Posts Tagged 'airline news'

Matchmaking Onboard

cupid_smallThis year’s financial crisis hits airlines hard. The past years were quite a bad period for most commercial airlines, but in 2009 it is not just tourists who try to save money on holiday trips, but also companies cut costs and allow their employees to travel only on special occasions. Therefore it is not a miracle that airlines try to be extremely creative with their marketing and PR actions.

This time Air New Zealand surprised us with some unexpected creativity and announced the launch of cupid flights between Los Angeles and Auckland in October this year. According to the original news source, passengers of the matchmaking flight will attend a gate party and they can take part in onboard games to have the chance to get to know each other.

Read the full story here.

Do you think it is possible to find the love of your life on a plane? Share your opinion with us!

By Szafi

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Would You Carry Your Luggage To The Plane?

I found the following news today on an Australian news portal:

EUROPE’S largest low-cost airline Ryanair is looking at the possibility of getting passengers to carry their luggage all the way to the plane, cutting out the need for baggage handlers.

“We would say to passengers … take your own bag down through airport security, leave it at the bottom of the steps, we put it in the hold and on arrival we deliver it to the aircraft steps and you take it with you,” Chief Executive Michael O’Leary told a news conference yesterday.

Ryanair’s business is centered around cutting costs and the carrier is planning to eliminate check-in desks from October this year, saving up to 40 million euros annually.

An airline spokesman said the group would not pursue the luggage plan if it jeopardized their quick turnaround times.  (Original sourc: Reuters)

Now let’s think it over for a moment. It is clear that if they close check-in counters completely, they get in trouble. We all know that luggage self-check-in does not work. People cheat with it, they screw up sticking bag tags properly on the luggage, they spend 10 minutes by sticking the bag tag instead of moving away from self check-in kiosks, so they queue up, which is not efficient at all. In the end it is always more simple to open up a check-in counter and have them pay an extra cost for checked-in lugagge. They actually do so. If you fly Ryanair, you will need to pay an extra lugagge fee. Wherever they launched it, they use carousels to take the luggage from the check-in kiosk to the security check.

60s_luggageSo now instead of carousels and a central luggage assorter it is the passenger, who takes the luggage to security – which is actually the same security that checks on-board baggages. First of all how do they decide whether you can take a bottle of wine with you? If it is a checked baggage, it can stay there, if not, then leave it here for us? Or what?

Who weighs the baggage? The passenger? I can predict – although I am not a fortune teller – that there will be no overwiehgts any more. So how can a balance sheet be prepared for the ground staff? Is it safe?

Then the passenger takes the luggage to the stairs, puts it into a container, so the ground handlers will start loading them into the plane exactly when boarding starts. Because earlier no luggage can be left alone anywhere, otherwise it is a security hole again. For me it seems impossible to finish loading in time, but miracles can happen.

After the plane arrives it is fine that passengers take it from the container and they will not stand along a carousel again, but what about lost luggage? It would be fun to handle their claims right at the plane, when again loading starts for the return flight. Yes, I know, they can be directed to a customer management desk, but passengers are strange people: if they will see loading staff, they will try to convince them to go and look for their luggage again.

And what is it that they really save at the end of the day? A carousel that takes checked luggage to the central assorting place, then to the security and then to the aircraft, which is almost fully automized. I am not sure it is such a big deal. And on the other hand passengers pay for this service.

Well, I will keep my eyes on this story. I am too skeptic to believe this is actually going to happen.

How about you? Would you carry your checked-in luggage all through the airport to the plane?

By Szafi

Stewardess Fired For Being Fat

As we have already mentioned in an earlier post about sexy setwardess uniforms, not everybody can qualify for a stewardess job.  Many airlines have height and weight requirements and even once you start working as a flight attendant, you may be released any time for loosing your shape.

Apparently Air India is one of these strict airlines. In December 2008 10 stewardesses were fired for being fat. They were given a chance to loose weight and reshape themselves, but they failed. I am sure many of us have experienced the bad feeling over the failure of loosing weight in a diet. Besides this bad feeling, the ladies even lost their jobs.

airindiastewardessAccording to the full story by Times Online, they initiated a legal procedure, but the court said it was the right of the airline to apply strict rules regarding the appearance of the flight crew.

Well, it is up to everyone to decide what is better: seeing good young chicks on board and fire women at the age of 50, when they cannot get a job any more or seeing old and a little overweight stewardesses during the flight time.

By Szafi

20 June, Paris Air Show

Just a few headlines for today from ATW Online:

  • ILFC orders 52 more 787s as Boeing nears July rollout
  • Airbus adds to strong Paris showing by inking firm orders for 43 A330s
  • Gallois: ‘Airbus is back’
  • Pratt signs second airline for CFM56 parts program, confirms Asian customer
  • IAE secures V2500 engine orders, aftermarket agreements valued at up to $1.77 billion
  • CFM wins $690 million in CFM56-5B orders
  • Honeywell to provide 747-8 FMS

by Szafi

Board With Your Mobile

Let me comment on a news item again:

“Vodafone Spain and Spanair signed a partnership agreement launching a “two-dimensional code system that will enable passengers to receive their boarding card on their mobile phone and proceed directly to security and boarding.””

The news above is not considered as break-through technology or extra special, we have heard about such plans, trials and working solutions before, which offer bar-codes on a mobile and then use that for boarding. I believe this solution will become a standard sooner or later all around the airline industry, or at least it should. As many of you had probably experienced when flying, it’s much easier and quicker to check in for your flight from home using the internet, or from your mobile, using mobile internet, or WAP. However, most of the solutions used on a bigger scale today still require you to proceed to the self-check-in kiosk at the airport (or maybe at the airport train terminal downtown) to claim your standard, ATB2 (magnetic stripe paper) format boarding pass. The time you spend at the kiosk is shorter when you have checked in earlier, but you still need to go there (even stand in a line sometimes), identify yourself at the machine, wait for the printing and then continue to security. But you need to visit the check-in kiosk, can not save time on that, it’s a “must do” part of the check-in experience. (And of course the paper may get stuck in the machine, or any undesired situation may arise, which is a risk for you when you’re running to catch your flight.)

Example 2D Bar Code

To eliminate the need to go to the kiosk at the airport even when you’ve checked in by yourself earlier, a solution is needed that does not require special printing. And this solution is the 2 D Bar Code. The most important advantage of such a bar code is that it carries the same information as the magnetic stripe on the back of the “traditional” boarding card, but in a much more flexible way. The bar code only needs to be displayed somewhere (a piece of normal paper, a mobile telephone screen, or even as a tattoo on your body) it doesn’t make a difference where or how it is shown, as long as it stays readable for the reader – no need for special, “magnetizing” printers. This last thought takes us to another task to be carried out: bar code readers need to be deployed at all points of an airport (or even aircraft?) where a boarding card is to be checked/used or acted upon. More and more airlines and airports are deploying these readers, so as time flies by, this service will become more and more wide-spread.But why I like the news quoted here, is that an airline teamed up with a mobile provider. This guarantees a professional solution from the gsm side as well, and will provide more publicity when the service is launched, I’m sure. The backside may be, that for some time only Spanish Vodafone subscribers may be able to use this particular comfortable solution, but even though, I think this is an example to follow for airlines.

DEAR READERS, please share your personal experiences with bar coded check-in – if you have ever done it – by leaving a comment for this post! Please let us know which airline offered it, at which airport, and whether if you liked it or not? Did you print it yourself at home, or did you receive it as an MMS on your mobile?

By balint01


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