lavion Upgrades and Downgrades    December 2, 2006

Upgraded: French-sounding names
All-business class startup airline Elysair, who will fly from Newark to Paris-Orly, decided at the last minute to change its name to “L’Avion.” (“The airplane” in French.) Why the change? It sounded more French. I guess this explains why, as recently as last week, their website was so… comment dit-on… crappy. Service, in the same vein as Maxjet, Eos, and Silverjet, allegedly begins December 27, but the newly-minted website isn’t ready to accept reservations yet…

Downgraded: British Airways
The apparent murder of a former Russian spy with polonium 210 has been big news. (FYI, though fingers are pointing toward Russia, the element isn’t necessarily weaponized. While small amounts are found in cigarettes, you can, in fact, buy some for $69 on the internet.) On top of it all, three British Airways planes have tested positive for the radioactive element. Affected: 221 flights, carrying 33,000 passengers and coming into contact with 3,000 airline employees on the ground or in the air. British health authorities say there’s no health risk, but I sure wouldn’t be thrilled to find my flight on the list. Click here to see if you flew on one of the flights, from the BA site.
UPDATE: BA has pulled the flight information from its website, stating that there was no health risk, so presumably there’s no longer a need to let people know if they were among the 30,000. Tsk tsk. No worries: The Seattle Times has the list.

Downgraded: Kids on Alaska Airlines
As of November 1, Alaska Airlines has stopped selling children’s fares at a 33% discount.

Upgraded: Competition between Chicago and New York
Delta is increasing service between New York area airports and Chicago, in a big way, including a “shuttle-style” service from LaGuardia. This comes as jetBlue starts up JFK-O’Hare service in the new year. That means American, United, Delta, jetBlue, and ATA all fly between the two cities. Viva competition!

Upgraded: Fake boarding pass guy’s freedom
The Indiana University graduate student who posted a fake boarding pass generator for Northwest Airlines (to prove a point about how easy it is to create such a pass, and how the boarding pass/id checks at airport security are pointless) is freed.

Upgraded: Shorter waits for toilets onboard China Southern Airlines
Pee first, fly later. The airline is asking passengers to use the bathrooms before takeoff, since each inflight flush burns as much as a liter of fuel. Yikes!

pixel Upgrades and Downgrades    December 2, 2006

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