Fly in private jets, for less

While I was in White Plains the other week, I saw an “airline” called Coastal Jet Service. This company uses ultra fast, Citation X jets that shuttle passengers to California and Bermuda. The concept is that each seat in the Citation is sold individually. Rather than chartering a private plane for a lot of $$$$, you can buy a seat on a private plane that will cost $$—a lot less! You may not have that ultimate privacy, but you still can avoid all the hassles of commercial travel and cross the good ole USA in 5 hours.

Future cities include, Ft. Lauderdale, London, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Dallas.



BA Hong Kong cabin crew go to court

15 female (former BA) Hong Kong based flight attendants are squaring off with BA legal in England tomorrow on grounds of age discrimination. The flight attendants claim that once they reached the age of 45, they were let go. Meanwhile, other internaitonal crews are allowed to stay with BA well passed 45. The Hong Kong crews are upset at the age discrimination practice and want the anti-age discrimiation laws passed in the UK, to apply to them.

More on the story can be found here: cranky, old HKG BA crews.

Too bad airline gals don’t look like this anymore:

the good old days




Categories: BA, legal, London Tags:

Singapore Airlines, CEO, on CNBC

One of the coolest CEO’s in the world, Chew Choon Seng, of Singapore Airlines was on CNBC discussing his airline. He remained positive on SIA’s business strategy and ability to manage capacity, while taking a premium yield. Here are some highlights of the interview.

–Singapore Airlines is the largest airline in terms of market capitalization.

–USA still remains a strong priority, UK market is very weak.

–China and India are the strongest markets.

–Seng says there is too much global capacity.

–Seng says there is a need for governments to change old rules, and allow for cross-border consolidation. That will help industry.

–Airline hedged at $100, 22% hedged at end of Oct. 2009.

–Management needs to keep eye on capacity and keep costs low.

–Business travel has recovered a little bit.

–Tough to manage fuel hedging, and risk of locking in at a high price.

Seng seems like a great guy. I know he wants to invest more, especially in the USA.

CEO Seng







Best airlines, in odd places

November 24, 2009 1 comment

The old days saw the best airlines in the USA. Pan Am, Braniff, United all had a unique services and brands. Then, when deregulation happened in the U.S., the standard of service fell and , well, we have what we have now; crap.

The torch then passed over to Europe¬† where the airlines improved service, and now they are some of the best in the world. Back in the 80’s not many people wanted to fly on Air France. Now, they are one of the best carriers in the world. Remember BOAC? They had a lousy, cold English reputation. Then BOAC formed in to British Airways, went private, and became the world envy.

Currently , we see many European carriers struggling. Part of the reason is increased competition from low cost carriers, and some in part due to high labor costs, along with high fuel costs etc. While all of this is taking place, developing nations are improving their standard of air services, and are surpassing many airlines in Europe, USA, and parts of Asia.

Here is a look at some of the best “new” airlines in the world:

1). LAN Group (Chile, Peru, Argentina)- a new fleet of Airbus A320’s and 767’s. High standard of service in both cabins, and very profitable due to lack of competition. Part of OneWorld Alliance.

2). Etihad (UAE)- brand spanking new everything. Probably the best product in all cabins in terms of hardware. Amazing First class and business class product. Adding new destinations right and left.

3). Jet Airways (India)- jet has been around for a while. But when India got richer of the past 10 years, jet grew and went long-haul. They have a good reputation in India and have a new fleet with beds.

4). Qatar Airways (Qatar)-claimed as a five star airline, this new carrier rivals the best. New fleet, cute flight attendants, and ever expanding network. Also, they provide some cheap fares in economy and business.

5). Arik Air (Nigeria)- new airline based in Lagos. The CEO is committed to making it Africa’s #1 airline, and the best in service.We’ve heard things like this before, but this airline deserves a look at.

6). TAM (Brazil)- TAM has been around a while, but they keep getting better. They have a modern fleet, and some of the hottest flight attendants in the air.The service on a typical domestic Brazil flight, surpasses any US flight.

7). Emirates (UAE) -We all know this one.

8). COPA (Panama)- A strong management group, and a focus on product and their Panama City hub, makes this airline really good. Not many people realize they can fly from Los Angeles to Buenos Aires on COPA, while not having to fly on American or the miserable Aerolineas Argentinas.

9). Singapore Airlines (Singapore)/Cathay Pacific (Hong Kong)- they have been the best two in customer service for many years., but I had to mention the two. They are cash rich and will continue to dominate the Asian area for many many years.


Emirates bar









Arik Air

Gulf Air, Samer Majali, new direction

Reuters is reporting that Gulf Air will make a shift in strategy that will focus the carrier on Middle East regional flying, and the airline will scrap most long-haul routes. The carrier plans to purchase smaller jets, like,  the Airbus A320 series and the carrier will consider even smaller regional jets, like the Bombardier C-Series. This new strategy is headed by the CEO, Samer Majali, and he hopes to return the carrier to profitability in 2012.

This new platform is really the last chance Gulf Air has in its checkered life. Many former Gulf Air CEO’s have taken the airline in different directions, only to piss off local government investors, that eventually gave up. The new Middle East focus may have made sense a few years ago, but now you have intense competition. Qatar Airways and Emirates have built up a strong regional presence, and low cost carriers, such as, Air Arabia, flyDubai, Bahrain Air, Wataniya Airways, and Sama Airlines are all staking their claim on the market.

Then you have Royal Jordanian and Egypt Air, shifting their focus on the short-haul Middle East routes and giving up their long-haul strategies. Both carriers are backed by Star and One World, and have ample cash in their coffers.

So, will this new Gulf Air strategy work? It is too soon to tell, but if you take a look at its history, things do not look good. The Middle East market shows promise, but you have several well established carriers fighting for market share; is there really room for another? I don’t think so. Of course, the oil rich Gulf states want their own airline, so maybe Bahrain will keep pouring in money to Gulf Air, but I seriously doubt this airline will be a game changer. Rather, look for it to remain a confused, loss making machine.


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Categories: low fares Tags:

Stuck thanks to our ATC system

It was my goal to to get from Norfolk, VA to Madrid, Spain last night. I got on the airplane in Norfolk, and waited 15 minutes on the tarmac because JFK has traffic congestion; even though the weather was fine. The flight was due to leave Norfolk at 540pm, we left at 605pm. The captain said it would only take an hour, so that would still get us to JFK on time. No big deal. Phew.

We landed at JFK ahead of schedule at 705pm. Cool, I thought, I will have an hour to connect to my Madrid flight. Well, thanks to the retarded logistical nightmare operation the airline I flew on has at JFK, we waited for a gate for 50 minutes. Thus, I missed my flight to Spain.

Now, I am stuck in the northeast because of the ATC meltdown this morning. Plus, the weather is bad, so the out dated system can’t handle heavy volume in the bad weather. As a result, I plan to sit here until tomorrow. Good times.

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