Yesterday Ryanair “officially” announced that they will start offering child-free flights starting in October. Is this real or another free-publicity tactic by Ryanair? Well, the catch is that Ryanair might be crazy enough to do this. However, the fact that it is April Fools day tomorrow, makes me suspect this might all be a ruse. Also take into account that they have a history of pulling April Fools jokes in the past, from providing moon flights, offering first class seating and selling porn on board, Ryanair has been a fun little jokster.
Don’t get me wrong, this is genius marketing. First you get media outlets to report on the story, creating buzz and free advertising. Then, after it is announced it was a joke, there is another round of free advertising, saying it wasn’t true and how silly Ryanair is being. I was able to get an official copy of the press release, but I haven’t been able to get any confirmation from them that this is an April Fools joke. Sure, maybe this is real, but I am willing to bet that it is not. Since the press release itself is so entertaining, I want to share it with you all:
RYANAIR TO INTRODUCE ‘CHILD FREE’ FLIGHTS
Ryanair, the world’s favourite airlines, today announced that it will introduce ‘Child Free’ flights from October (winter schedule) after a Europe-wide survey of 1,000 passengers showed that half would pay higher fares to avoid other people’s children. The survey showed that a third of passengers (36%) have had flights ‘ruined’ by other people’s noisy kids with one in five passengers (18%) urging Ryanair to restrict the number of children on flights.
While the survey found that passengers would prefer to avoid other people’s children, it placed ‘blame’ firmly with parents with top gripes being:
50% Parents who expect ‘special treatment’ because they have children.
25% Parents who allow children to annoy those in seats behind.
15% Parents who board late and expect others to accommodate them.
10% Parents who allow children to run in the aisles or kick seats.
“When it comes to children we all love our own but would clearly prefer to avoid other people’s little monsters when travelling. While half our passengers would like us to divide our cabins up into ‘adult’ and ‘family’ areas it is not operationally possible due to our free seating policy, with optional priority boarding. However, with clear demand for ‘child free’ flights Ryanair will introduce child free flights on high frequency routes from the start of our winter schedule in October.”
So what do you think? Real or fake? Would you like to see child free flights?
Spirit has announced a new fee structure and it is causing some airline-hate.
For me, Spirit is the best example of a US-based ultra low cost carrier. They have perfected the art of ala cart pricing, where they offer rock bottom fares, but then have fees for everything else. I think Ryanair holds the crown currently for world-wide uber ultra low cost carrier, but Spirit is quickly catching up. Spirit’s creative fees (ie charging for carry-on bags) causes a lot of media-drama, but it works for them. Most recently they announced a change in their fee structure. If you wait until the last 24 hours before your flight to pay the bag fees, you are going to pay more, but if you pay with more than a day’s notice, your fees stay the same.
Looking at some of the headlines related to this story, you would think Spirit just stole your first born child. For example, Jaunted titled their story, “Spirit Airlines Raises Baggage Fees Again, Screws Over Passengers.” Then, last night the The Consumerist had their story titled something like “Airline charges you a fee to pay a fee,” trying to insinuate some sort of evil double fee. However, it looks like they came to their sense, since this morning, the title has been changed to, “Spirit Airlines Adds Fee For Not Paying Your Baggage Fees Far Enough In Advance.” I have to give them credit for the change.
When first looking at the fees (early vs late, domestic vs international, early vs late), it got very confusing. Luckily Spirit simplified it for me into four tiers:
1. When reserving online more than 24 hours in advance: no price changes
2. While checking online or by telephone: $5 more
3. Waiting until at the airport check-in counter or kiosk: $10 more
4. Pay at the gate: flat $45 fee
Pretty much, if you do not do things last minute, you aren’t going to be charged more. Plus, if you are part of their $9 Fare Club, you will save $10 per fee. Why wouldn’t Spirit do this? People keep flying and paying their fees and Spirit made almost $56million in bag fees alone last year just from January to September (to compare, Delta made over $730million during the same time). This is a lot of extra revenue and very tempting for airlines not only to keep fees, but look at other creative ways to add to fees. According to Dan Webb on Things in the Sky, Spirit has been able to increase their over all bag fee per passenger from $9.59 in the fourth quarter of 2009 to $16.82 for the fourth quarter of 2010.
Some are trying to lobby the government to fight the bag fees and force airlines to include your first bag in the price of your ticket. This just seems inappropriate to me. In the long run, airlines will charge more overall for your ticket and fees and fares should be market driven, not dictated by the government.
Airlines like Southwest and JetBlue still refuse to charge passengers for their first bag, providing alternative for passengers. ”Southwest has a 40 year history of sharing the wealth of the maximum value we provide — whether it’s in the Customer Service of our People, the predictable efficiency of our operation, or the transparency of our pricing and low fares,” Brad Hawkins with Southwest Communications explains. ” Bags Fly Free and ticketing changes are the pillars of our fee-free stance in not nickel and diming our Customers.”
If you don’t want to pay the fee, then either pay more for a first class ticket or choose an airline that won’t charge you a fee. Even with fees, airline travel with-in the US is very affordable and it is a good thing many can take it for granted.
The video is made of of a combination of Air New Zealand cabin crew, some fitness instructors, Mr. Simmons, Amazing Race presenter Phil Keoghan, New Zealand TV personality Paul Henry, Silver Fern Temepara George and even Air New Zealand’s CEO Rob Fyfe. With over 1.1 million views at the time of posting, I would say love it or hate it, the video has been successful.
Some feel that “fun” safety videos and presentations are not appropriate for such a serious subject. However, it will get people’s attention. “Safety is paramount and non-negotiable at Air New Zealand, and Fit to Fly will again get our passengers sitting up and taking notice of these important pre-flight messages in an engaging and fun way,” says Mr Tod. “Simmons’ fitness moves will definitely ensure that all eyes are on the safety briefing.”
It appears that they used a mock Boeing 787 Dreamliner to film the video. If you think the actual video is fun, be sure to check out the behind the scenes video which is even a bit more fun.
Cockpit of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Uh oh, is that electronic device authorized?
“Sit down, shut up and turn off your electronic devices!” Okay, it is not really that bad, but sometimes I get pretty annoyed when I have to turn off my personal electronic device (PED) during taxi. I am a spoiled American and if we are delayed on the tarmac for take off, not having access to my precious electronic devices is difficult. So why the heck are you required to turn your devices off anyhow? And can they really bring down a plane?
If something happens to the plane and you are on above 10,000 feet, you have time. Time to try to navigate to an airport, time to put your toys away before landing. When you are below 10,000 feet things need to happen quickly and it is more dangerous.
One of the important reasons you have your devices off, is to make sure you are paying attention. First you need to pay attention to the flight attendants giving their safety announcement (they don’t do it for fun). Secondly, you should be paying attention to your surroundings. If the plane catches on fire while taxiing out, you need to be ready to react, not listening to the newest Justin Bieber song (is he still “cool” — I dunno). You also need to be able to get out of the plane as soon as possible. If there are cords and cables in the way and your neighbor is distracted, that can slow things down, causing people injury or possibly death.
Next are those pesky electronic signals. All electronic devices give off some sort of signal that could interfere with the cockpit. Even the Federal Aviation Administration isn’t too sure how much these signals affect the avionics in an airliner, but are playing it safe. The FAA’s website states site, “there are still unknowns about the radio signals that portable electronic devices and cell phones give off.”
Airplane manufacturers, airlines and the FAA work together to make sure that any electronic equipment that might go into an airplane will not cause it harm. According to Flight Global, recently on board Wi-Fi tests resulted in some Honeywell avionics to react adversely. This goes to show that yes, electronic equipment can affect instruments, but it also shows that rigorous testing by all those involved make sure that these sort of things won’t happen past the testing phase. Currently all those involved are working together to find the cause and a solution.
Yes, it might be annoying to put your devices away, but I think there are some very valid reasons for doing so. Next time you are on a flight and you hear the call to turn off your devices, be a good sport and do as you are told.
“This aircraft is carrying a “partial” Lufthansa livery, because it will be used for test flight purposes, during which it is still owned and operated by Boeing,” Martin Riecken, Director of Corporate Communications in the Americas for Lufthansa explains. “After the test program (approx. 300 flight hrs) is completed, it will get the missing Lufthansa livery (logotype, crane etc.) in October.”
So there we go, mystery solved. Can’t wait to see the plane in full livery.