Have you ever read the news and thought “what were [they] thinking?” You know…the kind of article that makes your jaw drop, laugh out loud, or simply frown in bafflement. In the daily grind, these snippets of news can either be welcome entertainment or a source of frustration or horror. But, either way, they are certainly memorable.
For your own amusement, and in no particular order, here is a list of scratch-your- head-worthy airline news from 2013…so far.
#1: Does My Derriere Look Big In This Seat?
A series of “sizeable” news reports have had my head spinning. First Airbus announced that it had designed extra-wide aisle seats for its popular A320 jets by reducing the width of the other seats in that row. Then a Norwegian economist grabbed headlines earlier this year when he made the suggestion that airfares needed to be based on passenger weight.
This ball was picked up by Samoa Air, when it became the first airline to start charging passengers according to their combined body and baggage weight. The new “pay as you weigh” policy was designed to offset the additional fuel required on flights; however it received a lot of backlash. This is probably why, in June, Samoa Air announced it had created an XL class so that its larger customers would feel more comfortable and valued. The new row features bigger seats, made from two adjacent seats without armrests, and offers 14 extra inches of legroom.
#2: Vanilla Air
Call me crazy, and no disrespect to vanilla vines everywhere, but why would you rebrand something “vanilla” when you know that it means boring or bland in the Western world? That is exactly what budget airline AirAsia Japan is doing for its resort-focused service out of Tokyo’s Narita airport. Let’s hope this one doesn’t get lost in translation.
#3: Air Canada’s New Uniform
I get the need to keep up with the times but, back in May, Air Canada took it one step further when they decided to give their flight attendants a make-over. The jury is still out on whether its passengers are enjoying the new look – which includes fedoras, cardigans, trousers, and gray and red Fluevog brand shoes. However, at the time of the announcement, popular consensus was that the “hipster” uniform seemed to have been inspired by characters from the popular TV show Glee.
#4: DOJ Ruling on American Airlines-US Airways Merger
Fall out continues from DOJ’s move on August 13th to block the long-planned American Airlines-US Airways merger. The U.S. government’s decision to file suit caught everyone by surprise, including industry analysts, who believe that the move is short-sighted and will create a duopoly (Delta and United) that will impact US Airways and American Airlines ability to compete. Since then share prices have dropped. Only time will tell how this all plays out.
#5: KTVU Error with Asiana Reporting
Probably the biggest jaw dropping moment was the racist and distasteful “prank” that emerged in the aftermath of the tragic Asiana crash at San Francisco airport this summer. An intern at the National Transportation Safety Board confirmed fake names that ridiculed the Asiana flight 214 pilots; the result being an unwitting on-air blunder by KTVU in Oakland. In the fallout, Asiana had said it would sue KTVU; however they have since accepted the TV station’s apology.
#6: Flight Attendants Rule with an Iron Fist
Having been on the receiving end of a brusque airline attendant as recently as this summer, I certainly feel like I can understand both sides of the recent spate of flight attendant incidents that have resulted in one or more passengers getting the boot from their plane. However the simple fact is, whether or not you agree it is o.k. to get thrown off a flight for talking too loud, singing, or refusing to turn off your phone, airline attendants are there to keep passengers safe. And, if they feel you are going to impact their ability to fulfill this role, they can and should have the authority to remove you. So, my best advice is smile sweetly, say please and thank you and make sure your belt is buckled, your seat is in the upright position and your tray has been stowed.