Month: June 2015

Awesome – Student changes name to avoid paying Ryanair booking amendment fee

Student changes name to avoid paying Ryanair booking amendment fee

A student booked on a Ryanair flight under the wrong name decided to change his name by deed poll and buy a new passport because it was cheaper than paying the booking amendment fee.

Adam Armstrong, 19, told the Sun newspaper he faced a £220 charge to change the booking, which had been mistakenly made by his girlfriend’s stepfather under the wrong name.

But it was actually cheaper for him to change his name by deed poll, for free, and to pay £103 for a new passport.

Armstrong, a Batman fan, had used the name Adam West on Facebook after an actor who played Batman on television.

His girlfriend’s stepfather had mistakenly used that name to make the booking, according to the Sun.

Ryanair was going to charge £110 to change the name, and the passenger believed he would have to pay it twice because his girlfriend was on the same booking. In fact, they were on separate bookings.

The charge is designed to stop people buying flights and then selling them on for a profit.

“Customers are asked to ensure that the details they enter at the time of booking are correct before completing their booking and we offer a 24-hour ‘grace period’ to correct minor booking errors,” said a Ryanair spokesman.

“A name change fee is charged in order to discourage and prevent unauthorised online travel agents from ‘screenscraping’ Ryanair’s cheapest fares and reselling them on to unwitting consumers at hugely inflated costs.”

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United Airlines pulling out of JFK

In a major shift in strategy, United Airlines is relocating all its transcontinental flights from New York JFK to its Newark hub.

Due to take effect in October, the premium cross-country flights will depart and arrive at Newark, made possible by a slot swap with Delta Air Lines.

United has agreed to trade its JFK landing slots with Delta in exchange for more slots at Newark, subject to regulatory approvals.

United says it has been losing money at JFK for years, losing lucrative business traffic as it did not offer any onward connections at JFK.

Travellers had to head over to Newark to board transatlantic flights or other mainline connections.

United also plans to upgrade its Terminal C lobby and renovate airport lounges at Newark and from October 25 will add more Boeing 757s to its Newark-California fleet which could grow to 32 flights a day by mid-2016.

“It makes us even stronger in the New York-New Jersey market,” said Jim Compton, United’s chief revenue officer.

“Our customers have asked for this service into our premier hub. We are investing in the three critical components of the travel experience for our customers – our network, our product and our facilities.”

Airlines reach agreement on size of carry-on bags

Airlines have agreed an ‘optimum size’ guideline for carry-on bags designed to make the best use of cabin storage space.

A size of 55 x 35 x 20 cm (or 21.5 x 13.5 x 7.5 inches) means that “theoretically” everyone should have a chance to store their carry-on bags on board aircraft of 120 seats or larger, according to Iata.

An ‘Iata Cabin OK’ logo to signify to airline staff that a bag meets the agreed size guidelines has been developed.

A number of major international airlines will soon be introducing the guidelines into their operations.

Airlines reach agreement on size of carry-on bags

Bags carrying the identifying label are expected start to become available to buy later this year.

Recognition of the logo is expected to grow with time as more airlines join the initiative.

Iata is working with baggage tracking solutions provider Okoban to manage the approval process of luggage manufacturers.

Each bag meeting the dimensions of the specifications will carry a special joint label featuring Iata and Okoban as well as a unique identification code that signals to airline staff that the bag complies with the optimum size guidelines.

Several major baggage manufacturers have developed products in line with the optimum size guidelines.

Iata senior vice president for airport, passenger, cargo and security, Tom Windmuller, said: “The development of an agreed optimal cabin bag size will bring common sense and order to the problem of differing sizes for carry-on bags.

“We know the current situation can be frustrating for passengers. This work will help to iron out inconsistencies and lead to an improved passenger experience.

It’s not too good to be true: First Class is now affordable

Photo: Pyonko Omeyama

For many fliers, the front of the plane is a fairytale land of complimentary meals and always-full glasses wistfully imagined from the back of the plane. These days, first class fares are cheaper than they’ve been in a long time. We recently picked up on this airfare trend and culled some ofthe best business and first class ticket finds, many of which were shockingly low (New York City (JFK) to Dubai (DXB) for $715 on Alitalia in Business, anyone?).

Well, last week, The Wall Street Journal’s Middle Seat column did some reporting on the trend of airlines slashing prices on their top-tier seats to lure more people to purchase premium. The article cites data from Airlines Reporting Corp that analyzed 200 million tickets sold from the start of 2012 through to the end of April 2015 and a Harrell Associates consultant who tracks airfares to back up its claims.

The difference between the average coach and average first class tickets is narrower than it’s been in years, the article reports. This past April the difference between those averages for domestic travel was $577, while in April 2012 it was $805. Airlines also are offering frequent fliers upgrades on domestic trips for as little as $100-$200.

First class seems to be some sort of zero-sum game, though, and some party has to lose out. In this case the downside is that airlines aren’t giving frequent fliers as many free upgrades. They’d rather sell those seats — even at cheaper prices — and make money. So, the seats are no longer prohibitively expensive, but there’s not as good of a chance that you’ll be hearing your name called to let you know that you’re getting bumped up to the front of the plane just for being you, a loyal customer.