02 May 2009

Plea To the Dutch: Please Don't Change

The terrible events of April 30th this past week are yet another example of the power of the few (in this case one) to disrupt the lives of the many or indeed the rest.

As with other acts of terrorism - it is always about the ability of someone to destroy the values of the masses to their own selfish ends.

Queen's Day in the Netherlands is a wonderful and joyous occasion that has been existed since 1885. My plea is don't change. Celebrate that which is your unique culture and freedom. To change would be to acknowledge that this deranged person was right and then we collectively all lose. If it gets changed and things are not as they were - then any other like-minded person will do the same thing.

Don't give in and don't change.

Thanks for reading


28 April 2009

More Pig Flu Resources

This one from Kevin and his team over at BTC:



Is A Pax Bill Of Rights Needed?

There are arguments both for and against obviously.

In the European Community and other markets there is a clear set of responsibilities on the airlines.

Just in case anyone is interested - I actually do have an axe to grind on this subject.

But it seems that my lot - which I am happy to share at a future time had nothing on the plight of DL510 on April 10th. In that case the elements conspired against the airline and the passengers were innocent victims. Clearly DL could have done a better job than they did. For a complete chapter and verse on the subject check out today (Tuesday's) Wall Street Journal on the subject.


In my case - DL had no excuse. The just screwed up. Plain and Simple and of course now they refuse to admit it.

In Europe - as I have reported before there is even a guy who checks the validity of the airlines story about so called "Weather" delays.

Bottom line.

You don't have to take it... and there are already several courses of redress you can take.

And to Delta - I am still waiting for an apology from you. But then again I am still flying you so go figure... may be I am brain damaged by too much flying.


27 April 2009

Professor On The Road Next 2 Weeks

I have a road trip from hell... so bear with me - it will be quiet from me.

We have a lot coming down soon - there is the Swine Flu panic, the Q1 reports are still trickling in, and I am sure there will be more. Boeing might actually be doing something with the 787.

Keep your heads above water and paddle like crazy!


Swine Flu - More an "Infodemic" - USTA

Here is the text of the mail from Roger Dow of US TIA. I think he is being wise.

Dear Travel Colleagues:

As I'm sure you are aware, the swine flu situation is today's lead story in every paper, the morning news shows and on every radio station. The possibility of travel restrictions is already being talked about by U.S. officials and the EU and a few other countries are already discouraging travel to Mexico and the United States. The U.S. Travel Association will take a lead role in addressing this challenge.

Just a few short years ago, the SARS and avian flu pandemics created an "infodemic" with media hysteria threatening air travel, lodging and meetings. We have learned important lessons from those challenges and must apply them in an effective, coordinated manner to this situation. While we in no way want to minimize the seriousness of the threat, it is important that our industry be vigilant about news activity and aggressively report the facts as the situation develops. As we reminded people during previous health scares, it's important to "be prepared, but not panicked."

I will be hosting a conference call at 4:30 pm today with other travel associations to discuss the travel community response. I will keep you informed as the situation develops.

Roger Dow
President and CEO
U.S. Travel Association

UK's Rich List For Travel

OK Have a heart for the UK's rich list - they lost a chunk of money.

Just for your edification I publish the list of "Travel" related folks from the Rich List.

For the full list go here:


I define the category as Aviation Travel and Tourism - here is the list broken into 100ths. Also for your edification I have put their current or source of their Travel related fortunes beside them. Forgive me for taking a few liberties with the list. Some on the list really are not from or in the UK but that was not my call - the Sunday Times put them in. Check out your favorite person!

28th, Swire family (Cathay Pacific) £1.3bn; 32nd, Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Group) £1.2bn; 49th, Roger and Peter De Haan (Saga/Grey Haired Folks) £840m; 81st, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou and family (easyJet/easyGroup) £544m;

110th, Brian Souter and Ann Gloag (Stagecoach) £473m; 128th, the Walker family (Flybe) £400m; =156th, Sir Peter Rigby (aviation, hotels) £330m; =156th, Jasminder Singh and family (Edwardian Group hotels) £330m;

204th, Andrew Davis (von Essen and Premiair) £290m; 207th, Sir Michael Bishop (BMI) £280m; 235th, Peter Harris and family (Bourne Leisure) £245m; 247th, John Cook and family (Bourne Leisure) £225m; 264th, John Woodward (caravan parks); £212m; 268th, Mike Gooley (Trailfinders) £205m; =274th, David Babai (Gullivers Travel Associates - see also =694) £200m; 296th Geoffrey Kent (Abercrombie & Kent) £193m;

307th, Naresh Goyal (Jet Airways) £182m; =309th, Firoz Kassam (hotels) £180m; =309th, Harpal Matharu and family (hotels) £180m; 388th, Surinder Arora and family (hotels) £140m;

402nd, Tim and Kit Kemp (hotels) £134m; 406th, David Crossland and family (Airtours and TravelJigsaw) £130m;

540th, Guy and Julia Hands (hotels) £100m;

=657th, David Allen (caravan parks) £85m; =675th, Rahul and Rita Sharma (Best at Travel) £85m; =694th, Edward Faith and family (Gullivers Travel Associates) £80m; =694th, Uzi Kattan (Gullivers Travel Associates) £80m; =694th, Norman family (Condor Ferries) £80m; =694th, Peter Stephens (Lotus Group travel and conferences) £80m;

=863rd, Dinesh Dhamija (ebookers) £65m; =924th, Kenneth Townsley (Gold Medal Travel) £60m;

=986th, Stephen Bond (aviation) £55m.

Etailing Grows BUT....

Emarketer is reporting studies from Forrester and Citi group that etailing is the bright spot in the current US economy. "According to a survey by Forrester Research and Shop.org, US online retail sales rose an average of 11% in the first three months of 2009."

Go here for the study outline: http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1007058

However there is an ominous sign in the numbers for travel. Pure etailers are performing significantly worse than hybrid players. And not just by a small statistical variation. The numbers are pretty significant.

With airlines being able to stabilize their Q1 numbers but with a radically reduced yield - this bodes ill for the pure web based OTAs.

I think we should brace ourselves for some bad Q1 numbers from the big 4.

Long term - the move to a multi-channel environment is the direction of the market. That has significant implications for how the technology and the strategy of both suppliers and intermediaries play in the market. I will say again. Emerging from the other side of the recession will be a whole different world. Species evolution!!!


UK To Up APD Levy

Rather than abolishing the APD levy the UK is raising it to GBP3.00 per pax. In the big picture scheme of things this is not going to cause holiday makers to change their behavior. However something needs to be done about the whole process of the a guarantee. Whether this is a head tax or a percentage tax will challenge even the best mathematician.

However I believe that the APD itself is flawed and a more generalist approach should be considered. Finding a solution to the LCCs products and including them along with accommodation only providers will be a challenge.

In the end - perhaps we should just accept that it is caveat emptor.


26 April 2009

A Tweeter Not, Maketh A Luddite?

I am still struggling with the concept of Twitter on a broader basis. I originally thought I was alone but I have found quite a few Professors out there who share the same view. I don't think it is an age thing either.

My big concern is that we are about to be overwhelmed by the amount of digital "stuff" that will be generated.

Gerry McGovern's editorial today about adopting different writing styles for web vs. the printed form applies even more pertinently to the Twitter form.

I went through today's Sunday paper and counted the number of mentions of Twitter in the news sections of the paper. (including the ads in those sections). I was astounded when it exceeded 300. I gave up after that.

What I realized is that there is a lack of nuance. I (being me or all of us) cannot really take a subtle approach to the issue of Twittering. I have binary choice - opt in or be left out. As Professor Cloud said in a recent conversation - are we becoming a generation of people who adopt technology because we are afraid of being left behind or even worse being left out if we don't adopt said technology? This is a frightening concept to me who grew up where the notion of an Orwellian world was something to fear.

Little did we know that we would adopt the very framework of this world so easily and out children think nothing of it. We have become de-sensitized to the adoption of the technology that has to power to cause our minds to become - perhaps something we don't want to be.

Rick Evans' lyrics were ringing in my ears today. I think 2525 is going to happen a lot sooner than any of us think. In my mind's eye the world of technology gone just a tad awry as personified in Gibson's books is here and now, not the slightly ahead of now that he writes about.

No I am not a luddite. I have been a huge supporter and manager of technology, I intend remaining so - but not at any price. I do think its healthy to challenge the philosophical notion of the concept of the technology such as Twitter.

Does the balance being beneficial mean that it should be allowed?
Who makes the rules?
Should there be rules?
What is the loss? IE What are we giving up if we take on and adopt a certain technology?

I hope that we all can question technology and remember that we need to remain in control as humans. Ceding ultimate power to a machine or a technology was something I never thought possible and the stuff of science fiction. The spread and ease of adoption of Twitter has given me cause to pause and reflect whether I still believe that.

Something for everyone to consider.

Good night and Good luck.

Here are some references.

Zager and Evans Lyrics for 2525 can be found here:

Gerry McGovern's blog and comments can be found here:

William Gibson's blog and website is here:

And of course in my view one of the best places to get knowledge is the library.
Take a trip - sign up and be a part of your library. It will amaze you!
For the Internet Public Library go here:

Swine Flu - US Raises State of Alert

So I dont think this is a time to panic - but I do suggest that people are reminded of good practice in dealing with the outbreak of Swine Flu.

Easy ways to protect against infection
Little can be done to prevent an outbreak of flu from spreading, health experts caution, but they say common sense measures can help individuals protect themselves. Practice the following:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Cover your cough or your sneeze
- Use alcohol-based gel or foam hand sanitizers
- If you have flu-like symptoms, stay away from work or public transportation
- Social distancing. Stay away from people who might be infected

Here are some resources you might be interested in:



And remember - TAKE YOUR VITAMINS....


Pet Airways Immortalized on NPR

I have written about Pet Airways before. Now news comes from Professor Stuart (he in Palo Alto although he is really Irish), that Pet Airways has achieved immortal fame by being mentioned on NPR's Show

"Wait Wait Don't Tell Me."

So just for fun - I went to look to see if Pet Airways is listed on Facebook. Wow - lots of friends there and they are quite a vocal group.

Sign up as a friend if you wish:


I think I am keeping my dog at home this year.


Next CEO of Aer Lingus?

I am not a betting man. But I enjoy watching others take a flutter.

I do think its rather funny that we have people betting on the next CEO of Aer Lingus.

Go to Paddy's for the absolute latest odds:


I think this is just a riot. Who ever is doing the handicapping needs their heads examined.