Ryanair boss admits groups are ‘highly likely’ to be separated UNLESS they pay extra for seats as he tears into ‘whingers’

Michael O’Leary, the CEO of Ryanair, has suggested that his customers “stop whinging” about not being seated together on flights.

After keeping quiet amid a din of accusations that the budget airline is deliberately splitting up groups, the airline chief has admitted that it is “now increasingly unlikely” that groups will be sat together unless they pay extra.


When responding to irate callers on the Irish radio show Liveline, he said: “People are not being deliberately dispersed but they are highly likely to be dispersed if they choose a random seat.”

When asked if the booking system would allow groups who haven’t reserved seats to sit together, Mr O’Leary replied: “No – the system won’t do that.”

He added: “But the system also isn’t told, ‘do your best to split them up as far as they possibly can’.”

Mr O’Leary said “we have nothing to hide” and repeatedly denied that the airline has changed its policy or its seat allocation algorithm. Instead, he suggested that more than 50 per cent of customers now want to choose their own seat, compared to 10 per cent previously.


“The algorithm changes as demand for reserved seats changes,” Mr O’Leary said. “Are you likely to be split up if you have selected a random seat? Yes you are, because that’s what random means.”

Passengers have been complaining vociferously on social media channels over the last couple of months about groups who booked together being sat apart, with many of them saying that they have been given the middle seats in a row.

When questioned by presenter Joe Duffy on Liveline, Mr O’Leary admitted that the booking system leaves window and aisle seats unallocated for as long as possible in order to make money selling them.

“Absolutely, perfectly correct, no question about it,” he replied. “That is a customer choice, if you don’t want to pay the extra, don’t pay the extra.”


He also suggested that although it appears that there are lots of vacant seats at the point of booking, many of these have already been reserved but passengers “haven’t come back in yet to take up the reserved seat”.

Seat selection costs €2 (£1.78) or €4 (£3.55) for an adult who wants his or her children seated alongside. It is in fact obligatory for anyone travelling on Ryanair with children, so they cannot be left to travel alone.

Other budget airlines confirmed in recent weeks that they will continue to try and seat groups together wherever possible, without demanding an extra charge.

For many of Ryanair’s repeat customers, this was their experience of flying as a group until recently.

EasyJet told Telegraph Travel that it sits families together more than 99 per cent of the time, for no extra charge.

British Airways said that all customers are given the chance to choose their seat for free 24 hours before their flight.

Jet2 also said it “always endeavours to sit customers together”.

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American Airlines dedicates Boeing 777 to 91-year-old mechanic for 75 years of service


By JEFFREY COOK, DAVID KERLEY, WHITNEY LLOYD, NATHAN LUNA, ERIN DOOLEY and CONNOR MCCARTHY for abc
After 75 years with American Airlines, Azreil “Al” Blackman says he isn’t thinking about retirement.

“That’s not my style,” he told ABC News.

Based out of New York City his entire career, the 91-year-old aviation maintenance technician started off making 50 cents an hour as an apprentice in the sheet metal shop, when American was known as American Export Airlines.

Since then, Blackman has worked on some of aviation’s most storied aircraft, from the Sikorsky flying boat that kicked off American’s trans-Atlantic service, to the original jumbo jet, the Boeing 747.

The former U.S. Navy service member has dedicated his life to American Airlines aircraft.

On Tuesday, his long-time employer returned the favor.

At a ceremony at John F. Kennedy International Airport, a curtain dropped to reveal a Boeing 777 dedicated to his 75 years of service.

 


The aircraft is capable of holding at least 247 people and flying American Airlines’ longest routes. For the remainder of the jet’s life at American Airlines, his name and signature will be inscribed to the left of the aircraft’s main cabin door.

Guinness World Records also awarded Blackman with the title of “Longest career as an airline mechanic.”

At the Tuesday ceremony the New York native climbed into the jet — before it makes its inaugural trip to London Wednesday sporting its new paint job — and received a sky-high tour of his hometown.

Blackman took off from JFK at 2:59 p.m. and and flew north up the Hudson River to West Point before turning right and looping around the northern edge of Long Island at an altitude of just under 3,000 for before returning to the airport. The flight lasted about an hour-and-a-half to commemorate a lifetime’s worth of service to country’s largest airline.

“Slightly hazy,” he said of the view from the flight deck. “Very calm, quiet.”

Blackman says he has no plans to retire from his work any time soon.

“What’s the big deal about retirement, really? What do you do when you retire?” Blackman told ABC News. “You stay home and watch the television, that’s not my style.”

Gatwick airport flight forced to make an emergency landing after its tyre BURST during take-off

A PACKED passenger plane was forced to make an emergency landing at Gatwick Airport after its tyre burst during take-off today.

Air Canada Rouge Flight AC1925 had to turn back following the scare this afternoon.

Pictures show two clouds of dust rise up from the tarmac as the Boeing 767 landed on the runway around 1.15pm

REX FEATURES
Pictures show two clouds of dust rise up from the tarmac as the Boeing 767 landed on the runway around 1.15pm

The Toronto-bound plane had to circle in the sky to burn fuel during the mid-air emergency before touching down.

Pictures show two clouds of dust rise up from the tarmac as the Boeing 767 landed on the runway around 1.15pm.

The Toronto-bound plane had to circle in the sky to burn fuel during the mid-air emergency before touching down

REX FEATURES
The Toronto-bound plane had to circle in the sky to burn fuel during the mid-air emergency before touching down

The stricken jet was met by fire crews before being towed back to the gate.

It has caused delays to a number of flights to and from the Surrey airport.

A passenger onboard tweeted: ‘The plane blew a tyre on take-off and we’ve had to land back at Gatwick. “Awaiting being towed to the gate.”

Passenger Justin Fretwell wrote: “Stuck on runway. Aircraft in front ran over debris and burst a tyre. “Airplane is at the end of run way engines off.”

Last month thousands of Brit holidaymakers were stranded amid chaos in Tenerife’s biggest airport after a runway emergency when a Jet2 plane’s wheels burst on landing.

TWITTER

Air Canada Rouge Flight AC1925 was forced to circle to dump fuel during the mid-air emergency

FLIGHTRADAR24
Air Canada Rouge Flight AC1925 was forced to circle to dump fuel during the mid-air emergency


A Gatwick Airport spokesman said: “An Air Canada Rouge flight to Toronto has returned to Gatwick after experiencing a burst tyre on take-off.

“Following this, Gatwick’s runway has been closed since 14:12 to allow for a runway inspection, as it standard procedure in these circumstances.

‘The current runway closure follows an earlier closure between 13:16pm and 13:45pm when the runway was closed for an inspection after this aircraft departed.

“We apologise as some flights will be delayed as a result and a few arriving flights are likely to be diverted to other airports.”

The Most Ridiculous Seat Swap Request I’ve Received… Ever

I’d like to think I’m accommodating when it comes to trading seats with others so that they can sit with friends or loved ones. Not only will I typically swap a non-bulkhead aisle (my general preference) for a non-bulkhead aisle, but I’ll also gladly take a window, or take a bulkhead, or whatever, so that people can sit together.

For many of us, time with our loved ones is the most precious thing we have, and I’m happy to contribute to that however I can for others (for the record, I don’t expect others to extend the same courtesy). Besides, when you’re in a premium cabin, you’ll typically be comfortable no matter what.

Well, today I turned down my first seat change request from a fellow passenger for the first time in a long time. I’m still shaking my head over this.

I was flying MIAT Mongolian from Ulaanbaatar to Frankfurt (I’ll have more on that flight shortly), and the lady seated across from me during boarding kept looking back at economy. Based on the way in which she was sitting there, I actually assumed she had booked economy and was trying to sneak into business class, since she kept looking back as if she was about to be caught for something.

Eventually it became clear that wasn’t the case, but rather that she was traveling with her husband, and he was booked in the bulkhead economy seat.

After the door closed she asked the flight attendant if her husband could move up since there were empty seats in business class. The flight attendant (politely) explained that wasn’t possible, and the lady seemed genuinely befuddled.

About halfway through the flight her husband came up, they talked for a bit, etc. I was doing some work on my laptop, and after he returned to economy she turned to me and asked a question.

“Do you mind switching seats with my husband for just a little bit?”

I thought I knew where her husband was seated, but figured I was misunderstanding the situation, because surely someone wouldn’t be making this request.

“Where is your husband seated?”

“Just one row behind.”

“I’m sorry, but I really don’t want to switch to an economy seat.”

“But I just want to spend some time with my husband.”

“Then maybe you could ask the person seated next to your husband if they want your business class seat for a little bit?”

“But I booked business class, I want to use my seat.”

I’m not sure I can properly describe my (unintentional) facial response to that statement, but when she saw it she said “okay, sorry.”

She then traded seats with her husband for the second half of the flight, so that he could be in business class for a while.

Some people…

EasyJet passenger complains about couple next to him having s*x – but others ask him to move to get a better view

The unnamed pair were “proper going for it”, according to witness Gary Power who was sat next to them

“We all laughed but then ten minutes later they actually did it. They seemed so drunk, they brought a lot of attention to themselves.

“You could see the girl taking off her pants and he pulled his trousers off. She started riding him. I had to get my phone out. I have never seen anything like that.”

Emirates Flight Attendant Caught Pouring Used Champagne Back in Bottle

by 

Here’s a video for:

  • Readers who think Emirates has a better first class product than Etihad because of the premium liquor.
  • United, Delta, and American who claim Emirates spends like a drunken sailor on their product, despite inferior angled business class seats on the majority of their long haul fleet.

A passenger catches an Emirates flight attendant taking someone’s glass of champagne that they did not finish and pouring it back into the bottle (update: or, plausibly, a glass that was poured to offer to customers but not given to anyone). Gross.

Via Google Translate:

Accidentally fell into the frame, did not even notice at first … Drain the champagne that was not drunk back into the bottle 😳 Or this is the norm

Dozens of American Airlines pilots face demotion, pay cut after losing contract dispute

by Conor Shine, Aviation Writer – Dozens of American Airlines pilots are facing a demotion from captain to first officer and a corresponding pay cut after losing a contract dispute that traces to the company’s 2001 acquisition of Trans World Airlines.

An arbitrator ruled last week that protections guaranteeing a limited number of captain positions to former TWA pilots, now employees at American, had expired.

The decision means 85 or more former TWA pilots could be demoted from captain to first officer, with a corresponding number of American pilots making the move up from first officer to captain. The difference in pay between the two ranks can be as wide as $75 an hour, according to a lawsuit relating to the case.

American and the Allied Pilots Association have avoided taking a side in the dispute, which pits two groups of employees against one another. But they’ll have to sort through the fallout of the arbitrator’s decision, which will alter the bidding priorities for a subset of American’s more than 15,000 pilots and could force some to change their base of operations.

“Arbitration matters like this are decisions we have to respect. We’ll work with (the Allied Pilots Association) to support anyone who is impacted by the decision,” American spokesman Matt Miller said.

A matter of seniority

In the airline industry, seniority rules. For pilots, it affects what aircraft they fly, what schedules they work and how much they earn.

The issue of seniority becomes particularly tricky when integrating groups of pilots during the merger of separate carriers, an issue American tried to navigate with special protections for TWA pilots following its 2001 acquisition of the St. Louis-based airline.

The protections guaranteed a limited number of captain positions for those former TWA pilots outside of the normal seniority structure. Following American’s 2011 bankruptcy, the agreement was revised to guarantee 260 captain positions on narrow-body aircraft and 86 captain positions on small wide-body aircraft for the TWA group.

Dispute pits pilots versus pilots

The recently-decided arbitration dispute dealt with when those protections should expire. The agreements set a trigger for expiration when a single TWA pilot hired in 1997, Magnus Alehult, accrued enough seniority to become a captain on any aircraft in American’s fleet.

Alehult reached that threshold in October, but only had enough seniority to captain a smaller regional aircraft acquired through the US Airways merger, a plane type that wasn’t part of American’s fleet when the initial agreements with the TWA pilots were struck.

Former TWA pilots argued that the protections shouldn’t expire until Alehult had enough seniority to captain a larger narrowbody aircraft.

But a separate group of American pilots filed a complaint to have the protected positions returned to the general pool, where they’d be available for bidding under the normal seniority system.

The arbitrator ultimately sided with the latter group, finding that “any aircraft” described in the expiration clause truly meant any aircraft, even if the type wasn’t a part of American’s fleet when the deal was reached.

How Much Do Boeing Airplanes Cost To Make?

Boeing (NYSE:BA) is well known for its hugely popular 737, as well as its 747, first introduced in 1970, and its 787 Dreamliner. But there’s also a new, 400-seat aircraft — the 777X — that’s still on the drawing board, and it’s predicted to become the biggest-selling airplane in the market after its first delivery in 2020.

Investors cheer when Boeing beats out rival Airbus for lucrative contracts as it generates more revenue and higher profits. At the Paris Air Show just last month, Boeing crushed Airbus by announcing commitments for 437 new airplanes compared to only 182 for its rival.

Big things, small packages

The big seller was the 737 MAX family of aircraft, which scored 418 commitments from buyers, mostly for the new 737 MAX 10, though Boeing also received 125 commitments for the 737 MAX 8. The rest of the commitments were for the 787 Dreamliner.

Notably absent were orders for the iconic 747, which underscores why Boeing is phasing out the aircraft.

In its latest “Current Market Outlook,” which forecasts industry demand out to 2036, Boeing eliminated a separate callout for very large aircraft that previously contained the 747, choosing instead to merge it into a combined “medium/large passenger widebody” category.

Boeing says the planes aren’t selling (Airbus says likewise in relation to its A380 airplane) because few carriers have the capabilities and routes to handle planes with more than 400 seats. The 747 is a 400-seat aircraft, but can be configured to cram as many as 660 passengers onto a single plane. In fact, Boeing only has 23 747s in its backlog of airplanes, the fewest of any of its aircraft, and it produces just one plane every two months.  Obviously it’s not committing many resources to it.

Flying into turbulence

Airbus was quoted as mocking Boeing’s decision to abandon the market. “They would do that,” said Airbus sales chief John Leahy, according to IndustryWeek. “The 747-8 isn’t selling. We have no intention of sharing that market with them.” Airbus noted it remains committed to producing very large airplanes because of growing passenger traffic and congestion on routes.

That still might be a foolish stance to take since Airbus didn’t sell a single A380 last year ,  and Boeing doubts it will be able to sell the remaining 107 aircraft that Airbus has in its backlog. Indeed, Airbus is struggling to maintain production of the 550-seat model at one per month, and its biggest deal at Paris was for 100 A320neo (short for “new engine option”) single-aisle jets.

That’s where Boeing sees most of the market moving. In its long-range forecast, it sees single-aisle planes accounting for 72% of all aircraft deliveries in 2036, valued at $6.1 trillion.

Firing up production

Boeing plans on grabbing more than its share of that market. It’s churning out 42 737s per month and has a backlog of 4,500 orders, making it the most in-demand aircraft in Boeing’s fleet. Even though they’re the cheapest planes Boeing produces, it makes up in volume what it gives up in price. Not surprisingly, the 747 is one of its priciest aircraft (though not the most expensive), but with few sales, it really doesn’t matter what they cost.

Below are the production rates for each family of aircraft Boeing produces, its order backlog, and the average price of each family of plane.

boeingProduction rates for each family of aircraft Boeing produces, its order backlog, and the average price of each family of plane. Photo: The Motley Fool

As noted, the 737 is the cheapest of its aircraft, with the 737-700 going for just $82.4 million. The most expensive? The 777-9, which retails for $408.8 million.

The needs of the airline industry are not static, but dynamic, as can see by Boeing’s outlook, which forecasts 4,200 fewer planes needed than last year’s report suggested. The number of single-aisle jets needed is also lower.

One thing that doesn’t change? Boeing’s leadership role in delivering the latest, most technologically advanced aircraft in the market.

Rich Duprey has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Emirates Lets Dozens of Employees Go

By Deena Kamel, Arif Sharif , and Matthew Martin – Emirates is letting go dozens of employees as the Persian Gulf carrier continues a push to streamline after years of rapid growth, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The world’s biggest long-haul airline is scaling back senior cabin crew as well as the support department workforce including administration and IT, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the information isn’t public. The cuts at Emirates, which froze hiring last summer and hasn’t taken on new crew in months, began in the last few weeks and affect middle and upper-level managers, they said.

Dubai-based Emirates said there is no company-wide program to reduce headcount and that “there is no change in staff turnover rates in the past weeks.”

The carrier continues to hire for “critical roles,” a spokeswoman said in an emailed response to questions, noting that “recruitment has slowed down as we streamline our operations, introduce new technologies, and find ways to better deploy existing resources internally.”

Emirates Group, which includes the airline and other travel and tourism entities, increased its workforce 11 percent in the fiscal year ended March 31 to more than 105,000 employees.

Industry Woes

Gulf airlines have had to adapt to tougher business conditions after years of expansion, with challenges ranging from the U.S. ban on travelers from predominantly Muslim countries to reduced spending power in the region due to low oil prices. Emirates, which last year posted its first annual profit drop since 2012, has streamlined operations, and the company has hired an outside consultant to assist in the review, one of the people said.

Abu-Dhabi based competitor Etihad Airways PJSC has also cut jobs amid an organizational restructuring, in an effort to reduce costs and improve productivity.

To lift revenue, Emirates has begun charging for seat selection, added fees for its airport lounges and may introduce premium-economy seats to boost sales amid waning growth in business class.

In a sign that measures taken so far have helped boost performance, Emirates President Tim Clark said in June that first-half earnings could be ahead of the year-ago period.

The airline is also considering combining with its low-cost sister FlyDubai, and examining the possibility of cooperating with discount long-haul carriers, whose rapid expansion in Asia and Europe poses a threat to its hub-based model.

Inside of Delta cabin after passenger rampage

A flight attendant broke a wine bottle over the head of a man who lunged for an exit door and fought with other passengers during a Delta Air Lines flight from Seattle to Beijing, but it didn’t faze him, an FBI agent wrote in charging papers filed Friday.

Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, 23, of Tampa, Florida, appeared in US District Court, wearing a beige jail uniform and sporting a scrape or bruise below his right eye.

He was arrested Thursday night after causing the disturbance that forced the plane to return to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, authorities said.

Hudek did not speak during the hearing. His attorney, Robert Flennaugh II, declined to comment.

Hudek was charged with interfering with a flight crew, which carries a possible sentence of up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

He is expected to remain in custody at least until a detention hearing on July 13.

This Friday, July 7, 2017 photo taken by the FBI and released via the US Attorney's Office in Seattle shows the aftermath of a cabin fight on Delta Flight 129 from Seattle to Beijing

This Friday, July 7, 2017 photo taken by the FBI and released via the US Attorney’s Office in Seattle shows the aftermath of a cabin fight on Delta Flight 129 from Seattle to Beijing

One flight attendant and a passenger were taken to a hospital after suffering severe facial injuries, authorities said.

Perry Cooper, a spokesman for the Port of Seattle, described the injuries as non-life-threatening.

A probable cause statement written by FBI special agent Caryn Highley said Hudek was sitting in the first row of the Boeing 767’s first-class section.

He asked a flight attendant for a beer before takeoff, and was served one, but he exhibited no sign of being intoxicated and ordered no other alcoholic drinks, the attendant told authorities.

A Delta flight to Beijing was forced to turn around and return to Seattle after a passenger tried to open an exit door about 45 minutes into the flight Thursday evening

A Delta flight to Beijing was forced to turn around and return to Seattle after a passenger tried to open an exit door about 45 minutes into the flight Thursday evening

A passenger who was on the plane said the man punched a flight attendant who tried to stop him from opening the exit latch. Above is the flight's path. It took off at 5:10pm but landed back at Seattle at 7:09pm, after having to turn back due to the unruly passenger 

A passenger who was on the plane said the man punched a flight attendant who tried to stop him from opening the exit latch. Above is the flight’s path. It took off at 5:10pm but landed back at Seattle at 7:09pm, after having to turn back due to the unruly passenger

Police officers are seen interviewing passengers at the airport after the on-board fight 

Police officers are seen interviewing passengers at the airport after the on-board fight

An anonymous passenger said other passengers hit the man with wine bottles in an attempt to subdue him. Above, passengers are seen waiting in the airport after the plane was forced to return to Seattle Thursday night 

An anonymous passenger said other passengers hit the man with wine bottles in an attempt to subdue him. Above, passengers are seen waiting in the airport after the plane was forced to return to Seattle Thursday night

Dustin Jones heard the scuffle unfold from the main cabin

Britteny Gardner said she saw 'somebody that was working' with 'blood on their shirt'

Dustin Jones (left) heard the scuffle unfold from the main cabin. Britteny Gardner (right) said she saw ‘somebody that was working’ with ‘blood on their shirt’.

About an hour into the flight, while the plane was over the Pacific Ocean northwest of Vancouver Island, Hudek went into the forward restroom.

He came out quickly, asked the attendant a question, and went back in, the agent wrote.

When he came out again two minutes later, he suddenly lunged for the exit door, grabbed the handle and tried to open it, Highley wrote.

Two attendants grabbed him, but he pushed them away, and the attendants signaled for help from several passengers and notified the cockpit by telephone, the complaint said.

Hudek punched one flight attendant twice in the face and struck at least one passenger in the head with a red dessert wine bottle, it said.

As the struggle continued, a flight attendant grabbed two wine bottles and hit Hudek over the head with each – breaking at least one of them, Highley wrote.

According to one flight attendant, ‘Hudek did not seem impacted by the breaking of a full liter red wine bottle over his head, and instead shouted, ‘Do you know who I am?’ or something to that extent,’ the complaint said.

Glen Wang (pictured) said the passengers on the plane took the unexpected layover in stride 

Glen Wang (pictured) said the passengers on the plane took the unexpected layover in stride

One passenger got him in a head-lock, but he broke out of it, until finally several passengers held him long enough to place zip-tie restraints on him, Highley wrote.

Even then he remained combative, she said, and it took multiple passengers to keep him restrained until the plane landed and Port of Seattle police arrested him.

Passenger Dustin Jones told KIRO-TV that he saw the man being rolled into the terminal in a wheelchair after the plane landed.

‘He started yelling for help,’ Jones said. ‘And so he turned the wheelchair over in the middle of the airport, screaming for people to help him, just being belligerent.’

The fight was so violent, that passenger Britteny Gardner said she saw ‘somebody that was working’ with ‘blood on their shirt’.

The flight left for Beijing later Thursday night.

The plane eventually took off again at 12:07am, nearly seven hours after its original departure time 

The plane eventually took off again at 12:07am, nearly seven hours after its original departure time

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