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2015: 290,939
2014: 363,407
Total: 1,212,540


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Is Spirit Airlines Over Reacting to New Federal Regulations?

Spirit is not afraid to give their opinion about the new rules on taxes and fees.

Spirit is not afraid to give their opinion about the new rules on taxes and fees.

If you have been on Spirit Airline’s website recently, you might have seen a big warning taking over your screen. The warning shows Spirit’s disdain for the Department of Transportation’s new fees and tax regulation that require airlines to include fees and taxes in their advertised prices. The warning states, “New government regulations require us to HIDE taxes in your fares. This is not consumer friendly or in your best interest. It’s wrong and you shouldn’t stand for it.”

Senator Barbara Boxer, D-California, is not happy with Spirit’s actions and has asked the airline’s CEO, Ben Baldanza, to remove the warning message off the website. Spirit Airlines is disappointed by the letter and spokeswoman Misty Pinson told CNN, “We would normally expect Senators to encourage 1st Amendment protection.”

“We have always shown taxes before someone purchased. They now want them hidden. It is wrong and we will fight for consumers,” Pinson said. Spirit is concerned that the government will be able to raise taxes without customers knowing and blaming the airlines for higher overall costs.

Why is the government targeting airlines? In most places in the US, you see a list price and know you will have to pay more (ie taxes) when you check out. Let’s take buying a car for example. It might be advertised as a $19,999.00 vehicle, but after adding taxes, licenses, dealer fees, interest and others, that $20,000 car ends up costing you much more than advertised. Why does the government feel the need to regulate the airline business, but allow other areas to do business as usual?

These new rules might not be permanent. Yesterday, Representative Tom Graves, R-Georgia, introduced legislation to counter the new rules. “If the American people can’t see these costs clearly, I fear it will be easier for these fees and taxes to be raised without their knowledge,” Graves said.

Spirit Airlines Airbus A320.

Spirit Airlines Airbus A320.

I asked some of my Twitter followers what they thought about the new regulations and Spirit’s reaction and I want to share a few reactions:

“As if raising fees is done in secrecy. Spirit has lost my support. Final price is the way to go,” @gusnyc.

“Seeing as taxes make a bulk of tix price for flying, it should be shown,” @MichaelLacek.

“I’d love for stores to show prices with taxes included. Shopping in sales tax-free Oregon is strange yet awesome,” @quanterium.

“Two flights advertised as the same amount but which “ring up” differently is bad for consumers,” @iansltx.

“Super easy way to show it: Total Fare: $275. Fare: $200. Taxes/Fees: $75. Why is everything airlines do so damn hard?” @smtpboy.

“It’s about time! Stop whining Spirit!” @PiloTgod.

“@spiritairlines is just mad they can’t advertise $9 fares anymore,” @amolkold.

Ah, I think @amolkold might have hit the nail on the head. Spirit loves to talk about their $9 fare deals, which always end up costing more than $9 after all the fees and taxes. Having to add those fees and taxes up front wouldn’t allow the airline to advertise a flat $9 fare.

As a la carte pricing becomes more popular with airlines, it seems to cause additional anger with many passengers. Even with a growing dis-like for fees, passengers keep on paying them and flying on airlines, like Spirit, who are well known for their low prices and plenty of fees. If passengers truly hated the airline and their way of doing business, they would not be in business.

Of course, all this over-reaction could just be another publicity stunt for the airline. Spirit has been known to come up with crazy ads and stunts to get free publicity. Although I am sure that this new rule hurts the airline’s bottom line, it has also given them the opportunity to once again garner a bunch of free publicity (including from me).

No matter your thoughts on the new rule or Spirit’s actions, it is pretty interesting to see an airline that is so vocal about a law. Seems like this rule could still be over turned.

 Spirit A320 Image by Justin Pistone

American Airlines Shows Off New Boeing 777-300ER Interior

This is a preview of what American Airline's business class in their new Boeing 777-300ER. Image from American.

This is a preview of what American Airline's business class in their new Boeing 777-300ER. Image from American.

American Airlines has unveiled what the interior of their new Boeing 777-300ER will look like when delivered. American has placed an order for 10 of the aircraft and will be the first US airline to operate them.

“American Airlines continues to remain focused on providing a differentiated customer experience through various efforts, including the execution of our fleet renewal plan,” said Virasb Vahidi, American’s Chief Commercial Officer. “The addition of 777-300ER aircraft will further modernize our fleet through the integration of unique customer comforts, which are designed to create more inviting interiors and enhance the travel experience.”

The Boeing 777-300ER, which will be configured in a three class layout, will become American’s largest aircraft that they operate. Both First Class and Business will offer lie-flat seating.

American has also announced that they will use their new 777-300ER on the Dallas/Forth Worth (DFW) to Sao Paulo (GRU) starting in December of this year. American is expecting to receive two of their 777-300ERs in 2012 and the remaining eight in 2013.

This first class suite will be on American's Boeing 777-300ER. Image from American.

This first class suite will be on American's Boeing 777-300ER. Image from American.

This new and improved economy class will be on the Boeing 777-300ER.

This new and improved economy class will be on the Boeing 777-300ER.

The look of the interior will look more like the 787 versus older 777s. Image from American.

The look of the interior will look more like the 787 versus older 777s. Image from American.

 

Airline Livery of the Week: Jat Airways

JAT Airways Boeing 737-300.

Jat Airways Boeing 737-300.

If you like dots and simplicity, boy do I have a livery for you — Jat Airways. The airline was founded in 1927, which makes it one of the world’s older airlines. JAT is the national airline of Serbia and operates out of Belgrade Nikola Tesla Airport (BEG).

JAT currently operates a fleet of Boeing 737-300 and ATR-72 aircraft that fly to mostly international destinations in Europe. The airline has had quite a few different liveries through out the years and some better than others.

The JAT Yugoslav Airlines livery seen on this DC-9 in 1986 has a very classic looking livery with the retro “JAT” circle on the tail.  Then, with the introduction of the Boeing 737-300 to the fleet, JAT went with a similar livery, but with bare metal instead of white paint — not quite as nice looking in my opinion. In 2001, JAT updated their livery with a waving flag design on their tail and a predominate “JAT” on the front of the fuselage — which looked great on a DC-10.

To help celebrate their official name change to “Jat Airways” in 2003, the airline decided to hold a competition for a new livery. A simple livery involving dots ended up winning and is now on their entire fleet.

So… what are your thoughts?

Image by 64N21W

Classic Air Cal Commercial – You’re Going to Like Their Style

In the 1980’s Air Cal had an interesting campaign using a piano man and highlighting the fact that you might just like their style. I do not think many airlines would do a commercial quite like this one today. Unfortunatly the colorful style of Air Cal did not make it past the 1980’s and in 1987, the airline was purchased by American Airlines.

Starting operations as Air California in 1967, they operated Lockheed Electra’s with a very classic looking livery and later operated the Boeing 737-200 in the same and then slightly modified livery.