Random Rants

Godzilla here. Perusing the newswires today there were several stories that caught my eye, so here they are in no particular order.
Skydog Recovers
Not on the newswire, but nonetheless of utmost importance (at least to me and MB), Skylar (aka Skydog) has recovered from her rattlesnake bite without the aid of anti-venom. Evidently Mr. Snake slithered through a very small gap between our wrought iron fence and block wall in pursuit of a pack rat. sharpee-263x213.jpgSkydog thankfully came upon the rattler after it had expended some of its venom on the rat, so she didn’t get a full dose herself. Since there is a shortage of anti-venom in Tucson and her blood count was low but not critical, the vet didn’t give her a shot. After a couple of days of looking like a Shar Pei the swelling went down and she was her old self, which includes running out to the spot where the rattler was every time she goes outside. We’re working on that.
A Fool For A Client
Delta is being sued for a million bucks by one of its customers, who also happens to be an attorney, for ruining his vacation. Must’ve been a helluva vacation he had planned.
According to the suit the passenger and his family “spent three days in airports, went days without their luggage, were treated rudely by airline employees and were forced to spend $21,000 on unused hotel rooms in Argentina, replacement clothes, and other costs.” Evidently their flight from New York to Atlanta was delayed for 2 hours, and “the family was not allowed to board” their connecting flight in Atlanta. Because there were no Delta flights available for 2 weeks (according to the suit), the passenger re-booked his family on another airline and arrived at their destination three days late, with the luggage arriving five days after that.
Gag me with a habeus corpus.
Their flight was late out of NYC (we know THAT never happens) and although the connecting flight was still on the gate when they got there, it was too late to board. Due to the holiday season there were no Delta flights available, so it required flying on another airline. So far nothing sounds unusual, But $21,000 in unused hotel rooms, clothes, and “other costs” is unusual enough. Filing suit for $1 million is preposterous, and if the guy wasn’t an attorney it would be very unlikely another attorney would even take the case.
My hope is that Delta tells him to go pound sand and asks that he not fly them anymore. Especially nowadays, no airline can afford a customer like that.
Fare or Fare?
When I read the headline “American Airlines Debuts Traditional Indian Fare” my initial thought was why AA would be announcing fare initiatives when everybody else was trying to raise fares and fees. 58.jpgBut after reading the text I realized it was a promotion for their new inflight meals on the Chicago – Delhi service. I dunno, I’d probably have picked a different headline if I were writing the release.
International Woes
IATA put out a report saying the number of international airline passengers traveling first class and business class in March declined the most since 2003. Just what airlines need – reduced volume from high margin business travelers with $130/barrel oil prices. The global first/business class numbers fell 3.9% in March 2008 compared to March 2007. Within that number there was some slop, mostly the fact that Easter fell earlier this year as compared with 2007. EOS.gifAdjusted for this factor the overall decline was 1 – 2%, but within those numbers the U.S. domestic first/business class market declined 8.5% and intra-Europe was down 17%. Just another day in paradise.
Traditional wisdom (now there’s an oxymoron if I ever wrote one) is that business travel has relatively inelastic demand and is less affected by economic cycles than leisure travel. However, business travel is not immune to having their travel budgets reduced, which precludes them riding up front. In addition, the price difference between F/C and Coach on international segments is not insignificant.
A typical Business Class fare from the U.S. to Europe can easily cost $10,000, while a coach ticket on the same airplane, though in the back of the bus, can be had for less than $2,500. Though some corporations have a travel policy that prescribes the conditions under which the employee can fly in F/J, expense budgets were made to be cut. Even if there were work rules precluding it, offering employees an incentive to sit in coach bus might even make sense.
In light of this it is not surprising that MaxJet and EOS foundered, nor that the list of international service being eliminated by major airlines is growing almost daily.