An image will help you out here ;)

Map by the Great Circle Mapper - www.gcmap.com

Now for those of you needing a Wednesday afternoon fun task, I’ve done some colouring in for you. All you have to do… is guess the airlines.

No prizes – other than bragging rights ;)

** UPDATE **

And well done to Jim who guessed the carriers
BHX-FRA = Lufthansa AG
FRA-HND-HKG = All Nippon Airline
HKG-ICN = Thai Airways International
ICN-LHR = Asiana Airlines

I don’t set that hard challenges ;)

Posted by Kevincm | 6 Comments

Well for those who are going through UK Border, this is turning into a damp squib of an action.

Reports indicated that 2/3rds of immigration desks are open at London Heathrow and Gatwick, with other ports of entry suffering only minor delays.

Or to quote The Telegraph’s Neil Tweedie:

Here in terminal 3 at Heathrow and the passport hall is a picture of tranquillity. 21 out of 44 border agency desks manned but no passengers to serve. Staff with nothing to do are chatting away merrily. Arriving passengers expecting delays of two to five hours have sailed through.

Or to put it into a picture:

UK Border in LHR T3. (Image - BBC News)

Stansted Airport is reporting no issues, as is Birmingham Airport, Manchester Airport, London City Airport, and most major ports of entry into the United Kingdom.

So the award for overstating the problem goes to BAA and of course, HM Government.

Action beyond the border is bit more harsher, with schools closed today, hospital workers and council workers on strike.

I was planning an early evening update, but if this is the state of play… there’s no point.

Posted by Kevincm | 2 Comments

Well the picket lines are manned and the public sector strike action day is under way. So lets see if this is a damp squib, or if HM Government have been overstating the matter.

Again.

According to the BBC, Take-offs and landings have been mainly unaffected at London Heathrow and London Gatwick with a few minor cancellations. Staffing at the border appears to operating at 2/3′s of normal capacity.

Brtitish Airways have reported they are operating a “near normal” service with immigration being “no longer than usual”

A report at   Heathrow T3, 10 EU immigration desks are being manned by a mix of Home Office staff and police officers, with the other 5 for non-EU passengers operated by immigration staff.

The Guardian confirms that the 8-10-12 hour waits that were expected have failed to materialise.

In Northern Ireland, no train or buses are operating today.

So really, for travellers – nothing of massive consequence other than the stand-still of travel in Northern Ireland. Some good advice from The Telegraph if you’re coming into the UK:

  • having travel documents, including passports, available and taken out of any wallets
  • using automatic e-Passport gates (where available)
  • having landing cards fully completed and ready
  • staying in family group

I’ll be monitoring this during the day and hope to have an update out about 14:00GMT.

Posted by Kevincm | Comments are off for this article

Well here it is – the ugly numbers that Chancellor George Osborn and his flunky Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander will be asking you to pay if you choose to depart the United Kingdom on a flight out of the country:

 2011 Economy  2011 Premium 2012 Economy 2012 Premium
Band A 0–2,000 miles
from London
£12 £24 £13 £26
Band B 2,001–4,000 miles
from London
£60 £120 £65 £130
Band C 4,001–6,000 miles
from London
£75 £150 £81 £162
Band D over 6,000 miles
from London
£85 £170 £92 £184

These rates are effective from the 1st April 2012.  If you book a ticket now and your travel falls after the APD rate rise, you are liable for the new rate of APD.

Which for what was a green tax is now hogwash, and just a blatant taxation effort.

Should you wish to vent your frustration at the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his flunky Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the addressed you need are:

Rt Hon George Osborne MP 
Chancellor of the Exchequer
HM Treasury
Horse Guards Road
LONDON SW1A 2HQ

Or

Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP 
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
HM Treasury
Horse Guards Road
LONDON SW1A 2HQ

Posted by Kevincm | 4 Comments

Well as the dust from the UK Autumn budget statement there’s a few things to take away from the statement.

Air Travel

  • Air Passenger Duty rises CONFIRMED.
  • “Air Passenger Duty (APD) rates will increase from 1 April 2012, as set out at Budget 2011. The Government will also proceed with the extension of APD to flights taken aboard business jets, effective from 1 April 2013. Details will be set out in the Government’s response to the APD consultation on 6 December 2011. As announced on 27 September 2011, APD will be cut for passengers travelling on direct long-haul routes departing from airports in Northern Ireland, effective from 1 November 2011. The direct long-haul rates will fall to the prevailing band A rate of APD. To provide a lasting solution, the Government has launched a parallel process to devolve aspects of APD to the Northern Ireland Assembly. (4, 11)”
  •  Air Passenger Duty for business jets will hit from 1st April 2013

Rail Travel

  • Rail fare/Transport for London rises will be capped at a maximum of 1% above inflation – rather than the 3% that had been expected for one year. This affects regulated fares only.
  • Unregulated fares will be subject to price gouging that train companies seem to love to indulge in.

Motoring

  • The 5p rise in Fuel Duty that was due to hit in January has been cancelled. Instead the rise will be 3p a litre.This would had hit you at the pump in petrol prices. Although wit the way petrol is taxed in the UK, it would had been another stomach punch

The Full Autumn statement can be viewed at http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/autumn_statement.pdf

I’ll be looking at the numbers that are ugly as hell later with reasons why you should start in Dublin or Paris for your long haul journeys if you need to go to the United Kingdom.

UPDATE:

British Airways, EasyJet, Ryanair and Virgin Atlatic have put out a statement in relation to the APD rise. And they’re not impressed. Carolyn McCall from Easyjet, Willie Walsh from IAG, Michael O’Leary from Ryanair and Steve Ridgway from Virgin Atlantic jointly said:

“In the cause of UK economic recovery, Air Passenger Duty (APD) is an own goal – and the Chancellor has just scored another one. By increasing this tax by double the rate of inflation, he is further deterring inbound tourism and foreign investment, and choking off yet more job opportunities for young people.

APD has no international parallel and has already cost the UK economy 25,000 jobs – that is what the Government should focus on.

“We call for the Chancellor to commission an independent study of APD’s overall economic value. We have no doubt this would confirm that APD’s negative impact on UK GDP significantly outweighs its revenue benefit for the Treasury.

“This tax must be abolished.”

Posted by Kevincm | Comments are off for this article

Breaking from The Wall Street Journal and American Airlines itself, AMR – the holding company of American Airlines and American Eagle has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection.

Quickly reading it, AMR is doing this to restructure its costs and debt to assure it’s long term survival, and thus, has filed Chapter 11.

AMR intends to operate all services through the protection, protecting AAdvantage, and has $4.1 Billion in the cash pile.

AMR States that they intend to:

  • Provide safe and reliable service;
  • Fly normal schedules;
  • Honor tickets and reservations, and make exchanges and refunds as usual;
  • Fully maintain AAdvantage frequent flyer and other customer service programs, and ensure all AAdvantage miles and elites status earned by members remain secure and intact;
  • Provide Admirals Club access and similar amenities to members and eligible customers;
  • Remain an integral member of the oneworld® alliance, of which American is a founding member, and continue its codeshare partnerships;
  • Provide employee wages, healthcare coverage, vacation, and other benefits, without interruption; and
  • Pay suppliers for goods and services received during the reorganization process.

Expect a LOT more on this later.

The Release is at http://aa.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=43&item=3397

Posted by Kevincm | Comments are off for this article

Well with the Unions and Government itching for a smack-down fight, lets do a quick round of up of the facts thoughts, and damn lies

Truths:

  • Most public sector agencies will be down heavily tomorrow (30/11) due to a strike against the changes to the public sector provisions.
  • This includes parts of Local Government, Schools, parts of the NHS, and the UK Border Agency
  • Some Carriers are allowing rebooking. Contact your airline. Confirmed airlines allowing rebooking are Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and British Midland.
  • Some Carriers have cancelled flights into Heathrow (Eithad and Emirates being the main airlines who have trashed their schedules and reduced flights)
  • There will be delays at the UK Border sadly at all ports.
  • UK Border security “is not to be relaxed”
  • There will be staff from other parts of the UK agencies who are not striking coming in to cover
  • Heathrow Airport has requested airlines to load their planes at 50% to assist in processing speeds of people going through the UK Border

Thoughts

  • The strike over pension changes in the public sector could involve up to two million people and close 90% of England’s schools.
  • To the minister for Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell, who quite frankly needs his head seeing to suggesting closing Heathrow for the day on the grounds of “Health and Safety”, check your thinking. And your voting record please.
  • If things go pear shaped tomorrow, Expect Short Notice Cancellations and Diversions
  • If you avoid entering the UK tomorrow, I’d explore the option quite deeply.

Lies

  • You’ll be waiting up to 12 hours at a the border at Heathrow. And I’m sorry – that is complete and utter hogwash. A blatant scare tactic by BAA on behalf of the Government.

I’m not saying tomorrow will be rosy by any stretch of the imagination as you will be delayed entering the country. Nor am I saying this is unexpected (this strike has been on the table for some time sadly due to certain members of the governments manoeuvrings and thoughts on the truth and not putting their house in order before coming to the people that work for it).

Sadly as both the British Government and the Unions want to go 10-Bells at it tomorrow, everyone has to suffer. And if you’re caught in the cross-fire, I’m sorry.  Pack a good book and I hope you make it through the immigration queues quickly.

Posted by Kevincm | Comments are off for this article

Lets have some nice pretty looking aviation news, and it’s from Airbus who have released a picture of the first Thai Airways International Airbus A380 entering final assembly.

Image – (c) Airbus SAS 2011.

Now I don’t know about you, but that Purple on the tail fin does look very pretty indeed (and I do like the colour scheme they’ve chosen for the “re-brand”).

I’ll look forward to when Airbus outfit the new plane for Thai Airways, and to see it in service.

A bright spot for next year indeed…

Posted by Kevincm | 2 Comments

News from Australia with an iPhone that was being a bit temperamental.

Regional Express (REX) were operating a flight Lismore to Sydney, and after landing, the Apple iPhone4 decided to emit what REX calls “significant amount of dense smoke, accompanied by a red glow”

It seems however the flight attendant was on the ball, extinguishing the device before it could do any further damage, whilst crew and passengers were removed safely.

The phone in question… looks like it went through hell.


The iPhone at the heart of the case – Image: Regional Express Airlines (Australia)

The Register has done a brief analysis, which points to a battery failure.

REX has handed the matter over to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) as well as the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) for investigation.

Well that’s a fair bit of damage there. I’d dread to think the insurance bill for that device – as well as the disruption caused.

And at least this didn’t happen in flight…

Posted by Kevincm | 2 Comments

It’s Sunday again, so it must be time for some Airplane Art.

This week, it’s a Korean Air Boeing 777-300ER parked up and being serviced at Washington Dulles International Airport

More of course next week!

Posted by Kevincm | Comments are off for this article

It’s Saturday again, so it’s time for another safety video.

This week (and as we’re near the end of the month it’s a “classical” safety video), and bearing no relation for my next trip, it’s ANA presenting safety for it’s Boeing 747-400′s.

More of course next week!

Posted by Kevincm | Comments are off for this article

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