Tag Archives: airline

Você pode ajudar os Dead Kennedys? : Can you help the Dead Kennedys?

 

This is a message from West Coast punk legends The Dead Kennedys. TAM lost their guitar cases in Brazil so I’ve got the message here in English and Portuguese to see if anyone has any information…

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On Saturday April 20, Klaus Flouride and East Bay Ray’s guitar cases were lost by TAM Airlines in Brazil on their flight from Sao Paulo to Recife. We would like to ask anyone in Brazil that might work at TAM Airlines or know someone who does to help us find the two guitar cases. One is a SKB bass case and the other is a Gator double guitar case. Here is a photo of them. If you have any information, please message us here. Thank you.

No sábado 20 de abril, os cases de guitarra de Klaus Flouride e East Bay Ray foram perdidos pela TAM quando os músicos viajavam de São Paulo para Recife. Gostaríamos de pedir a alguém no Brasil que trabalhe na TAM, ou conheça alguém que trabalhe lá, que nos ajude a encontrar os dois cases. Um deles é um baixo SKB e o outro é um case de guitarra dupla Gator. Aqui está uma foto dos dois. Se você tiver qualquer informação, por favor mande uma mensagem para nós aqui. Obrigado.

Dead Kennedys

 

Photo by The Dead Kennedys

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Mexicana struggles – no surprise there then

Mexicana airlines is in complete turmoil. Having filed for protection from bankruptcy, they are now fighting off a complete collapse as the unions refuse to allow restructuring and the management have axed services – including the Mexico City to London route.

I had the misfortune to use Mexicana to go to Mexico City from London last December. It was possibly the worst airline I have ever used in terms of service, aircraft, and overall experience. Imagine catching the 73 bus from Hackney to Oxford Circus in the rush hour and you get an approximation of what it’s like to travel with Mexicana… including the crowding and lack of any form of on-board entertainment, despite the long-haul nature of the journey.

I took an American Airlines return flight from London to New York last week and I encountered similar chaos on board – the crew wanted to charge me $7 for a glass of wine despite my ‘economy’ ticket costing $1475.30. The cabin crew were upset with me when I told them to take the wine back. But they had spent the entire flight calling me ‘special’ because I had ordered vegetarian food… somehow not realising that it makes me sound more like an asylum inmate than José Mourinho…

Airlines all over the world seem to be in chaos, yet surely they can see there are two basic business models. No-frills like Ryanair, where the service is cut to the bone so that the price reflects only a safe journey and nothing else, then the regular full-service airlines where a price comparison is still important, but value enters the mix… airport used, ability to select seats, quality of service… This is where airlines like BA can stake themselves out as leaders (if the unions don’t bring them down first) because they have the quality on-board service and innovative online services.

Having got used to ba.com allowing me to set my meal preference, choose a seat, and get my boarding pass before I even leave for the airport, I’m not really all that tolerant of companies like Mexicana who tell me that online check-in doesn’t work “because you live in London…” Will anyone be sorry to see them go?
Rolls Royce jet engine

Farewell British Airways

It was nice to know BA and to be a member of their Executive Club for many years, but with their ongoing battle with the ash cloud and now the battle against their own cabin crew, I fear this is going to be a battle to the death.

BA refuses to budge from the insistence that the changes they are enforcing are required, and the Unite union is insisting that the changes (particularly around the deal for new recruits) is unfair. It looks like both sides are prepared to go right to the brink and then to head over into the abyss.

Loyalty to BA is haemorrhaging amongst those I know who travel regularly. It’s bad enough trying to deal with all the random flight delays caused by the Icelandic ash cloud, but add a seemingly regular pattern of strikes and the chaos caused trying to get the service back to normal after each one, and there is not much hope for the future.

If the regular business travellers are giving up on BA and the union is going all out to bring down the firm then regardless of whether you support the striking staff or not, it really looks like they might be striking themselves out of a future.
BA flight from London to Cairo, Egypt

Checking in – just in time

I had an interesting experience getting to India. Quite stressful.

I booked a flight with Virgin Atlantic. I did not realise it was going to be a code-share until I got the ticket… it was going to be operated by Jet Airways. Which is OK, because I like Jet too… but a day before the flight I logged into the Virgin website to check-in. Nothing worked. I thought maybe I need to go to the Jet website and check-in over there. The reference number didn’t work.

So I couldn’t check-in online with Virgin because it was a code-share flight, and the Virgin reference number did not work on the Jet Airways website. So I called up Virgin and asked them what to do. They said, don’t worry, just come to the airport and check-in at the Virgin desk.

I was thinking it’s strange to come to Virgin if I know I am on a Jet Airways plane, but the Virgin customer service guy had heard the exact problem and he sounded like he knew what he was talking about.

So off I went to Virgin at Terminal 3 in Heathrow.

Virgin automated check-in at the airport did not work. They don’t fly to Mumbai. I asked the staff what was wrong. They told me that I needed to go to see Jet Airways… I was a bit exasperated at the conflicting advice, but I didn’t argue. I just asked where to go for Jet, they said around the corner, further along T3.

So I went looking, only to find that Jet Airways is in T4.

I went to the train transfer. 15 minutes to the next train. So I went to the Underground and went back to Hatton Cross, then back into the airport again so I would be at T4.

I got to the check-in counter and they were about to close. I had 2 minutes left before check-in for my flight was closing. When I asked to be in an aisle seat the girl laughed… she said the only available seat was wedged in against the window with two people blocking me. I explained my sob story of how difficult this whole procedure had been and by that time the check-in had closed and she could see an aisle seat with a no-show… the guy had not arrived at the airport so the seat was free.

Thankfully I got that seat… but how do I check-in on the way home now?

It ain’t easy being veggie on Mexicana

Why do airlines find it so difficult to get special meals right? I’ve flown 4 times with Mexicana in the past month and on just one of the four flights did I get the vegetarian food I had ordered.

It’s a real problem for me because the 12-hours between London and Mexico City is no fun without some food along the way and airlines now don’t really carry spare food – they have exactly the right number of trays for the number of passengers on board. Or at least, they don’t carry any spare special meals beyond the ones ordered.

On one recent Mexicana flight, I was told there was no vegetarian food for me – even though it had been ordered, and the check-in staff confirmed it was on board – and so the cabin crew gave me a salad instead. The salad contained chunks of ham. Nice try? I must ask for more vegetarian pig in future. I wonder if they serve that up to their Jewish customers?

Each time I complained, the cabin crew told me they could do nothing. It’s true. Once you are cruising above the ocean at 11,000m above sea-level, it’s hard to get some more supplies, but why do I need to keep on complaining? The option was booked when the flights were booked, yet the cabin crew even told me that the ground staff just “don’t really know what’s going on…” I hope their safety engineers know what is going on.

The wasn’t my only gripe about Mexicana. The online checkin doesn’t work… apparently it only works for domestic flights so international passengers have to go through the old long snaking check-in line some of us remember from years ago.

And, on flights of around 11 or 12 hours, perhaps some entertainment might be nice? Don’t expect an entertainment system on Mexicana – even in business class. You had better bring a good book as there is nothing, other than ye olde projector screen showing old episodes of ‘House’. Any book would be better than that.

Mexicana is cheap, but far from cheerful.