17 October 2008


I have always felt that part of the basic airline philosophy was that there was "stuff" the airline knew that it would not tell the passengers. Mostly for no reason other than transparency would mean the revelation that an airline is actually a commodity product.

I have to tread carefully here because airlines are customers of my team.

Fundamentally I have felt that the Internet creates near perfect information and this would challenge the airlines' principle of obfuscation. Little did I know that someone would actually make money out of it.

Earlier this week I noted that EUClaims was a star of a UK Channel 4 expose - particularly of BA. Well check out this podcast. The implications of which are somewhat mind boggling. I am not going to editorialize on the rights and wrongs of what this chap does. However it does seem to me that my vision of the near perfect data world and the ability to act on that data may actually come to pass sooner rather than later.

You be the judge



The unthinkable happens in October - WN posts a loss

OK the dust has settled and OMG WN made a loss. The sky will fall.

Clearly the ratings agency had wind of this which is why they lowered ratings recently.

But this is sanguine news for everyone. It shows that everyone is fallible. Last quarter it was Ryanair - this quarter its Southwest. And the cause was the same - fuel hedging.

But the good news is - this can be fixed.


Don't Book Fortune Hotels in India

What the Professor is actually telling you NOT to book a hotel.

Sure right.

So exercising my rights of free speech on my own blog - I am saying I will never book this hotel chain nor should anyone else.


So we are clear - I have asked them before not to post spurious comments which are advertising and clearly against the policy of this blog. They persist in doing so.

Once was a warning twice is blatantly bad behavior.

As this blog is picked up by several other sites this message will be broadcast to several other elements and will likely get a higher ranking than perhaps the hotel chain does.

Insidious attempts at free advertising is just not cricket (DO YOU HEAR THAT

So let this be a lesson. Do not post advertising posing as comments on this site.

First a request - then you get a flame

Thanks for reading

14 October 2008

The Battle for Heathrow - in the Blue Corner....

Surprisingly this is making for some strange bedfellows.

For the expansion of LHR (3rd runway and demolition of zillions of homes) is the current Labour Administration.

Against is...

The Mayor of London
Probably the Conservative Party
The Lib Dems
The Unions (in a full page ad in many newspapers yesterday).

As for the building of a new airport to the east - well that one is not so clear.

However I support the full option - new airport in the Thames Estuary.


How to explain financial crisis to regular people

I dont normally just forward things but here is a very good description of how you can explain to normal/regular people what just happened to the global banking system



Thanks - well 30% of a million

Dearly Beloved....

Well thanks to all of you who actually voted and those who didnt but wanted to or forgot....

The final tally was that our horse - the Kiva initiative came in 3rd. Not bad as the prize is $300,000

Here is the final tally from Members Projects:

Presenting the Winning Projects

$1.5 million for 1st place goes to:
Alzheimer's Disease: Early Detection Matters and its fulfilling organization, Alzheimer's Association
$500,000 for 2nd place goes to:
Help 100,000 children thrive in the classroom! and its fulfilling organization, DonorsChoose.org
$300,000 for 3rd place goes to:
Loans That Change Lives and its fulfilling organization, Kiva Microfunds

cheers and thanks again

13 October 2008

UK Airspace traffic down 8.9% in September

if you have ever seen those really cool videos from Skies over Britain - you will know that the UK Airspace is one of the most busy skies in the world. Not only from the internally generated traffic but all the cross Atlantic traffic usually touches UK airspace.

Anyway - the traffic despite such things as Open Skies and a significant increase in LCC traffic - total traffic is down 2.1% with a significant drop in transatlantic which is down 8.9% according to the UK privatized Air Traffic Control company NATS.


Hmmm... these are real data points folks.


12 October 2008

Amex Cancels Domestic Companion Ticket

American Express has long tried to raise the bar with its personal services to its premium card holders. Since the Green US card was canceled a few years back - they have tried to reposition the Platinum Card as the standard product.

However there are now many different flavors of the card. Debit and Credit. Branded, Co-Branded, special services etc. Its hard to keep up with all the flavors in one country let alone the differences in many others. Of course in the USA market there has been little penetration of a joint bank card version of Amex. However in International Markets there are quite a few examples.

American Express services are not consistent by card color/type. For example a Straightforward Platinum Card does not carry the same privileges as the Delta card does. So you don't get a companion ticket on the Delta Platinum card.

In late 2006 Amex introduced the domestic companion free ticket with much fanfare. However my contacts tell me it was a resounding flop. So few people buy a full fare domestic premium ticket at full wack that it would be a hard thing to do to purchase one, even if they were readily available - which they just were not.

So with little fuss other than a letter to the affected card holders - they have quietly canceled the program.


Is this the Zenith of the US Legacy Carriers?

The French have this wonderful expression Plus Ca Change. Roughly translated it means the more things change the more they stay the same. However we could be seeing the end of the US Traditional Full Service Model, it has passed its zenith and we are headed for a different world.

Here is some interesting backup to this supposition from Anna.aero.


Frankly it really does show that there is only one way to go - and that is down.

Interestingly they don't make the connection that I think is likely to happen - namely that now is a great time to think about starting an airline.

We have been approached by several players some funded - some not - who are looking to fill in the gaps where the existing players have pulled out or where the service models just are not working economically.

The Western USA for example is taking the brunt of the withdrawal of United's 737 fleet.

So onward and upward - the new UPC airline revolution is with us. Sadly if there was any nostalgia for the the romance of aviation from a bygone era - it is well and truly now dead.


Meet this guy - he makes the Professor look nice!

So if you think you have been spun a line by the airline and your compensation has been denied - then watch out for Euclaim. www.euclaim.co.uk

It is run by Henrik Noorderhaven. He delights in that wonderful old fashioned of past times - exposing liars, and he gets paid for it by getting you the consumer compensation.

In tomorrow's (October 13th at 2000) Dispatches program on the UK's Channel 4 TV station - he was the featured part of the story.

He has exposed BA as the WORST airline in Europe for cancellations.

Here is the link for C4- however only UK stationed computer machines can view the program. (And special thanks to Professor Stuart for this one!


What Henrik does is to track the airlines performance and looks for chronic conditions, for example BA914 and BA915 operated LHR-FRA and back. It has been canceled 27 times so far this year.

BA actually cancels 2% of all its flights. This makes it the worst airline in Europe. Further it loses a lot of bags - 2.5 million or a similar number about 2.7% of all bags.

So much for the World's Favorite Airline.

Now of only someone would do this for the US airlines and check out the invocation of Rule 240 and domestic and international compensation. The US airlines are even worse. OK - they fly more but nearly 70,000 cancellations for the first 6 months of this year is not a pretty sight.

Airlines - time to behave and get better at doing what you are SUPPOSED to do. Of course IATA and ATA are crowing about how much better they are this year than last year. But there is this new issue of leaving early which makes it even harder to cope.

I should know - I have been a victim MORE than once.