Airline taxes and surcharges demystified – Intro

It’s a familiar scenario, at least in our household – we find a fantastic airline fare online and are shocked to find that, once taxes and surcharges are added, the price has doubled, or more. Well, let’s say we were once shocked; now it’s a normal way of life and something we come to expect.

But why should a £1 cheap fare have £50 in taxes? What, exactly, are they taxing?

Most airlines don’t tell you, or they don’t make it obvious where the charges come from. But U.S. Airways’ website does. Continue reading

“Southwest Airlines hates pretty people”

Two young women who reportedly caused a disruption on a Southwest Airlines flight from Tampa to Los Angeles are accusing the airline of discrimination – because they’re pretty.

“I think they were just discriminating against because we were young decent-looking girls. I mean, nobody else on the plane looked like us except us,” commented Sarah Williams, who was questioned by police officers after having a profanity-filled argument with another passenger. “[The flight attendants] were like older ladies. We were younger. Who knows, they could have been just jealous of us because we were younger.” (view the video here)

That’s right – we all have chips on our shoulders because we’re uglier than them. Continue reading

Airline Livery and Airline Branding: Conclusion

For all 20 of these well-known airlines, there were no failing grades (F). This isn’t necessarily a compliment towards the branding and livery design so much as an acknowledgement that, however misguided in design, each of these airlines is well-recognised on a national, if not international, scale. They’re lucky – multi-million dollar marketing departments can save a lot of egg faces when it comes to brand recognition. That’s what money buys.

What money doesn’t necessarily buy is style, design or a greater sense of purpose for a brand. The airlines that didn’t do so well in our investigation failed on at least some of these points, sometimes mightily. Whether they were remiss in acknowledging nationalism in their brand or were simply too boring design-wise, some big-budget airlines didn’t make the grade when it came to livery branding. Continue reading

Airline Livery and Airline Branding: Part 5

Over the past two months we’ve examined commercial airline branding and its impact on airline livery. We’ve seen some horrible, incongruous designs (China Southern Airlines), outdated looks (American Airlines) and liveries that were just plain bland and unimaginative (Air France). We’ve also come down pretty hard on airlines that disregard national identities (Lufthansa) and those that just, for whatever reason, never quite got the branding right, let alone the livery (All Nippon Airways).

Now that those sixteen featured airline liveries are behind us, what does work for distinctive, unique airline livery and airline branding? The four commercial airlines in the last part of our series offer a glimpse at how airline liveries and corporate identities can successfully merge to create a unique and unifying brand identity. Continue reading

Airport security: What would you like to do today?

Random, inconsistent rules make air security seem pointless and arbitrary to even the most patient traveler.

My disdain for the Patriot Act notwithstanding, I consider myself fairly conservative when it comes to issues of national security. It’s not so much that I buy into the post-9/11 fear mongering, but I really don’t mind if I need to be x-rayed, metal detected, frisked, swabbed, or otherwise accosted under the guise of “national security” when I travel by air.

But the fruitlessness of being a sheep was revealed to me while traveling through London’s Heathrow airport last week. Both the United States and United Kingdom have banned liquids on aircraft for slightly over a year now, in response to “general threats”. But it’s beginning to feel rather arbitrary to me. In October, I traveled through Heathrow security with a nearly-full bottle of Dr. Pepper, and it was okay. No one glanced at the young white female in need of a sugar rush. But last week, I had to take one last guzzle of my Dasani water before surrendering it over to authorities, who then assured me that, “don’t worry, starting tomorrow you can carry liquids again.”

Huh? Continue reading