08 December 2010

Ryanair Punishes Stansted

It has been a bit of sport lately watching Michael O'Leary get on his soap box about various causes in particular the one about UK APD. Air Passenger Duty. The UK Air passenger will be paying more than his fare share of tax in the coming years. The UK increase is significant making it the most costly of any market in Europe. In contrast Ireland has just cut its tax from 10 euros to 3. So if you want to save money hop on a flight to DUB and then catch a FR flight or even another airline.

But what of this loss.

Traffic declined more than 10%. Ouch. FR reduced its footprint at STN by 17%. That's a lot. But the traffic decline is not just because Ryanair cut capacity - but because Britain is fast becoming a poor country.

However UK being a net contributor to the EC will have to ride it out.

For a more in depth review read this article from ABTN



07 December 2010

Microsoft To Address Web Tracking

Score another one for the good guys. (Say what Microsoft a good guy???) In this case yes - definitely of the white hat variety.

The Wall Street Journal's By NICK WINGFIELD reports that "Microsoft Corp. said it will include a privacy feature in its Internet Explorer that would let users list websites that can't track them. It is similar to a key feature it dropped in an earlier version of the Web browser after a heated debate with advertisers"

The battle will now get more interesting


Should Technology Define The Interaction?

I originally wanted to title this one "Does Technology Define the Dialogue." But you can appreciate the subtle changes I have made to challenge several precepts.

What troubles me are several elements about our interaction with people on the internet.

While the web can be a bit like speed dating in a dark room with no bathroom privileges there are these horrid terms and conditions that no one reads and everyone signs up to - or policies that give again huge implied consent to the website owner being able to do whatever they like with your data and the results of your interaction.

Sorry I think that is wrong. And disclaimers are just that a bunch of BS. If I don't want you to track my activity I should not be the one who has to opt out. Its my darn data and my persona you are messing with. (Are you listening Googleplex?).

However broadly lately I have been thinking that in too many cases we have let technology define the conversation not the other way round.

So my wish list for 2011 is to focus on more ways to have the consumer and user be given solutions that enable she/he to define and control the interaction.

And what is your opinion?


De-Demonizing Of Airline Fees

Most people get all riled up about airline ancillary service fees.

They hate it and much prefer the simple all in one model that has persisted for the airline ticket since - well before there were airline tickets going back to the time of Thomas Cook.

Europeans and now just about everyone else in the world are well used to paying fees for unbundled services. Indeed one or two airlines offer Fee packages - buy once use many. Examples of this are United Options and Easyjet's annual Speedy Boarding pass. So the griping (me included) is beginning to subside and the stage of acceptance is creeping in.

Some are even embracing this.

Joe Harkey the veteran MY Times columnist actually wrote an article about it this week.

Have a read here.


With Ack to Scared Monkeys for the great image.


Oh say it ain't so!!!

None other than Infoworld long a supporter of and indeed for many the voice of the Crackberry Generation has served up a rather disquieting analysis of the state of Play - iPhone vs Crackberry vs Android.

I love my Blackberry. I have a Bold 9700. One of my team just acquired a 9780 from T Mobile and it has evolved a little bit more. I have played with the 9800 Torch and its very good but its not an iPhone killer. It still does what Crackberries do best. Better email, better security and its a reasonable Phone. Unlike its competitors which are useless in at least 2 out of those three.

For me - there is still a significant set of issues with Android devices. They are like an early version of Windows and Linux - unpolished would be a kind word for it. The HTC devices are getting pretty darn good though. Look for the next generation to be acceptable. iPhone is like all things Apple, beautiful, arrogant and expensive. For me its just way too expensive. Not the device but the business model that i have to pay for. Oh yes and the phone is useless.

The faithful are awaiting the Playbook - aka Crackberry Tablet - but by then the choice will be either the next version of the iPad or the Crackberry non-3G device a rough and ready companion only or Wifi product. However IF they can arrange for BBM to tunnel through so that there would be no roaming charges for Playbook usage - then it would have a winner. But that is my dream and has a zero chance of being adopted.

Come on RIM - don't abandon us yet. Don't be the Nokia or Palm you are heading to be.

06 December 2010

Hawaii Comes Back ... Perhaps

Hawaii Tourism is starting to return it would seem. According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority's preliminary statistics for October, total expenditures by visitors who came to Hawaii during the month jumped 24.7% when compared with October 2009. In total, travelers to Hawaii spent $961.5 million in October, or $190.6 million more than they did during same month last year. October numbers were up all round continuing a trend that has been building for a while. Average daily spending by visitors statewide increased nearly 10%, to $188.70, and total tourists to Hawaii were up 13.6%. Among the destination's top four markets, arrivals inbound from the U.S. West rose 21.4%, while those from the U.S. East increased 6.1% year over year. Visitors from Canada surged 17.2%, and even arrivals from Japan inched up 1.6%.

HOWEVER be careful in reading this as the be all and end all of the situation. Remember that capacity remains constrained. The US Carriers are not that keen on adding capacity for which their yields are poor. Mexico's woes started to kick in with a vengeance in October and therefore a lot of people diverted from Mexico to Hawaii. Continuing a trend that I have seen for decades.

That said Hawaii's #2 long haul carrier in terms of flights is soon to be Alaska Airlines. Yup the plucky guy from the Northwest is expanding his footprint and bringing the Proud Alaskan with the Lei tail to the islands big time.

New routes consist of the following
San Diego (SAN) - Kahului, Maui (OGG) 10/01/10 1x Daily
Portland (PDX) - Kona, Hawaii (KOA) 11/12/10 - 04/09/11 Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat
Seattle (SEA) - Kona, Hawaii (KOA) 11/11/10 - 04/07/11 Increase to 2x daily Tue, Thu, Sun
Bellingham (BLI) - Honolulu (HNL) 01/07/11 1x Daily
Oakland (OAK) - Lihue, Kauai (LIH) 03/28/11 Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat
San Jose (SJC) - Lihue, Kauai (LIH) 03/27/11 Tue, Thu, Sun

This gives the islands:

Kona 4 routes
OGG 5 7 routes
HNL 4 routes
LIH 4 Routes

2 Years ago these did not exist.

Travelport vs AA - Round 1 (Postponed)

According to those in the know - the first round was supposed to be last week (December 2nd) with a hearing on the Temporary Injunction against AA.

This has been delayed to this week and into next week Dec 10 and 13 respectively.

Seconds out....

With special thanks to DarmnMalaysia for the image.

05 December 2010

What Else Did The Internet Kill?

I used to live in Southern California in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was a great experience.

Late night TV in LA was a trip - quite often literally. Channel surfing on the Goddess of Cable - Theta out of the Westside while overlooking LA out of my apartment window. It was magic.

One of the expressions I would love and became attuned to was the local car sellers hawking their wares. The expression was often spoken in homespun speak from guys dressed as cowboys or often even more exotic eccentric ways to get you to "Come on Down!" Whatever happened to people like Cal Worthington....his famous expression was "Go See Cal". At age 89 he is still out there... click here to see his current website.

I was thinking the other day as I was channel surfing that there was a distinct lack of cable TV ads exhorting you to "Come and See".

Instead they have been replaced by web sites.

Hmmm - I wonder what else the web has killed?


Confessions of a Webaholic

I stand before you proverbially naked. I am prepared to make a full and complete confession in public.

I have sinned - I am eviil - Yes - I am a webaholic.

I have been a secret webaholic for years. I sneak peaks. Even for no apparent reason or when I have no business being on the web. Yes I am an addict.

And you know what REALLY pisses me off? Bad website User Experience.

When people ask me questions on the web - just like my use of the web - I answer the first thing that comes into my head. For me speed isn't just part of the process - SPEED IS EVERYTHING! This is just so you don't think that when I tell you stuff in surveys you wont think that I am telling you the truth. Like all Webaholics I LIE. In my humble opinion look at my behaviour don't look at my words.

And yes I am SONIC!

Don't make me think about the process - the UX has to be completely intuitive. If there are more than 5 choices on the page other than the results then I get nervous and I will choose the first one. Listen up you web designers - the first answer is the one I will go with. Even if I am wrong - I would rather get a viable answer than to have to spend all day figuring out the way you made your site SO DARN COMPLICATED.

Gerry McGovern seems to agree with me. This week he makes the point. In one paragraph he neatly sums up the problem...

"When people are on the Web they are instinctive, impatient, impulsive, in a hurry. They click on the first link that looks in any way right. They search with the minimum number of words possible. Only when they get bad search results do they add more words to the search string. I have seen tests where people preferred to get poor results quickly than invest a little more time and effort and get much better ones."

Just think about this and do me and yourself a favour. Quite with the extemporaneous crap you dump on to your website. Group things nicely. And then give me a place to get help.

If you don't then remember one thing. it is just as easy to click out of your site as to click inside your site.

Sorry got to dash - I just saw some thing bright and shiny over there....