Tag: airline industry

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PR Expert Says Malaysia Airlines Was Atrocious About Handling MH370 News

March 25, 2014 at 6:09 PM | by | Comments (0)

As recently as a week ago, the consensus was that the coverage surrounding MH370 - though by turns saddening, horrifying, and infuriating - wasn't really damaging the reputation of Malaysia Airlines. The Sydney Morning Herald interviewed a bunch of analysts who went even further, saying that not only was there limited erosion right now, but that any negative impact in the future "was likely to be modest and short-lived." Things were obviously not going well, and most people expected the worst, but airline disasters are often treated far more as generic tragedies than airline-specific incompetence. That seemed to be happening here.

If that's how things end up - if MH finally emerges from this crash with its brand more or less intact - it won't be because they didn't make spectacular efforts to fuck it up. Instead, it's like the airline went out of its way to alienate people, from the victims' families to entire countries. This took some effort.

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Watch This: 24 Hours of European Air Traffic

March 20, 2014 at 2:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

We do these visualizations from time to time - partly because they're awesome and partly because you guys seem to enjoy them - plus the last week and a half of airline news has been a real downer. We can all use a reminder that there's something kind of magic about how we move millions of people through the air every day.

Wired recently wrote up an explanation for this video, which shows the roughly 30,000 flights that "criss-cross Europe's airspace on a typical summer day." The UK-based data comes from June 21 of last year, while the tracks for the rest of Europe were compiled on July 28. As the day begins and progresses you see the early trans-Atlantic traffic merge in with the traffic coming from the south, and then the major hubs on the Continent begin to light up. Look how shiny!

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FBI Can't Believe People are Still Dumb Enough to Point Lasers at Airplanes

February 13, 2014 at 4:49 PM | by | Comments (0)

We did a full blog post about this issue in 2011, and even back then we felt a little torn about whether it was worth writing. There was a legitimate travel politics story at the time, since the FAA had just announced a dedicated system for reporting people who were aiming lasers at aircraft. But it didn't really seem like there was any there there. How stupid do you have to be to aim a laser at the eyes of a pilot who's trying to land a gigantic commercial jet? How many people could we really be talking about?

It turns out that there were almost 4,000 laser strikes reported in 2013, with the average being 11 reported incidents every day. The actual number is thought to be much higher because of under-reporting. Starting in September 2012 and going forward a year, which is how the relevant Justice Department records are kept, five people were convicted in federal court for aiming lasers at airplanes. Another 15 people have cases pending against them.

The FBI is getting very grumpy.

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Aeroflot is Somehow Leading a Customer Service Renaissance in Russia

November 4, 2013 at 4:41 PM | by | Comment (1)

You might know Russian airline Aeroflot as the super-tawdry airline that three years ago decided to take nude pictures of its flight attendants and put the photos in a VIP calendar. Or as the super-sketchy airline where the employees make their own bongs and smoke up in the galley. This is not a company known for its squeaky clean image, or its professionalism, or its squeaky clean professionalism.

So we were surprised to learn that the rest of Russia sees Aeroflot - and now we're quoting the New York Times - as "at the forefront of a broad and transformative trend in the Russian service industry." The idea is that the Russians have traditionally been staggeringly horrific at customer service. So Aeroflot began holding classes for its employees and reminding them, among other things, to say things out loud to customers. The classes worked, and other companies began to notice.

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Why Paying $1,000 to Tweet a Complaint at an Airline is Total Jerk Move

September 6, 2013 at 4:39 PM | by | Comments (0)

The growth of Twitter has had an uneven effect on the airline industry and its relationship to travelers.

On one hand, it has enabled the development of a real-time concierge service that really does help customers. We've publicly tweeted about airline-driven mistakes, then gotten transfered to direct messages, and then gotten incoming mobile phone calls...and then gotten our problems resolved. There are articles and even studies about the effectiveness of airlines' Twitter war rooms.

On the other hand, there's something about Twitter—and it's the same thing with Yelp and TripAdvisor—that transforms some people into gigantic douchebags. Or at the very least, it allows them to publicly highlight their douchebaggery in breathtaking ways. Let's take this gem of a user—the guy who paid $1,000 to promote a tweet attacking British Airways for temporarily misplacing his father's luggage—as a case study.

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The Airline Formerly Known as Jat Airways is Now Air Serbia

August 6, 2013 at 3:09 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you're traveling around Southeastern Europe soon, keep your eyes open for a new paint job taking the skies, thus saying "doviđenja" to Jat Airways and "zdravo" to Air Serbia. The name change not only comes with a refreshed paint job and corporate identity, but brand new owners with some deep, deep pockets.

The details go like this: Etihad has gone on an airline shopping spree lately and snatched up a portion of the formerly Yugoslavian carrier. In total, the Middle-Eastern behemoth now owns 49% of what we used to know as Jat Airways and, as part of the restructure, the 66-year old name will be no longer emblazon the side of planes. "Air Serbia" will.

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iPads in the Cockpit Continue to Spread, Now to American Airlines and JetBlue

July 2, 2013 at 1:03 PM | by | Comments (0)

From United to Alaska Airlines there’s been quite a few airlines that have received iPads in the cockpit, and it looks like the technology continues to flow into the front of the plane. Most recently it has been American Airlines making the most dramatic change, as they recently just completed getting rid of all the paper in the cabin—for the most part—as the carrier has completely switched over to electronic flight bags.

American Airlines has been quick to point out that they’re the first major carrier to completely ditch paper this and that in favor of documents that can be loaded onto an iPad, as they are now approved to use the electronics during all the different phases of the flight. Each and every one of their planes is good to go, as the entire fleet has been given the go ahead to move forward. They aren’t just stopping with the mainline fleet either, as July 10 will bring an electronic option to the American Eagle regional branch of the airline as well.

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Richard Branson's Favorite Airline Complaint Letter

July 1, 2013 at 5:33 PM | by | Comment (1)

There are different ways of "making it" in the world of airline travel. You could gain lifetime elite status on your favorite airline. You could travel the world on miles you accumulated in all kinds of clever ways. Or you could write a complaint note about a miserable experience that's so damn elegant that no less than Richard Branson declares it to be "brilliant." So congratulations Arthur Hicks. We know nothing about you in terms of who you are or where you live, but you've made it.

Branson blogged Hicks's letter - which wasn't even sent to Virgin, but to LIAT - last Friday. We've blockquoted it below from what we think is the original online source so you can read it for yourself. It's among the more elegant, witty beat-downs we've read in a long time.

The experience itself sounds miserable but, very importantly, it happened to him, and not to us, and not to you. So no worries. The P.S. is what really makes it shine.

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No Germany for You: One-Day Strike Cancels 1,700 Lufthansa Flights Today

Where: Germany
April 22, 2013 at 9:53 AM | by | Comments (0)

Today could be a rough day at the airport, so we recommend charging up those electronic doodads and maybe even grabbing a magazine. Lufthansa is having a little bit of a problem with their worker bees today, and as a result they’re canceling all kinds of flights.

In total it sounds like they are proactively canceling around 1,700 flights; however, most appear to be shorter flights in and around Europe, as well as domestic options. It’s all part of a one-day strike finalized late last week, as a group representing around 33,000 Lufthansa employees hopes to show the carrier that they need a little more cash in their paychecks.

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New Airline Alert: Cambodia Airlines

Where: Cambodia
April 10, 2013 at 10:40 AM | by | Comment (1)

Someone with a lot of money is getting into the airline business, as it looks like there’s going to be another carrier joining the marketplace over in Asia. The details are just coming in now, but if things go according to plan the first flights might hit the skies before the year is over.

Neak Oknha Kith Meng isn’t quite Sir Richard Branson yet, but the guy is loaded and ready to start an airline. He is teaming up Philippine Airlines for the new venture, and the new carrier will be called Cambodia Airlines. Just be sure not to confuse the new carrier with a current carrier, as Cambodia Angkor Air is already flying around the region.

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Samoa Air to, Charmingly, Begin Charging Passengers by Body Weight

April 3, 2013 at 5:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

Before you ask, we checked twice to make sure that this Economist story was published April 2 and not April 1. We can't vouch for when the actual webpage on which the story is based went up - maybe it went up April 1 and The Economist plus some other papers got nailed - but it's still alive today so that would be a really dumb way to do an April Fools' joke. Plus there's the video at the bottom.

So here you go from Samoa Air: they are going to start charging passengers by weight. The more you weigh, the more you pay (or as they're putting it, the less you weigh the less you pay; LCCs use the same obnoxious 'pay only for what you use' logic when they add fees). Listen - we, as much or more than any other site - know that debates over overweight passengers can get contentious. But there has to be a balance between preserving people's dignity on one side and forcing them to account for the space they're using—or the arm rests they're not putting down—on the other.

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It's Only April and Already Two Airlines Have Gone Bankrupt in 2013

April 2, 2013 at 9:42 AM | by | Comments (0)

Rewind back to a couple of years ago and it seemed like an airline was cancelling flights, stranding passengers, and going out of business, like, once a month. Thankfully the global economy has kind of stabilized, and any bad bankruptcy news hasn't come down the pipeline for a while. Of course the good times must come to an end. The flag carrier over in Armenia is shutting things down.

Yesterday was the day in which Armavia officially ended its run and, just a few days earlier—March 29 to be specific—was when the carrier filed for bankruptcy and stopped flying. As this wasn't a well-planned exit from aviation, quite a few passengers were less than pleased with the news and some even decided to head to the airline’s office at Zvartnots International Airport to picket and demand answers.

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