I mentioned comedian and filmmaker Mark Malkoff in passing in a post about Starbucks last week, not knowing that he would embark on a new project this week. He’s making a career out of bizarre feats of consumer endurance, such as visiting all 171 Manhattan Starbucks outlets in one day, and living in the Paramus, NJ IKEA for a week. Now, as part of a campaign to publicize AirTrain’s new in-flight wi-fi, he’s living on an AirTran plane for 30 days and posting his adventures on the Internet. Yes. That’s an entire month. Most of which will probably be spent on the tarmac in Atlanta.
A man who paid nearly $400,000 in the late 80s for two lifetime passes from American Airlines is now suing the company, claiming they illegally revoked the passes after a supposed rule violation. The passes allowed him and a companion to travel anywhere they wanted in first class for the rest of his life, but AA canceled them after claiming he made “‘speculative reservations’ for companions.”
RyanAir’s toilet tax may not be the company’s worst idea after all, as reader Geoffrey reminds us with this mockup showing several potential fees the budget Irish carrier may well be considering.
No longer distracted by high oil prices, airlines now claim that they’re starting to focus on customer service. Two of them, American and United, think that their biggest issue is dirty planes. Wouldn’t it be great if that were true?
With $45 billion in taxpayer funds burning a hole in its pocket, Citigroup is purchasing a $50 million Dassault Falcon 7X, according to the New York Post. Apparently none of the existing jets that ferried execs to Washington to ask for bailout funds was ironic enough.
So, that plane floating in the Hudson near the Intrepid, it’s U.S. Airways flight 1549. Nobody is really sure why the plane is floating in the Hudson, but CBS speculates that “a bird strike may have caused the plane to go down, meaning a bird may have entered the engine, causing a malfunction.” The flight carrying 148 passengers and 5 crew members was destined for Charlotte, North Carolina. Everyone is reported to have survived, and a photo uploaded to Twitter shows people evacuating the A320 onto the plane’s wings and inflatable rafts. The AP reports that New York City firefighters are on the way to pluck the passengers out of the river.
Here’s a bittersweet elegy on airline travel. [New York Times]
The Melissa & Doug toy company helped Tracey’s daughter pick up the pieces after she accidentally crashed her month-old block plane into the ground, breaking off the metal pin that held the wheels together. Tracey emailed Melissa & Doug to warn them that the broken pin could potentially cause a choking hazard. She quickly heard back from Chris, who told her that she could either receive a replacement toy or pick out a new one. Just in case something wasn’t in stock, he said, Tracey should pick out two toys…
Here’s the real reason for an airline to switch to credit-card-only sales on board its flights: people spend more. Southwest Airlines’ customer service veep, Daryl Krause, told the Dallas Morning News that “since Southwest began accept credit cards (and no longer taking cash) on Sept. 9, its drink sales are up about 8 percent.” Since in general “the goal was one more drink sale per flight,” we wonder whether that wasn’t the real reason for going cashless all along.
Yes, it needs to be said because flight attendants are worried that some people don’t know not to watch porn while flying next to strangers. American Airlines flight attendants even want porn sites blocked on flights offering WiFi access.
A fluid leak forced Deepak’s Southwest flight from Oakland to Seattle back to the airport. Southwest shifted passengers to a waiting plane, and everyone made it to Seattle about two hours late. Within a week, Southwest sent passengers an extraordinarily honest and informative letter detailing exactly what went wrong, and by way of apology, tossed in a $175 voucher.
Ugh, those selfish pilots can’t be bothered to help their airlines return to profitability. No, instead they’re whining to NASA that they’re being forced to fly “uncomfortably low on fuel” and that “safety for passengers and crews could be compromised.”
It has been nearly 7 years since 9/11 and the government is still pulling ideas out of its ass to help keep us safe. Wired reports that in a request for proposals issued this week, the Pentagon announced that they are looking for ways to “safely divert an aircraft in the air or stop and/or disable an aircraft on the ground,” i.e., a kill switch. More, inside…
With all the talk about trains in recent days, reader Zach decided to do some quick Googling to check out some train ticket prices. He typed in “cheap train tickets” and what do you know? Oh, hello Delta! We didn’t know you were in the train business now. Let’s click on your link on the small hope that maybe there’s a train ticket discount or some sort of…nope, same old Delta. Zach’s letter, inside…
FAA orders more inspections of potentially sketchy older “Boeing 737 jetliners after numerous reports of fuel leaks caused by a potentially faulty bolt,” says the Associated Press. [AP]