Behold, the R2D2 Star Wars jumbo jet!

April 17th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Now a new Star Wars trailer has landed online, everyone of a certain age has been reduced to a dribbling, nostalgic wreck. As Star Wars is such a huge deal, the hype surrounding it and marketing opportunities are not like any other franchise.

Not many films can get an airline so excited that they paint one of their planes like R2D2. That’s exactly the craic with Japanese airline All Nippon Airways who unveiled plans to dress their plane in a way that will see everyone making puns on ‘may the air force be with you’.

R2D2 plane 500x271 Behold, the R2D2 Star Wars jumbo jet!

In a couple of months, there’s going to be a Boeing 787 flying around the sky looking like Artoo.

This design is part of the airline’s five-year “Star Wars Project”, which means more Star Wars themed aircraft. We’re hoping for a Jabba The Hut one, as that’d look disgusting.

And while we’re here, we might as well watch the second trailer of Star Wars Episode VII and dribble all over ourselves with excitement. Yes. We know it’s a children’s film.

A steward for Ryanair found a passenger’s camera on a flight. Now, you’d think they’d hand it in to lost property and that would be the end of it, right?

Well, this particular steward thought he’d have it for himself and flog it on eBay. Fernando Miguel Andrade Viseu didn’t realise these things can be tracked and on the auction, he found he’d got a message from the owner.

The camera owner, a teacher called Aaron Galloway, was going on a break when he forgot his camera on the seat of the plane. He told the crew about it and they said they saw no sign of the £499 Nikon camera.

Galloway got home, looked on eBay and BAM, there it was. And so, he sent the vendor a message.

ad166057305email exchanges 500x396 Ryanair steward steals camera and tries to sell it on eBay... however...

Viseu replied, saying how dreadfully sorry he was and that the camera would be returned at the airport.

ad166057303email exchanges 500x266 Ryanair steward steals camera and tries to sell it on eBay... however...

How did it end?

Well, Viseu was promptly arrested and ordered to pay compensation of £145 and carry out 100 hours of community service. Oh, and now he’s on the internet known as a snide.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We arrested a 34-year-old man from the Stansted area on Friday February 20 on suspicion of theft. He was taken to Stansted area police station where he was interviewed and subsequently charged with theft of a camera and a Kindle.”

What do Ryanair think of it all? They said: “While we don’t comment on legal matters, we can confirm that this individual no longer works for Ryanair.”

Holidaymakers conned out of billions

April 13th, 2015 2 Comments By Mof Gimmers

holiday 300x233 Holidaymakers conned out of billionsGoing on holiday this year? Lucky you. Unless, that is, you’re being swizzed out of money by internet ne’er-do-wells.

A report from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has fired off a warning to you sun-worshippers, saying that some holidaymakers who have booked vacations online have been collectively conned out of £2.2m in 2014.

Crims have been targeting online booking firms to swipe money from unsuspecting folk, and many of those only find out that they’ve been had once they arrive at their hotel, who tell them that there’s no record of their booking.

The NFIB report shows, during a 12-month period, that 1,569 cases of holiday booking fraud were reported to the police’s fraud squad, with most complaints relating to plane tickets, hacking accounts, posting fake adverts online and setting-up bogus sites. Two groups particularly targeted were sports fans and religious groups, paying for fake tickets to religious sites and/or sporting events, where places are limited and people can charge more.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: “Holiday fraud is a particularly distressing form of fraud as the loss to the victim is not just financial but it can also have a high emotional impact. Many victims are unable to get away on a long-awaited holiday or visit to loved ones and the financial loss is accompanied by a personal loss.”

“We would also encourage anyone who has been the victim of a travel-related fraud to report it so that the police can build up a case, catch the perpetrators and prevent other unsuspecting people from falling victim.”

EasyJet to rescue everyone during strike!

April 10th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

easyjet 300x180 EasyJet to rescue everyone during strike!We told you about a large strike that was going to hit loads of flights, but there’s a knight in shining armour on the way to help out you travellers!

EasyJet are going to run some ‘rescue’ flights and may well put some bigger planes in service on busy routes in a bid to counteract the strike by French air traffic controllers. The company had to cancel 248 flights on Wednesday and a further 340 flights on Thursday.

Even though there were no cancellations today, EasyJet said some passengers still needed flights. There are more flights affected in the next few weeks, notably another strike from April 16th and a further one from April 29th.

For passengers stranded in European cities (how awful), Easyjet put in five rescue flights today, with additional flights running from Luton to Paris, Paris to Barcelona, Barcelona to Luton, Gatwick to Madrid, and Marrakech to Gatwick.

“EasyJet recognises that there are a number of passengers across the network who have been affected by these cancellations and still require flights as soon as possible,” a spokesman said. There’s going to be extended hours at their call centres too, to try and help out passengers.

If you need to call EasyJet, the number is 0330 365 5000 or click here for more details.

5 year freeze on train tickets?

April 10th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

david cameron government 5 year freeze on train tickets?Now, in Making Loads Of Promises You’ll Not Keep But You Need To Say Something In The Lead Up To A General Election news, David Cameron has promised that, if the Tories regain control of the country, rail fares will be frozen in real terms for 5 years.

The PM reckons that by extending the Retail Price Index inflation cap on regulated ticket prices until 2020, that’ll save us lot £400. That’s if you commute by train. If you drive to work, you can whistle.

This of course, is a response to Labour’s continued attacks on the coalition about the cost of living, and that most people in the UK aren’t benefiting from the economic recovery.

Cameron says: “The cost of commuting is one of the biggest household bills that hardworking families face and it is something we are determined to bear down on. It shouldn’t just be taken for granted that people across the country who get up early and come home late, spend a large amount of the money they earn travelling to and from work.”

“Because of the difficult decisions that we have taken to repair the economy, we have been able to hold down commuter fares for the past two years.”

“If elected in May, we would freeze them in real terms for the next five.”

However, the delightfully named Mick Cash, leader of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, isn’t having it: “This latest stunt would still mean annual fare increases that would institutionalise the harsh reality that the British passenger pays the highest fares in Europe to travel on rammed out and unreliable trains.”

“The only solution is to end the rip off of rail privatisation which would allow us to free up the hundreds of millions of pounds drained off in profits to invest in services and cut fares.”

Strike cancels loads of flights

April 8th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

plane 300x225 Strike cancels loads of flightsA strike by air-traffic controllers in France has cancelled hundreds of flights to and from Britain. Ryanair has had to nix over 250 services while British Airways has said that passengers should expect significant delays for the next couple of days.

EasyJet have cancelled 118 flights too.

British Airways said: “Unfortunately there will be some knock-on delays to other parts of our short-haul network as a result of the strike action, given how much airspace in Europe will be affected. We are sorry for any disruption to customers’ travel plans.”

So if you’re travelling to or from France this week, better ring up the people you bought your tickets from, and find out what is happening.

The strike saw the French aviation authority, DGAC, urging companies to reduce the number of flights to and from France by 40% and there’s going to be a knock-on effect with all flights across Europe, thanks to the large number of flights that normally occupy the airspace in France.

This particular strike is in protest at working conditions by France’s biggest Air Traffic Controllers union, SNCTA, and there’s a further strike planned on 16-18 April and another from 29 April to 2 May.

ryanairvsign Ryanairs softly softly approach seems to be workingA while ago, Ryanair promised that they were going to start playing nicely and everyone wondered just how soon they’d snap and start acting the goat again.

Well, it hasn’t happened and, with that, they’ve been making more money as a result as people prefer to be treated nicely, rather than like cattle with a Kick Me sign on its back. The airline has reported a 28% rise in passenger numbers last month.

Passenger numbers reached 6.7m in March, which is 1.5m more than the same period last year. As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. You also catch more flies with bullshit and more pertinently, why would you want to catch flies?

Anyway, Ryanair’s chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said the performance was due to its ‘Always Getting Better’ (AGB) customer charter which the company kicked off in March 2014: “With our new routes, increased frequencies and Business Plus service, customers can now look forward to further service enhancements, as we roll out the second year of our AGB programme in 2015.”

One of the things that has helped hugely is a lack of a visible Michael O’Leary. He has acknowledged that the airline “pissed off customers” and as you’ll know, more often than not it was his fault when he let his mouth run off with itself.

However, with O’Leary keeping quiet and a revamped website and app to make bookings easier, not to mention a price comparison function and ‘reserve a fare’ service, they’ve seen an increase in passengers and a rise in shares.

We still await the entire company having a nervous breakdown and charging travellers for breathing.

Ryanair ban booze on flight

April 7th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

Ryanair New Plane Logo 214x300 Ryanair ban booze on flightA booze ban on flights?! Are Ryanair out of their minds?! Well, the sanity of Ryanair is another debate, but don’t get your knickers in a twist, boozehounds.

Ryanair has banned passengers from taking duty-free booze onboard its Prestwick-Ibiza flights after a load of incidents with drunk people from Glasgow, going for a lovely rave.

Some of you will know that this particular night flight has become infamous for boozy behaviour. One such journey in 2013 saw the flight diverted to Paris, throwing off 14 blokes because they were so badly behaved. They were so smashed, that they thought they were in Ibiza anyway.

Don’t you habitual alcoholics worry though – you’ll still be able to have a liver’s worth of G&T or a shed of wine, provided you’re not flying from Glasgow to Ibiza, as it is the only flight where this is being enforced.

Passengers will be searched at the boarding gate and any duty-free items will be put in the hold. A memo to passengers warns: “Customers attempting to conceal alcohol will be denied travel without refund or compensation.”

train 287x300 Action for Rail reckon train rail fares could be 10% cheaperThe cost of travelling by train is something that sticks in a lot of people’s craws, and Action for Rail have been pondering about it with a new study.

They think that commuters in the UK would see 10% cheaper rail fares by 2017, provided the trains were run by the public sector. In a study, they found that £1.5bn could be saved if lines were brought under public sector control.

Action for Rail chair and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The UK has the most expensive rail fares in all of Europe.”

“If services were run by the public sector, it would make a big difference to families and hard-pressed commuters, who have suffered year after year of wage-busting fare increases under privatised rail.”

It has been reported that Transpennine, Greater Anglia, West Coast, London Midland, East Midlands, South Eastern, Wales & Borders, Great Western, South Western and Cross Country are set for contract renewals between now and 2020 and that, in shareholder dividends alone, somewhere in the region of £520m could be saved.

O’Grady added: “Money that could be spent on making journeys cheaper is instead being siphoned off into shareholders’ pockets and wasted on bidding and other franchising costs.”

British Airways accounts hit by cyber-attack

March 30th, 2015 No Comments By Mof Gimmers

British Airways 857 19385812 0 0 4005 300 British Airways accounts hit by cyber attackBritish Airways have had to freeze tens of thousands of frequent flyer accounts after a cyber attack.

The airline said that customers’ personal info, like addresses and bank details was not stolen in the attack, which is something, but those affected won’t be able to use the air miles they’ve accumulated while BA try and sort everything out.

A spokesperson said: ”British Airways has become aware of some unauthorised activity in relation to a small number of frequent flyer Executive Club accounts.”

“We would like to reassure customers that, at this stage we are not aware of any access to any subsequent information pages within accounts, including travel histories or payment card details.”

“We are sorry for the concern and inconvenience this matter has caused, and would like to reassure customers that we are taking this incident seriously and have taken a number of steps to lock down accounts so they can no longer be accessed,” the spokesman added.

There’s no word on which set of hackers it is (it doesn’t look like the work of our pals at Lizard Squad), but it is thought that the hackers got into the company’s computers by utilising an automated computer programme that looks for vulnerabilities in online security systems, which is gaspingly unsurprising.

Anyway, reset your passwords if this affects you.

Don’t catch a train over Easter

March 30th, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

train Dont catch a train over EasterGot time off over the Easter weekend? Congratulations! You don’t work in retail. Fancy a nice day trip somewhere? Well, whatever you do, don’t think about catching a train.

You see, as usual, the train companies have decided to do a load of engineering works on the days when loads of people might actually want to use them. Naturally, that means there’s going to be huge traffic jams as well, so you might as well stay in and sulk.

So what’s going down? Well, there’ll be no Southeastern trains running to or from Charing Cross, Waterloo East or Cannon Street in That London. As well as that, there’s major works going on at Watford, which means there’ll be no Virgin or London Midland trains able to run in-and-out of Euston station between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Virgin won’t have any trains running any further south than Milton Keynes, Rugby or Northampton and there’ll be no direct London Midland services between Euston and Hemel Hempstead, with Virgin saying that they are “strongly recommending” that passengers don’t travel between Good Friday and Easter Monday.

Trains through Manchester will also be affected as well as services in Scotland and, well, bloody everywhere. If you’re planning a journey, have a look at your routes to see which ones are going to be a pain in your backside.

The roads will be chockablock too, with traffic information givers from Inrix saying that the congestion hotspots this weekend will be in the South East and the South West of England.

If you’re travelling by road to Gatwick and Heathrow, journeys could take four times as long, so set off early if you’re going on holiday.

British Airways 857 19385812 0 0 4005 300 Airlines review safety procedures after Germanwings disasterIf you’re flying anywhere this week, you’ll understandably be a bit nauseous after the tragedy that is the Germanwings disaster.

With that, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that they have got in touch with all the British airlines “to require them to review all relevant procedures”.

The details of the crash in the Alps are well documented, so you’ll know that, in the lead-up to the crash, Andreas Gunter Lubitz waited until the captain of Flight 4U 9525 left the cockpit and then crashed the aircraft into a mountain range.

Post 9/11, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) brought in rules which require a member of the cabin crew to enter the cockpit if the captain or first officer needs to leave for some reason. These rules weren’t put in place across Europe.

The CAA said: “Following the details that have emerged regarding the tragic Germanwings incident, we are co-ordinating closely with colleagues at the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and have contacted all UK operators to require them to review all relevant procedures.”

“All UK airline pilots undergo extensive and regular medical assessments to determine their fitness to hold a licence. As part of this, aeromedical examiners are required to assess a commercial pilot’s mental health at each medical examination which, for an airline pilot flying with at least one other pilot, is undertaken annually.”

Virgin, Thomson, Monarch and Easyjet have said that they’ll be bring in the procedure immediately and Ryanair, Jet2 and Flybe already undertake this system.

ryanairvsign Ryanair: decided against cheap Transatlantic flights after allRemember Ryanair’s plans to fly you to America for £10? Well, seems like this isn’t going to be a thing at all, although they’re probably happy with all that media coverage they got, thanks.

The airline issued a small statement saying that these flights aren’t going to be offered at all: “In the light of recent press coverage, the Board of Ryanair Holdings Plc wishes to clarify that it has not considered or approved any transatlantic project and does not intend to do so. ”

Of course, Ryanair and Michael O’Leary do have previous when it comes to talking a load of old cobblers, so this shouldn’t surprise anyone. Remember when they said they were going to charge people to defecate on their planes? That didn’t happen did it?

The only thing you can take seriously is the things that Ryanair actually do, rather than say they’re going to do.

That said, £10 one-way flights to America with Ryanair would invariably end up costing you much more money in hidden charges, as they whack on costs for baggage, paper tickets, food and whatnot, meaning you’d end up spending more than you would if you flew with British Airways and be dropped-off 430 miles from where you actually want to be.

ryanairvsign Ryanair to offer transatlantic flights from £10The airline we all love to hate, Ryanair, could be set to take over (part of) the world  sooner than you’d think, with the Board of the airline approving outline plans to fly between 12-14 European and US cities, on a transatlantic service at rock bottom prices, starting from £10. However, don’t get too excited, as none of this will come to fruition for at least four or five years, not least because Ryanair don’t have any transatlantic planes yet.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that O’Leary has offered the public a vision of a no-frills transatlantic airline offering cheap fares, with some skeptics suggesting that he has never really meant it and was just looking to secure fee advertising with headlines screaming about £10 transatlantic fares. However the disclosure that the board has approved outline plans suggests the company is now serious about proceeding. Which could be very exciting indeed.

Ryanair said: “The board of Ryanair, like any plc, has approved the business plans for future growth, including transatlantic. We are talking to manufacturers about long-haul aircraft but cannot comment further on this. European consumers want lower cost travel to the USA and the same for Americans coming to Europe. We see it as a logical development in the European market.”

But others suggest that Ryanair’s American dream has always been genuine, it’s just that they want someone else to have a go first, so they can learn from others’ mistakes. No airline has yet managed to run a profitable transatlantic service offering cheap as chip fares-  Sir Freddie Laker’s Skytrain went bust trying during the 1980s. However, in 2013, Norwegian Air Shuttle, the Oslo-based low-cost airline, expanded from short to long-haul flying, with example prices of a one-way ticket from London Gatwick airport to New York of £149. While the company made a loss last year, and only flies to a handful of standard locations in the US, if Norwegian can make a go of it, you can bet your bottom dollar Ryanair will be all over it before you can bat an eyelid.

Norwegian’s prices are currently pitched at around half of rival airline prices, but Ryanair are still talking about £10/€10 flights, although they concede that there will only be a limited number of flights at this price. Other one-way tickets would be priced at £99 or more, and the airline would fill up to half of its seats with more expensive premium spaces, according to Ryanair’s head of marketing, Kenny Jacobs.

And people think Ryanair could actually make a go of it. Analyst John Strickland told the FT that “Ryanair is well equipped to do this, in the sense that it has the pan-European market presence and critical mass needed. The key issues will be to obtain the right aircraft at the right cost and in sufficient numbers, along with offering some type of premium product.”

And the planes are currently the sticking point, with waiting lists and long lead times  on both the Airbus 350 and the Boeing Dreamliner planes Ryanair would have to invest in. Which means £10 flights to the States are still a way off.

But the final interesting nugget spilled by Ryanair was that its new transatlantic service would not fly under the Ryanair brand. We do hope O’Leary asks us, its travelling public, to help come up with a suitable name for the new venture…

poo crap 300x300 Someones poo was so bad, a plane had to turn back

Passengers were flying to Dubai to have a lovely time, when suddenly, they were heading back to Heathrow. Not because of technical problems, but because someone had dropped their guts in a spectacularly vile manner.

Those on the flight had been complaining about the skin-stripping stench from the toilets which were enough to curdle milk.

Tory councillor Abhishek Sachdev was on-board (going to Dubai, eh?) and tweeted about the whole affair, prompting Bitterwallet to immediately think ‘whoever smelt it, dealt it’. That’s the way it works right? Even in adult life.

His tweet read:

flight poo Someones poo was so bad, a plane had to turn back

Talking to the Mail, he said the pilot apologised to the passengers, and: “About 10 minutes later he said you may have noticed there’s a quite pungent smell coming from one of the toilets. He said it was liquid faecal excrement, those are the words he used. He said it’s not a technical fault with the plane, and he was very adamant about that.”

The flight was rescheduled for the next day and a British Airways spokesperson said: “We are very sorry for the discomfort to our customers.”

Meanwhile, someone somewhere can be proud or ashamed, depending on their constitution, of doing a crap so rancid that a plane had to stop flying.