example of double standards and lose-lose situation. This time around is the greed of a few –namely pilots- that is putting the livelihood of the many at risk. A dispute over seniority was holding back a possible merger between Northwest and Delta Air Lines.

With oil prices at more than $100 a barrel, reducing non-aircraft capital expenditures, number of seats they fly and their operating costs through synergies generated after merging, seemed -and still seems- the sensible thing to do.

But the potential merger collapsed last week because the pilots at both airlines could not agree on seniority lists. For pilots –you know, the guys who sit by at the plane while the computers fly it-, seniority Continue reading

On everlasting bad news on the air industry

Well, well, well, it seems that our friends at Delta and Northwest airlines finally got it right and their pilots decided to drop their selfishness –don’t ask a NWA pilot, still not convinced- and agree on who will be who within the new married airline (apparently forming the world’s largest airline in terms of traffic).

The merged carrier will keep the name Delta and control some 390 routes, along with 75,000 employees and 800 airplanes.

Alitalia is in the ICU (now another Berlusconi’s toy), and just last week Frontier filed for bankruptcy joining ATA, Aloha and Skybus. And that’s only including US carriers, if we go east, Oasis, the Hong Kong based Continue reading

On flying misery, and the death of the last mobile-free remnant

After so much talking about authorising mobile phone use on board, it seems that under new rules, the European Commission has cleared the way for an air nightmare.

Last time I was meddling about with my BlackBerry on board (all connections off, as any rule abiding citizen would do), an Iberia air hostess made me feel like a schoolboy bin Laden when ordered me to switch off my mobile phone since I was ‘putting everybody’s life at risk, interfering with the plane’s communications system’. The fact that I was on a window seat and she told me off from the corridor, two rows away, let’s say that didn’t make me the most popular fellow passenger on the flight. Continue reading

On Alitalia’s trade union lack of realism and long-term vision

Hobbes,

I don’t know if I am the only one seeing a pattern here, but it seems that Italy, and the air and banking industries keep topping up the ranking of self-interested/head-buried-in-the sand headlines.

Combining a few of them together, and after over a year on the papers, we’ve got the Alitalia saga. Reportedly, a grotesquely malfunctioning and grossly inefficient national flag carrier.

For some bizarre reason –namely landing slots- Air France-KLM has been on and off interested in the company, but our trade union friends keep seeing leaving the ill firm in public health while the government Continue reading