How long does it take to make a short flight?

On Friday, December 2 2011, the 20:40 Easyjet flight EZY/U2 02899 from Milan Malpensa to Naples left on time. It should have been a short 1 hour and 10 minutes flight. After approximately an hour of flight, the airplane captain gave passengers the bad news. Continue reading “How long does it take to make a short flight?”

American Airlines seeks bankruptcy protection

American Airlines

On November 29, 2011, the parent company of American Airlines announced that it was filing for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11. The move does not come as a surprise, as all the major US competitors of American Airlines, including United Airlines and Delta Airlines sought relief from debt under the bankruptcy law years ago (in 2002 and 2005, respectively). Continue reading “American Airlines seeks bankruptcy protection”

Thomas Cook – problems and consequences

Thomas Cook Airlines
Thomas Cook Airlines

Last week, the biggest UK travel group, Thomas Cook, delayed publishing its 2011 results as it was renegotiating the terms of its credit agreements. Following this announcement, the group saw its shares drop by 75% (from 41,62£ to 10,20£) in one single day. After a long week-end the Thomas Cook managers reached an agreement with the banks and received a new £100m loan for the business. After the good news came out the group’s shares jumped by 50%, but the share value is still much lower than it was one week ago. Continue reading “Thomas Cook – problems and consequences”

Montenegro – a low cost destination (part 1)

Montenegro, or Crna Gora (“Black Mountain”) as the Montenegrins call it, is a small country in Eastern Europe. Although it us not a European Union member yet, Montenegro uses the EURO as the official currency. The country has a 294 km-long coast on the Adriatic sea (including a 13 km-long sandy beach), which makes it a very good destination for the summer holidays. Below you can read our Montenegro trip journal.

Continue reading “Montenegro – a low cost destination (part 1)”

Places: Eat the Bulgarian Way – Seasonal Local Produce, Plenty of Yogurt and Bread

I recently traveled to Bulgaria’s northern Black Sea coast to attend a film festival, which provided me not only with a great excuse for a short vacation but also with the opportunity to engage in my favorite activity when I am in Bulgaria’s northeast – eating plenty of seasonal seafood and amazing locally baked bread. (The northeast’s level terrain and temperate climate makes it ideal for growing a variety of grains, while summer visitors to the northern coast can sample platters of crispy sprat, herb-rubbed, grilled Black Sea scad, and steaming, juicy mussels.) The trip also offered a revelation about Bulgarian food, which had slipped me by until then. Continue reading “Places: Eat the Bulgarian Way – Seasonal Local Produce, Plenty of Yogurt and Bread”

What are your rights if your flight is late or cancelled?

A court in Cluj Napoca, Romania has recently sentenced the low cost airline Blue Air to reimburse 4 passengers for the cost of their plane tickets from Bucharest to Cluj Napoca with Tarom – Romanian Airlines, and to pay 250 EURO per passenger worth of compensations. Continue reading “What are your rights if your flight is late or cancelled?”

Tiger Airways’ domestic flights are grounded

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has suspended all Tiger Airways flights in Australia this week because of “serious” safety concerns. The airline is still allowed to make international flights from Australia.

This is the first time CASA grounds an airline. This decision comes after a series of incidents that involved Tiger Airways in recent months. In March 2011, CASA warned Tiger Airways about poor pilot training and problems with maintenance procedures. Then, two Tiger aircraft flew below the safety standard last month. The last incident happened on Thursday night when a Tiger Airways Airbus A320 flew into Avalon Airport, south-west of Melbourne, below the lowest safe altitude.

CASA grounded the budget airline’s flights for a week, while it works with the company’s officials in order to find a solution.

Meanwhile, thousands of passengers that have booked flights for this week had their flights cancelled and were sent back home from the airport. The grounding caused chaos, especially because it came during a school holiday period. Tiger Airways did not reroute its passengers to other airlines, but Virgin Australia and Jetstar are trying to offer additional services, in order to accommodate the affected passengers.

In their latest public statement Tiger says that it is fully cooperating with CASA and promises that all the customers who had their flights cancelled will receive a full refund or credit for deferred travel.

Will “card payments fees” for debit cards dissapear?

Last month I wrote a post about the legitimacy of card payment fees. I looked at the payment fees charged by some of the major low cost airlines and compared them to the actual costs the airlines may have.

It came as no surprise to me to find out that I was not the only one making such calculations. The Which? magazine, for example, filed a super complaint against the airlines that charge travellers high commissions for debit and credit card payments. The Which? argued that the debit card payment fees that low cost airlines have to pay are generally much lower than 1 pound per transaction (which is what I was also stating in my previous post). The costs of processing credit card payments are higher, but they do not exceed 2% of the actual transaction value. Continue reading “Will “card payments fees” for debit cards dissapear?”

The right to know what to expect

Many of the regulations made by the US Department of Transportation (D.O.T) resulted in higher operational costs for airlines. In a previous post I was saying that this was not necessarily a good thing as flyers would probably be the ones paying these costs at the end of the day. But when it comes to airlines’ OTP (on-time performance) statistics I must completely agree with the US D.O.T.: the traveler has the right to know what to expect of the airline he or she intends to fly. Continue reading “The right to know what to expect”