Archive for the ‘Airlines’ Category
The airline industry can’t seem to get a break. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that business-class passengers aboard four different Delta Air Lines flights from Amsterdam found sewing needles in the sandwich served to them during the flight. One passenger flying to Minneapolis even suffered a minor injury after taking a bite. After a post-flight inspection, five sandwiches were found to have been contaminated.
Spirit Airlines gets a lot of flak for its laundry list of options with additional charges it collects from passengers, but in terms of total revenue, Delta Air Lines is actually the fee champion. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), in 2011 Delta made more than $1.6 billion—that’s billion with a B—by charging travelers for baggage and changed or canceled reservations, more than any other airline. (The way BTS currently collects its data, it can’t isolate revenue from other fees, such as seating upgrades or food purchases during flights.) Spirit, by comparison, made only $159 million.
First of all, Southwest Airlines has a corporate historian, which is pretty cool. More importantly, that corporate historian has uncovered photographic evidence that the airline used to have a fleet of AMC Gremlins—you know, the subcompact cars that practically scream “1970s!” and that Time magazine included on its list of 50 Worst Cars of All Time—painted with Southwest’s brownish, reddish color scheme and corporate logo.
On the airline’s Nuts About Southwest blog, Corporate Historian Brian Lusk writes that he has to “admit to an obsession” with the cars, which were used by the airline’s marketing staff to make sales calls.
If there is one travel snafu that can really make or break a business trip, it’s losing your luggage. Many business travelers, including myself, are hesitant to release their baggage in the first place due to the high fees and very logical fear that you could reach your destination without your presentation materials, power suit or very necessary Kiehl’s grooming products. Although often the separation is often a few mere hours, a lot can happen in that short time to wreak havoc on a perfectly planned trip.
This was the thinking behind Delta Airlines’ new smart phone app that enables passengers to virtually track their belongings from the time they surrender it to the luggage attendant to when it comes tumbling out onto the baggage carousel. The app comes in the wake of the airline’s successful online baggage tracking system and can be activated either by typing in the number on the baggage tag receipt or, if you have an iPhone, scanning the actual baggage barcode.
Does being able to track your bag from start to finish make you feel more secure about checking luggage? Do you think that this added feature validates the hefty price tag to check a bag? Sound off in the comments section below.
This week, actor Alec Baldwin, famous for his portrayal of Jack Donaghy on NBC’s 30 Rock, joined the rank of celebrities kicked off airplanes. His offense? Extreme dedication to the mobile game Words with Friends.
Everyone has an opinion on cell phones. Are they appropriate in a restaurant? An elevator? What about on a plane? Well, according to the crew on Southwest Airlines, no,—you cannot use your cell phone on a plane.
While airlines continue to restrict what we do in-flight, from what we can bring, to what we can wear or even say, it seems the possibilities are endless in terms of technology. Earlier this year, American Airlines started testing Gogo’s in-flight streaming video to personal devices for passengers. And today, the company announced that it will bring the product to its entire fleet of 767 aircrafts.
Although I often spent my time on airplanes working, I really love to be entertained when I fly. Even if I’m knee-deep in an assignment, I usually like to have music or the TV on in the background. That is one reason why I love to fly Virgin America. When I board a Virgin flight, I am instantly engaged by the colorful and vibrant decor in the cabins and the hip music playing while I find my seat. As soon as I sit down, I can switch on the in-flight entertainment system and be immediately amused, even before takeoff.
Also, have you seen their security video? I travel often, and could probably conduct a security demonstration on my own, so I rarely give the video my undivided attention, but I actually watch Virgin’s because it’s hilarious! If you haven’t seen it, here is a teaser: it features a bull, a matador and a nun.
With that in mind, you can imagine my disappointment when, on my Virgin flight back from Los Cabos, Mexico, my entertainment system was “unavailable.” I nervously sat there in my leather seat, dreading the hours to come without the company of pictures and sound that I had been looking forward to. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise—the time ended up passing quickly because I overcame my writer’s block and was lulled into a groove by my iPod.
The flight behind me, I had totally forgotten about the incident, until I received an email from Virgin. The email stated: “We are aware you were unable to experience our inflight entertainment system on your recent flight and apologize for the disappointment this may have caused.” I was, in fact, disappointed by the lack of entertainment! The extensive entertainment system is one of the reasons why I choose Virgin when competitors are similarly priced. As a consolation, the company issued me a $20 flight credit for a future flight. I have to say that is pretty awesome. That is enough for a drink, food and a movie on my next flight—let the games begin!
Do you have any travel stories about customer service in the air? We would love to hear from you.
Travel delays are an inevitable element of our industry. Recently while I was traveling to Portland, Ore. for a FAM trip, I encountered a pretty significant delay. Of course, on this particular day, I had dropped everything and rushed out of the office to make my flight. However my efforts were in vain because once I did arrive at the airport I found that mechanical problems delayed my Alaska Airlines flight.