Airlines

Snaps from Virgin Atlantic A350 cabin reveal

I was delighted to join Virgin Atlantic earlier this week for a fun A350-cabin interior ‘reveal’ party at the company’s crew training facilities (“The Base”) in Crawley, near London’s Gatwick Airport.

My story detailing posh new features that include upgraded Upper Class suites in the business class cabin and the transformation of the Upper Class bar area into a multi-purpose gathering area called “The Loft” is on SFGate.

But sharing some snaps of the mock-up that was on display during the evening here on Stuck at The Airport.

Upper Class suites on Virgin Atlantic’s A350s will now face the windows. That’s a change from the current layout that has them facing the aisles.
The popular bar area behind the Upper Class cabin will now be “The Loft” – with space for 8 people (3 standing, five seated), power ports and Bluetooth headset ports so groups can watch movies or video programs together.
Premium seats on the Virgin Atlantic A350 planes will have four-way headrests and this nice footrest feature. Photo Harriet Baskas
Fabric-covered economy seats have two USB ports and 6-way headrests. Photo Harriet Baskas

Virgin Atlantic’s first A350 – named Red Velvet – will start flying in August, 2019 between London Heathrow and New York JFK, followed by other services to JFK later in the year.

The carrier has 12 Airbus A350-1000s on order, and plans to have all of them flying by 2012 as a replacement for the airline’s 747s.

WOW Air shuttered and airlines, bus lines, travel companies try to help

Beleaguered WOW Air shut down on Thursday, posting a note on its website that all flights had been canceled.

For tickets holders stranded in various cities and airports, and those with tickets for future dates, WOW Air suggests contacting your travel agent or credit card issuer for help and offers this advice:

“Some airlines may offer flights at a reduced rate, so-called rescue fares, in light of the circumstances.”

As of Thursday evening, here’s what airlines, travel companies and even a bus company is offering WOW Air ticket holders in terms of “rescue” assistance:

Early in the day, the Hopper booking site announced that all customers who booked WOW Air flights through its site would get full refunds.

“Hopper will also be paying the full cost of rebooking for all its stranded passengers in transit.”

A variety of airlines are offering WOW Air tickets holders discounted rates on rebooked flights.

Icelandair has a posted a list of discounted Economy fares for stranded passengers en route to, from, or through Iceland. The fares are only available for passengers already on their journey, with a return WOW AIr ticket between now and April 11, 2019.

Other airlines, including Norwegian Air, Aer Lingus, United Airlines and Virgin Atlantic are also offering special “rescue” fares to help WOW Air ticket holders. Check with the airline to see what they can do for you.

Even the Megabus company is doing its part to help.

Are you holding tickets for a WOW Air flight? Let us know how your rebooking plans work out.

Report card for airlines

LAX Flight Path Museum airplane models

This week, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released air carrier data for calendar year 2018.

The report inludes stats on everything from arrival rates and incident involving the death of animals carried on airplanes to bumping rates and, for the first time, the number of wheelchairs or scooters that were checked and mishandled by airlines.

The full report can be found here, but here are some highlights.

Hawaiian Airlines had the best arrival rates in 2018 – 87.8 percent – followed by Delta Air Lines (83.2 percent) and Alaska Airlines (82.7 percent).

The worst arrival rates for 2018?

Frontier Airlines (69.4 percent), JetBlue (71 percent) and Allegiant Airlines (76.9 percent).

Overall, during 2018 reporting carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 79.4 percent, down from 80.2 percent in 2017. 

Tarmac Delays

In 2018, airlines reported 202 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, an increase from the 193 such tarmac delays reported in 2017. 

In 2018, airlines reported 61 tarmac delays of more than four hours on international flights, compared to 51 such tarmac delays reported in 2017.

Incidents Involving Animals

In 2018, carriers reported 10 animal deaths, injuries to seven other animals and zero lost animals, for a total of 17 incidents, down from the 40 total incident reports filed for calendar year 2017. 

Complaints About Airline Service

Overall, travelers filed fewer complaints about airlines with the DOT in 2018 than they did in 2017.

In 2018, the DOT received 15,541 complaints, down 14.4 percent from the total of 18,156 received in 2017.  

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers and Discrimination  

In 2018, the DOT received 828 disability complaints, down 2.6 percent from the total of 850 received in 2017. 

There were 96 complaints about discrimination, a decrease of 2.0 percent from the total of 98 filed in 2017.

Bumping

After a series of sensational incidents in past years, in 2018 the number of bumped passengers hit a historical low.

In 2018, reporting carriers posted a bumping rate of 0.14 per 10,000 passengers, the previous low was 0.40 in 2017.

Wheelchairs and scooters

For the first time, the DOT’s report includes the number of wheelchairs and scooters checked and mishandled by the 12 reporting airlines.  

From Dec. 4 through Dec. 31, airlines reported checking 32,229 wheelchairs and scooters and mishandling 701, a rate of 2.18 percent mishandled.  

Huge typo on Cathay Pacific plane

We all make mistakes. But if this spelling mistake on a Cathay Pacific plane is real and not a promotional gag, then heads are certainly going to roll.

Still, it looks like the Hong Kong-based airline is taking the giant typo in stride.

 

 

Turkish Airlines has a Lego Airline Safety Video

 

Turkish Airlines airplane evidently has a cameo role in the upcoming Lego movie and that has inspired the airline to create a charming safety video featuring Lego characters Emmet, Wyldstyle, Batman and many others.

I’m not sure I’ve spotted all the references yes, but I love that there’s a checklist referenced here of all the features modern-day safety videos seem to have, including celebrity cameos and catchy songs.

Take a look and let me know what special touches you notice.

And while we’re talking airline safety videos, let’s revisit some classics: