Browsing Tag: Amenities

Spirit Airline Airbus A320

Spirit Airline Airbus A320

Spirit Airlines has been in the news a lot recently for their new carry-on fees. Where has it gotten them? Well a ton of free publicity, people complaining …oh and 50% rise in bookings.

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.

UPDATE: I got wondering what other airline’s seat pitches look like and wrote up what I found. Also most people think of low budget airlines are the ones installing non-recling seats, but Dan Webb, with the blog Things in the Sky, reminded me that AirFrance is also using seats that won’t recline (but they still have a 32″ pitch).

Image: andre5003

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Remember these? They were aboard a lot of flights, barely used and cause no disruptions.

Remember these? They were aboard a lot of flights, barely used and cause few disruptions. Would personal cell phones be worse?

People on cell phones can be very annoying. However our society runs on cell phones. Using cell phones to talk on airplanes in the United States is banned, but not in all places of the world.

Mary Kirby, on her blog RunwayGirl, took a look at cellphone usage on airlines that already allow it.

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?”

Currently the FAA does not allow cell phones to be turned on during flight in the US, from fear the signals  could interfere with the airplane’s equipment. However, many flights globally have shown that cell phones cause no threat to airlines  (Myth Busters also showed they caused no harm a while back as well).

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?

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Tail and winglet of Boeing 737-800

Tail and winglet of Boeing 737-800

Yesterday, Continental Airlines announced they will be cutting their free food for most domestic flights starting near the end of the year. The airline will charge for meals in economy on all domestic and Canadian flights of less than six hours. However, they will be keeping free meals on longer flights and still offering free peanuts and drinks on all flights.

There is a lot of rumbling on the internet of “another airline caving in” and screwing over the passenger. However, I see this as a smart move and was really surprised Continental held out as long as they did.

Free food is almost non-existent on most domestic flights anywhere in the world. Passengers have come accustomed to not eating or buying food on board. I would assume that most leisure passengers weren’t even aware that Continental still served food, but it would be a nice surprise when aboard.

If passengers have the expectation to not get free food, why should Continental pay for it? Plus Continental can make additional revenue by charging for food and maybe lower their prices.

Would I love to have free food while flying? Of course. But I understand Continental’s move and with passengers demanding the lowest fares possible, I think it is a smart move for Continental to do this!

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Image: MDLFlyer
Welcome to Las Vegas! Liquor Store Ahead!

Welcome to Las Vegas! Liquor Store Ahead!

Ah Las Vegas. Gambling, fancy hotels, bunch of college students and of course alcohol (ok the list could go on and on, but we will stop with that). Remember in the olden days how you had to wait to get to downtown before getting sloshed? That time between your buzz wearing off from your $6 beer from the plane and having to take a cab all the way downtown? How many times have you been waiting for your bag and thought, “dang, I sure could use a Jaeger shot right about now.” I know…LAME! Well have no worry — the Vegas airport is here to help.

The McCarran International Airport is proposing to open a liquor store in baggage claim. That’s right! This would be the first airport to have a true liquor store. Sure you have those duty free stores and bars, but this you can buy full bottles and take them with you (or finish them before leaving the airport).

Steven Sisolak, a Clark County Commissioner stated, ’œOh, I know it will be a gold mine for some liquor store, but does this mean we’ll do anything for money?’

Seriously? Does this guy know Vegas? It is based on making money! He continues, ’œWhat’s next? Airport strip clubs? Topless bars? Is that appropriate for county property? I mean, that’s ’˜out-of-the-box’ thinking, too.’ Maybe, but really alcohol is already served on planes and in bars, is a liquor store really that much of a jump?

Sisolak also states he is worried about travelers drinking the alcohol in public and having public drunkenness. But isn’t that pretty standard in Vegas, people walking around quite buzzed with a drink in hand?

The airport is hoping this might bring in some extra cash. “We’re strapped for cash just like every other county department, and because of the smoking ban our gaming revenue has gone down and advertising has been a little slow,’ said Elaine Sanchez, airport spokeswoman. ’œWe believe, in hard times, this is a good idea.’

What do you think? Is this a good idea?

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Source: Las Vegas Sun Image: lonnypaul
Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 taking off from Anchorage, AK.

Alaska Airlines Boeing 737-800 taking off from Anchorage, AK.

Airlines adding wi-fi to their fleet is nothing new. But Alaska Airlines announcing they will be adding GoGo Inflight for their Wi-Fi service is exciting since: #1 They were testing Row44 and decided to go with GoGo instead and #2 Alaska is my hometown airline (based in Seattle), I fly them often, and I love having the internet at 30,000 feet.

Alaska has been testing Row44’s satellite-based internet service for quite sometime now. Row44’s main customer is Southwest Airlines. Many thought Alaska would go with Row44 since they have flights to Hawaii and remote areas of Alaska where cell towers, needed by GoGo, do not exist.

Why is Alaska willing to forgo service on all their routes to go with GoGo? A few reasons. First GoGo equipment costs less and takes less time to install on aircraft. This would mean a lower investment at the beginning and not as much lost revenue due to aircraft not being able to fly during installation. Also GoGo is installed on many different airlines all over the US already and has proven itself as a viable service.

GoGo, attempting to get Alaska’s business,  has agreed to expand its network into Alaska, however flights to Hawaii will still have no internet (but heck those passengers are going to Hawaii…nice tropical, warm Hawaii. They can deal with no internet).

To get FAA certification, one Boeing 737-800 will get GoGo installed, then the service will be installed fleet-wide.

Mary Kirby, with Flight Global’s Runway Girl, also has another opinion on this choice. She asks if Southwest and Row44 might have some arrangement in the works, which would have either delayed installation of Row44 into Alaska’s aircraft or Southwest might invest in Row44 and partly own the company. Only time will tell!

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Image: Bob Butcher