Browsing Tag: Blog

Vueling Airlines A320. EC-LAA

Vueling Airlines A320. EC-LAA

Vueling Airlines is  based out of  Barcelona, Spain. It serves 23 destinations and has a fleet of about 35 Airbus A320 aircraft. It was founded in 2004 and flies to major destinations in Spain, Europe and northern Africa. Four aircraft are named after special passengers: ’œEloy Fructuoso’ (the one-millionth passenger), ’œConnie Baraja’ (passenger 2 million), ’œElisenda Masana’ (passenger 5 million) and ’œCarlos Ceacero’ (passenger 10 million).

Image: Xaf
Ooops!  AA's Boeing 767-300 fell on its nose!

Ooops! AA's Boeing 767-300 fell on its nose!

The American Airlines’ 767-300 had just finished undergoing maintenance at Fort Worth when “the nose gear retracted and put the aircraft on its nose,” says a spokesperson for AA.

No personnel were hurt and the plane has been being assessed for damage since the incident on July 15th.  AA doesn’t expect any change in schedule due to the absence of this plane.

Terry Maxon with Dallas Morning News’ Airline Biz Blog has several additional photos.

Source: Dallas Morning News
Delta Air Lines's in-flight entertainment system

Delta Air Lines's in-flight entertainment system. pic.

On a recent flight from Tampa, FL to Seattle, WA, I stopped and observed the other passengers on-board and what they were doing to entertain themselves. On each flight you normally can find the following:

* Sleepers: They don’t want overhead announcements, they don’t want food/drink service, they just want to sleep.
* iPodders: Just sit there listening to their iPod, sometimes with the occasional head-bob to the music.
* Readers: The flight provides a good opportunity to catch up on some reading.
* Talkers: Will talk to someone they know or spend the flight trying to make new friends.
* Laptoppers: Working on projects and now some on the internet.
* Gamers: With their mini-game systems or using their phones to play games.
* Thinkers: People that spend the time staring at their seat back thinking about who knows what.
* Movie Watchers: Will watch any movie being played by the airline.
* Seat back Players: Passengers who will use the airline’s in-flight entertainment to pass time.
* Combos: Tries to do as many of the different activities as possible before the flight ends.

Over the years, there has obviously been a shift. Years back, there would only be the readers, talkers, sleepers, and occasional movie watchers (if it was offered). Now airlines are providing many more options for flyers. From in-flight entertainment, to movies, to now having the internet, there are quite a few options.

It is not easy to fit a laptop on the tray to blog

It is not easy to fit a laptop on the tray to blog

I often wonder if the millions invested in in-flight entertainment is going to pay off. With so many hand-held gadgets available(iPod, iPhone, laptops, etc) and the addition of Wi-Fi on many airlines now, are flyers still going to be interested in using the airline’s content?

With a device hooked up to the internet, options are almost limitless and on par with entertainment options on the ground. Airlines are able to charge for internet and movies, but so far, power (which will be available on many more planes in the future) and the ability for a passenger to watch something on their own gadget, are free. As the line between phone, mp3 player and computer continues to blur, it seems less likely that passengers would have an interest in paying for limited content on airlines.

I don’t think the concept of in-flight entertainment provided by the airlines will die, but I think it needs to evolve with the times. Is it worth squinting at a small iPhone screen or dealing with a big laptop in front of me to access free entertainment? If airlines would be able to provide more than just TV and movie options (maybe provide the option to interact with other passengers or order food from their seats) could it sway users back to in-flight entertainment? With the addition of Wi-Fi, it would also be beneficial for airlines to integrate the internet into their in-flight systems and charge customers for using it.

However, is it worth it to airlines to pay to keep up with gadgets? In-flight entertainment systems do not come cheap. Airlines, having to foot the initial set-up cost to get airplanes retrofitted with the new technology,  still must pay to keep them updated, they pay for additional fuel burn from the weight, and they pay for licensing fees to show certain TV shows and movies. Is it worth it to put that much money into a system, when passengers can provide the technology themselves and airlines can charge for access to the internet, possibly rent movies onboard (either DVD or via network download), and maybe even charge for power usage?

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 heading out of Las Vegas

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 heading out of Las Vegas

In years past, Southwest Airlines has been known to consistently make a profit.  However, Southwest wasn’t able to keep up in the economic downturn and the end of hedged fuel prices. Then the airline saw three quarters of losses, but no more!

Southwest announced today that it made $54 million during the second quarter this year. This is far less than the $321 million they made during the same time last year, but better than being in the red.

Of course, like most of the world economy, Southwest is not fully in the clear. They are still taking a careful approach to the near future. Southwest chairman and chief executive officer Gary Kelly points out that, “demand for business travel remains weak, and we continue to stimulate traffic with more discounted and promotional fares.” He isn’t confident that Southwest will see a profit for the third quarter. Southwest is cutting about 4% or 1,400 employee positions through early-out offers, hoping to keep the airline profitable.

To compare, Continental Airlines posted a loss of $213 million, American Airlines posted a $390 million loss and United Airlines posted a $28 million profit. Additional airlines should be posting their second quarter results in the next day or so.

Image: gTarded
Boeing 787 at the Everett, WA plant

Boeing 787 at the Everett, WA plant

Is Boeing threatening to move jobs out of Washington State unless their labor union commits to a no-strike clause in the next contract?  I was waiting for a bit more information on the reports of Boeing’s ultimatum to their Washington machinists’ union before blogging about it, but details have not been forthcoming since U.S. Representative Norm Dicks from Washington broke the story a couple of weeks ago:

“The whole thing comes down to, can they get a long-term agreement with the union, with a no-strike clause.  That’s what ultimately has to happen here in the next two or three or four months or they are going to go elsewhere.  I think if they get this agreement, they would stay.”

The no-strike clause rumor comes in the wake of Boeing’s purchase of a 787 rear fuselage production plant in South Carolina ’“ prompting concerns that Boeing will move more of its production out of the Everett and Renton, Washington plants.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO District 751, who represents Boeing’s machinists in the Pacific Northwest, issued a statement assuring members that no proposal on a no-strike clause had been presented by Boeing.  They also expressed disappointment with Boeing allowing rumors to spread this way:  ’œTo use politicians as microphones to deliver a message, creates problems and does nothing to improve the relationship [between Boeing and the Machinists’ Union].’  That being said, the union asserts that they will look at any possible routes to keeping jobs in the state.

Washington State greatly benefits from the two large Boeing plants, and I’m sure residents would hate to see more Boeing jobs go out of state.  Boeing has also been hemorrhaging money in the delayed production of the Dreamliner Boeing 787, so I can understand their desire to avoid costly strikes that could cause further delays.  Boeing’s method of self-preservation, however, leaves a bad taste in the mouth, and I tend to feel for the union’s dismay over having all this leaked to the media before sitting down with labor.  It will be interesting to see how negotiations pan out, and how strong public opinion will play a part.

Sources: Seattle Times, IAM District 751 Image: andyconniecox