Archive for the 'luggage' Category

First Low-Cost Alliance: JetBlue and Aer Lingus

I have been talking (and thinking) about the future of the low-cost market around the world with many friends as well as colleagues from the airline industry for a few years. I’m happy to see one of the ideas I always mentioned in these conversations actually happening.

The equation is very easy to understand. In the beginning there was one, then there were two and by today there are a large number of low-cost carriers. Some of them have a really strong brand, but let’s face it, the average is only known to a certain region -close to their home base(s)-, where they concentrate all their branding and advertising. But you have to get business somehow, so you –as just one of the zillions of low-cost airlineswill eventually be forced to add some extra service to be different from the rest. You will either offer a frequent flier program, or drinks on board, or sandwiches on board, or guaranteed seating or satellite XM radio or TV or something, that differentiates you from the other low-costs. Maybe you team up with another low-cost to offer a wider network, more destinations and connections, one of the things that still keeps the costs of traditional airlines a little bit higher than of the low-costs. Until now low-costs only offered point-to-point flights, or maybe a single connection in their hub from their own flight, to their own flight. But now this is changing!

Aer Lingus Logo  JetBlue logo  

As ATW News reported recently American JetBlue Airways and Aer Lingus from Ireland unveiled details of their strategic partnership late last week, nearly one year after the “alliance” initially was revealed, proving that it will actually happen. The tie-up will take effect 03APR2008 and will feature a booking engine on the website of Aer Lingus (airline code: EI) that will allow customers to purchase tickets on EI flights to the US and onboard JetBlue services from New York JFK in one transaction. EI will have a transfer desk in the arrivals lobby of JFK‘s Terminal 4 where passengers can check in and drop their luggage upon clearing customs. Those flying to Ireland will be able to check their bags through from their initial US departure point when first checking in for a JetBlue flight. “Our partnership with Aer Lingus is a perfect fit with our brand and culture and we are thrilled to extend our network,” JetBlue CEO Dave Barger said. Aer Lingus CEO Dermot Mannion said, “We are proud to be pioneering the model of linking low-fare networks.

It’s interesting to see this latest step in the transformation of Aer Lingus. The story so far: a state-owned, traditional airline, that has a domestic, low-cost rival named Ryanair… The strategy has been laid a few years ago: EI needs to move towards the low-cost model to be able to compete with Ryanair and escape bankruptcy. Well, they kept their long-haul operations as the flag carrier of Ireland but have really transformed to a low-cost airline on short-haul routes. They used to be a member of the oneworld alliance, which they quit just more than a year ago, due to being too “low-cost-ish” and not fitting the requirements of oneworld anymore. But it looks like they still need the help of other airlines’ networks, and having the experience of a global alliance membership for years, they are now starting their own new alliance, which happens to be in the low-cost market. Just look at any of the currently operating alliances, they all have a strong European and a strong US founding member. This alliance follows the same idea, but in a different market. Let’s see how far they will go with this alliance, whether if it will remain a marketing solution only (linking booking engines, issuing tickets in one transaction (with internal accounting between the two members) and allowing through-check-in of passengers and luggage), or if they will soon link up TrueBlue and The Gold Circle Club to allow frequent flier point/mile collection on each other’s flights and will roll out other joint services? Maybe new, smaller members will be revealed later on? We’ll see.

by balint01 

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Best Of AirlineWorld 2007

This is the last day of the year. As billions of people around the world, we also took a look back to what happened in the old year and made some New Year’s Resolutions.

For us 2007 was not a full year as we started our blog in June. It was a nice calm Sunday and Szafi wrote her first post about the Radio Alphabet – a useful tool not just for aviation fans. Balint01 joined her on the 7th with his first post about “Fuller Planes – Good Or Bad?” – a brief explanation of revenue and capacity management of airlines.

A380 

A380 was one of our main topics this year. We could see the a video of an imaginery evacuation of an A380, we reported on that quite unusual initiation that Singapore Airlines sold the first tickets to the A380 on e-Bay and gave the money (USD 1,25 million) for charity. We tried to find out more about the possible cabin configurations and then we reported on the first delivery.

Boeing 787

Boeing 787, the Dreamliner was our other favorite topic. We wrote about it when it was revealed, we put it in our blog header, we reported on the first announcement of delay that predicted 2 months. Now it seems that a 6-month delay is more realistic.

Developments 

Besides A380 and B787 we saw the birth of a Russian jet called Sukhoi Superjet and a Chinese one called ARJ21-700. We kept track of technology trends in aviation. We wrote an article about RFID usage at airlines and airports, about e-ticketing, a new online payment method at Qantas, a weightless flight, a solar powered, unmanned aircraft. Also we were interested in service developments such as the new Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse at London Heathrow Airport, Lufthansa’s new A380 First Class Concept, Boeing’s 747 development to keep up with A380,

Crashes 

Unfortunately again some serious accidents happened. We saw around 200 people dying in a very tragical crash in Sao Paulo, brazil. 19 people died in an accident of Air Moorea on the way to Tahiti. When China Airline’ 737 burst into fire and blew up, everybody could escape in time thanks to the flight crew, who was criticized for being rude – we thought it was better being rude than being inactive. Later it turned out that a loose bolt caused the fire. There was a sad collision of two planes at an Air Show in Radom, Poland. SAS Airlineshad a bad series of crash landings – without serious injuries – of its Dash 8 turboprop planes. Finally they decided on grounding all their Dash 8 fleet. 87 died in One-Two-Go Airlines crash in Phuket, Thailand. A few days later rallye driver champion Colin McRae died in a helicopter crash over Scotland. The most commented article was the weird accident of an Airbus A340 on the ground of the Airbus factory during testing. The last serious accident of the year was an MD-83 crash in Turkey killing 56.

Photo reports 

We received a lot of photos from our friends and airline enthusiasts, so we could show a photo report of a Royal Aircraft in Budapest, Red Bull Air Race in Budapest, an Air Show in Kecskemet and the A340 Airbus crash at the Toulouse Airbus factory.

Innovations 

We criticized airlines and other players of the industry about wrong steps and we were happy to present good initiations of other players. We found KLM’s promotion: a gift of a costmetics set for online bookers a very smart and useful initiation. We loved Iberia’s enviroment-friendly attitude with naming their new aircrafts Royal Owl, Imperial Eagle and other endangered species. We could read funny comments about an interesting topic: Vatican’s Air Mistral. IATA’s initiation of a greener aviation industry was also worth a post.

Sex and rock and roll 

And finally we tried to entertain those not interested in professional matters of the airline business with articles like Sex in an airplane, Sexy stewardess uniforms – with special attention to the self-designed uniform of Easyjet, Superstar pilots, Special aircraft paintings and we learned about where lost luggage end up going.

We also lost a very key figure of the European airline indusry. Tony Ryan, the founder of Ryanair died on 03 October at the age of 71. Net year we will definately write an article about him, because only a few know about his role in today’s aviation business.

And what is our New Year’s resolution? Well, we’ll do our best to entertain you and draw your attention to the magic world of airlines we so much love.

We both wish you a very happy, successful new year and please keep on reading us! 🙂

By Szafi and balint01

Friday Fun – Luggage Stand-Up Comedy

Last Sunday we have published a post about Where lost luggage end up going…, here is a funny stand-up comedy about almost the same issue (the luggage is not lost, “only” damaged a little bit…)

by balint01

Where Lost Luggage End Up Going…

Have you ever lost one of your bags while traveling by air? Arriving to a new airport (or finally back home) and just standing there next to the carousel and waiting for your favorite bag, or the one that had THOSE things which you definiately never wanted to lose?? And as minutes go by, the known faces from the plane slowly disappear (with their bags of course), but you just keep staring and staring at the carousel but yours isn’t there… And the worst moment is probably when they just stop it, and the screen is refreshed showing a new flight number arriving from another airport… And then new passengers start to gather around the plastic snake…

Usually you have to go through some paper-work, claiming that you indeed didn’t get it, and explaining how it looked like, what was inside, etc. And of course you have to claim that you indeed had your name and address on it. In most of the cases, the luggage then will be found based upon your explanation, and delivered to you the next day or a few days later. It happened to a friend of mine, that she was to change planes in Santiago de Chile, but due to bad weather her plane was diverted to her final destination directly. Agustina was very happy that she didn’t have to wait for her connection and take another flight, but then she had to go through the above described situation. The problem in this case was that the bag actually continued its originally planned trip to Santiago but as nobody claimed it there, it never made it to the connecting flight to Cordoba, Argentina as she was already home by then! She had to wait almost a week to finally get it. But some people are not so lucky. They start the bag-hunt, but their bags are never found… So where do they go? Do they end up anywhere? Is there a chance to get back the most important items?

 Unclaimed Baggage Center, Scattsboro, Alabama, USA

As I have learned from a BBC news article, they actually do go somewhere, they end up in a STORE! I know it sounds funny at first, and it did sound funny to me as well, but it actually makes sense (and a good business). The “Unclaimed Baggage Center” in Scattsboro, Alabama, USA buys those bags, resulting the vast majority of items in the store from unclaimed baggage which, after at least 90 days of intensive tracking by the airlines, are declared unclaimed. However, lost and unclaimed cargo is also now available in special areas of the store. They buy those bags, without knowing what’s inside, for a standard fee (maybe it’s depending on the size). (I was wondering whether if the bags are flown into Scattsboro and if they are, then what happens to them if they get lost on that trip – but then I realized, it doesn’t really make a difference, they would only end up here 3 months later…) Then they unpack them, and after sorting put out all the stuff from the bags in their store, which is basically a low-fare, low-cost department store! Yes, they hang the clothes, they lock up the watches, jewellery and cameras in small cabinets and then open the store, so anybody can go in and shop if they find anything that interests them. The goods are used and not handed over by the original owners for sale directy, but their faith is rather determined by luggage sorting/forwarding systems and the employees of the airlines and airports.

The discounted prices attract a large number of visitors every year, who are looking at this event as some sort of a Treasure Hunt, as they never know what they would find! One of them had bought a bag for peanuts, only to find at home that there was money hidden in the lining. The Store actually has a small museum with the most interesting finding they had ever come across, such as a 19th Century full suit of armour, and underwater camera from NASA, Egyptian artefacts and props from movies as well as an ancient map of Afghanistan.

The Unclaimed Baggage Center started when the founders began the business by buying lost luggage from the Greyhound Bus Company in 1970 – as a part-time business. In those days things were literally thrown onto a table and people sorted through, in search of a bargain, but 37 years later the centre is one of Alabama’s top tourist destinations. Over one million items pass through the store annually. About 60% of the merchandise is clothing with the balance of the store dedicated to cameras, electronics, sporting goods, jewelry, designer optical, books and of course, luggage. But don’t forget, they had earlier found a full parachute, an F-16 guidance system and even a 40.95 natural emerald just to name a few of their most interesting findings, so you never know what you may be able to buy over there for a discounted price!

I wonder if anyone had ever visited the store looking for their own belongings which were lost – and had actually found them!? I think if I would lose something really-really important on a flight departing or arriving in the US, and my bag would be classified as unclaimed, I may drop in to the Unclaimed Baggage Center for a “quick” view to look for it! But first of all, I will always make sure that the most important, unreplacable goods are in my hand-luggage, above my seat in the cabin, or underneath the seat in front of me – and this is my heartly advice to you as well!

Here are some of tips by the Unclaimed Baggage Center about how to make your bags recognizable.

by balint01


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