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News of August 2010


BA changes child seating policy following court case

30 August 2010

British Airways has changed its longstanding policy of banning lone male travellers from sitting next to unaccompanied children on its flights.

The airline had been sued by a traveller who said the policy was discriminatory – something BA denied. The case was settled and BA agreed to a review. From now on, unaccompanied children will be seated in a special area on BA planes.

In the UK, it is up to individual airlines to decide on how to treat unaccompanied minors.

source: BBC News


For air travel, the magic number is 8

27 August 2010

Economists have calculated that the optimum time to book an airline ticket is eight weeks before the travel date. Also, do it in the afternoon rather than the morning to get the best deal.

Book earlier than eight weeks and you run the risk that your personal plans may change and the booking may need to be altered, but leave it later and there’s an increased risk that prices will go up or the flight could be fully booked.

The work by Japan-based economists Makoto Watanabe and Marc Moller has been published by The Royal Economic Society.

They also highlight differences in timing policy in booking flights compared to booking theatre tickets, where last-minute deals can be available.

source: The Australian


Virgin Atlantic pilots in talks to avert airline’s first-ever strike

26 August 2010

Virgin Atlantic has held last-ditch talks with the union representing the airline’s pilots aimed at averting the first-ever strike in the company’s history.

Virgin Atlantic pilots are currently guaranteed 120 days off a year on top of holiday – which corresponds approximately with time off such as weekends and bank holidays.

However, management at the airline, which posted a £132 million loss last year, is looking to trim the figure as part of cost-cutting measures.

source: dailymail.co.uk


High Court suspends airline pay-outs for delayed flights

24 August 2010

The UK High Court has suspended the right of air passengers to compensation if they suffer a flight delay of three hours or more.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled last November that passengers were entitled to compensation for delays. But following a challenge brought by British Airways, Tui Travel, easyJet and the International Air Transport Association, the High Court has referred the issue back to the European court.

A spokesman for the Civil Aviation Authority said: “The High Court has stayed our enforcement powers so the courts won’t hear [compensation] cases in the interim.

It is expected to be two years before the Court of Justice reviews the case.

source: travelweekly.co.uk


American Airlines offers seats up front for extra charge

23 August 2010

American Airlines is offering travelers a chance to sit in the front few rows of the coach section and the ability to board early.

But, like so many things in the airline industry today, it’ll cost you.

American Airlines announced that its “Express Seats” option will let passengers pick any remaining seats in the first few rows of the coach section. It also lets them get on the airplane in the first boarding group along with elite frequent fliers, people sitting in first- or business class and full-fare customers.

source: dallasnews.com


JetBlue’s All-You-Can-Jet passes sell out early

21 August 2010

For the second year in a row, JetBlue has found a lot of impulsive, adventurous travel lovers to buy a single ticket for a month of unlimited travel.

JetBlue said Thursday it has sold out early of its popular All-You-Can-Jet passes a day earlier than expected. Last year, the first year the pass was offered, they sold two days early.

The pass is a chance for the airline to fill empty seats during what is traditionally the slowest time of the year. It’s valid for flights between Sept. 7 and Oct. 6.

source: msnbc.com


Airline travel demand down about 1 percent in July

20 August 2010

Travel on major U.S. airlines fell roughly 1 percent in July with one key measure of revenue growth slowing, according to an industry trade group.

July is traditionally one of the busiest months for airlines due to summer holiday travel. The revenue picture normally grows tougher as carriers get into fall when travel usually drops off.

source: Reuters


Mexican airline sector lags

20 August 2010

On Aug. 3 Mexicana announced that it was seeking bankruptcy protection from creditors in Mexico and the U.S. Mexicana, along with Aeromexico, is one of the two carriers with nationwide reach, and Mexico’s largest by passengers. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on July 30 announced that Mexico was not complying with international safety standards.

The bankruptcy marked the beginning of a speedy meltdown that may end with the collapse of Mexicana in the coming weeks. The airline has suspended ticket sales and canceled numerous flights, mainly to international destinations in the Western Hemisphere and Europe. It has been forced to pay in advance for services, and faced problems such as refusals to refuel its planes.

source: Forbes


Kiss Flights travel company ceases trading

19 August 2010

Kiss Flights has become the latest British travel company to collapse, sparking uncertainty for an estimated 70,000 holidaymakers.

The budget firm sold flights to Greece, Egypt, Turkey and the Canary Islands.

The Civil Aviation Authority said travellers abroad who had flown with Kiss would get home as normal.

source: BBC News


Latin American airlines to merge

17 August 2010

Leading Latin American airlines LAN of Chile and Tam of Brazil have announced merger plans in a bold bid to position themselves for future growth a fast-consolidating global industry.

As the world industry consolidates we cannot stand still,” said Enrique Cueto, the chief executive of LAN who will also be chief executive of the new parent company, to be called Latam Airline Group.

The new group says it expects to achieve “real and achievable” annual synergies of $400m through alignment of passenger networks, growth in cargo operations in Brazil and internationally and cost savings.

The two airlines carried a combined 45m passengers and 832,000 tons of cargo in 2009. Merged, they will operate 115 destinations to 23 cities, with a fleet of 220 planes and 40,000 employees.

source: FT.com