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May 2nd 2009 1:54AM Ryanair operates flights much like bus or subway transportation and he is very wealthy because of this. Naturally he wants customers to think they are completely safe because his bankroll is on the line. He hasn't given the thought that the illness has spread around the world and it isn't just Americans or Mexicans who have been affected because he doesn't think much beyond making a buck. I also believe the deaths have occured to those who have little or no health care or have few immunities built up, but many elderly persons or others with pre-existing health problems could also die from the virus. After working for an airline for over 36 years I see how close contact can spread any communicable illness. But so can going to church, shopping in stores, attending sporting events, dining out, going to a bar or attending any other event or function where other persons are present. If you don't want to get this virus you can either become a recluse or stay calm, think smart and take the advice of the professionals and sanitize your hands and use thoughtful protective measures when in public places. Then forget about the CEO of Ryanair because he's not an authority on anything other than running cattle-car air service and making stupid remarks.
Apr 15th 2009 8:15PM FAA regulations require children 2 years of age or older to occupy their own seat and only one child may occupy the same seat. Airlines require purchase of these seats and usually the fare is not the same as for an adult. Only an adult (age can vary by airline) may hold a child under 2 years of age and if the adult wants that child to have a seat they must, like a child using a booster seat, must have an airline approved infant seat and pay for that extra seat. If you think you see a violation contact the FAA and get the specifics with flight numbers, the child's seat numbers and where you are seated. Airlines get fined for violations. Big time. Sorry, whiney kids you can't do anything about. Just like whiney adults. The only things that are going to keep them quiet are sleeping or a bottle. Of course, for adults, the bottle could increase their whining. To prepare yourself bring along ear plugs or maybe an Ipod. Nose plugs might not be a bad idea in some situations too.
Apr 15th 2009 7:17PM To fjb- One airline still pretty much charges one price for all seats and that's SWA. But they were really started as a regional carrier not a trans-continental or international carrier so one size seat for all wasn't an issue. But get onto an aircraft and fly 17 hours to China, Japan or Australia and the only way everyone is going to be comfortable is if they are sitting in first class. Putting in wide bodied A/C with more seats was the only affordable option for international travel since no carrier could ever afford to have only the seating that everyone wants to have at an affordable price. Domestically, before deregulation, seats were bigger and so were the ticket costs. Then, along came Ralphy Nader and consumer advocacy DEMANDING cheap airfare. Cheaper ticket prices meant something had to go and packing in extra seats was the most reasonable and easily achieved answer. As fuel prices went up other measures were taken to keep prices lower and keep airlines in business. Airline employees hate those narrow seats too, even the flight attendants who have just a little bench seat to sit on. The reality in airline travel is that not much is going to get better. Fares will go up, more restrictions may have to be made. If you can't handle that you can always drive, take a bus, take a train or go to Europe or Asia on a boat. Or maybe you can get a loan for $25Billion and start your own airline and name it Eastern, PanAm, TWA, Northwest, PSA, Allegheney, Mohawk, Republic, RenoAir or even Braniff. Then you can make it just as comfortable as you and all your passengers want, as costly as you think the market will bear and just hope you can stay in business.
Apr 15th 2009 6:28PM Sorry, but this isn't new news as this article seems to indicate. Airlines have for decades advised passengers that they might have to pay for a second seat or even be denied boarding if they could not fit safely into a seat. Usually the second seat fee is 50% of the ticket price, not 100%. Previously, in most cases this wasn't necessary because crews were able to make adjustments to seating. Recently, with reduced flight operations and smaller aircraft, this hasn't always been possible. The issue isn't one of descrimination, it's about safety. If a passenger can't be evacuated safely or could even hinder safe evacuation of other passengers in the event of an emergency it becomes necessary to make these requirements. I know, I'm retired after 36.5 years with a major carrier and the safety of all of our passengers was more important than meals, free drinks and all-you-can-stuff-luggage in the overhead. Live with it.
Apr 2nd 2009 1:05PM Lightweight luggage is good, but after more than 36 years with an airline anyone who thinks a "fingerprint-only" lock is smart is asking for trouble. If Security can't open a bag that has questionable contents and the passenger isn't available (yes it happens) to open the bag then the bag doesn't go. If the bag gets delayed or "lost" and needs to be opened and can't, in the worst case scenario, it could be purposly destroyed. In fact a bag such as this is a good indicator that the contents might be questionable. Especially in foreign countries where privacy is not number one in airport security. Best bet: don't pack anything you absolutly can't afford to lose.
Mar 26th 2009 12:40PM I sold appliances for Home Depot and when I bought my new house the first thing I did was go out and buy the LG steam washer in red. I knew Maytag and Whirlpool had too many problems and GE didn't have the quality I wanted. I bought the red pair because I didn't need the features of the higher priced blue steam pair. My washer is actually quieter than the GE top loader I had and my drying time is about 1/3 of the time so I save money that way too.
Feb 5th 2009 1:41AM People try to smuggle just about anything they think they can get away with. Hiding them in cell phones, cameras, baby diapers, bras, jock straps, and heels of shoes as well as hollowed out books, shaving cream cans, battery toothbrushes and other places well known to customs and security inspectors. Airline staff can also spot would-be smugglers and we've seen it all. Believe me.
Just be glad it was only pigeons this idiot was trying to bring into the country and not pieces of a bomb or automatic weapon. I hope the Australians give him the maximum fine and then maybe the word will get out to the rest of the bird-brains.
Jan 26th 2009 11:29PM Everything is going up in price and some folks are even getting their wages cut by being forced to work part time or fewer hours. Buying Girl Scout cookies isn't about getting the most for your dollar anyway. It's about helping kids learn and work together for a goal. Much better than so many kids who sit glued to computer games and often learn to be anti-social zombies.
I don't buy the cookies for myself anyway. Lots of Girl Scout troops send them to our soldiers and that's where I like to see them go. I'm supporting more than a Girl Scout troop that way and it's a little enough way to say thanks to our Service Men and Women who would love to be home to complain about the rising prices rather than dodging bullets and car bombs.
Jan 25th 2009 2:42AM Ruth you are a jewel! Would that more customers understood things as you do.
The biggest fluctuating cost of an airline is the fuel and
thusly airline costs increase mostly because of the fuel. Just getting the plane off the ground takes an incredible amount; and for every passenger seat filled and every bag in the hold, the need for more fuel increases. Each passenger and each bag gets an average weight and when the cargo hold is bulked out that means more fuel. I worked in a city where conventions were big and so were sporting events. Skiers, bowlers, vollleyball teams, pole vaulters, cowboys and even book writers conventions (with lots of free give-aways) packed gear that took a lot of stragegy to stow efficiently and safely. And more fuel.
I don't know why people can't understand that carry on baggage adds weight too. And cases of soda, water, ice, as well as those meals so many people complained about all added to the weight of the aircraft.
The weight has to be computed before it can even leave the gate, so making those bag limitations are vital to the safe operation of the plane. Believe it or not, but last minute passengers, under some weather conditions, can mean the difference between an on-time departure or a delay because of the weight already on the plane.
It isn't the lack of customers that will make the airlines change the fee policies. It's the fuel costs. If fuel costs were to stay reasonable the airlines would re-think fee charges because they know those charges turn customers away.
Thanks for your positive input as well as the other supportive bloggers today. I still have many friends working for the airline and they need all the support they can get from folks like you. And say a prayer (to whoever you think will help) that fuel prices keep at a fair and reasonable price for people who fly as well as drive.
Jan 25th 2009 2:02AM Marc...I'm retired and haven't flown since 2005 because there's so much else for me to do right now. Southwest is a good airline, but they just don't fly around the world like the big boys do. And as for doing well financially that's because they wisely hedged their fuel prices, but only until 2010. Other airlines have learned alot from them because of that smart move too, so lets see how things do after next year. Oh, by the way...has Southwest changed their policy on intra-airline baggage transfers or they still just taking the baggage only as far as their final point and then making the customer re-check their bag if they are flying onward with another airline? If that hasn't changed then Southwest is going to have to expand their market extensively if they really want to be competing with airlines that fly around the world or have agreements with international carriers.
Your snacks were better than ours, by the way, but I'm glad our company ditched the peanuts. They were heck cleaning out from the supports that secure the seats. I would rather that they kept the meal service though because some of the garbage people started taking onboard was much worse than ours was.
Flying can still be fun, but like any challenges in life you have to have a positive attitude if you want positive things happen to you. The biggest majority of my customers were great and the best thing about my job was taking good care of them because they were my bread and butter.
Airlines want your business, but everyone has different expectations and no airline can meet all of them every time. Not even Southwest.