21 February 2007

Hello? anyone home at Worldspan?

While Rome is burning, Nero is fiddling.

Someone is asleep at the switch again in Atlanta. Why did they give up so easily?
Tsk Tsk, this is a waste of a good relationship. But do not fear - when all is said and Done Expedia will have all 3 GDSs where it wants them. Sabre/Worldspan (aka Travelport-Galileo) in the USA and Amadeus in Europe and Asia. The new millenium version of the giant switch will enable them to move connections between GDS vendors and suppliers direct at will. T2 has been advocating this approach for many years and finally it looks like some people are catching up. Welcome to the club Expedia!

Finally the boys in Bellevue will be doing something right...

SABRE NOW PROCESSES the majority of Expedia's bookings in the U.S.," according to Sabre Travel Network spokeswoman Kathryn Hayden. That's a milestone in Expedia.com's relationship with Worldspan, which for years had the sole franchise on Expedia.com's GDS bookings. In fact, with Sabre now processing bookings for Expedia.com and another Worldspan partner, Priceline.com, Sabre Travel Network's consumer online transactions grew 81.3% to 19.1 million in fourth-quarter 2006.

20 February 2007

The strange case of the Flight Attendant and the English Patient

Those of you from the Shires who read the "Mail on Sunday " will undoubtably have been titlated by the story of Ralph Fienness and the Qantas Flight Attendant: http://www.mailonsunday.co.uk/pages/live/femail/article.html?in_article_id=436846&in_page_id=1879&in_a_source=

However there is something really rather funny about all this. Lisa Robertson (said QF FA) was not a full time FA employed by Qantas. She was in fact on casual assignment from the external Flight Attendant company "Morris Alexander Management". This is an interesting company founded by one Morris Alexander who himself (I presume its a he) was once a former FAAA (Flight Attendants Association of Australia) domestic division industrial officer.

I hasten to add that i am sure that Ms Robertson was a fully trained FA and up to par (clearly Mr Fiennes must have thought so at the time) in her capacity as a Coffee Tea or me person. And as a further disclaimer in case I get viscously attacked by another Flight Attendant - this is somewhat tongue in cheek.

Going back to the serious issue here, it seems her claim of being rather poor earning only £12,000/year is justified. Perhaps QF should pay their Flight Attendants (at least the contract ladies and men) a tad more. Then they wouldnt be quite so tempted to engage in flings with Hollywood leading men. So actually the big news is not the sexual antics at 35,000 Feet but rather the interesting way that QF handles its labor contracts. BTW have a quick look at this link off Google: http://www.airc.gov.au/documents/Transcripts/210203c20031094.htm
So I am not making it up!

No wonder QF was in such demand from Macquarie and TPG. Clearly there is a lot more to the buy out than meets the eye. I do hope the appropriate authorities investigate this (chuckle). Now when I fly QF next I am sure they will treat me nicely. I am not quite sure however if I will get the same treatment as Mr Fiennes.



18 February 2007

OK - My 10 cents on the JetBlue fiasco

I am a very big fan of what JetBlue has accomplished so far. They had a great start and achieved a lot by breaking rules and focussing on doing what is necessary for the customer. But the meltdown at the company in recent history shows an astonishing lack of the one thing you assume but cannot touch at a company such as an airline - operational excellence.

Anyone who follow the pioneer (Southwest) knows that they (WN) learned very early on that you have to PLAN for every eventuallity. You can never spend too much time working on this. Plan plan and then plan it again. This is something that they dont seem to have done. With so much of their operation concentrated at JFK (itself one of the worst airports for scheduling in the country) you would have thought they would have planned for this event. Shoot - they even had a dry run (or as that a snow run!) at Christmas time.

However perhaps the worst sin of all was how it handled its customers. Every airline does a bad job here. But jetBlue has had a chance to do something better. It just didnt. If you follow the story like this one in the NY Times - you realize that they reverted back to the tried old solution to the problem of what to do with angry customers: IE "Call Security". Several people I know have contacted me and (I am not sure if it is that they just want to vent) the stories sound bad.

JetBlue Cancels More Flights in Storm’s Wake

Listen jetBlue - do something that no one else has done. BE STRAIGHT WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS.

And everyone else.... LEARN From this fiasco. Plan for the eventuality and PLEASE have a decent way to handle your customers. But dont dispair. Cheap prices will once again lure people back.