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Scoot launches child-free zone

 

Budget airline Scoot, subsidiary of Singapore Airlines is the latest airline to ban children flying at the very front of the economy cabin, calling it the new ‘ScootinSilence’.

The self-contained cabin has 41 of Scoot’s Super and Stretch extra-legroom seats and has now been declared off-limits to passengers under 12 years of age.

 

The seats can be booked from an additional S$18 (AUS$16) on top of a regular economy fare.

 

“ScootinSilence is the perfect option for guests seeking an exclusive cabin, extra legroom and confidence that under 12’s will be seated in another part of the aircraft” said Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson.

 

“No offence to our young guests or those travelling with them”, he added, “you still have the rest of the aircraft to choose from.”

 

Low-cost carrier Airasia X already offers a similar Quiet Zone in the first seven rows of economy, while  Malaysia Airlines has declared a kid-free zone  in the first class cabin of its Airbus A380 and Boeing 747, along with the small economy cabin  at the rear of the A380’s upper deck.

Fascinating numbers on what we do

We check our phones 150 times a day, that is once every 6.5 minutes and in 2017 there will be more mobile phones than people.

And when we are not checking our phones we are taking pictures on them with 1 in 10 of all photos taken in history snapped last year.

In fact, we took 375 billion photos in the last 12 months.

These extraordinary pieces of information and countless more about our habits and wants are contained in a video produce by Travelport one of the world’s largest travel reservation systems.

Each day Travelport produces 1.2 billion itineraries and makes 225,000 hotel reservations.

And talking of travel, since it took flight in 1970 the Boeing 747 has carried 3.5 billion passengers, while the new A380 superjumbo is more fuel efficient per passenger than a Toyota Prius.

Will World’s Largest Airline Merger Actually Lift Off?

What a difference a week makes. Eight days ago American Airlines and U.S. Airways officials were basking in the European Commission’s approval of an $11 billion deal that would create the planet’s largest airline. Today, they’re intent on “vigorously” fighting a decision by the United States Department of Justice that challenges that merger.

In a prepared release, DOJ says it filed suit August 13 on antitrust grounds. Attorney General Eric Holder contends, “The American people deserve better. This transaction would result in consumers paying the price – in higher airfares, higher fees and fewer choices.”

Bill Baer, DOJ’s Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, echoes Holder’s position. Baer believes should the AA/US deal go through it would produce “hundreds of millions of dollars harm to American consumers.”

In a prepared statement, American and US Airways fired back: “Blocking this pro-competitive merger will deny customers access to a broader airline network that gives them more choices.” The “New American” would loft some 6,700 flights daily – this to more than 336 destinations in 56 countries arrayed around the world.

Ah, routes and rates. That’s the essence of it. DOJ says, “American and US Airways compete directly on more than a thousand routes where one or both offer connecting service, representing tens of billions of dollars in annual revenues.” The Justice Department goes on to say, “They engage in head-to-head competition with nonstop service on routes worth about $2 billion in annual world-wide revenue.” Here’s the heart of it contends the department: “Eliminating this head-to-head competition would give the merged airline the incentive and ability to raise airfares.”

In the wake of the suit, Business Travel Coalition Chairman Kevin Mitchell said, “So much for a quiet August…I think that DOJ is doing the right thing. They’re stepping up and protecting consumers from a transaction that would change the competitive structure of the US airline industry for the worse.”

Mike Boyd, president of Boyd Group International, has a bit of a different take on all this. He tells AirlineRatings.com, “Frankly, [DOJ is] playing politics,” saying objections the Department of Justice has with an American/US Airways amalgam were not raised when United merged with Continental, Southwest with AirTran, or Delta with Northwest. Boyd does not believe an AA/US combo will give the New American the ability to “gouge the market.”

The Department of Justice filed the suit in conjunction with state attorneys general in Texas (American’s headquarters), Florida, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia. DOJ brought the action to block the merger in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

 

Ryanair outrage

Low-cost airline giant Ryanair is back in the news again, this time for refusing to refund the ticket of a deceased passenger because it said she had “died too soon before her flight”.

According to The Daily Mail, Beryl Parsons, 78, was due to fly to the Canary Islands with her son and grandchildren for a holiday in October.

In June, just four months before the flight, she was unexpectedly told she only had three weeks to live and died.

Her son Doug wrote to the airline to request a refund for his mother’s £230 ($389) airfare from the UK’s StanstedAirport to Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands, including a copy of his late mother’s death certificate.

However the airline refused to refund the ticket as it said Mrs Parsons, who had cancer, had died more than 28 days before the booked flight.

The letter from Ryanair read: “Unfortunately, we regret to advise you that in accordance with Ryanair’s General Conditions of Carriage detailed below we cannot refund your booking”

It also included a section from the airline’s terms and conditions regarding bereavements that states: “In the case of a bereavement of an immediate family member (spouse, civil partner, mother, father, brother, sister, child, grandparent or grandchild) within 28 days of intended travel we will… make a refund.”

Mr Parsons was so appalled by the airline’s response that he threatened to put his mother’s ashes in an urn on the seat she had paid for, film it and upload it to YouTube.

The airline subsequently issued an apology and refunded the money.

The family had planned to take the trip to Spain last Christmas after learning that Mrs Parsons had been diagnosed with cancer, but she was too ill so they cancelled the plans. When her health appeared to improve in April, the family booked the tickets. But in June she was unexpectedly told the cancer had spread and was terminal.

Mr Parsons told the Daily Mail: “Her first comment when she was told she was dying was, ‘Oh, I suppose, I will have to cancel my holiday then’. She loved travelling and it was the thought of the holiday that was keeping her going.”

A Ryanair spokesman said: “He was entitled to a full refund, and this has now been sent to him, with our sincere apologies”.

Mr Parsons said: “It was never really about the money. It was all about the principle”.

This isn’t the first time Ryanair has been criticised as thoughtless, with CEO Michael O’Leary last year claiming passengers should be “charged for their stupidity.”

Mr O’Leary’s comments followed an online campaign launched by a disgruntled passenger who had to pay $600 to print off boarding passes in order to have her family fly with the airline.

Ryanair passengers are told to check in online and print their own boarding passes – the fee for not doing so is $120 per person.

The passenger, 35 year-old Suzy McLeod said because she had been staying in a rural villa in Spain without internet access, she was unable to print her family’s boarding passes before flying back home to England.

At a press conference, O’Leary responded to McLeod’s Twitter comments about the airline by saying: “Mother pays [$600] for being an idiot and failing to comply with her agreement at the time of booking.”

Air cargo underpins air travel

The ocean off Cervantes in Western Australian just north of Perth, feels like a world away from the hustle and bustle of the world’s airports and the multibillion-dollar air cargo business.

But these small red crustaceans are a highly prized delicacy worldwide and make up a crucial part of Western Australia’s airfreight export market.

Western Australian rock lobsters are exported live globally in a quick and efficient operation that delivers them fresh to their foreign destinations, such as a Hong Kong restaurant dinner plate.

Channel 7, The West Australian newspaper in conjunction with AirlineRatings.com followed on rock obest which we named “Rocky” on his journey.

SEE THE VIDEO BELOW

The lengths taken to ensure Rocky’s safe arrival illustrate the value of Western Australia’s $183 million rock lobster industry, much of which is imported live to China and South-East Asia and cooked to Europe and the US.

Rocky’s journey also shows how air cargo is just as important — if not more so — as passengers to airlines. Without cargo in the bellies of planes, passenger airfares would increase by up to 20 per cent and many flight routes would be unsustainable.

After being caught the rock lobsters are weighed, graded and checked — too many missing legs or feelers make a lobster unsellable.

Some rock lobsters are cooked before export by steaming for 45 minutes.

Then they are chilled and must arrive at their destination such as Paris at a temperature of between minus one and 4C, otherwise French officials send the cargo back.

The rock lobsters, including our Rocky, destined for live export are stunned in chilled saltwater, between 6C and 9C, for up to five minutes to put them into a deep sleep for their flight.

Once stunned, the lobsters are packed in sawdust-lined eskies and before long they begin their 240km journey to Perth international airport and air freight agent Worldlink’s depot, which handles up to 18 tonnes of live lobsters daily.

This is big business.

More than 40 per cent of world trade by value is carried in passenger or freight planes each year. It adds up to a staggering 50 million tonnes of cargo worth more than $5 trillion.

As passengers board a midnight Cathay Pacific flight at Perth international airport, Rocky and his mates are being loaded into the belly of the aircraft for the seven-hour, 6000km journey to Hong Kong.

The next morning, the seafood importer picks up the live cargo and unpacks Rocky and the other lobsters.

Wriggling and kicking, the lobsters are well awake as they are put into the tanks at a seafood market shop.

That evening the seafood market comes alive with people who come out to buy their dinner, as fresh as if it had just been plucked out of the ocean.

Next Wednesday Episode 2 will take you into the world’s biggest kitchens.

 CARGO BY THE NUMBERS

• Cargo revenue is worth $63 billion to airlines globally.

• Air cargo accounts for 40 per cent of world trade and has an annual value of $5 trillion

• The air cargo industry is growing by six per cent a year.

• In 2050 more than 400 million tonnes of cargo will be carried by air.

 

 

 

Sixteen airlines have their safety ratings changed on AirlineRatings.com

The EU ban list is a list of airlines that are banned from flying into European airspace due to safety concerns. Until a few weeks ago, all airlines based in the Philippines had a ban placed on them by the EU. However, with the partial removal of this ban, Pal Express and Philippine Airlines have now been awarded one extra star lifting flag carrier Philippine Airlines from a 4/7 to a 5/7 safety rating.

Another airline taken off the ban list is Conviasa in Venezuela

ICAO audits whole countries on their level of aviation safety utilising eight parameters; Legislation, Organization, Licensing, Operations, Airworthiness, Accident Investigation, Air Navigation Service and Aerodromes.  At AirlineRatings.com, any airline that meets the global average for all eight parameters gets two stars towards the seven star total available.

India now meets the global average for all criteria whereas before it met only six of the criteria. As a result, every airline based in India has increased their safety rating by one star. Airlines Air India, Jet Konnect, Jet airways and Go Air now score a perfect 7/7 for their safety rating.

Vietnam previously was awarded no stars for ICAO as they met only four of the eight criteria, however improvements in the most recent audit have resulted in all airlines based in Vietnam being awarded one star for ICAO. This is a great result for Vietnam Airlines, which now scores a near perfect 6/7 for safety.

A similar story exists for Suriname with all airlines based here receiving an extra star.

For detailed information on our safety rating criteria please visit or for the individual safety breakdown for any airline visit.

Below is a summary of changes to the safety rating of airlines this month at AirlineRatings.com.

Airlines Previous Safety Rating New Safety Rating
IndiGo 4 5
Spicejet 4 5
Air India Express 3 4
Jet Konnect 6 7
GoAir 6 7
Air India regional 4 5
Air India 6 7
Jet Airways 6 7

 

Vietnam Airlines 5 6
VietJet Air 3 4
Air Mekong 4 5
Surinam Airways 5 6
Bluewing airlines 1 2
Conviasa 3 4
PAL Express 2 3
Philippine Airlines 4 5

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Air New Zealand has teamed up with the All Blacks and an all-star line-up of international rugby greats to tackle the airline’s latest on board safety video, Men in Black Safety Defenders.

Inspired by the popular film, Men in Black, it features All Blacks’ Captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as well as Coach Steve Hansen, team mates Kieran Read, Keven Mealamu, Sam Whitelock and Israel Dagg who gets to test his vocals alongside Kiwi musician Stan Walker.

American actor Rip Torn reprises his role as Chief of the Men in Black with Wallabies great David Campese, former England Captain Martin Johnson and former Argentinean Captain Agustin Pichot making cameo appearances.

“The creative concept and the parallels drawn between the All Blacks and the Men in Black are really clever. It’s been exciting to help Air New Zealand bring the Men in Black universe to life in this unique way,” says Emmanuelle Borde, Executive Vice President, Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Air New Zealand Head of Global Brand Development Jodi Williams says the airline is crazy about rugby making the All Blacks the perfect partner for its latest safety offering.

“We recently extended our sponsorship of the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby through until 2020 and thought what better way to celebrate than with a safety video.

“We’ve worked with the All Blacks on previous safety videos and thought it would be fun this time around to have them step into the shoes of the other highly trained Men in Black. The result is not only entertaining but makes people sit up and take notice of the key safety messages.”

All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw says the players had a great time making the video.

“We had a lot of laughs on set and were blown away by Israel’s hidden singing talent. If rugby doesn’t work out for him he clearly has a promising career as a back-up singer.”

Israel Dagg says growing up he was a huge fan of the Men in Black films.

“I grew up listening to the iconic Men in Black movie soundtrack song. Hopefully I’ve done it some justice.”

Australian Wallabies great David Campese admitted his appearance in Men in Black Safety Defenders is likely to come at a cost.

“I’m expecting to get a right ribbing from my mates for appearing in a video promoting the All Blacks, Australia’s key opponents. They’ll never let me live it down.”

Former Argentina Captain Agustin Pichot and Martin Johnson, former England Captain shared his sentiment.

“The All Blacks are staunch rivals of the Pumas making it especially fun to play the role of their nemesis in Air New Zealand’s new safety video,” says Mr Pichot.

“I’m a big fan of Air New Zealand so was excited to get the call up to appear in the airline’s latest inflight video. I’m sure English rugby fans will have a few words to say about my appearance alongside the All Blacks too,” says Mr Johnson.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Officer Steve Tew says it’s a big year for the All Blacks and with plenty of travel on the cards the team was keen to be involved in delivering the airline’s safety briefing to fellow customers.

“Air New Zealand’s been a long-time supporter of the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby and has played a crucial role in connecting the team to fans across the globe through inventive and colourful marketing efforts such as Men in Black Safety Defenders.”

Men in Black Safety Defenders will be progressively rolled out across Air New Zealand’s fleet from today.

hidden

Air New Zealand has teamed up with the All Blacks and an all-star line-up of international rugby greats to tackle the airline’s latest on board safety video, Men in Black Safety Defenders.

Inspired by the popular film, Men in Black, it features All Blacks’ Captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as well as Coach Steve Hansen, team mates Kieran Read, Keven Mealamu, Sam Whitelock and Israel Dagg who gets to test his vocals alongside Kiwi musician Stan Walker.

American actor Rip Torn reprises his role as Chief of the Men in Black with Wallabies great David Campese, former England Captain Martin Johnson and former Argentinean Captain Agustin Pichot making cameo appearances.

“The creative concept and the parallels drawn between the All Blacks and the Men in Black are really clever. It’s been exciting to help Air New Zealand bring the Men in Black universe to life in this unique way,” says Emmanuelle Borde, Executive Vice President, Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Air New Zealand Head of Global Brand Development Jodi Williams says the airline is crazy about rugby making the All Blacks the perfect partner for its latest safety offering.

“We recently extended our sponsorship of the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby through until 2020 and thought what better way to celebrate than with a safety video.

“We’ve worked with the All Blacks on previous safety videos and thought it would be fun this time around to have them step into the shoes of the other highly trained Men in Black. The result is not only entertaining but makes people sit up and take notice of the key safety messages.”

All Blacks Captain Richie McCaw says the players had a great time making the video.

“We had a lot of laughs on set and were blown away by Israel’s hidden singing talent. If rugby doesn’t work out for him he clearly has a promising career as a back-up singer.”

Israel Dagg says growing up he was a huge fan of the Men in Black films.

“I grew up listening to the iconic Men in Black movie soundtrack song. Hopefully I’ve done it some justice.”

Australian Wallabies great David Campese admitted his appearance in Men in Black Safety Defenders is likely to come at a cost.

“I’m expecting to get a right ribbing from my mates for appearing in a video promoting the All Blacks, Australia’s key opponents. They’ll never let me live it down.”

Former Argentina Captain Agustin Pichot and Martin Johnson, former England Captain shared his sentiment.

“The All Blacks are staunch rivals of the Pumas making it especially fun to play the role of their nemesis in Air New Zealand’s new safety video,” says Mr Pichot.

“I’m a big fan of Air New Zealand so was excited to get the call up to appear in the airline’s latest inflight video. I’m sure English rugby fans will have a few words to say about my appearance alongside the All Blacks too,” says Mr Johnson.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Officer Steve Tew says it’s a big year for the All Blacks and with plenty of travel on the cards the team was keen to be involved in delivering the airline’s safety briefing to fellow customers.

“Air New Zealand’s been a long-time supporter of the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby and has played a crucial role in connecting the team to fans across the globe through inventive and colourful marketing efforts such as Men in Black Safety Defenders.”

Men in Black Safety Defenders will be progressively rolled out across Air New Zealand’s fleet from today.

How slow can you go?

There is no first class on these planes.

Nor movies, nor champagne – not even budget economy class with a glass of water!

For these are the planes that will take you to the wilds of Alaska where jumbos fear to tread and where there are no runways – just the occasional sand bars on the side of a streams or just small patch of grass.

All the pilots of these planes need to land is an 18mtr clearing not the 3000mtrs of concrete that an A380 super jumbo requires.

For that was the winning distance at the 2013 annual fly-in at Valdez Alaska where pilots of these Short take-off and Landing (STOL) planes fight it out to land on a dime.

The two-day competition pits the flying skills of bush pilots to see not who can fly the fastest but who can fly the slowest!

And not only is there a large crowd watching the dare devils but black bears and Dall sheep watch on the surrounding hills.

The pilots are often veterans of their craft with more than 25,000 hours of flying in remote Alaska.

And the best planes are typically heavily modified.

According to Wired.com there are four categories for competitors at the Valdez fly-in.

The light touring, heavy touring and stock bush classes all feature production-certified planes.

While modifications can be made they must be approved for use on production planes.

However on the alternate bush category anything goes but the changes must be built under the US regulator’s experimental category.

Or pilots can build a design from the ground up.

Are cheap fares over for the UK?

Will the people of the United Kingdom vote for higher airfares??

That is the question as million go to the polls on the question of leaving – or staying in the EU.

A vote to leave the EU today will almost certainly mean the rock bottom fare bonanza enjoyed by tens of millions will be over for flights to Europe.
easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou told the UK’s Daily Mail Tuesday that it’s very possible the routes between the UK and Europe will become more expensive.

"It is certainly not my place to tell people how to vote, but it is very possible that — in a post-Brexit Europe — a more restrictive aviation environment would mean fewer flights from the UK to Europe and hence less competition between airlines,” Haji-Ioannou told the Daily Mail. 

“That in turn would mean higher air fares so that the price of a family holiday to the (Mediterranean) will go back up again to levels last seen in the 1980s.”

And easyjet is looking to move a separate business unit to Europe if the UK votes out.

At the same time the CEO and founder of Ryanair has been more vocal urging UK voters to stay in the EU.

In May Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary told media that being in the EU has enabled cheaper flights for Britons.

While Ryanair is based in Ireland, much of its business is from UK airports to Europe.

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