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Monthly Archives: February 2006

Lost Luggage? You are Not Alone On United States Airlines.

LOST_LUGGAGEHave you had a bag lost or damaged in the past year? Well, according to a Bureau of Transportation Statistics survey, the chances of your bag missing have gone up as the airlines have cut back on staffing.  

Reports of mishandled bags on domestic flights rose 23 percent in 2005, from 4.91 per 1,000 passengers in 2004 to 6.04 per 1,000. That’s an average of about 9,700 lost or damaged bags each day. Last year, airlines were cutting jobs as the number of domestic passengers surged to the pre-September 11 level of 590 million.

Of the 20 carriers that reported to the Transportation Department, Atlantic Southeast Airlines had the highest rate of baggage complaints — 17.41 per 1,000 passengers — and Hawaiian Airlines had the lowest, at 2.95 per 1,000. Every checked bag now must be screened for explosives. According to a recent federal report, the Transportation Security Administration screens about 75 million bags a month. via CNN.

Experimental Travel – New concepts in travel

Experimental Travel is an idea being put forward by a French Journalist Joel Henry to try to find new and unique ways to travel and experience new things. It is a bit out there, but worth the quick read.

Airport travel– Spend 48 hours in an airport without getting on a plane

By Night Travel– Arrive at a place at night and leave the next day

Dodecatourism– Build a travel itinerary out of the number 12. Take a train that leaves at 12.12 get off at the 12th stop…

Slow Return Travel– Take the fastest route to a place and the slowest route back

via Influx

NJ Woman Gets Jail For Attempting to Enter Cockpit and Hitting Flight Attendant

4 months in a Montana jail is the next stop for Judith McKenith of New Jersey after she attempted to enter a cockpit of a Northwest Airlines flight while intoxicated and hitting a flight attendant. The sentence was handed out in federal court in Billings, Montana. I think this is a solid sentence, long enough that it will send a signal out to the traveling public that you have to behave on an airline.

Judith McKenith, 57, of Bergenfield, N.J., apologized for her actions during her sentencing in federal court in Billings on Thursday, and said she has since entered an alcohol and drug recovery program.”I regret what happened. I was wrong,” she told U.S. District Judge Richard Cebull. “I’m on a different road and I like the road I’m on now.”Prosecutors said McKenith was aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 1279 on Jan. 6, 2004, and had been drinking heavily. FBI investigators said McKenith became belligerent when she was denied additional drinks and hit a flight attendant on the chin. Passengers tried to intervene and McKenith hit one in the face and kicked another in the groin. She then said she was going to the cockpit to talk to the captain.McKenith was restrained and the plane, en route from Minneapolis to Boise, Idaho, made an unscheduled landing in Billings. As officers removed McKenith from the plane, she tried to kick and bite the officers and tried to wrap her legs around the railing as they went down the stairs from the plane.

AP Wire | 02/10/2006 | Woman who disrupted flight gets prison time.

Northwest told to Negotiate More With Pilots Union – Then Strike Possible

Northwest03In what could be a fatal blow to Northwest Airlines, the bankruptcy judge told them to keep negotiating with the pilots union, while the union says that if the contract is thrown out, they will strike. A strike at this stage would destroy the company, putting thousands out of work, including the striking pilots.

I can understand the frustration of the pilots. They have typically flown military or training schools for very little money and at great risk to get a position with the major airline. They have built their futures on the notion that they will have a certain pay scale. And now it is being ripped out from under them.

But the reality is that the marketplace will not allow the airlines to charge what they previously did. For an airline to be profitable, and why own a unprofitable business, they need to have their costs in line with the marketplace. A major cost is salaries, and they have shown by entering bankruptcy that the business is not sustainable at its present level with their salary structure. So it is a catch 22 for the pilots.

Keep the company working by taking a pay cut that you do not like? Or kill the company and your paycheck by striking? Not a pleasant situation, but as a famous singer said, “sometimes it is better to fold them than hold em.”

Northwest, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September, has said a strike could kill it, which would put pilot pensions at risk.
The carrier also says a strike would be illegal. That’s because airline-union relations are governed by the Railway Labor Act, which lays out a lengthy pre-strike procedure that hasn’t been followed at Northwest. On Wednesday, Northwest said it would seek an immediate injunction if either group tries to strike.
Duane Woerth, president of the Air Line Pilots Association, scoffed at that idea, saying, “How can you be ordered to work when you don’t have a contract?”
While the airline and the unions all said they would rather make a deal, the question remains as to what would happen if the union went on strike in response to the contracts being overturned. Workers at other bankrupt airlines have threatened strikes, but ultimately made deals. via the Washington Post

Bridge Headaches for Pinellas County Hurts Tourism and Spring Break

When planning on traveling to a vacation destination, remember to check not just the discounted pricing for your vacation, but also what is happening in the area that might  cause the discounted pricing. The vacation destinations of  Treasure Island, Madeira Beach and St. Pete Beach are all having a terrible time due to bridge construction. So if you are planning on visiting these areas for spring break or your vacation, be prepared not to drive around much, because traffic is snarled with construction.

The south Pinellas County beach communities are busy entertaining tourists and residents. But getting there is hard, getting around once you arrive is is tougher – and it’s all going to get worse before it gets better.
Three bridge construction projects have squeezed traffic in and around Treasure Island, Madeira Beach and St. Pete Beach. Pressure is mounting as spring break, spring training and spring boating seasons loom.
“It’s nothing but traffic problems,” said Larry Hoffman, the president of the Treasure Island Chamber of Commerce, which sits between the closed Treasure Island Causeway and Gulf Boulevard, the beaches’ main drag in more ways than one.
“If I was going to do a plan to create a total disaster, this is what I’d do.”
In addition to the closure of the Treasure Island bridge, the John’s Pass bridge is half closed, choking seasonal traffic into one lane in each direction. For good measure, the Tom Stuart Causeway, the next mainland connection north of John’s Pass, is beginning a yearlong project that will limit its capacity. via the St. Petersburg Times.

Asian Airline Price Fixing Probe Growing

The price fixing probe out of Asia is growing rapidly. The air cargo industry is thought to have colluded on surcharges for security, fuel, and insurance. Investigators are looking into the revenue

Three more Asian airlines confirmed Thursday they were being probed amid an investigation by U.S., European and Asian regulators into alleged collusion in the air cargo industry to fix prices on surcharges for fuel, security and insurance.
South Korea’s Asiana Airlines Inc., Japan’s Nippon Cargo Airlines Co. and Singapore Airlines Ltd. all said they had either been visited or contacted by regulators or court officials this week.
Since Tuesday, more than a dozen airlines, including Japan Airlines Corp., Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., British Airways PLC and Germany’s Lufthansa AG, say American and European authorities have visited their offices or issued subpoenas. via ABC News

Celebrity Cruises Orders Second Ship in New Solstice Class

CelebrityCelebrity Cruises announces that that they have ordered a second new ship for a 2008 delivery to their fleet. The ship will be named the Celebrity Solstice, to reflect the naming of it’s sister ship the Celebrity Equinox.

Celebrity Cruises has exercised its option to order a second 118,000 gross-registered-ton ship today, reaffirming its commitment to innovative products and high guest satisfaction. German shipbuilder Meyer Werft will build the new tonnage, with delivery of the first ship planned for Fall 2008 and the second ship in Summer 2009. Celebrity also announced names of both new ships.

The first new ship will be called Celebrity Solstice, and the second ship will be named Celebrity Equinox. The new series of ships will be known as the Solstice class. Terms for the second Solstice-class vessel are substantially the same as those of the first ship.

Both new ships will be 2,850-guest vessels measuring 1,033 feet in length and 121 feet in width. Their added size will allow Celebrity to offer larger standard staterooms, a higher percentage of balconies and an exceptional range of guest-inspired services and amenities.

New York Top Hotels Convert to Condo’s at Rapid Rate

It is not only the Plaza that has converted some of its rooms in New York City recently as this International Herald Tribune article states, but many of the top properties in the city are converting to condo’s. And the list of potential buyers continues to grow. The cachet of living in one of the top hotels is too much to resist for some of the elite. To be able to say, I am staying at my Plaza apartment is the newest game to play.

In the past three years hundreds of hotel rooms in New York have been converted into condominium apartments, including space at some of the city’s most historic and elegant hotels. The list includes The Plaza, the St. Regis, The Stanhope and the St. Moritz. About 1,200 rooms were converted in 2004 and in 2005, up from about 200 in 2001 and in 2002.

The conversions have been spurred, in part, by intense market demand for luxury real estate, as well as for homes that come with a broad range of hotel-like services, such as housekeeping, room service and someone to park the car. The demand for such hybrid residences has far surpassed the expectations of market analysts and even those of the most optimistic developers.

“We are not just selling real estate. We are selling a way of life, and the response has been overwhelming,” said Ian Schrager, the hotelier and developer who converted part of the Gramercy Park Hotel to condominiums last year. “It’s the ultimate luxury: an effortless, carefree way of living in a modern, complex, hectic city.” via International Herald Tribune

Crossposted at The Real Estate Bloggers.

Midwest to Start Allowing Pets to Fly and Earn Frequent Flyer Miles

DogtravelerNPR’s Marketplace radio show has a nice feature on Midwest Airlines new policy on allowing pets to ride in the main cabin with their owners. This is an interesting idea for the flying public as it can provide an irritant that could make a crying baby seem tame, but also provide a new source of revenue for the struggling airlines and capture a part of the public that would have driven to their destination so their pets could accompany them.

Midwest Airlines is about to start allowing passengers to bring small pets with them into the cabin. The animals can even earn mileage rewards. As WUWM contributor Ann-Elise Henzl reports, the move is a shrewd one for the bottom line. 

Click here to listen to the Marketplace show.

Japan Airlines CEO Asked To Resign

JapanairlinesThe CEO of Japan Airlines,  Toshiyuki Shinmachi, and two of his top executives have been asked by 4 of the companies directors to resign due to “Poor Performance”. The shakeup was unexpected because he had been hired within the past year. However, the airline continued to have safety and revenue issues that Shinmachi was brought in to rectify, and this led to his dismissal.

“This means the current management is not functioning at all, and the airline’s situation is worse than I expected,” said Yoku Ihara, research head at Retela Crea Securities in Tokyo.

“The airline needs to take drastic measures by reshuffling management, including those who asked for the resignation.”

 Shinmachi, promoted to the top job at Japan’s largest carrier less than a year ago, has been under pressure to improve the airline’s safety record, cut costs and raise earnings. Fuel prices have surged and passengers have switched to All Nippon Airways after reports of at least 18 safety lapses last year, helping to triple Japan Airlines’ third-quarter loss to ¥11.1 billion, or $93.6 million.

Japan Airlines said last week that it was likely to report a loss of ¥47 billion in the year ending March 31.  via International Herald Tribune