Pretty clever WiFi logo with the dots for the i's being the engines! Logo from Alaska Airlines.
Blogging about airlines adding WiFi to their fleet will never get old for me.
If you remember Alaska caused a bit of a stir after announcing they would be going with Gogo Inglight Internet service instead of Row44, which they were testing. One of the benefits of Gogo is it can be quickly installed onto an aircraft. Alaska already has six planes internet enabled and hopes to have all Boeing 737-800’s and 900’s equipped with WiFi by the end of the Summer. Their entire fleet should be setup by the end of the year. Like other airlines, Alaska will have a WiFi logo by the main cabin door and information in the seat back pocket next to you.
In a partnership with Alaska Airline’s Visa credit card, they are offering the WiFi for free until July 31, 2010. After July 31st northbound flights from Portland and Seattle to Alaska will remain free, until GoGo Inflight is able to improve on cell reception in Alaska. After the free period, prices on other flights will range from $5 to $13 depending on the time and device you want to use.
When I was a young kid I remember seeing this commercial on TV. With all the talk about all these extra fees and maybe having to pay for bathrooms, I couldn’t help but think of this classic commercial. Thanks to YouTube, I was able to track it down and wanted to share. Little did the ad agency know how real this might become.
This also shows that is Ryanair will really do this (I don’t think they will), they need to make sure the doors take credit cards!
It seems that even though there was a lot of “negative” publicity on the new fees, passengers are buying more tickets. Is this because they are feeling Spirit must have really low fares or is it just coincidence?
Now that the carry-on fees buzz is dying down, it is time to move on to the next “crazy” thing: “pre-reclined” seats. Now this gimmick sounds like you would get on the plane and the seats are already partially reclined. However, it really means your seat will be upright and will not be able to recline at all.
Spirit have put the new seats in two new Airbus A320’s servicing the Fort Lauderdale-Washington, DC, route and on flights between Fort Lauderdale and New York’s LaGuardia airport. Two more A320’s will join the fleet this summer, and both will feature the “pre-reclined” seat design, Misty Pinson, with Spirit Airlines told the Orlando Sentinel.
So why is Spirit doing this? To fit in more seats, increasing passenger load and lowering prices. Let me guess how this will work out though:
Step #1: The media and passengers will complain how horrid this is and how they will never fly.
Step #2: Spirit will get free publicity (I know, I am guilty of this right now) about the story, making it stick in people’s minds that the airline provides low-frills, but also low prices (doesn’t always mean it is true).
Step #3: When booking flights, passengers see maybe Spirit’s airfares are very low and decide to fly on them, not caring about the low-frills.
Step #4: Passengers will fly on the airline, then complain that flying is not the way it used to be, they wish they had more room, food and no fees. However, they will continue to purchase the cheapest tickets possible.
Step #5: If Spirit makes more profit off this model, other airlines will follow. Passengers will blame the airlines, but really it is from passenger demand.
Spirit is not the first airline to provide no-recline seats. Allegiant Airlines has seats that don’t recline in 34 of 47 of their aircraft with little complaint. However, they also give 30″ pitch (room between seats), where Spirit will only be giving 28″ pitch. Personally I never recline my seats when I fly anyhow. I think it is quite rude to the people behind me and I hate it when people recline in front of me. I think I might be in the minority on that one though.
Is Spirit Airlines become the US version of Ryanair? That is a good question and I think you might see a blog in the near future on that concept…stay tuned.
AeroMobile, who currently provides cell phone service on 60 of Emirates’ aircraft, had over 11,000 voice calls in February 2010. Yes, with the vast number of passengers who flew on Emirates during that time, it is not an overwhelming percentage, but 11,000 calls still shows there is a demand for airborne phone conversations.
Kirby’s blog has lot of interesting graphs showing how cell phone calls from flights are greatly increasing. There has been talk of cell phone calls being allowed on US flights in the near future.
My personal opinion? Ugh.
First off all, I am not a fan of talking on the phone. I prefer email, texting and using Twitter vs talking on the phone. The fact that I am not reachable by phone, is ok by me. However, the airline industry doesn’t run based on just what I want (would be cool if they did). I know it would be a revenue builder for airlines, but would it be worth it?
Some ask, “How is it any different from two people talking to each other, who are sitting next to you?” There’s a big difference. A lot of people on cell phones are louder and less aware of their environment. I have been on buses, trains, in just general public and heard people talk about things on a cell phone they would never talk about that loudly in person (once I even heard a person even gave their full credit card number, date of birth and other personal information loudly over their cellphone). How many times do I need to hear, “Can you hear me now?”
My initial reaction has been to keep cell phones banned, but am I off base? I mean, cell phones have been active in flights since 2007 around the world and there hasn’t been any backlash or huge fights caused like some had predicted. Of course calls are limited since not many airlines offer it. They are expensive and only a few lines are offered on each flight, but those can all change. Many airlines are already moving towards offering internet on flights, should cell phones be next?