Posts Tagged ‘airlines’
Ryanair, in an attempt to stop passengers flying with anyone but them, have decided to redraft their random and ludicrous charges.
At the moment, you have to pay £25 if you have a passing thought about carrying a handbag, and £75 if you forget to bring a crumpled boarding pass, wrenched from the jaws of your Nan’s bubblejet printer.
So instead of charging you for things like breathing, eating and existing – Ryanair are relaxing things a bit. The cost of checking in a bag will be halved to a (still astronomical) £30.
The cost of reprinting a boarding card used to be £70 (because they obviously use a vintage letterpress from the 1860s, operated by artisan craftspeople) but now they’ll charge a more reasonable £15. Oh, and if you happen to be a human being and make a spelling mistake on your booking, GENEROUS Ryanair is giving you a 24 period of grace to correct it, rather than charging you an astonishing £160 to change booking details at the airport.
However, these reduced charges only apply to passengers who check in at the airport, and not online. So in order to take full advantage you’ll have to queue for 3 hours.
Hurray for Ryanair – always putting customers first!
Oh dear, what can the matter be? Well, one poor lady got trapped in the lavatory – during take-off on a BA flight from Amsterdam to Gatwick.
The plane was delayed by half an hour, but cabin crew were rushing around like BA flies, and the plane apparently moved away from the stand while passengers were still struggling to put their bags in the overhead lockers.
The woman, in her 20s, emerged from the toilet just as the plane started to speed down the runway and was screamed at by a steward to get back inside, where she doubtlessly spent a rather hairy few minutes with her face squished against the soap dispenser.
One passenger said: ‘I heard other passengers saying that there was not a spare seat on the flight, so I don’t know how the flight crew didn’t realise that the girl was missing as she had an aisle seat. The crew were sat right next to the plane toilet, but obviously in their rush to depart didn’t check it.’
The girl was eventually allowed out of the toilet when the seatbelt signs went off, and was given a dressing down by staff, who told her it was ‘extremely dangerous.’
Of course it couldn’t also be a case of someone not doing their job properly and making sure everyone was in their seats. No, it couldn’t possibly be that.
With that, Airbus has called on the rest of the aviation industry to set a minimum seat width of 18 inches for long-haul aircraft, saying that rivals were “eroding passenger comfort” with their piddlingly narrow chairs.
This all comes on the back of some research which showed that our sleep quality could be hugely improved it we had slightly wider seats. That’d be chairs, rather than our arses.
Airbus, showing off, already have the 18-inch minimum width in their economy long-haul cabins. If you’re in first or business-class, the seating is even wider. Hopefully, they call it a pâté allowance. They said: ”Other manufacturers are eroding passenger comfort standards by going back to narrower seat widths from the 1950s in order to remain competitive.”
So what’s this research all about? Well, it was conducted by Harley Street medical practice The London Sleep Centre. They did tests on a variety of humans looking at brainwaves and eye, abdominal, chest, hip and leg movement.
These tests, handily for Airbus, showed that a minimum seat width of 18 inches improved passenger sleep quality by 53%, compared with the 17-inch standard. Dr Irshaad Ebrahim, of The London Sleep Centre, said: “The difference was significant. All passengers experienced a deeper, less disturbed and longer night’s sleep in the 18-inch seat.”
Kevin Keniston, Airbus’s head of passenger comfort, said: “If the aviation industry doesn’t take a stand right now then we risk jeopardising passenger comfort into 2045 and beyond, especially if you take into account aircraft delivery timetables combined with expected years in service. Which means another generation of passengers will be consigned to seats which are based on outdated standards.”
Michael O’Leary just spat his coffee all over his desk.
Flying with a budget airline – with their ridiculous baggage restrictions, overpriced cups of tea and no legroom – can be hell if you’re on a 2 hour flight to Magaluf. But now Norwegian airlines are introducing cut-price transatlantic flights to New York and LA, starting from just £149 one way.
The long haul flights, which are due to start in July next year from Gatwick, will be the first budget US flights since Freddie Laker’s short lived Skytrain service in the 80s. Norwegian already operate 25 routes out of Gatwick, mostly to Europe, but have seen such demand for cheap US flights that they’ve now acquired a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft to do the job. And Gatwick is VERY excited about it.
‘This is one of the most exciting route developments since Gatwick’s change of ownership four years ago.’ said Gatwick CEO Stewart Wingate. ‘Norwegian’s decision to operate high quality services on new long range aircraft offering good-value fares to the US from London Gatwick is a significant industry game-changer.’
Obviously, this is going to pave the way for other budget airlines to cash in on the New York route. Wherever there’s cash to be made and crap to be peddled, Ryanair are already on the case, with Michael O’Leary talking about launching ‘ten buck’ flights to America.
Flights to New York for £6.30? Just make sure you pack everything you own in a very small bag that fits under your seat – and pray for your soul.
In the latest Let’s Humiliate People Too Large To Fit Into Plane Seats news, a 37 stone man was told to buy 2 airline seats because he couldn’t fit into one. So they gave him one seat in Row 17 and one in Row 19. OUCH.
Les Price, 43, booked a flight home to South Wales from Ireland in advance, and discovered the error when he boarded the plane. To add to the embarrassment, he had to continually explain to airline staff that he’d had to book 2 tickets because he was over the airline’s 20 stone weight limit.
‘When I got to the airport I had to explain to all the staff why I had two tickets,’ he said. ‘They didn’t have a clue. When I finally got on the plane one was an aisle seat and the other was by the window – in a three-seat row.’
Mr Price became obese after injuring his back, then turned to comfort eating after the untimely death of his wife from cancer. So this will make him feel even better. Well done, unnamed airline!
Well according to Which!, the answer depends on which country you intend visiting.
As the summer holidays kick off in England and Wales, our dear friends at Which!! surveyed a load of people as part of their airline review (the results of which are only available to paid subscribers) and have compiled ranking lists of both short- and long-haul airlines. They collected 5,622 responses relating to short haul flights and 3,430 responses relating to long haul flights, and airlines were rated on things like the check-in and boarding process, seat comfort, cabin temperature, as well as overall value for money. Each airline ranked had at least 30 responses.
But never fear, Which!!! have released details of the top, and bottom, performers to some of the most popular holiday destinations for UK travellers- and the results show that different airlines perform better for different destinations. There is, however, less variation in the lowest performers.
So here is the list of best and worst performers, as rated by Which!!!! members, for eight holiday spots. From British Airways’ good showing, it suggests that, higher prices might also equal a better experience, but not in all cases, as Jet2.com and Thomson Airways prove.
1 Some flights require a change at Istanbul
2 Some flights are shared with British Airways. Also, Ryanair do not fly to the US.
Samoans are not known for their Kate Moss-esque physiques, so Samoa Air have become the first airline in the world to offer its chunky citizens XL seats, which can accommodate passengers who weigh more than 20 stone. And in Samoa, that’s just about everyone.
Apparently Samoans are heavy due to genetics and over consumption of root vegetables (yeah, RIGHT) with 80% of the population classified as obese. Samoa Air – who have been operating a small fleet of groaning, sputtering ‘light’ aircraft in Samoa for only a year -have already introduced a pay by weight system, which calculated fares based on how many er…root vegetables passengers had consumed.
But rather than shaming bigger passengers, Chris Langton, CEO of Samoa Air, seemed understanding about their predicament.
‘We don’t have a large fleet of aeroplanes, but we wanted to do something that recognised that we are thinking about this. The airline industry is going to have to do that – we’re going to have to provide a range of seats categorised in terms of weight and maybe some other indexes like height.’
So will Samoa Air be the benchmark for other airlines transporting large folks in the sky? Will we see extra wide seating and belly room? Or will we continue to ignore the problem and laugh as the fatties have to be extracted from their seats by the fire brigade?
When the news broke regarding the idea of pay-as-you-weigh flights, everyone laughed it off, made some lazy jokes and told sneering anecdotes about tubby people on planes.
No-one really thought that an airline would be daft enough to try it out in the real world.
However, Samoa Air are going to actually do it and become the world’s first airline to implement “pay as you weigh” tariffs.
“This is the fairest way of travelling,” said chief executive of Samoa Air, Chris Langton. “There are no extra fees in terms of excess baggage or anything – it is just a kilo is a kilo is a kilo.”
“When you get into the Pacific, standard weight is substantially higher [than south-east Asia],” he said. “That’s a health issue in some areas. [This payment system] has raised the awareness of weight.”
This new system will see Samoa Air passengers being asked to input their weight and the weight of their baggage when online booking. You’ll be charged $1 per kg on short flights and around $4.16 per kg for longer distances. Anyone thinking they can flatter themselves in a bid to get cheaper flights will be met with a set of scales at the airport.
Mr Langton said he believed it to be a system of the future, adding that “the standard width and pitch of seats are changing as people are getting a bit bigger, wider and taller than they were 40 to 50 years ago” and that “a family of maybe two adults and a couple of mid-sized kids … can travel at considerably less than what they were being charged before.”
You have to wonder what this means for people who are really tall. Will they be penalised in the face of small thin people getting cheaper deals? Will people’s BMI index ratings come into play? It is more likely that airlines couldn’t give a toss and will apply a blanket rule and coin it in whichever way they can. Either way, it isn’t likely to see people going on crash diets to get cheaper flights, but it’ll be interesting to see if this model works into other businesses.
When you fly, it often feels like you’re about as appreciated and loved as a discarded Ryanair scratchcard. Your bags are left in Switzerland, and if you want a refund because they’ve cancelled your flight, airlines can get frostier than a wing tip at 35000 feet.
There’s already an EU directive catchily called ‘EU261’, which means that airlines have to refund cancelled flights, but often they like not to tell you about that, and let you go through the courts for compensation instead.
But thanks to new reforms proposed by the European parliament in Brussels, airlines are now going to have to behave themselves and put their bad attitude in the overhead locker.
From 2014, when the laws come into effect, airlines must book you on a rival carrier if they can’t take you to your destination within 12 hours. They also have to put you up in a hotel for a maximum of 3 days if you’re stranded. And if everything goes tits up on the tarmac, airline staff will have to give you water, put on air conditioning and open the bogs. In addition, they’ll be obliged to tell you what the hell is going on 30 mins before your flight is cancelled.
So, basically, airlines might start treating us like human beings, rather than irritating wasps with suitcases on wheels. Hurray!
60,000 jobs could be created if the Chancellor gets rid of Air Passenger Duty, and help “drag Britain out of recession” according to airlines.
This tax applies to all passengers flying from UK airports and it is argued that scrapping it would deliver a 0.45pc boost to GDP within a year, generating 60,000 jobs by 2020. This is all according to a report commissioned by British Airways, easyJet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlantic.
It’d be good for your pocket too as APD adds £13 to the cost of a short-haul flight and as much as £92 with longer flights. The PwC study estimates the economy would be £16bn wealthier by 2015 if APD got ditched. Basically, in terms of competitive aviation taxes, the only countries worse than the UK are Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali and Chad.
“I know 0.46pc doesn’t sound a lot but that’s the difference of dragging Britain out of recession and into growth,” said easyJet spokesman Paul Moore.
In a joint statement, Willie Walsh, head of BA’s parent company; easyJet boss Carolyn McCall; Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair; and Craig Kreeger, the new head of Virgin Atlantic, said: “[The report] proves APD is one of the three most destructive taxes, alongside corporation tax and fuel duty.”
A Treasury spokesman said: “Despite current pressure on the public finances and the challenge of cutting the deficit, the Government has limited any rise in APD to inflation since 2010. We do not recognise the figures in this report or agree with the assumptions behind it.”
Airlines and aircraft makers have been trying to sort out WiFi on planes for a while now and, in their bid to do so, they are testing out technology on terrifying human-potato hybrid people.
Cruel engineers at Boeing have created genetically modified Potato Men and are sending them to their death as they work on their vile experiments, designed to get us a wireless signal while we fly to some awful destination.
These poor Potato Men were forced to sit motionlessly for days at a time while scientists gathered data. Humans, it seems, can’t sit still for long enough. ”That’s where potatoes come into the picture,” Boeing spokesman Adam Tischler said.
The Potato Men were created because their water content and chemistry absorb and reflect radio wave signals in a similar way to humans. ”It’s a testament to the ingenuity of these engineers. They didn’t go in with potatoes as the plan,” Mr Tischler said.
Tischler said a member of the research team came across an article in the Journal of Food Science describing research in which 15 vegetables were evaluated for their dielectric properties, which ended up in the creation of Potato Men, who were then sent to their inevitable deaths in the name of getting scum like you an internet signal, which you’ll only use to send boring tweets anyway.
Next week: Bitterwallet’s official campaign to raise awareness to the plight of the Potato Men, headed up by Bruno Brookes
Budget airlines (Ryanair, easyJet, BMI Baby etc) are agreeing that they are going to have to include the cost of paying by debit card in the headline price of tickets, finally putting an end to the scam that made it nigh on impossible to pay for tickets without incurring a charge.
The airlines were forced to make these changes after an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading. New rules ensure that they’ll all have to explain any additional fee for paying by credit card up front, meaning that passengers won’t get these extra costs sprung on them after going through the annoyingly lengthy booking process.
The OFT estimated that debit and credit card surcharging has been costing consumers £300million a year and the best way around this is to introduce new regulations so that ticket prices have to include all unavoidable charges. This means that Rynair won’t be able to advertise a price that is only available to people who book with the seldom used Visa Electron or Ryanair’s own branded pre-payment card.
This investigation came about as a result of a campaign by Which?!?!?!, which saw Ryanair lambasting the magazine as a ‘useless and irrelevant “consumer magazine”‘ that was bought by ‘less than one man and his dog’. In a typically irritating press release at the time, Ryanair said: ‘Before making “Super Duper Complaints” the clueless clowns at ‘Which, Who or What’ magazine, should conduct some basic research. Ryanair does not levy any credit or debit card payment “surcharges”. Even our administration fee is avoidable by passengers who use our recommended MasterCard Prepaid,’ adding; “If it wasn’t for dentist waiting rooms or doctors’ surgeries it is doubtful whether anyone even reads the useless and frequently inaccurate “Which, Who or What’ magazine”.”
Alas, it turns out that the OFT read Which?????!!!!! and have now slapped Ryanair’s legs for ’engaging in prohibited unfair commercial practices’, as well as committing ‘breaches of professional diligence’ and breaking airline regulations that require flight prices to be presented inclusive of all unavoidable charges.
You remember a little while ago how that annoying Irish* airline owner was thinking of introducing a fat tax to charge the overweight more for their seat on a plane? At the time, said airline suggested that 30% of the people they asked were in favour of a charge, which is roughly the same proportion of people in the UK who are not classed as overweight**.
However, a new survey from HolidayExtras.com has reposed the question and found that the balance may be tipping in favour of a fat flight tax. 48% of respondents said they were now in favour of the tax, and over half (51%) of men questioned think a fat tax is fair.
Some proponents of the charge think it should be based on weight, as additional weight will require more fuel, thereby costing the airlines more to cover the same distance. Poor lambs. Others, however, suggest that the tax should only be levied on people who cannot fit into the airline seat without trespassing on their neighbour’s seating region. While the former could be regulated by requiring passengers to stand on a large set of speak-your-weight scales, the latter could prove even more amusing by watching people trying to squish themselves into a seat shaped size gauge. Or not. Might need to have a couple of spares and some Vaseline handy in case of wedging.
James Lewis, Head of Online Partnerships at HolidayExtras.com, said: “The world is getting fatter – and this is becoming a big issue. Being an overweight passenger affects your travelling companions, physically and financially. If we have to pay extra for excess baggage, it’s only fair that we pay extra for excessive body weight.
“Sitting next to a large person on a plane can sometimes reduce the space that you have to relax, so maybe airlines should offer some of the revenue from the additional ticket cost to the person sitting next to the fat person too.”
So, given that Bitterwallet reads are all lithe, toned males, what do you think about it all? Should we have a blanket weight tax or a size tax? Or should the skinny idiots who thought up this whole idea just naff off and be forcefed biscuits?
* he’s not necessarily annoying because he’s Irish, but he is annoying and he is Irish. Bit like Michael Flatley.
** in 2009 the estimated proportion was 39.9%, and we are getting fatter.