Tuesday, 29 November 2011

A|Club Platinum membership benefits at the click of a mouse

Accor's A|Club is offering an upgrade to Platinum membership, to members of the Air France Flying Blue program.

You need to visit this page to take advantage. You can join up if you are not already an A|Club member.

For a full explanation, see Australian Business Flyer, or the original hack discovered by devotees of Flyer Talk.

The benefits are pretty good - you get double points, late checkout, and a room upgrade.  Here is the full list of benefits.

Get in quick, in case the availability to all comers is unintentional. I got a confirming email and will await my new shiny card in the mail!

Scource: Australian Business Traveller, Flyer Talk

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Update to #QantasLuxury

This is not the first Hitler mash-up - but it made me giggle.

. . . and the tweets continue into their second day - admittedly without the frenzy of yesterday.

For a good summary of the #tag comments and summary of the debacle try Mumbrella

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Qantas 'hashes' hash tag #QantasLuxury

Poor, poor Qantas. It seems they can do little right, at the moment after running an almost flawless PR campaign.

Qantas tried to ferment a little positive twitter conversation by promising those who twitted using the #QantasLuxury tag, and a good idea of what your 'dream luxury inflight experience' is would win an inflight amenity kit and some onboard Pajamas - what an incentive!

Well its been a fantastic success. My twitter feed on that hash tag is moving so quickly I can't read each tweet before the next one decends. Problem is, it backfired. There are all negative or derisory of Qantas. Read some random samples:

#qantasluxury if the staff announce over the loudspeaker that they have been all given wage increases.

RT @chris_whyte: #QantasLuxury is an oxymoron

@alexmillier #qantasluxury is turning up to the airport to find that your flight is with partner airline @CathayPacific

#QantasLuxury. Being able to access Alan Joyce's bank account.

When the staff smiles at you and provides a decent service #qantasluxury

#QantasLuxury is telling the public a lying, inept board and CEO is no threat to saftey but red ties will kill ya

#QantasLuxury winning first class flights rather than some lousy PJs and a cheap toothbrush and toothpaste.
And my favourite of the last 100 is from Alexbacchin:
self booking, self check in, self baggage drop, self newspaper pick up, self headphone pick up and self baggage claim. #QantasLuxury

Some Qantas PR's today should be very nervous! There life is about to be outsourced.

Airlines not to fly with

The European Union is the default arbiter of safety for airlines. If the 27 nations of the EU won't let an airline fly in its airspace because of inadequate evidence of compliance of safety standards, then I don't want to fly in one of its planes.

So who are they? Well as you might imagine, they mainly come from the developing world:

Although not banned - the following airlines are of concern, and weren't banned because their local authorities took some kind of action:
And the following Russian airlines:

The EU now bans 273 airlines from 20 different countries. Here's the full list for you to download

Monday, 21 November 2011

Qantas Dispute - Back to the drawing board

After 21 days Qantas has failed to successfully negotiate a deal with unions representing the Pilots, or the Transport Workers Union. Only the Aircraft Engineers are still in negotiation - and that might change in the next few hours.

Well what does this say about Qantas? Well one of two things:
  1. They are shit negotiators
  2. They wanted Fair Work Australia to issue a binding resolution to the dispute in the first place
To paraphrase Oscar Wilde - 'to lose one negotiation may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness'. 

Could this be the beginning of big business using the labour initiated Fair Work Australia legislation to impose resolutions on unions saving them the effort of successful negotiation?

Over to you Fair Work Australia

Thursday, 10 November 2011

If its not just the hotel, but the room your fussy about - this is the site for you

There are two innovations I love that are totally web reliant. One is the hotel review site oyster.com, and the other is the hotel room finder website Room 77. They are currently USA centric, which is a pain for people like me here in Australia. However, if you are visiting the USA, then I think they are indispensable.

Oyster is wonderful, because unlike Tripadvisor, its hotel opinions are curated, and its photo documentation of hotels and their rooms is verging on the obsessive.

Room77 comes into its own when you want to know what to expect from a rooms orientation and placement within the hotel. Using a combination of google maps, hotel room floor plans, and apparent integration with Tripadvisor, you can see what you would see from your hotel window. Rooms are given a traffic light rating (green = good, orange = OK, red = ask for a different room).

Now, as well as advising on the best room, they have recently added a booking capability (the revenue stream!).

Unlike with airline seating no currently used international hotel booking platform allows you to specify a room - so you still have to negotiate that on arrival. Last time I tried this, I kept having to refer to a couple of pages of printouts from Room 77 as I compared the room the hotel had allocated with the recommendations from the Room 77 website. Do-able, but cumbersome.

Room 77 now has a smart phone App. It looks good, but unfortunately, being in Australia, I can't download it yet, as it is only available on the iTunes USA website.

Love to hear from anyone who has had a chance to use it.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Scoot to Australia

Singapore Airlines recently announced low cost offshoot Scoot has announced its plans:
The Airline’s first-year destinations will include Australasia, China and others – some routes being completely new, others new to no-frills airline operations. The specific cities will be progressively announced over the coming months as negotiations with airports and tourism bodies progress. Flights will open for booking in the early part of 2012.
 Ahhhh more good news for Qantas!

Qantas planes nearly empty

The Financial Review is reporting that a range of Qantas flights yesterday were basically empty - including a flight from Dallas Fort Worth in a Jubo that only had 92 passengers out of a possible total of around 400 (depending on configuration), and apparently an LA to Australia flight with only 5 passengers!

Scource: Financial Review (AFR is a paid site that allowed limited viewing to non-subscribers)

Qantas goes red with coverage

The Qantas dispute has provided fertile ground for some great coverage.  If you are Airline Obsessed (who me?) then sample the coverage linked to below:

Corrinne Grant at Hoopla:
Dear Qantas, Youre Dumped
I was so embarrassed over the weekend when you threw a tantrum and shut down. All the other airlines were laughing at you. It was a total turn-off. It was like you were crying into your mummy’s skirt because someone nicked one of your lollies when you had a whole bag of them stuffed down your pants.
OzHouse Alt News:
From a speech by Senator Nick Xenaphon - how Qantas works costs so that Qantas Pays, but Jetstar gets the revenue
You have to keep Qantas flying to avoid breaching the Qantas Sale Act but that does not stop you from moving assets out of Qantas and putting them into an airline that you own but that is not controlled by the Qantas Sale Act. Then you work the figures to make it appear as though the international arm of Qantas is losing money. You use this to justify the slashing of jobs, maintenance standards and employment of foreign crews and, ultimately, the creation of an entirely new airlines to be based in Asia and which will not be called Qantas. 
And at the Sydney Morning Herald:
Ben Groundwater asks the obvious question - Do we really need Qantas?
There's nothing Qantas offers that other airlines don't, aside from the fact that it's a good old Aussie brand, a homegrown success story with an international presence. And that's what drives most people's interest in it.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Qantas says 'F**k you' to 22,000 passengers

Anti Union Driven
In an ideologically driven anti-union move this weekend the Qantas board gave the finger to all 22,000 passenger it was responsible for across the world.

By its actions it said "We don't value any of our passengers, in fact we hold them in total contempt." and "As for our loyal staff - we don't give a shit about them either now, or in the future."

Contempt for staff
By locking out staff who were not even involved in the dispute - including those who had been so polite that they just changed their ties and made sentimental statements on aircraft intercom's; Qantas has removed the glue of mutual obligation, respect and collaboration, that is required as the basis of good customer service.

How can staff perform at their best when they know that management regards them with contempt and as infinitely replaceable? The only respect the board will be able to call on will be fear based - fear of losing your job.

Throw free stuff at them
Over the next few weeks and month Saatchi's will be telling Qantas to throw points, vouchers, companion fares, discounts, and whatever at former Qantas passengers to try and revive loyalty. Only, this time, I'm not sure it will work. Passengers now know that Qantas doesn't really give a toss about them. It sees them as commodities that it can buy when necessary, and tell to go jump when it has a more important agenda.

They might get some trade out of the free this, and complimentary that, but Qantas has taught them well, "If you are loyal to us, we definitely won't be loyal to you"

Qantas - the "Mean spirit of Australia"

(thanks to Kyle for that phrase)