Monthly Archives: January 2013
In another turn in the melodrama that is the battery problems on the 787, ANA CFO Kiyoshi Tonomoto stated in an interview that ANA will be seeking compensation from Boeing for losses resulting from the 787 grounding. Again, no one knows when the 787 will be up in the air. The CFO stated that the delay is costing ANA around 3% of its revenue. The end amount that ANA and Boeing could be substantial. Anyways the NTSB is set to release another update tomorrow so we see if there are any time line changes.
Ryanair the ultimate no-frills airline lost in the European Court of Justice and now has to compensate a passenger for a seven-day delay due to the Iceland volcano disruption.
The ECJ said there was no limit on either time or money that airlines can use to stop providing customer care under the EU passenger bill of rights. While Ryanair certainly can’t be faulted for the volcano eruption, this situation is their own fault.
Let me explain.
Ryanair in the early 2000’s started gutting customer service. Things which other airlines provided, free check-in, free wheelchairs, and IRROPS support Ryanair discovered they could charge for. Where other airline decided to be reasonable, even if it cost the government money, Ryanair said the government doesn’t prevent it so lets do it.
The problem with the “if it’s not banned so it must be ok” mentality that Ryanair has is that it invites the government to come in and regulate. The EU said “Ryanair you are right, we don’t prohibit this so here is a passenger bill of rights to prohibit it.” Well, government regulation is a blunt and weighty object, ill suited to micromanage industry regulations. However, Ryanair basically dared the EU into regulation, which is precisely what the EU government did. The result of that regulation is that Ryanair is now on the hook for over 1,000 euros for delay that there is nothing they could have done anything about.
Moral of the story, don’t bite the tail of the tiger because the tiger will eat you.
Spirit Airlines, the American LCC today added three new routes to their network starting in late April. Houston-Los Angeles, Las Vegas-Philadelphia, and Las Vegas-Baltimore.
Philadelphia is in direct competition with US Airways. Baltimore replaces an America West route abandoned after the merger with US Airways.
Houston-Los Angeles is a hub-to-hub route for United so it will be interesting to see what, if any, effect it has on United’s pricing in that market. Currently, United is charging $682.00 for a non-stop and Spirit is charging $83.00, probably closes to $170.00 after all the fees, for their non-stop.
This move by spirit is good for them. They get into a market that until recently has been dominated by United. However, recent actions by United show that are backing away from their Houston hub operation. It looks like Spirit is going to go into Houston and pick up some of that slack.
H/T to Airline Route Blog.
Brussels Airlines today announced that this summer they will starting service to Washington DC, reports the USA Today.
This five times weekly service will provide another carrier and connection opportunity of United Airlines Washington DC hub and Brussels Airlines’ Brussels hub. Brussels Airlines has strong business class cabin that will give star alliance flyers another transatlantic choice out of Washington DC. The airline has an extensive medium/long haul route network to Africa, which complements Star Alliance Partners South African Airways and Ethiopian Airways. All in all this is a good thing for people looking for another alternative to Europe and Africa out of Washington DC.
Delta Airlines today loaded Atlanta – Anchorage 21JUN13 – 31AUG13 once daily for the summer season.
DL1776 will leave at 3:00 PM arriving in Anchorage at 6:30 PM. The return flight DL 1785 will leave Anchorage at 7:30 PM arriving in Atlanta at 6:35 AM + 1 day. The flight which is 3,417 miles is just shorter than New York-London at 3,465 miles.
While it is a long flight, it is no where near the longest domestic flight which is New York to Honolulu at 4,962 miles, which is slightly longer than Seattle to Tokyo at 4,769 miles.
For the record the longest domestic flight in the world is Paris-Orly to Reunion Island which is 5,802 miles.
Basically, the NTSB is conducting a microscopic inspection of the failed JAL battery. No clear suspect causes yet, a microscopic investigation suggests possibly a manufacturing defect or some sort of external damage. Next update is due on Feb. 1.
Hawaii in recent years has seen a boom in flights from west coast secondary markets. This has largely been the result of Alaska Airlines aggressive 737 expansion from California cities. Allegiant Air followed with 757 service from even smaller airports. As a result of this expansion United Airlines downsized their service.
Now it looks like Hawaiian Airlines is set to revamp their west coast service. Hawaiian famous for free meals and wide-body 767/A330 service yesterday inked a deal with their ALPA narrow-body union to allow for narrow-body service to the west coast. This complements the deal with Airbus for 16 new A321s set to be delivered starting in 2017.
While this deal sets the stage for Hawaiian to change their west coast operation it has the potential to change their entire narrow body operation. Currently Hawaiian operates 18 717/MD-95’s on their Intra-Hawaiian shuttle flights. Boeing inherited this aircraft from merger partner McDonnell Douglas. Because of a lack of commonality with other Boeing product lines and lack of popularity, the 717 program was quickly canceled.
Now, Hawaiian had the opportunity to buy 737’s which currently have the range to make the west coast to Hawaii run or buy the 737Max but they did not. By choosing the Airbus A321 it sends a signal that when they decide to replace their 717s they will do so probably with A319s/A320’s because they will share a type certification with the A321 and will have a large number of common parts. This will allow Hawaiian to lower its fixed costs in the same way Southwest Airlines does by only using the 737.
John Pistole announced today that the TSA is the gold standard of aviation security.
First go huh?
Mr. Pistole attributed this to the lack of domestic terror acts initiated from United States airports. While that number is zero, it is see to that Mr. Pistole has been drinking the kool-aid and not in a good.
First, there Israeli security at Ben Gurion International Airport, which is widely thought of as the best aviation security in the world.
Next, there are the TSA success of searching grandmas and young children. While recently these problems have abated they are well known.
Then, there are the ways around the TSA well publicized layers including ways to avoid detection on the millimeter wave scanner as well as hacking boarding pass and getting around the no-list.
Also, there was the famous list of TSA suspect countries published through a poorly redacted sensitive information document.
Finally, there is the general lack of professionalism of the line TSA members, including lack of knowledge of appropriate identification, stealing, and retaliatory actions. (see my post about Mr. Tobey’s protest of intensive body searches)
Mr. Pistole, your agency has to be the gold in order for you to call it the gold standard. Until then it is just like the USA Today article says, a butt of late-night TV jokes.
Families all over the world pack their children off on to planes on a daily basis. As part of that if the children are not old enough to handle travel by themselves the families either ask for or the airlines demand they use their unaccompanied minor service. Generally this involves an airline staff member escorting the minor all the way on the plane, alerting the crew, a staff member escorting the minor if there is a connection, and having a family member escorted to the gate to pick up the minor. The legal side of the unaccompanied service is a little dicey, where parents and family members can make decisions the airlines are bound the law. If parents don’t like the seating arrangement on the plane they can ask people to move, airlines however are limited in what they can do.
This past month two incidents were reported one with KLM Airlines and the other with Air New Zealand. The situation was the same on both flights, an adult male passenger was asked by the flight crew to change seats because they were originally seated next to an unaccompanied minor. According to the articles, KLM asked because the child needed to sit next to “a mother,” on the Air New Zealand flight is was because the passenger was seated next to an unaccompanied female minor.
http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/travel/187459521.html?refer=y (I’m pretty sure the reporter meant to say Intercontinental flight)
Previously Qantas, British Airways, and Virgin Australia both got into trouble for asking male passengers to move. In fact British Airways actually lost a civil suit and had to pay damages to the adult passenger. Currently, for flights that fall under US DOT regulations discriminatory seating policies are prohibited.
With 49% of the world population being male, it is a coin flip as to which gender a person is sitting next to. Now I do not want to get into a debate on which gender is more likely to hurt children. If you want to do that it’s fine with me the comments are to the right. What I want to point out is the catch-22 the airlines are. When the airlines accept the child, they take on a guardian type roll. IE, they become legally responsible for the well-being of the child from the moment of the acceptance to the time they turn the child back over to a family member. If anything were to happen to the minor, the airline would be responsible. While people get angry when discrimination occurs it pales in comparison against the multi-million dollar judgment for hurting someone’s kid.
For the airline they almost have to look at from a risk management stand point, balancing the very small risk that something will happen versus the very large judgment when something does happen. It is clear that some airlines have decided to mitigate the risk by engaging in discriminatory behavior. Is this a case of a few horrible individuals ruining travel for the rest of us or are the airlines justified in discriminating against men seated next to children? What do you all think?
On January 27th the US NTSB released an update of the 787 battery investigation.
The update is about what you would expect, nothing to report. The NTSB has completed the disassembly of most the batteries and they have found nothing so far. The most interesting thing found so far was that there was damage to the battery monitoring circuits on the JAL 787 that caught fire; though as of right now they do not know were damage came from.
I’ll keep you updated as the NTSB keeps me updated.