Thursday, 18 December 2014

Want to Fly Long Haul? Here’s a list of Top 10 Airlines From The Telegraph

The top 10 :

1. Singapore Airlines
2. Emirates
3. Virgin Atlantic
4. British Airways
5. Air New Zealand
6. Etihad
7. Cathay Pacific
8. Qatar Airways
9. Thai Airways International
10. EVA Air

ICAO Recommends Creation of A System Among Nations to Warn About War Zones

International Civil Aviation Organization, the premier world body for civil aviation has recommended creation of a centralized system of information sharing among the different countries of the world for warning the carriers about the war zones. This development has taken effect after the downing of Malaysian Airlines over the conflict zone of Ukraine that led to killing of 298 people on-board.

It is noteworthy that ICAO had established the task force in August this year in order to identify the gaps in civil aviation operations with respect to flights to, from and over the conflict zones. The task force consisted of experts from different domains. ICAO has asked its 191 member states to provide fail-safe aviation zones over their airspaces. It has also asked members to share intelligence data, if they have it, for the tragedies that occur in civil aviation.

With member states generally agreeing to the blueprint of this centralized system of information gathering and sharing, it is likely that the recommendations will soon take the final shape and be ready for adoption and execution by the member states. 

FAA Exemptions for UAS Flights- Choosing Progressive Action Over Security Concerns

FAA has granted exemptions to four companies operating the drones and by doing it, it has served a perfect example of how the regulatory authorities can encourage innovation without allowing it to be misused in any way. In a spate of recent discussions over the security concerns of UAS that originated when some of drones were flown close to the airports, this is a welcome step. By granting this exemption, FAA has chosen to go in favour innovation in technology that finds use in a number of industrial and civilian uses.

The companies who were granted exemption are Trimble Navigation Ltd, VDOS Global, LCC, Woolpert, Inc and Clayco, Inc. These are in addition to the seven other companies engaged in the film and video production. The exemptions have been granted because the UAS which have to be used for operations do not pose a threat to the American airspace or its security. Another ground of granting the exemptions was that these weigh less than 55 pounds and will be kept in line of sight at all time during their flights.
These companies, with these exemptions granted, would be able to use these UAS for aerial surveying, monitoring of the construction sites and inspections of the oil rig flares. As FAA moves towards determination of regulatory procedures which will automatically allow the operation of UAS by companies, these exemptions showcase the right path.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Spicejet in Deep Trouble, Investor Hunting On

Spicejet airline is the low cost carrier of India which is one of the four low cost carriers operating at this time: IndiGo, GoAir and Air Asia India being the other three. As the airline sees a major hurdle in meeting its financial obligations in the wake of recurrent loses, DGCA has begun taking stock of its financial health and the resultant impact on the safety and the operational feasibility of its routes. In directives, DGCA, the civil aviation regulator of India, has made it clear that the carrier has to seek financial respite in this time of crises and shall find an investor, otherwise its operations might be curtailed and even the license might get suspended.

DGCA has also measure to ensure that public does not suffer. It has asked the airline not to book tickets in advance of more than a month. It has also directed it to refund all the money for bookings taken till the month of October 2015. It has also taken back those slots (186 in number) which have seen flight cancellations. The companies that have leased the aircraft to the company have also taken back some of their aircraft which include the Boeing 737s and Q 400s. Reduction in fleet has led to curtailing of scheduled flights, resignation of more than a 100 pilots and even the salaries of employees have not been paid. All this leads to a messy situation in which Spicejet finds itself.  It is to be noted that the carrier has dues amounting to 1600 cr. and it will be required to provide a credible payment schedule to DGCA by December mid. It has also been asked to give the salary to employees by the seventh of every month and has also been told to pay the dues of salaries by December 15.

Spicejet has been in news recently for its lowest fare price which it contented has led to market stimulation even though it was itself in turbulent weather. It has been surviving on funding provided by its owners who have infused capital to keep it afloat in past.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

‘Hidden City’ Tickets- What Are These?

Hidden City Tickets is the name given to a practice of booking the connecting flight tickets and then alighting from the airline at the stopover destination,before reaching the final destination. You must be wondering why is this practice wrong and after all it is passengers’ right to deplane even before it reaches its destination. In this respect, two points are noteworthy. One, there might be a cheaper fare for a connecting flight than the direct flight which might prompt one to book a connecting flight instead of a one-way trip. Secondly, there are concerns of public safety and delay of departure which might create logistical problems.
Hidden City ticketing is different from the Opaque Tickets, which is another form of a ticketing practice which is forbidden by the airlines and their governing bodies. In case of opaque ticketing, the travel agents publish the lowest airfare to clear their inventories but do not inform the passengers about the airline on which they would be travelling till the last minute of booking.
Both of these practices are rued by the airlines and cause friction between the carriers and the travel agencies.
Recently, hidden city ticketing method was resorted to by which was sued by the United Airways and Orbitz.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Jet Airways Begins Lucknow to Abu Dhabi Flight

It is a known fact that the aviation markets of the Metro and the Tier I cities has reached a maturity level and the hope for expansion of the airlines lies in the aviation traffic of Tier II and Tier III cities. The budget and the full service carriers of India are mindful of this fact and pinning their hopes on these cities for fueling their expansion plans and improving profitability. Jet Airways, one of the two full service carriers presently operating in the domestic and the international sector, has begun flights from Lucknow to Abu Dhabi. Since the passenger traffic is increasing exponentially in Tier II cities, this opens new markets for the carriers.

Jet Airways flies connecting flights from Abu Dhabi to other parts of the world, such as North America, Africa, West Asia and other part of the Gulf region. So, the passengers from Lucknow and its hinterland would have easy connectivity with the cities of Gulf and beyond. India holds immense aviation potential and there is a considerable impetus given by the government for improving the airport infrastructure in smaller cities. There is also a proposal to revamp airports and upgrade to international status. There are about 4 lakh international visitors who currently use Lucknow airport on an annual basis. However, all of the international air services are confined to the Arabian peninsula or Gulf region only. More international destinations are also likely to be added from this airport. 

Monday, 24 November 2014

The Berlin Charter- Will it strengthen the Relations of Airlines with Corporate Entities?

Past few years have seen greater impetus being put on the business and the first class travelers by the airlines. A number of airlines from all over the globe have come up with many products, services and offers for these high spending travelers. In the wake of increasing importance of these travelers has come another initiative, this time from a Global Business Travel Association, called the Berlin Charter, which aims to strengthen the bonding of corporate travelers with the airlines further. 

This initiative is being taken in the wake of the IATA’s initiative of reinventing the airline distribution capability through its New Distribution Capability (NDC). As NDC begins to take shape and is expected to be implemented soon, there corporate community has realized the need to bring to notice of IATA the vital role played by the corporate traveler. To that extent, the charter is expected to be a interest group that would present a strong case to leverage NDC in its favour. 

Paul Tilstone of GBTA has clearly said in an interview , “airlines shall understand the need of a corporate client... rather than focus on only needs of traveler”. The aim is clearly to put the needs of corporate buyer in focus. The charter, once ready, will be asked to be signed to by the airlines and, by doing so, the airlines will be committing themselves to the requirements of the charter. In case of failure to observe their duties as per the charter, the airlines will be shown how corporate travelers might be affected and, in extreme cases, they might even be removed from the Charter.
The  Charter is expected to be ready by the end of this year.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Etihad’s Opulence Unlimited at ‘Residence’ Suites

Etihad Airlines, a premier airline of the Gulf region, has been successful in getting its all ‘Residence’ suites booked for the 10 flights. The opulent suites are the next closest thing that you would have in a private jet. Emirates had priced these First Class suites at $20000 and it found many takers for these. These suites are being offered on superjumbo A380s. So, what is it that makes these really special?
‘Residence’ is not just a seat that comes with the usual benefits and facilities. It is more like an apartment in the sky. This suite has a living area, a bedroom and a private shower as well. It covers an area of 125 square feet. There is a 32 inch flat screen TV and a private butler to attend to you all the time. There has been a lot of competition in this class of travel from the rivals Singapore Airlines and Emirates Airlines. For this reason, by booking of these suites, Etihad seems to have positioned itself correctly in this space of luxury air travel.
There have been many studies worldwide which point to the fact that First and Business Class travelers provide a good percentage of revenues to the airlines. They hold the key to airlines getting better yields. While these travelers might be less, but they contribute substantially to airline revenues and profitability.

FAA to Review Policy to Enable Commercial Use of Drones

There has been a lot of anticipation since years that the FAA would soon be formulating the guidelines and policies for the use of drones (called Unmanned Aircraft Systems or UAS) for commercial purposes. These planes are believed to be particularly helpful for a number of purposes including use in films and for delivery of products. It is noteworthy that while the recreational drones are already in use y the general public, their commercial use has been prohibited. 

Under the new 2012 FAA Modernization and Reform Act, Congress has asked FAA to develop suitable regulatory guidelines for permitting use of small UAS in domestic airspace. Since there is a year to go for its implementation, the agency has worked to define the preconditions for its usage. It is likely that the small UAS of less than 55 pounds would be allowed for commercial purposes. Though there is a permit to fly the recreational drones to heights less than 400 feet and away from the airports, a much more relaxed ruling is expected in favour of the UAS. 

The permission to fly drones currently have to be taken as exemptions under Section 333 of the Modernization and Reform Act.

Indian Government Mulling Dropping 5/20 Rule for New Airlines to Fly International

The Government of India, which brought out a rule that every new domestic airline will not be allowed to fly international till the time it has got 5 years of operational experience and a fleet of 20 aircraft, is now considering removing this restrictive rule and letting the players go international. With airline profits bleeding for many years now and new players being reluctant to enter this industry, which many call as a death knell for airlines, this positive move would open the way for exploring more profitable routes and market driven expansion.

The move has been pushed by the new entrant Tatas into the aviation sector.With partnerships in full service carrier Air Vistara (in which Tatas hold a 51% stake and Singapore Airlines the rest of it) and budget airline AirAsia India, the rule has been much of an unwarranted restriction.
However, the current airlines that have been the victims of this ruling for all these years now, are opposing the move saying that the rule shall be applicable for new entrants as well.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

gogo- Pioneers of in-flight Connectivity Technology



Very recently, FAA has granted two more Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) to gogo for installing Ku-band satellite connectivity instruments on two more types of aircrafts- Boeing 757-200 and 767-400s operated by Delta Airlines. The company has to receive one more STC before its the goahead to deploy its instruments on full fleet of Delta Airlines.

gogo is a the new avatar of the former Aircell and is a leading provider of in-flight connectivity solutions to the civil airlines and business airlines of USA. By providing the wi-fi access to the passengers during the flight, it enables them to remain connected via internet all the time during the course of flight on both the domestic and the international routes of the carriers. Its services are not limited only to the in-flight wi-fi, but also cover entertainment, text  messaging, voice based services and a number of communication related services.

As of now, gogo has provided its services to 2000 commercial and 6000 business aircrafts, and even to heights beyond 30000 feet.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

KLM to connect Amsterdam with Edmonton

The Dutch carrier, KLM, will soon be adding another destination to its route map-Edmonton, in Alberta in Canada. KLM will begin this nonstop service between Edmonton and Amsterdam which is the first from Edmonton airport to mainland Europe. Edmonton is connected to Iceland and London with service from Icelandair and Air Canada respectively. 

KLM will be operating 3 weekly flights on this route from May 2015. Soon thereafter, there will be 4 weekly flights. The airline will use Airbus A330-200 jets on this route which are 243 seaters and three classes of service. 

Besides other destinations in Canada, Edmonton is connected via nonstop flights to Cancun, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta and San Jose del Cabo in Mexico; Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Orlando, Palm Springs, Phoenix, San Francisco and Seattle in USA; Montego Bay in Jamaica; Punta Cana in Dominican Republic; Reykjavik in Iceland.
Edmonton is famous as the oil and gas rich region of Canada. It is the second most populous city of Alberta, behind Calgary. This city has been doing well on economic front in recent years, buoyed by its energy resources. The move of KLM will help in developing people-to-people links to Europe.

AA Will Not Move Away From Miles Based FFP

American Airlines is set to merge its frequent flyer program with that of the US Airways early next year. However, unlike the other mergers of the major US airlines in recent times that have changed the basis of their loyalty programs from miles-based to spending-based, AA will not move in same direction. There has been some mystery over this issue for quite sometime now, as AA was not telling its plans. But, in a recent statement, AA has made it clear that the merger of respective plans will be continue to be based on miles flown criteria only.

Here are some of the highlights of the new program:
  1. Leisure travelers will benefit the most.
  2. Occasional flyers of US Airways and Dividend Miles members will fly occasionally.
  3. Those US Airways fliers who fly more than 25000 miles will feel the change.
  4. There will be no more complimentary upgrades for US Airways silver, gold and platinum members. For flying more than 500 miles, they will have to pay more miles. For less than 500 miles, all levels will get free upgrades but only on North American flights.
  5. Only topmost level fliers, who fly more than 100000 miles per year, i.e. US Airways chairman’s preferred and American executive platinum members will get upgrades facility.
  6. The tier of US Airways passengers who fly 75000-100000 miles a year, will disappear. This will be merged into AA’s Platinum and US Airways Gold members.
  7. Those who fly both airlines will be able to merge their accounts into one early next year, whereas those US Airways fliers who do not have AA account, will have one created.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Jet Airways to Fly From Abu Dhabi to Goa from 14 November

Goa is a prominent beach destination of South Asia where people from all over the world come to enjoy sun and sand. Winters are generally the time when there is a great rush of travelers as they come from the northern countries having cooler climes in winters than are present in Goa. Add to it the opportunities of fun and frolic and Goa provides all that makes for a perfect vacation.

Interestingly, a major part of the international travelers who come to Goa arrive on Chartered flights. As per statistics of 2013, out of a total number of 4.45 lakh international tourists, a vast majority came via chartered flights. So, the direct traffic that lands here from scheduled flights is less. There have been efforts to provide direct connectivity to Dabolim airport so that number of free independent travelers can increase as well.

A recent step that will meet this end is the launch of a new flight from Abu Dhabi to Goa by Jet Airways, the only other full service international carrier of India besides Air India. With the introduction of this flight, the total number of Middle East cities that connect Goa have increased to 5. Dubai, Sharjah, Kuwait and Doha already offer this direct connectivity.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Inaugural Flight of Emirates to Budapest

It is time for the Hungarian capital to enhance connectivity with Middle East region.With Emirates being the latest Gulf carrier to be among the Big 3 carriers for connecting Budapest with Dubai, there been accomplishment of a long standing demand of passengers. Besides Emirates, Etihad and Qatar airways are the other two carriers to be flying to Dubai from Budapest. Apart from these carriers, the Budapest based carrier, Wizz Air, flies to Dubai.
Emirates will be plying two Airbus A330s for this route. This is a 278 seater plane having two classes of travel. There will be a daily flight connectivity between the two cities. It is also expected that about 2 lakh passengers will fly every year from Dubai to Budapest using this service of Emirates.This will also enable the Budapest airport to provide more onwards flights destinations to passengers.

Monday, 27 October 2014

BA to Put Dreamliner 787 on Chennai-London Route

Commemorating 90 years of service in India, British Airways is now putting in the Dreamliner 787 Boeing airplane on daily service between Chennai and London, operating 6 flights per week, one flight per day.

With this service, British Airways plans to provide more traveling options to the business and leisure travelers. BA promises a great on-board service along with competitive fares. There will be three cabin classes of travel- Club World which is business class, World Traveller Plus which is a premium economy service class and World Traveler which is the economy class.

It is noteworthy that BA was flying five flights per week from Chennai which have been increased to six per week, taking the total tally of flights from India to 49 from 5 cities: Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

India High on Growth in Aviation Cargo Markets, Reports IATA

IATA has reported that India is the second fastest growing market of the world in terms of air cargo. It i next only to the Middle East Region which is growing at the fastest rate in world. India lies at a crucial geographical location, between the fast growing economies of the Est and the developed markets of Europe and America. It has a stable, democratic polity and a fast growing economy which makes it a potential candidate for emerging as a world cargo hub in future.

Indian cargo market is expected to grow at the compounded annual growth rate of about 7 percent. IATA also predicts that by 2018, four years from now, India will be among the 10 largest cargo markets of the world.

Out of the 10 largest markets that would emerge in 2018, only two are European- Germany nd UK. Besides USA and China, the other emerging markets would be UAE, Hong Kong, South Korea, Chinese Taipei  and Japan.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Air India’s Move to Close City Booking Offices Faces Criticism

Concluding that its city booking offices across the country have become redundant due to the advent of online booking, refunds claim and ticketing cancellation, Air India has decided to close its shops. Air India has contended that the offline booking centres are losing importance and their operations have become redundant under the current austerity drive. The most recent one has been Kozhikode.

The move has drawn flak from  number of quarters since a number of people in many of these cities are not internet savvy and do not know to use internet for making flight booking or other transactions. They still make use of these offices for their air travel needs. In the absence of these offices, these people would face immense hardships.

Some states  like Kerala has been generating good revenues for Air India, therefore, the decision to close down Kozhikode offices has been seen as rather mysterious.

RuPay ties up with Jet Airways for Flight Booking Payments

You can now make the flight bookings with RuPay Debit Card on Jet Airways. RuPay has tied up with Jet Airways which is one of the largest airlines in India. RuPay cards are issued by the National Payments Corporation of India, which has been promoted by the central bank of India, the Reserve Bank of India. These cards are accepted by all the ATMs, about 1 million POS terminals and more than 15000 online merchants. Some other major online retailers which use this mode of payment are Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal.

RuPay system is a wholly Indian payment system which works well with varied payment channels and products. As the whole customer information resides within country, there will be better security and there will be reduced cost of clearance and transaction.

Friday, 24 October 2014

American Airlines 3rd Quarter Profits at $942 million

World’s largest airline in terms of passenger traffic is leading the pack of American airlines in terms of profitability. American Airlines, along with US Airways, has made a record of sorts by declaring a profit of $942 millions in third quarter this year. And, if one is to go by what its CEO Doug Barker is saying, the next quarter is expected to see even more profits and, therefore, this year will see full profits all through.

There are a number of reasons why this has turned out to be so. At first, there has been a lowering of the Jet Fuel prices all over the world.  This has helped the airlines to reduce its costs. Aviation fuel, also called jet fuel, is the largest single head which contributes to the prices of the tickets.

At the same time, there have been good yields. This means that the passengers have paid more per mile flown. The airline has been able to charge average or higher tariffs because of another contributory reason that there have been mergers going on in the US aviation sector which has led to reduced competition enabling them to command better prices from the passenger.  Mergers have also led to rationalization of the flight routes, controlling expansion of fleet and trimming of expenses.

Air New Zealand Epic Safety Video

If you want to know the basic safety rules followed on airlines, this video from Air New Zealand will give answers, and in a very interesting way!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Delta getting good response from Lincoln-Atlanta route

Delta Airlines is doing pretty well on the newly started Lincoln to Atlanta route. The increase in passenger traffic in such a short of span of time has proved that the decision to restart the service which was once backed off within 3 months of starting in 2009, was correct this time. For those who are not aware, US department of transport had given a revenue guarantee of USD 0.75 million for operating to Atlanta for a minimum period of 1 year.

Delta is clearly happy as the load factor has already touched 70%, though it is cautious in showing happiness as it wants to wait for a full year to know how well this route has augured for it.

Friday, 17 October 2014

IndiGo Again Goes on Bulk Buying Spree, this Time with 250 Airbus A320neos

When other Indian carriers are busy watch their plummeting profitability, IndiGo has ventured on another bulk buying spree of airplanes. In a recent record-breaking order of 250 Airbus A320neos, IndiGo plans to deepen and strengthen its market base in Indian aviation sector. With this order IndiGo has retained its faith in Airbus yet again, this time in the new and the more fuel efficient version of the aircraft- the A320neos. These are also single-aisle, narrow bodied airplane like their previous avatars.

In an industry and in a market like India where aviation fuel costs contribute to about 40 percent of the operational costs, going for the fuel efficient airplanes is aimed to reduce the costs of operations with the ultimate aim of providing cheap air tickets to the customers. It is also noteworthy that the airline will be facing immense competition in years to come as Tatas make foray with AirAsia, the famed LCC of Malaysia.

The deal augurs good for Airbus as it has seen cancellation of orders from other Asian carriers such as AirAsia and Tiger Airways recently.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

IndiGo Repeats The Profit Story in FY14

Its the sixth straight year in which IndiGo has posted a profit. The only other airline to do so is GoAir. IndiGo posted Rs 317 crore profit on a total revenue of Rs 11,117 crore. While the revenue rose 18%, the profits were actually half of the previous year. The decline in profitability is attributed to two main reasons:
  1. Exchange Rate Fluctuations: Currency fluctuations have eaten into the profits of the airline in a significant way. IndiGo makes a substantial amount of its payments in US Dollars (as much as 70%) and this makes it prohibitively costly to pay when Rupee gets weak. At the same time, the revenues of airline in US dollars are rather limited due to the limited international destinations that it covers.
  2. Price-wars: Indian skies are jammed with the price wars among rival airlines. IndiGo, though a reluctant player, had to enter the price wars in order to retain its customer base. Heavy discounts by rival airlines were chased by IndiGo which led to deterioration of profitability. However, the carrier has managed to retain profitability this year as well while its rivals such as Spicejet, have accumulated losses.

IndiGo is also aware of the customer trust in its operations and is aware of its increasing customer base. This also requires the airline to keep on adding capacity by increasing its fleet so that the increasing rush of passengers is duly met and the chances of garnering more revenues and profits are not lost. IndiGo added another 11 planes in the last financial year, taking its total tally to 77.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Load Factors Are Important Calculations During Lean Seasons

Why are the air tickets so lowly priced during the lean season? Well, the answer is obvious-due to the lesser demand during this season. This is the usual practice for all the airlines around the globe. They will offer you unimaginably low prices during the lean season travel and will push these up during the high-demand season. Travelers, whose itineraries are not bound by seasons, make use of this fact and travel during these periods in order to make most of the savings.

Load factors, or the percentage of seats filled by the carriers, are important indicators of this demand. During the lean season, one can expect to see the reduced load factors for airlines. In order to generate greater occupancy of their planes, the airline companies resort to heavy discounting- even to the extent of being irrational. What is the reason for this heavy discounting?

Price of air tickets is composed of two factors: fixed and variable costs. The fixed part is something which the airline has to pay due to its committed scheduled flights, irrespective of whether it is flying full or not. This is generally composed of the government taxes and fuel charges. The variable components are, on the other hand, dependent on a number of factors such as passengers being carried, distance flown, etc. By resorting to heavy discounting the airlines try to recover at least the fixed costs of the price of tickets.

If, during the lean season, you find that the airline is reporting better load time than its competitors, then the first thing to analyze is whether the carrier has resorted to heavy discounting or not? There are good chances that passengers have turned to it for the price factor. In fact, this practice initiates price-war among carriers, all for the benefit of passengers. Only those carriers that have a strong customer loyalty might be able to maintain respectable load factors, though even those might see somewhat decline due to lower prices being offered by competitors.  

Monday, 18 August 2014

Annual Performance Card of US Airlines

The report card is out and it is time to know what marks did US airlines score on various parameters of service in the last one year. These figures, compiled by airfarewatchdog, could serve as pointers to the airlines to improve their performance further.

Customer Satisfaction Score: JetBlue stole the march over other carriers in this category. Southwest scored the second best points in this respect. Though Delta Airlines was at the third position, three airlines, Alaska, Frontier and Virgin America tied for the fourth place.

Denied Boardings: It is quite common for airlines to overbook their flights. However, this also causes inconvenience to passengers since a few among them are denied boarding. While voluntary denials are welcome, there are also instances of involuntary denial of boardings. In the latter case, it is the United Airlines which ranks at the bottom, having involuntarily denied boarding to more passengers than any other. Southwest is the next biggest culprit. JetBlue scores well here as well.          

Mishandled Baggage: Which airline is worse at taking care of you baggage and which one is the best and, why? Virgin America has emerged ahead of others to win this race for least mishandled baggage instances while Southwest is the biggest culprit of all. Virgin has a little proportion of its flights of connecting nature. Most of these are direct and non-stop which reduces the instances of loss of or damage to baggage. Southwest is the main culprit in this respect but it is also the carrier which allows you to carry 2 pieces of luggage without any charge.

On-time arrival time: Another important parameter through which airline performance is judged is that of punctuality. Passengers want airplanes to depart and arrive on time. Alaska airline has recorded the best on-time performance despite operating from a very difficult climatic region. Its on-time performance is helped by the fact that it mostly flies to those destinations which does not see much rush in air traffic. So, traffic congestion is not an issue most of the time. Next best airline in terms of punctuality is the Delta Airline while worst performer is Southwest airline. It is quite ironical that an LCC is recording the worst on-time performance because its business model is oriented to achieve better punctuality rates. The reason is attributed to its being a popular carrier operating in highly busy sectors.

Flight cancellations: JetBlue is the worst performer in this segment. It has recorded the maximum number of flight cancellations last year, causing inconvenience to passengers. Delta has emerged as a leading carrier in this respect with fewest cancellations. This shows that its flights have high reliability for taking off but it can cause some delay.  

In terms overall performance, it is the Delta Airlines which has scored the top ranks and can be considered the best airline.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Pre-paid Excess Baggage Charges For Checked In Luggage At Indigo Airlines

If your checked in baggage is more than 15kgs on Indigo Airlines flight, you can buy the excess baggage allowance up to 30kgs. However, the applicable charges are not based on per kg calculations. Rather, there are pre-defined slabs of 5kg, 10kg, 15kg and 30kg attributable to these charges. So, if your excess baggage is, say 7kgs, you will have to pay the charge for a 10kg slab.
Since Indigo also operates flights to international destinations, there are charges for Indigo baggage allowance, for more than the free allowance, in the currency of that country.
Earlier, Indigo had price slabs for only 5 and 10kg weight categories. Recently, it has also introduced 15 and 30kgs slabs for convenience of passengers who have to carry more luggage. You can check these charges here.
Please note that these slab rates are prepaid in nature, meaning that you will have to pay for them in advance of your checking in time so that there are no last minute hassles.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Rats on Air India Flight- What is so ‘Rat’tling about it?

A rat was found on an Air India flight recently and it made news worldwide. So, what is wrong about it? After all, the rat was enjoying the hospitality of the Maharaja which we, the human passengers, often rue. While the AI official maintained that there was only one rat noticed, some of the passengers complained that there were more than one on board. This is not a question of whom shall we trust but a question of how much of eaten food got uncharged. AI is already reeling under its fiscal losses and now even the rats are adding to the woes.

The news also had that the plane would have to be fumigated so that the rats can be smoked out. Poor animals! They will soon die without getting the right to be informed about their wrongful act which is punishable by death. If the airplane was not been cleaned properly or maintained as per guidelines, which caught the attention of the mice, then why shall they lose their right to live and AI staff go free.

It is also being said that the mice would have caused much damage to the aircraft by cutting the aircraft wires which would have led to any disaster. That is a real serious threat to the lives of passengers. Mice must pay for being a territory which is forbidden for them. 

No meals on AA short haul flights from September 1, 2014

AA is now doing which was most often the rule of low-cost carriers (LCCs). American Airlines has taken a cue from the LCCs which means that it will no longer be serving free meals to first and business class passengers on flights of less than 2 hours and 45 minutes of duration. However, some of the most popular short haul flight routes will be exempt from this general rule. So, next time when you would be boarding the AA short haul flight of under 2 hour 45 minutes, you would be wiser not to travel empty stomach assuming that you will have it for free on-board the airplane. This measure has been adopted as a part of the overall effort to develop consistent policies for US Airways and American Airlines for merger.

Not serving free meals on short haul flights would also improve the efficiency of the airline as it would no longer have to make arrangements for meals, clean up the seats and aisles of aircraft and would save on the costs of maintenance as well as time. Saving time would also result in improving the turnaround time of the airplane. This is not expected to be too inconvenient for the passengers as meals are generally not needed for short duration journeys. Secondly, while meals will not be served free, passengers can buy the snacks or the meals. This will also see increase in the ancillary revenues of American Airlines as these offer cheap air tickets to the passengers by cutting down the expenses of meals.

If you want to check the meal options being provided on board the AA flights, for different classes of travel, then these can be found here:

Monday, 4 August 2014

Spicejet Ordered to Refund Full Fares

The financially jittery Spicejet airline of India has been asked by the aviation regulator, DGCA, to refund all the fares of a Delhi-Mumbai flight which was delayed by as much as 4.5 hours. Acting on the complaint of a passenger, the DGCA also ordered the airline to refund the money it earned by selling snacks on the plane.

It is a normal practice for the airlines around the world to offer free refreshments to passengers if the flight is delayed for more than 2 hours. In this case, the airline made a cool Rs.15000 by selling snacks. Passenger also complained that the flight crew failed to give any explanation on what caused the delay and the airplane cockpit opened only after 2.5 hours. It was also mentioned that the AC of the plane was not turned on and there was misbehaviour by aircraft crew members. After investigating the case, the DGCA found that the airplane had serious engineering issues which led to the delay. Considering this matter as serious, it has also ordered engineering audit of all the Spicejet airplanes for ensuring passenger safety.

You can have a look at the refund rules of Spicejet here

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Different Ways of Checking In at Indigo Airlines

Check in a procedure wherein the passenger is issued the boarding pass for getting on-board the airplane. The deadlines of check-in timings are provided in advance so that there is no delay in getting on-board which, in turn, permits the airplane to fly on-time.

Types of Check In Available

Indigo Airlines allows you to check in at the airport for both the domestic and the international flights. However, the web or the mobile based check in is possible only on the flights operating within India. Another important point to note is that this facility of web or mobile check in is available only for those passengers who are carrying only hand baggage and do not have luggage for checking in.

Timings of the Check-In

Opening and closure timings of check in of Indigo Airlines are 2 hours and 45 minutes at domestic airports, with boarding gate closure time of 30 minutes before departure. However, if passenger are checking in using mobile app, or, then check in starts 48 hours and closes 2 hours before scheduled departure.

For the international sector, Indigo Airlines check in time deadlines can be seen by clicking the link.

Importance of meeting the check in deadlines
The timelines mentioned for the check in shall be respected by the passengers. By being on time, you make it possible for the carrier to fly on time. You also get to catch the flight on time and do not miss it. In cases of over-boarding, which is allowed by some of the airlines, some of the passengers have to be de-boarded and priorities are set for the ones who will be allowed to board. The people who have met the check in and boarding time deadlines do get priority over many others for boarding the plane.

Free Baggage Allowance Of Indigo Airlines

Indigo Airlines is the premier low cost carrier (LCC) of India which commands the highest market share in India. It has adopted a no-frills approach of aviation wherein the carrier aims to provide the lowest priced air tickets to the passengers and focuses on efficient of operations and management. Over a period of time, it has developed the reputation of consecutively becoming the profitable airline and is the top of mind airline brand for passengers due to its impressive record of on-time performance. It is true that the carrier does not provide free meals and entertainment avenues on-board. It also does not have a frequent flyer program. But, it does provide free baggage allowance to its passengers.

Checked-In Baggage

For domestic flights, flying within India, it allows passengers to carry checked in baggage of 15 kgs for each adult or child above 2 year of age.
For the international flights, free allowance is of 20 kg per passenger or child of more than 2 years of age but for Dubai or Muscat flights, this limit is of 30 kg.
Overall dimension limits for checked in baggage on domestic and international flights are 158cms (L+B+H).

If you want to bring more baggage than this, there are excess baggage charges to be paid. These indigo baggage allowance charges for the domestic and the international sector flights can be seen here.

Hand Luggage

At first it is important to note that the hand baggage is not allowed on flights from Jammu and Kashmir. For other flights, only one handbag per passenger is allowed which shall not be more than 7kgs of weight and 55, 35 and 25cms in dimensions of length, breadth and height respectively. Ladies are allowed an additional bag. You are also allowed to carry a laptop.
You can also check details about the carriage of LCD/LED TVs in luggage of Indigo Airlines here.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Apps and Airlines: the Strengthening Bond

As people are now frequently using the mobiles not just for surfing the internet but also for making transactions, the companies have taken to development of customer-centric mobile applications. Travel industry, especially the airlines and the travel agencies, which is the main driver of e-commerce transactions around the world, has also been at the forefront of developing the apps. 

One of the most common uses of these apps are to:
  • Enable search of flights
  • Check status of flights
  • Get the PNRs on mobiles
  • Allow booking of flights
  • Enable check in through mobiles
  • Issue of boarding passes on mobiles
  • Providing exclusive deals and important notifications on mobiles
  • Select the seats
  • Book extra baggage

These companies are encouraging the mobile users to use these apps as much as possible because they want to cash-in on early and ahead of their competitors. It is also a fact that the mobile users are more serious customers for flights and this gives a good conversion rate.

These companies have developed these mobile applications for currently used applications and are available on web resources such as App Store, Windows Phone, Google Play, Blackberry World, etc. where these can be downloaded. For the users of iPhones, some airlines, such as Air France, are also providing boarding passes through Apple’s Passbook

While mobiles have been used in the past for providing the SMS alerts and notifications on updates, the applications permit users to use a range of features to their convenience. Another feature of mobiles, the bluetooth technology, is also being used to improve the experience of catching the flights. Airports in UK and around Europe are increasingly using it to determine the passenger waiting times at the airport. This data can be used for making arrangements to reduce the inconvenience to the passengers.