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News of February 2012


Easyjet charges man for dialysis machine on flight

29 February 2012

Easyjet has refunded a man £50 after charging him to take his dialysis machine aboard a flight.

Andrew Williamson, 44, from Ashburton in Devon, was charged a £50 excess baggage fee to take his 22kg medical equipment on the plane to France.

He said: “I have to pay an extra £50 for the privilege of being alive.

Easyjet apologised to Mr Williamson and said it had updated its policy and would no longer charge for the transportation of medical equipment.

source: BBC.co.uk


Airlines give up fare hike

28 February 2012

Airlines have imposed two broad fare increases so far this year. But low-fare airlines are hesitating to match last week’s increase of up to $10 per round trip, led by United/Continental.

Fare trackers said Monday that United and others that raised prices were scaling back their increases, at least on routes where they compete with discount airlines such as Southwest.

But with jet fuel prices rising, they figure it’s only a matter of time before airlines try again to raise fares.

source: Sun Times


Pilots would need more experience under U.S. proposal

28 February 2012

The U.S. government proposed increasing the required amount of experience and training for airline pilots to address issues that arose in a fatal crash three years ago. Co-pilots would need close to the same qualifications as captains, with at least three times more flight hours than under current rules.

All pilots would have to undergo revamped training designed to prepare them for hazards that have led to accidents, such as bad weather or high-altitude maneuvering. The public has 60 days to comment on the proposal.

Congress in 2010 ordered the FAA to update its requirements for airline pilots to better prepare them for flying in difficult conditions, such as icing or an unforeseen emergency. The National Transportation Safety Board, which investigates accidents, issued similar recommendations.

source: Business Week


U.K.: Travel companies using ‘tricks’ to charge customers more

27 February 2012

Travellers are being tricked into paying a wide range of ‘rip-off charges‘ by travel organisations, according to a new study of nearly 200 tour operators, hotels, airlines and car hire firms.

Expensive telephone contact numbers, ‘hidden‘ extras and ‘free‘ offers that include payments are just some of the things inflicted on travellers, says the new report from Which? Travel.

The research found that nearly 30 per cent of companies were using the two most expensive premium rate telephone lines, starting 0871 or 090, while 43 per cent were adding surcharges or unavoidable bookings fees to card payments.

source: dailymail.co.uk


Nearly half of pilots fall asleep in the cockpit while flying

25 February 2012

Pilots fear that changes to working hours proposed by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) could lead to more flying accidents.

The British Airline Pilots Association (Balpa) told the Transport Select Committee that when it polled 500 members, 43 per cent said that they had fallen asleep during a flight.

The alarming admission came as union leaders warned MPs that even more passengers’ lives will be put at risk due to new European rules that could allow pilots to fly aircraft after 22 hours without sleep.

The Agency wants to ‘harmonise‘ workload limits across all 27 member states, a move which Balpa says would increase the risk of fatigue, and should not be adopted by the UK.

source: dailymail.co.uk


Pressure grows on EU airline emissions plan

25 February 2012

A group of 29 nations Wednesday intensified pressure on the European Union to abandon a law that forces airlines to pay for carbon emissions, seeking retaliation against the EU and raising the risk of a trade war.

The nations, which include the U.S., Russia, China and India, agreed to adopt a “basket of measures,” permitting each participating state to choose the actions that it finds most effective to counteract the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, or ETS, said Valery Okulov, Russia’s deputy transportation minister, following a two-day meeting in Moscow.

A top European court said in December the charges are legal.

source: wsj.com


Virgin lodges complaint over airline merger

23 February 2012

Passengers face higher fares and reduced services between Scottish airports and London Heathrow if British Airways succeeds in taking over rivals BMI, Virgin Atlantic has claimed.

The airline made the claim as it lodged a formal complaint on the proposed merger to the European Commission.

It said passengers would be left with a “choice of one” on flights between Aberdeen and Edinburgh and Heathrow.

source: BBC.co.uk


Mile High Club booming in Cincinnati

21 February 2012

At $425 a pop, what may be the nation’s only Mile High Club has been quietly operating for more than 20 years at Cincinnati Municipal Lunken Airport.

Flamingo Air offers couples a little afternoon delight in the largest single-engine plane Piper built, a Cherokee 6, circling the Cincinnati skyline.

They provide passengers with champagne, chocolates — and privacy behind a curtain separating the pilot’s chair from the rest of the aircraft. Center seats have been replaced with fluffy cushions.

source: USA Today


New Spanish airline Volotea to launch flights this April

21 February 2012

Based in Spanair’s former home of Barcelona, Volotea — derived from the Spanish verb “revolotear” meaning “to fly around” — is being launched by two men with solid experience in the Spanish low-cost carrier biz: Carlos Munoz and Lazaro Ros, co-founders of Vueling Airlines. With the help of private equity firms, Munoz and Ros have secured about $65 million (€50 million) in capital for Volotea. Up to 20 former Spanair employees may be brought on as the airline staffs up.

source: nycaviation.com


U.S: Delta deemed deadliest airline for pets

20 February 2012

According to the U.S. Deprartment of Transportation’s Air Tavel Consumer Report, more than half of the pets that died on airplanes in 2011 flew Delta.

Delta claims the statistic is flawed since more pets fly Delta than any other airline. Delta has already banned certain breeds of dogs that have snub noses because they have a propensity for respiratory problems.

The airline who had the second-most pets die on the plane was American Airlines.

source: 9news.com