28 April 2010 | Alaska Air Group, parent of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air, just reported a profit of USD5.3 million for the first quarter of 2010, which was largely helped by revenues of USD23 million in baggage fees. Since July 2009, Alaska charges passengers USD15 for their first checked bag, USD25 for their second and USD50 for their third piece of luggage. Charges for the first two bags are waived for business class customers and upper tier members of the airline’s frequent flyer program.
As passengers are now paying extra for their checked luggage, Alaska and Horizon Air guarantee their luggage will reach the baggage carousel 25 minutes or less from the time their airplane has parked at the gate. If it isn’t, passengers will get USD25 off a future flight or 2,500 frequent-flier miles (compensation will be given per passenger though, not per bag). Alaska Airlines said it checks about 20,000 bags per day and in the first three months since the start of the service guarantee only a few hundred claims have been made. Alaska says it is the only carrier offering such a service guarantee.
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20 January 2010 | Inflight WiFi provider Aircell plans to launch an in-flight video downloading service sometime in 2010, called Gogo Video. The new service will give passengers on aircraft equipped with Gogo’s in-flight broadband solution the ability to download movie and television content to their laptops inflight using an onboard server and Gogo’s WiFi connection. Gogo currently provides inflight Wi-Fi on 700 planes with eight airlines in the U.S.
Users will visit a portal similar to iTunes, and pay USD2 to 4 for a TV show or movie. To access Gogo video, users will have to download the so-called ‘Gogo Video Client’ to their laptops, which is an iTunes-like application that showcases all available content. The content will be cached onboard in a server, protected by a Digital Rights Management (DRM) scheme which Aircell says has been approved by numerous studios. The downloaded content will be available for viewing for up to 24 hours, regardless of whether the passenger is still flying, since the service will be similar to buying content from the iTunes store. According to Aircell: “Our strategy is to bring in-flight entertainment (IFE) into the Apple iPod world”. The service will initially be introduced for Windows laptops. Macs and mobile devices will follow.
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