Machiavellian Ryanair Creates Competitor to Capture Aer Lingus

It’s fun to check in on Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary. His we-don’t-need-seatbelts image contrasts with his genius for building Europe’s largest low-cost airline. He’s about to play another hand. His endgame is to increase his 30 percent share in Aer Lingus, the flagship but smaller Irish rival. It’s a move the European Commission competition authorities twice stopped.

AA Plans New Uniforms and Asiana Has No Pants

I’ve been writing on some weighty topics lately — airline safety, pilot training, the TSA. It’s time to move on to a question that digs daily. How will American Airline’s flight attendants look in those new Hollywood-designed uniforms?

Drunk at 20,000 Feet: Will Brawls Limit Alcohol Consumption?

Wait till the airlines start limiting or outlawing alcohol. It could happen. Flying could become the high plain of dignity and discipline rather than a quaint little drinking village with a flying problem, as the saying goes. And it’s because we’ve seen plenty of drunken inflight brawls. Many are on YouTube. Go ahead. Knock yourself out.

Can-Do Kate Hanni Stepping Down from FlyerRights

It was an ugly and inelegant place to start. On Dec 29, 2006, Kate Hanni was stuck aboard American Airlines Flight 1348 for nine hours on the tarmac in Austin. “It was imprisonment,” she told news outlets. With deliberation and derring-do she then gathered 18,000 signatures supporting a passenger’s bill of rights, including the three-hour rule.

No Teatime for “Insipid” Tea at 35,000 Feet

For years now, Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary has promised to add gambling to inflight entertainment. A lot of airlines are racking their heads on gambling. But British Airlines alone is on a higher quest. They’re seeking to make row after row of gnarly tea at 35,000 feet.

Pilot to Co-Pilot: I’m Locked Out, Wake Up and Open the Door!

Urban legend: Cop on a stakeout decides to climb in backseat and get some sleep. Two hours later he realizes he’s locked in the rear of the car with no communications. I’ve heard that story many times but have no idea if it’s true.

How Tweet it Is: AA Announces Debut on Twitter

On Jan. 17, when American Airlines previewed new aircraft graphics they tweeted the following: Our new logo & tail reflect the spirit of America: innovative, progressive & open to the world. #newAmerican http://t.co/JenmcDSV. How much are airlines using social media and should you follow them?

Does this Scare You? Inflight Safety 101

I knew someone who selected inflight movies for an airline. The sensibilities portrayed in movies had to fit within the values of Middle America (or be way-out-there wacko like a serial killer). There was only one cardinal rule: Never, ever show an airline crash.

There Were One Billion Tourists Last Year

“I am a passenger on the spaceship Earth,” said Richard Buckminster Fuller. Good old Buckminster had a way of pairing down the extraneous to visualize the simple. What would he say now that a billion of us are passengers while being passengers on spaceship Earth? And where are we all going on the gerbil wheel of travel?

What if We Started Charging You Like Airlines?

The lightning came while reading the informative columns of Brian Cohen at The Gate, writing wise analytical words about ancillary airline fees. The thunder came as dollar signs. Why not run The Tarmac like an airline and charge for extras? Maybe get an 800-number in Mumbai.

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