Articles tagged with: British Airways
Some readers might have spotted that I have been travelling recently. For 12 days I have lived out of a small, carry-on wheelie case. But as I picked up things it grew fatter. So I checked it in as hold baggage something I rarely do. And guess what? It didn’t keep up with me so I have been shopping for the necessities.
From tomorrow British Airways is increasing by £10 the fuel charge that it is levying on all economy class fares on medium and long haul flights. Domestic flights and short haul ones are unaffected this time. It means that if you’re flying to Australia you’ll pay a fuel surcharge of £98 on your ticket and a trip to the east coast of the US will incur £85 surcharge. And I suppose if BA is introducing this, then its stable mate, Iberia will follow as well. And other airlines will follow in one way or another.
Just after the news comes out that the proposed 22 day strike that would affect anyone flying to Spain or over Spanish airspace has been called off, up pops British Airways (BA) to remind us that life isn’t plain sailing. Or even plain flying! Once again there has been a strike ballot. Once again, the vote has overwhelmingly been for strike action.
Some time ago, CD-Traveller, mentioned that a number of airlines were testing bio-fuels in the hope that they could replace traditional aviation fuel to power their flights. Now it has been announced that Lufthansa will be the first airline to use a blend of vegetable oil and kerosene in one of the engines of its twin engine Airbus 321’s on scheduled passenger flights. From next April on the Hamburg-Frankfurt route only, information can be gathered on how this fuel will perform in a normal aviation role instead of the testing that has occurred so far. It will help to see what the effects of this mixture are on the engine over a long period. Will it require less or more maintenance for example? That it is in only one engine and contributes only half of the fuel for that engine suggests that growth in this area will be slow and carefully managed.
But is it really an alternative?
Yesterday the Financial Times reported on the meeting of the Airports Operators Association (AOA) at which the chairman of British Airways, Martin Broughton, said that some of the security checks we have to endure at airports were a waste of time. We had them because the Americans insisted yet they were not carried out on domestic flights within the US. Forgive me if you tired of this story already. The BBC, then ITN and Sky made it their lead story for most of yesterday and by 7am today there are 866 articles on the web about it. Broughton has obviously struck a chord.
But which checks are unnecessary?
There aren’t many of us that go to Argentina despite the fact that for some of us there are strong links. With names like Peurto Madryn (Port Madryn) there are clues to the number of Welsh who settled there in the nineteenth century. From next March it will be easier to go there as British Airways will be launching a direct service from London. This week, the Argentinian Minister of Tourism, Enrique Meyer, was over here to help announce the service. Declaring that 2011 will be the year of Argentina might be a bit ambitious but then with even a modest increase in tourists from the UK, it could be the start given the range of holiday options that Argentina offers.
August and September may get rather miserable for some of us. We have the continuing saga at British Airways, Spanish air traffic controllers have voted overwhelmingly to strike and Greek lorry drivers also threatened that they would refuse to deliver fuel. Luckily, that strike is now over. Aer Lingus cabin crew are being balloted on a work-to-rule. Rome airport will have a strike there for 4 hours on 9th September. There is a French and an Indian general strike both on 7th September and one in Spain on 29th September. Two weeks ago we had the French air traffic controllers on strike. Even pilots in Sweden had a brief strike in July and another in June.
So what will it mean for us?
The media are fixated by best and worst lists, top 10 lists and anything that seems to imply a rating. Some are just the works of individuals, some have research behind them and some are people adding their thoughts to a website. And if one person says this destination is the best thing since sliced bread do you believe them?
In their July issue Which? have published the results of their survey into short-haul airline routes based on what their members think
Let’s start with the good news.
It could be that the Icelandic volcano which has caused so much grief to air travellers over the last 2 months has stopped erupting. Experts say that the volcano has gone quiet. It would be nice if it was quiet for the next 100 years.
Just after I left the largest US trade travel conference, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that it hoped that the I-94 green/white forms that visitors have to fill in would be done away with by the end of the Summer. This means that you will only have to complete the ESTA requirements online.
Yesterday the recriminations began to grow more loudly in the wake of the closure of airspace over much of Northern Europe for yet another day. It seems that the blame culture has taken over from the culture of it being just one of those things. Fate my mother used to call things which were outside her control. It was the fault of this body or that.
So the Met Office is being blamed for its forecasting of the wind movements. NATS (responsible for airspace over Britain) is being blamed for their computer modelling. Eurocontrol (responsible for co-ordinating the use of airspace over Europe) is accused of being too cautious, governments because they haven’t reacted quicker, the Spanish Government (as EU president at the moment) because they didn’t call a meeting of EU transport ministers more quickly and the fairies at the bottom of the garden because, well who knows.