Posts Tagged ‘airline’

Virgin Atlantic cut jobs in restructure

July 1st, 2015 1 Comment By Mof Gimmers

Richard Branson15 415 300x267 Virgin Atlantic cut jobs in restructureVirgin Atlantic are going to be sacking around 500 managerial and support jobs, a matter of months after the airline told everyone they’d made a return to profit.

So what’s the deal? Well, the company said the point of all this is to create a simpler, more efficient structure with few management layers. The people losing their jobs will be given the option of either re-deployment or redundancy.

Craig Kreeger, the airline’s chief executive, said: “To truly position Virgin Atlantic for long-term and sustained success, we need to be a more efficient and agile organisation that has the ability to invest even more in the areas that make Virgin Atlantic’s customer experience unique.”

“As a people-oriented business, these are extremely tough decisions to take, but we know they are necessary,” he added.

Customers shouldn’t notice an immediate difference, as these job cuts won’t be hitting the frontline of staff. That’s something at least, but little consolation to those getting the chop soon.

A few months ago, Virgin Atlantic announced that they’d made a £14.4m pre-tax profit for 2014, which was good news after three years of losses. In addition to that, last year, they shouted about a £300m programme of investment, which will see wifi installed on all its aircraft by the end of 2016.

As well as saving money on wages, the airline will also be ditching routes that are deemed unprofitable.

British Airways 857 19385812 0 0 4005 300 You can use your gadgets on a British Airways flight now!

It has never made sense that you couldn’t use your phone and gadgets on a flight. People would mutter ‘it’ll make the plane crash!’, which is clearly nonsense because, if you wanted to crash a plane as part of a terrorist plot, all you’d have to do is send a text. Much easier than hiding bombs in your shoes.

With that, British Airways are now letting passengers use their personal electronic devices during flights, as of today.

It has been approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and we can all use handheld devices during taxiing, take-off and landing… as long as their flight-mode is switched on. So it isn’t hugely exciting, but it is something of a start.

Captain Ian Pringle, BA’s flight training manager, said: “We are incredibly pleased to be the first airline in Europe to introduce these changes which will be of great benefit to our customers on any British Airways flight anywhere in the world.”

“The easing of restrictions will provide an average of 30 minutes additional personal screen time. With around 300 people on a long-haul flight that will mean a combined total of approximately 150 hours extra viewing, reading or working.”

Recent guidance from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) reckoned that smartphones, tablets, MP3 players and the like, can be switched on at all times as long as “transmitting capabilities” have been disabled, but this change only applies to smaller items so laptops will still be stowed away.

It is up to each individual airline whether or not they’ll allow gadgets to be used on flights. Maybe budget airlines will let you use whatever gadgets you want for a small charge?

Here’s a thing that never happens to normal people – the British guardian of a 13 year old Russian public schoolboy has accused British Airways of letting him wander around Heathrow unaccompanied – even though his parents had paid £60 for the BA chaperone service.

heathrow 300x159 BA accused of letting a 13 year old boy wander off by himself

Nikolay Gorashenko flew from Moscow to London alone to attend private school in Herfordshire, but when he arrived at Heathrow he apparently sent some confused texts to his British guardian – an actor called Richard Cordery – saying he was lost.

But when his guardian complained, a staff member allegedly accused the boy of being ‘a teenage tearaway.’ BA also said that they had made an announcement that all unaccompanied children should wait for ground staff to meet them, but Nikolay had decided to go off on his own. It eventually took staff 45 minutes to find him.

The not-at-all dramatic Mr Cordery, who sounds like the luvviest luvvie of all, said: ‘I then headed to the office that deals with the accompanied flights, a tawdry, miserable affair, and told them, ‘There’s been a terrible mistake, little Nikolay has got off the plane and there’s nobody with him. Then a woman, who I was not talking to at the time, said, ‘Teenage tearaways, what can you do about that?’, which I thought was a disgraceful response.’

BA are investigating the claim, while everyone else slowly shakes their heads and says ‘WTF? Why don’t you send your kid to school in the SAME COUNTRY AS YOU?’

As part of Ryanair’s cuddly makeover, they’ve tidied up their website so it doesn’t make your eyes vomit into the sockets. The airline announced the changes through their Twitter account after previously announcing how they’d be making the Ryanair experience kinder to your nerves.

new ryanair 500x326 Ryanair finally sort out their dreadful, dreadful website

You have to say, compared to the old Ryaniar site, this new one is a lot easier to look at. The site live if you want to check it out, but there’s no guarantee that Michael O’Leary won’t have some unpleasant surprises in store.

Ryanair Eurostar ad 500x356 Ryanair finally sort out their dreadful, dreadful website

If you’re flying to Cyprus with Easyjet on a soon-to-expire-passport this summer, you’d better haul your ass to the post office pronto. In their infinite wisdom, they’ve decided that you need three months validity on your passport to travel there– even though it’s in the EU.

easyjet 300x170 Easyjet decide your valid passport isnt valid

The Cypriot authorities and the Foreign Office say come on in and have some moussaka, as long as your passport is valid for the duration of your stay. That’s the rule across the EU. But for some reason Easyjet has declared some kind of special idiot three month rule and isn’t letting stressed out holidaymakers board their flights in Britain.

One passenger was recently refused boarding because his passport expired in August, and had to kiss goodbye to his annual holiday. Oh, and easyjet refused to refund the cost of his flight. Nice, eh?

In its defence for this indefensible move, Easyjet said: “Entry requirements can and do change regularly and differ considerably by the nationality of the arriving passenger. Ultimately, it is the individual passenger’s responsibility to ensure that their travel documentation is valid for the country to which they are flying.’


“If passengers do not have documentation which complies with the relevant regulations then airlines have no choice but to deny boarding to those passengers.’

(HE DID – which complied with Foreign Office regulations, not jumped up orange Oompa Loompa budget airline made-up regulations.)

I feel a lawsuit coming on.

Lots of changes happened on 1 April, and for many people, these are no joke. However, one of the lesser-publicised changes was the rise in APD, which increased to £67 per person for flights of 2000-4000 miles, to £83 for 4000-6000 miles and £94 for longer haul flights. Short-haul flight costs remained at £13 per person.

However, crucially, APD only becomes payable when the passenger’s bottom leaves the UK on an aeroplane, meaning that if you cancel, or cannot fly for any reason, you should be able to claim (at least) the APD portion of your flight cost back. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

A new report by our good friends at Which! shows that getting your APD back can be easier said than done as many airlines charge ‘admin fees’ greater than the value of the APD to process your claim. And the fee itself varies from airline to airline.

Ryanair naturally never fails to miss a money-making opportunity and charges £4 more per person than the APD levy to make a claim. Although  Jet2 tops the table at £40, this is a per booking fee,not per person; Virgin Atlantic charges £30 per person, double BA’s £15 each charge.

APD table1 Can you get your APD back if you don’t fly? Not if you Thomas Cook it...

APD refund admin fees (on non-refundable flights). Figures from Which?

But not all bucket airlines are baddies, and not all posher types are genial- Easyjet charges no admin fee for an APD repayment and neither do Thomas Cook- but that’s because Thomas Cook don’t actually refund APD. At all. It seems they find it irrelevant that they have taken your money to pay a tax that was not actually paid, telling Which! that they “believe that some other airlines refund APD, however Thomas Cook does not; there is no legal obligation to do so.” They went on to say that even if they did have to refund it, they are sure the admin fee would cancel it out anyway.

Helpfully, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) also said that while it is reasonable for consumers to try to get their tax back from the airline, if the admin fee cancels out the tax refund, or the airline refuses to return the tax, that’s just tough. The FOS suggest you ask your travel insurer to cough up instead. It’s not often that we stick up for insurance companies, but asking them to cough up just so the airline can keep money it isn’t actually entitled to seems a bit off.

Of course, the simplest way to avoid paying APD is not to get on a flight leaving the UK, or just fly from Northern Ireland instead- competition from cheaper flights in the Republic of Ireland means there is no APD unless the flight connects within the short-haul Band A area.

fat man on airplane 300x255 Doctor suggests ‘pay as you weigh’ airline fees for lardy passengers

Doctors, well known for their kind and considerate attitude towards fatties, are now WEIGHING in on airline ticketing, saying that big people should pay more for airline seats because they require more fuel to transport them.

Dr Bharat P Bhatta, from an unpronounceable college in Norway, reckons that it’s a simple matter of physics. He says: ‘Charging according to weight and space is a universally accepted principle, not only in transportation, but also in other services. As weight and space are far more important in aviation than other modes of transport, airlines should take this into account when pricing their tickets.’

He then goes on to helpfully suggest that a person weighing 60kg should pay half the fare of a passenger weighing 120kg. So basically, if you’re a big chuffer, make sure you’ve got a big wallet, too.

Dr Ian Yeoman, from the exciting sounding Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management adds: ‘Maybe airlines should be looking into introducing scales at check in.’

Thanks, heartless doctors, for your input! We can’t wait to see all those suicidal, depressed obese people getting humiliated in the Ryanair fatty scales when we go on holiday!

So is this a matter of principle? Should heavy people should pay more on planes, while folks with featherlight arses jet around the world for song? Or should we show some humanity and pay up for everyone?

Budget airlines may have to drop hidden charges

March 19th, 2013 3 Comments By Lucy Sweet

You know when you look at the Ryanair website and you think, ooh great, only £30 each way to go to somewhere called Zgabo, so you click on it and then a whole world of pain opens up where you have to pay £50 to take a bag and £20 to sit in a seat and £50 for fuel and £40 to get from the airport which is 5000 miles away from Zgabo?

ryanair1 300x150 Budget airlines may have to drop hidden charges

Well that could soon be history, thanks to the Law Commission, who recommends that courts should be given new powers to stop unfair hidden charges.

At the moment, budget airlines are being coy about how much their flights actually cost in order to appear cheaper on price comparison sites. Therefore customers end up blowing their budgets before they hit ‘confirm’. The reforms would mean that companies must be more transparent about any extra costs.

But it’s not just budget airlines that might be affected by this decision – mobile phone companies, payday lenders and even wedding organisers will have to ‘fess up about their true costs.

The Government, who commissioned the report, will be looking at this as they develop a new Consumer Bill of Rights. In the meantime, make sure you have £50 handy if you want to do something crazy like TAKE A BAG ON HOLIDAY.

Ryanair New Plane Logo 214x300 Ryanair scrap £6 debit card fee and introduce £6 website admin fee plus 2% credit card charge

You’ll never guess what Ryanair are doing! They’re being dreadful dreadful arses again! After ditching an unlawful £6 debit card fee (a good thing), they’ve gone and introduced a blanket £6 a head “website administration fee” on AND in addition to that, stuck a 2% booking fee on anyone who pays with a credit card (an arsehole’s trick).

Of course, Ryanair cheese Michael O’Leary is shrugging and saying it isn’t their fault. Apparently, Ryanair has been forced into it by the Office of Fair Trading.

See, the OFT ruled in July the £6 debit charge was unfair, and so, with the introduction of these new charges, the budget airline announced that these were “in order to comply with the UK Office of Fair Trading’s recent ruling on credit card fees”, adding that they were “disappointed, but not surprised” by the OFT’s “attempt to distance themselves from their anti-consumer rulings.”

Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: “Ryanair is disappointed, but not surprised, by the OFT’s attempt to distance themselves from their anti-consumer rulings. Before the OFT imposed these baseless changes, airlines could partner with card providers to allow their cardholders the exclusive advantage of avoiding such fees.

“As the OFT has removed our ability to help passengers avoid fees through exclusive partnerships perhaps they may wish to pay these fees on the consumers’ behalf.”

The OFT have hit back, issuing a stern denial, saying this was absolutely not the case and that the extra charge was totally unnecessary, saying: “We have not required any airline to introduce new payment charges, increase their credit card charges or scrap any discounts they wish to offer. We took action to make sure that debit card charges are included in the headline price and credit card charges are transparent and not sprung on shoppers towards the end of the booking process.”

Ryanair are, of course, the airline that planned to charge customers for having a piss. This is, of course, the airline that charged Suzy McLeod £236 to print boarding passes for her family. O’Leary said of that: “Recently a customer turned up at Alicante with no boarding passes for her family. She was fined €60 for each reissue. So she gets on ‘the Twitter’ to complain. Emboldened by the rising tide of support, Mrs McLeod asks for compensation, to which we replied politely but firmly, thank you, Mrs McLeod, but it was your fuck-up. We’re not changing our policy.”

Stay classy, Ryanair.

easyJet’s profits soar – geddit?

November 20th, 2012 7 Comments By Mof Gimmers

picture 42 easyJets profits soar   geddit?Airline, easyJet, is having a very nice time this week, watching their profits soar to a record £317 million today. Proof, if any, that crappy companies are really brilliant at business.

This is a 28% rise, thanks to a whopping 58 million passengers who don’t care about added frills, and rightly, are far more concerned about getting a good deal so they can have money left over for fun things like booze and illegal cockfights.

And things will carry on in this upward keel, as they have already sold nearly half of their winter seats. They’ll also be increasing flight capacity by around 3.5% (less legroom then?) soon, which means even more money.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said: “These results demonstrate that easyJet is a structural winner in the European short-haul market against both legacy and low-cost competition.”

Better yet, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary will be really, really annoyed at this news, and that’s good for everyone.

Ryanair investigated over exit seats charge

March 21st, 2012 13 Comments By Mof Gimmers

ryanair 300x225 Ryanair investigated over exit seats chargeRyanair (them again) are being investigated by an air safety watchdog over their policy of preventing passengers from sitting next to emergency exits unless they pay an extra £10.

Now, you may well be a fan of the exit seats because there’s a whole load of leg room for you to enjoy there. As such, Ryanair has been encouraged to charge passengers for the privilege of sitting in these seats.

Of course, they’re also paying for the honour of having to actually do something beyond the normal passengers in the case of an emergency. Ryanair are probably thinking of charging for the state of exhilaration you may feel in the time of a tragedy too.

Naturally, because Ryanair have been asking for extra money on these seats, some passengers have refused to pay the extra, meaning that many Ryanair flights have taken off with those seats vacant, which is note a safety boon.

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) has launched an investigation into the issue, while the Civil Aviation Authority and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) have also expressed concerns.

“Our guidance to UK-registered airlines is that whoever is sitting next to the emergency exit must be briefed about what to do,” said a spokesman for the CAA. “If that person says they are not willing to do it, then someone else must be found who is happy with that role.” He added: “It’s an important task. It’s not easy to open the doors and they must be physically strong enough to throw them from the plane.”

A spokesman for Ryanair doesn’t see a problem with it all, naturally. They say: “Ryanair complies with all mandatory safety directives. All passengers are provided with the same safety and evacuation information.”

Picture 1 EasyJet include surcharges in headline prices, whatever that meansEasyJet have changed its pricing system to include administrative charges in its headline prices after regulators shouted at them repeatedly. The airline are the first company to include these fees up front, following the government’s response to a super complaint in December 2011.

Richard Lloyd, Which! executive director, said: ‘While the law will come into force at the end of 2012, we want companies to be upfront and fair over card charges today.’

Basically, this is the first step in what is hoped to be a move that sees all companies including all mandatory fees in the headline price.

And the government have announced that, by the end of 2012, they’ll bring forward legislation from the Consumer Rights Directive, which will cap the level of payment surcharges. So, in the case of EasyJet, they’ve replaced their booking fee with an administration fee of £9, which, it says, covers the cost of Air Passenger Duty, the European Emissions Trading Scheme and a European Union Compensation Levy.

Essentially, instead of being tucked away, this admin fee will be included in all advertising, and displayed as part of a full and final flight price at the first stage of the booking process. That makes everything better doesn’t it? No? Oh…..

Screen shot 2010 09 02 at 12.14.43 Stelios plans new airline   lets tell him what to doSir Stelios is BACK! Yes, the man who brought us the phenomenally popular easyJet and loads of other less popular things with ‘easy’ at the beginning of their names is launching ANOTHER airline, as he seems to have got the massive hump with the people who run the easyJet stuff.

He’s going to call it FastJet – because ‘fast’ is better than ‘easy’ every time, right? Yeah, whatever. Anyhoo, it’s a golden opportunity for Sir Stelios to tear up the rule book and create a whole new type of budget airline. But what should he do?

Why don’t YOU TELL US? You’re a bright and creative bunch, with plenty to say for yourselves, so let us know what you want from your aviation experience that you’re not getting at the moment. Oh, and there are NO PRIZES.

Russian budget airline Avianova haven’t got time for subtlety – not when there’s a great big aeroplane that needs to washed and a gang of scantily-clad air hostesses ready to get stuck into the job.

Gradually, they forget about the poor minging aeroplane and starting soaping themselves up until you begin to forget just what it is you’re watching and why.

The perky soundtrack gives it all a bit of a ‘Carry On Ryanair’ feel and we wouldn’t be surprised if a Ryanair version of this appeared before long. Not that we’re implying that the Sky Captain is a thief. Oh no…


portaloo2 228x300 Japanese airline bring a new meaning to baggage dropRyanair’s Sky Commodore Michael O’Leary was on Watchdog the other night, roaring with laughter as he reiterated his plan to hack the bogs out of his planes in order to pack in more seats, punters and revenue. The man’s a legend.

But as they say, you snooze you lose, and a Japanese airline has noted the Sky Commodore’s plans and adopted them as their own, but with a little twist. ANA are urging their passengers to use the toilet before they get on the plane, woefully claiming that lighter passenegers will reduce carbon emissions and therefore be A Great Thing For The Planet And That.

The airline are running a four-week trial with ‘loo monitors’ who will stand by boarding gates and escort passengers to the WC before they get on the plane. It all sounds so undignified as well as a naked attempt to boost profits – so why hasn’t the Sky Commodore introduced it yet?

We reckon he’s playing a long game on this one, and will make all passengers pass through a portaloo before boarding, once he’s found a way of collecting and harnessing all of their bodily waste. Possibly as an alternative to conventional aeroplane fuel. Obviously, they’ll have to pay for the privilege.

The era of Ryanair passengers collectively flapping their arms like wings in order to keep the plane in the air is surely not far away…