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United Airlines and Continental Airlines today announced that United Airlines has agreed to buy Continental in a $3 billion-plus deal that would create the world’s largest carrier with a commanding position in several top U.S. cities. Interestingly, the headquarter will move to Chicago IL but it would be run by Continental CEO Jeffery Smisek.

So, how would the merged company look like –

In response to US Airways plan to merge with United Airlines, Continental CEO Smisek remarked –

“I recognized that United is the best possible partner for Continental,” Smisek said on a conference call. “I didn’t want him (United’s Tilton) to marry the ugly girl; I wanted him to marry the pretty one, and I’m much prettier.”

The merger will make it the number 1 carrier in US, with Delta the 2nd and American Airlines number 3. US Airways will the distant 4th (for US carriers with international carrier).

US Airways should be proud – their merger talks always result in someone else merging.

The new tarmac rule of airline passengers goes into affect from today. The rule is – the airlines will be fined up to $27,500 per passenger for tarmac delays that exceed 3 hours. The rule does not apply to international airlines.

There are two exceptions –

  1. A pilot doesn’t have to deplane passengers if he determines there’s a safety or security issue.
  2. If air traffic control tells him that deplaning would disrupt the airport.

So, if you don’t have a gate available at the airport, then no fines, since passengers can’t walk on the tarmac.

So, should we rejoice? I say no! There is no reason for us to rejoice at all. My reasons –

  • Airlines will tend to cancel flights that might look like taking too much delays. This means that they will have to rebook all the passengers on other flights and if you are not high up on their frequent flier program, you can be stuck for a long time.
  • Some delays are genuine and understandable (like snow in Dallas, which results in a long wait time for deicing) and return to the gate will result in even worse delays.
  • If there are no gates available for the airline, then forget deplaning!
  • The passenger doesn’t see any part of the fine or does he/she?

Delay at the tarmac is just one fix to the whole line of problems. Before it, the government should have looked at the following –

  • Improving the air-congestion in areas like New York.
  • Imposing a rule that each terminal at the airport should have spare gate (s) to be used when all are occupied.
  • Airlines should not be allowed to overbook flights
  • Improve the tarmac congestion by better management of traffic – in and out.
  • Improve airport constructions to improve traffic – in and out. Example – Philadelphia’s parallel runways obstruct both in and off traffic.
  • Make airlines to post better departure times or arrival times.
  • Fine for missed bags

What do you guys think?

On March 2 2010, a Corendon Airlines flight (Boeing 737) was getting ready at Amsterdam’s Schipol Airport to take off for Ankara, Turkey with 101 passengers on board. Little did any passenger on the flight knew that the 41-year pilot Thomas Salme who was about to fly the plane didn’t have a license to fly. He was apprehended minutes before take off.

A Boeing 737 from the airline Corendon. The Swedish pilot was preparing to take off with a similar plane when he was arrested

 

 Dutch police said they were able to arrest the 41-year-old on suspicion of holding a fake pilot licence thanks to a tip-off from the Swedish authorities.

The Swede, resident in Milan, had once possessed a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL) but this had long since expired, Dutch police said. He subsequently forged an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), the highest level of aircraft pilot licence and one which enabled him to fly large passenger planes.Source: www.thelocal.se

 

Interestingly, he had flown for 13 years with a forged license for companies in the UK, Belgium and Italy, spending a total of 10,000 unlicensed hours in the air. All he had was an expired commercial pilot licence for an airplane much smaller than a a Boeing 737.

Despite the seriousness of the forgery that would jeopardize the lives of passengers and crew, Salme was just fined for 2000 euros and banned for flying for 12 months.

Makes you wonder, shouldn’t the airline (Corendon Airlines) should also be punished for not making sure that Salme had a legitimate license?

Mizozo.com

US Airways is reported to be in talk with United Airlines with regards to a merger that will create the world’s second largest airline (after last year’s Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines merger). This is not the first time when US Airways and United Airlines have talked about merger which failed in 2000 amid antitrust and labor opposition.

US Airways and United Airlines Meger: How would the combined airline look?

Both US Airways CEO Doug Parker and United Airlines’ CEO Glenn Tilton, have been champions for the need to consolidate capacity and hubs within the U.S. Parker even tried an unsuccessful attempt to merge with Delta Airlines some 6-7 years back.

So, how would the combined airlines look –

  • Hubs Charlotte, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Denver, Los Angeles, O’Hare International Airport (Chicago), San Francisco International Airport, Washington Dulles
  • HeadquartersTempe, Arizona or Chicago, Illinois (Tempe if Parker remains the CEO)
  • Fleet Size702 (+154)   – from 343 (+104 orders) and 359 (+50)
  • Fleet – 
    • Airbus A319-100 (93+6), Airbus A320-200 (70+48), Airbus A321-200 (48+17), Airbus A330-200 (7+18), Airbus A330-300 (9+1), Airbus A350-800 (0+18), Airbus A350-900 (0+4), Boeing 737-300 (24), Boeing 737-400 (40), Boeing 757-200 (26), Boeing 767-200ER (10), Embraer E190 (19+23)
    • Airbus A319-100 (55), Airbus A320-200 (97), Airbus A350-900XWB (0+25), Boeing 747-400 (24), Boeing 757-200 (96), Boeing 767-300ER (35), Boeing 777-200 (19), Boeing 777-200ER (33), Boeing 787-8(33)
  • CEODoug Parker or Glenn Tilton

  • Alliance Star Alliance
  • Frequent Flier ProgramDividend Miles or Mileage Plus
  • Name – United Airlines (most probably since it has a bigger brand value)

There are speculations that this might trigger talks between United Airlines and Continental Airlines, which, if successful, would mean that US Airways seems to be the right catalyst for merger talks for “other” airlines!

Both US Airways stocks (around +20%) and United Airlines (around +8%) stocks were up due to rumors.

via Mizozo.com

This summer RyanAir is going to start charging for use of on-board toilets. This means that either –

  • You relieve yourself before the flight
  • Hold on till it lands
  • Carry coins, enough for the whole family (worst if you hate carrying coins like me)
  • Wear this – Adult Diaper

Last year, there was news about Ireland based low cost carrier RyanAir considering the idea to charge passengers to use the plane’s toilets. Well, the idea is now a reality!

RyanAir to start charging for toilets on their planes!

Starting this summer, all on-board toilets on RyanAir planes will become coin-operated, forcing passengers to pay £1 or one euro.

 

Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: ‘By charging for the toilets we are hoping to change passenger behaviour so that they use the bathroom before or after the flight.

‘That will enable us to remove two out of three of the toilets and make way for at least six extra seats.’

The airline mooted the idea of toilet charges last year but backtracked after criticism.

Source: www.dailymail.co.uk

 

What if it is an emergency call and I don’t have any coins left from my earlier use? Also, is there a time limit to each visit?

via Mizozo.com

When will the airlines stop adding new ways of charging a passenger? Makes you wonder, what does an airline ticket mean to a person – is it just the seat on the plane for the flight?

Airlines seem to be trying to find new ways to add more costs for travellers. Airlines are already charging for in-flight food, blankets, headphones, checked baggage, pillows etc. but charging for carry-on luggage might be a little too much.

Spirit Airlines, ultra-low-cost US airline, has just done that! The airlines is charging $45 for each carry-on luggage on an airplane. The charge applies to anything that cannot be stowed under the seat. The fees goes into effect for reservations made for travel on or after Aug 1 2010.

The airline calls itself an ULTRA low cost airline, which means that in the age of low-cost airline, this airline is dirt-cheap!

 

Spirit Airlines’ ULCC (Ultra Low Cost Carrier) approach liberates customers from being forced into paying for services they do not desire or use. When customers are seeking the best value in travel they can choose a low fare at spiritair.com and select the services and options appropriate for their travel needs. Spirits ultra low cost model driven from numerous efficiencies, new aircraft, advanced technology and dedicated staff allows the airline to take this approach offering savings to millions of customers in The Caribbean, Latin American and The United States.

Like the automobile, brokerage and computer industries, Spirit’s approach offers standard product features and options:

Spirit Standard ULCC Product Features
– Ultra low fares
– Largest ULCC network in The Caribbean & Latin America
– Online check-in
– One Carry-On Bag
– Reliable, on-time service
– Clean, new airplanes, the youngest Airbus fleet in the Americas
– Deluxe leather seating
– Friendly staff
Spirit Optional Services & Products
– BIG FRONT SEAT
– Hotels, Cars, Vacation Packages & Cruises
– Event Tickets, Golf Tee Times & Tours
– Travel Insurance
– Onboard beverages and snacks
– Discounted Airport Parking
– Checked baggage
– Personal Cargo

Obviously we are proud to have broken the rules and created arguably the best airline in the Americas. But don t take our word for it; book Spirit for your next trip so you can see first hand what everyone is raving about. We must warn you however, you may kick yourself for not switching to Spirit years ago.

Source: www.spiritair.com

 

Not sure if other airlines will follow the lead or not. Though I would add that this would mean a serious revenue stream for any airline people will now have to pay for luggage – either for checked, carry-on or both.

But then, it is worth it? Wouldn’t the passengers feel that airlines are nickel and dime-ing them for everything? Is an “a la Carte travel ticket” the future of airline?

Mizozo.com