Tuesday, 31 July 2007

British Airways no longer best airline...

British Airways have squandered the chance of winning top airline of the year award, dropping from 1st place to a staggering 10th.

But on the brighter side they were named best airline in Europe and best transatlantic carrier in the awards by Skytrax.

Singapore Airlines were awarded airline of the year while Virgin Atlantic won best business class lounge.

From the budget airline prizes Easyjet were voted world’s third best budget airline and second best in Europe.

BA has had to struggle with a few difficulties during the last few months such as cancellations caused by baggage restrictions and bad weather.

The problem escalated whilst trying to reunite people with their luggage.
It’s also thought BA are facing a hefty fine pending an investigation into price fixing relating to fuel surcharges.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Malaysia Airlines wins award for best cabin staff.

Malaysia Airlines has won an award for ‘World’s best cabin staff’ at the World Airlines Award 2007.

The airline has been recognised for its excellent passenger support service resulting in the top position of the 11 month survey.

Chief Executive of MAS Datuk Idris Jala said he feels incredibly proud of the crew for their portrayal of the best Malaysian hospitality.

The survey also concentrated on the “soft service” of attendants such as friendliness, enthusiasm, sincerity and efficiency.

The survey data involved 3 million people who each represented a different nationality and nominated their chosen carriers based on personal experiences flying with them.

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Are airlines paying fair?

Further to my previous article relating to poor pay for cabin crew, Sara Nelson who has worked 11 years for United Airlines had to sell her car in order to afford living costs.

Sara believes her pay has come down at least 30% and although has to do without the luxury of a car she does have longer hours and the addition of more broken lavatories to deal with!

"It seems more and more that one or two lavatories are shut down," said Nelson, who is also a spokeswoman for the Association of Flight Attendants union.

With on-board staffing reduced, "There are fewer people to look out for the problems and try to head them off from the get go," she said.

Tensions are riding high as cabin crew have to cope with more and more difficult conditions that the airlines are imposing on them.

Flight attendants are starting to actually resemble prisoners as a result of tighter security restrictions, faster turnaround times and congested planes without being provided adequate food and more importantly more pay.

"You have more people getting off, more people getting on, so the expectation is you basically don't get off the plane," Carla Rogat of Mesaba Airlines said.

"You can work a 14-hour day and get off the plane for 20 minutes,"

Contrary to what people may think, when aircraft are still waiting at the gate due to lengthy delays cabin crew aren’t actually being paid whilst the plane is standing still. It’s only when the plane leaves the gate that crew are being paid, so in effect they are working for free while the aircraft is stationary.

"I can work a 14-hour day and get paid for five of it," said Rogat.
The average salary of US flight attendants can be between $US19,200 and $US33,800 but many stay within this employment for the travel benefits and flexibility.

"I still really do love the job," said Alin Boswell, an 18-year veteran of US Airways Group Inc.

Airlines have in the past promised to ease stress put upon cabin crew but such actions have remained under the belt.

"We have taken a number of steps to improve the quality of life and scheduling flexibility for our flight attendants," said United Airlines spokeswoman Jean Medina.

"People are very, very upset. They've been stretched to the end," said Nelson. "They were stretched to the end before, but at least there was a promise of something better. Now when that hasn't been returned, it's as if the rubber band was broken."

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Two BA aircraft in collision at Heathrow Airport.

Passengers escaped unscathed last night at Heathrow airport when two BA aircraft collided.

A Boeing 777 was taxiing down the runway preparing to take off and clipped the wing of a BA Airbus A321, which at the same time was pulling up to the terminal.

Nobody was hurt and fire-fighters arrived at the scene as a safety precaution.

The Boeing had 213 passengers on board and was on its way to Washington, 102 people were on board the airbus that had just arrived from Zurich.

The Boeing was grounded in order to carry out an examination to check no further damage was obtained. Passengers were transferred onto other flights.

A spokesman for BA commented:

“There was minor damage. An investigation will be launched to determine if anyone was to blame.”

Have your say - Airlines poll!

Check out the crazy4planes poll where you can vote on topical airline issues.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Do airlines pay their cabin crew a fair wage?

Cabin crew have to endure both long and short haul flights so why do they only get a basic salary of £10,000?

True they are experiencing the delightful element of travel but they only have a stop over of one or perhaps in some cases two nights. In order to get to these fabulous destinations they have to first serve people tea and coffee and deal with difficult passengers.

Looking after 50-300 people isn't easy so why do they only earn a very small salary? At the end of the day it is just another type of job, these people still need somewhere to live and put food on the table for families.

How on earth can cabin crew live on that salary!!! Is it really only because the employers believe they are travelling all round the world that they feel justified in paying such low wages?

Businessmen travel the world also yet I don't think they would for that kind of money!!

Monday, 23 July 2007

Cabin Crew applicants sent packing at AirAsia!

Hundreds of applicants that applied to work for AirAsia as cabin crew have been turned down due to their lack of English speaking skills.

A recruitment day was held in Kuching over the weekend and of the 426 hopefuls, around 95 percent failed as they lacked any serious command of the language.

AirAsia executive vice president Bo Lingham said:

"The ability to communicate well in English and Bahasa Malaysia is a criterion, and English is a must"

The 16 applicants that did reach the final interview stage still may not make it to being a member of cabin crew.

The airline is set to add 37-37 new planes at the end of the year and is looking to recruit at least 300 cabin crew.

Lingham further added recruits might have to be sourced from Thailand and Indonesia, which could be to their advantage as cabin crew are required to speak foreign languages.

"For example, we are looking for Mandarin-speaking crew for our China routes."

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Is safety still top priority with low budget airlines?

It’s a well-known fact that while aeroplanes are stuck on the ground they aren’t making money, but with the pressure mounting on individual airline staff to reduce turnaround times is safety being compromised?

Low budget airlines such as BMI Baby have targets for ground staff to get the plane back in the air after only 25 minutes!!

With all this extra pressure on individuals are they really taking the proper time and care with checking the aircraft after it’s previous fight. Do tight timescales cause negligence and only brief checks rather than thoroughly checking a carrier?

True, airlines want the aircraft to be in the air as many times as possible with hundreds of paying passengers on board. But then it’s only a matter of time before a serious accident occurs.

And then what will the excuses be?

“A thorough safety check was compromised because we wanted to get the plane back in the air as quickly as possible to make more money”?

or “It was only a 2 hour flight nothing could have possibly happened to jeopardise safety”?

There are no excuses.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Singapore Airlines wants rid of Virgin Atlantic stake.

Singapore Airlines is considering selling its stake in Virgin Atlantic, which could result in an STGI billion (STG1 = RM6.92) sale.

Singapore Airlines has the biggest stock market value and is said to only be in the early stages of considering options for its 49 per cent stake.

A spokesman declined to comment for SIA while Virgin Atlantic couldn’t be reached for comment.

Corrine Png commented that the sale of the VA stake would be welcomed but may not actually be worth all that is being reported.

"We view this potential exit strategy positively as VA has not contributed significantly to SIA's bottom line nor network connectivity in the past seven years, even though SIA paid a large sum for the stake," she said in a note to investors.

Png later went on to say that SIA would also book a “bumper disposal gain” if the share could be sold for at least STG950 million.

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Flying with BMI Baby Airline.

Well I have been away for a while but I'm back!!

Just been on a short European break to Barcelona with BMI Baby. Can't really compare the flight with that of a 747 but it was still enjoyable.

The 2 and a half hour flight went without hitch in the air and was very smooth all the way there and back.

I also briefly saw the pilot and co-pilot and was really pleasantly surprised to see that the co-pilot was a woman. That was the first time I have ever been flown anywhere with a lady in the cockpit. How envious am I!!!!

Anyway after a hefty delay at Birmingham International I was finally on my way. I did however notice that to get through departures is now a much more lengthy process than it normally is.

How surprising when a programme showing how bad security is at Birmingham was screened on the tele not too long before!! I'm a bit worried that they still won an award for best Airport Security afterwards, just how bad at security does that mean all other Eurpoean airports are!!??

Check out my landing and taking off on You Tube. Unfortunately you can't appreciate the views as they were both night flights.

Attack on Glasgow Airport - Houses searched.

After the shocking events from the weekend with a car being driven into the arrivals terminal at Glasgow Airport, police have been searching many properties in the hope of finding anything connected with the terrorist activity.

A Cambridge address has been searched following failed car bomb explosions in both Glasgow and London.

The exact address has not been revealed.

To date eight people have been arrested and all are linked with the NHS, it is believed that four of them already know each other from Cambridge.

Shiraz Maher an associate of one of those arrested said:

“Dr Kafeel Ahmed and Dr Bilal Abdullah, both arrested at Glasgow airport after a burning car was driven into doors of main terminal, were "best mates"”

Hicham Kwieder who is secretary of the Cambridge Muslim Welfare Society said that he knows and saw Dr Abdullah about a year ago.

“ I talked to him, like many other people. He was a nice person. I knew him as someone who attended our mosque. I met him after the invasion [of Iraq]. He felt pain that the country was divided and people were fighting each other.

I recognised his photograph in the paper. I was shocked. Whatever information we have will be passed on to the police. We're helping police with their inquiries."

The Society later said that police had not actually searched the premises.

Dr Ahmed was a research student in the science technology department at Anglia Ruskin University. A spokeswoman said:

"We are aware of media speculation about possible links between recent events at Glasgow Airport and one of our research students.

We are co-operating fully with the police in their inquiries. At this time identities are still unclear and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further.”

Dr Ahmed’s brother was also arrested along with Dr Mohammed Asha and his wife. All currently working at hospitals in the country.