Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Just Saying ...
---How many bags? British Airways keeps inching up on the number of bags it says have gone missing in the Terminal 5 opening fiasco, and now it's supposedly 19,000. Howard Wheeldon, an analyst at BGC Partners in the UK, told Bloomberg UK that many observers think the number is actually higher than 35,000 -- and that British Airways' assurances that bags will be delivered to people within a week are "nonsense." Said Wheeldon: "It'll take months to get rid of all that baggage." Talk about timing: The Terminal 5 meltdown occurred just as new competitors, including Delta and Continental, began operating out of Heathrow with the kickoff of the Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and the E.U. "It couldn't have come at a worse time" for B.A., Wheeldon said.
Meanwhile, some British Airways flights at Terminal 5 are still being canceled, and now B.A. says it's bringing in FedEx to get the bags sorted out. At last, an outfit that actually delivers!
---Speaking of bags, there's another alleged incident of systematic theft from passengers bags by TSA inspectors. This one happened in -- where else? -- Central Florida (Tampa).
---Everybody's looking for indications that domestic air travel is slowing down as fares keep rising. Continental just reported its March operating data, and there's no sign yet of a slowdown. Continental had record domestic load factors for the month (the percentage of seats filled by paying customers) in March -- 85.2 percent, one percentage point higher than March 2007. Domestic seat capacity was down 0.3 percent, but passenger traffic was up 0.9 percent. Nearly a third (31.6 percent) of flights arrived late.
---The chronically overlooked story of aircraft maintenance, including rampant outsourcing of critical maintenance by domestic airlines (American is an exception), is about to get better coverage. And the Teamsters are going to be a part of it.
---I like to 'ave a laff as much as the next person, but I really do not understand this British fascination with elaborate April Fool's stunts in the media. Dunno, something inherently, well, creepy, in them, to me at least. Also, I really do not think that an airline should be pulling April Fool's jokes at all. Every day, after all, is April Fool's day in the skies.