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make my way back home and learn to fly - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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April 12th, 2003

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01:24 pm - make my way back home and learn to fly
Delta Airlines once played the Foo Fighters hit "Learn To Fly" on their rock channel when I was flying with them. It was strangely appropriate and in context by far the best track on the channel. Rather a shame that nobody's ever played Brian Eno's pre-ambient "Music For Airports" on an aeroplane, though I doubt you'd be able to hear it over the engines.

Anyway, a few interesting developments in flight these days:
  • BA and Air France ground Concorde from November, but have pretty sparkling flight deals either way - Concorde transatlantic, first class back for £3,499. I thought that first there, first back went for something like GBP 4K-5K, so this looks very nifty for the seriously rich flight fan. (I am about £3,490 short, but if one of my premium bonds comes up next month...)

  • The mighty Virgin Atlantic are willing to buy the Concorde fleet and have dug out a loophole as to why they should be able to buy the lot for £1. Sounds like a tremendous Branson publicity stunt to me. Jokey tech website The Inquirer have already outbid them.

  • New four-runway airport at Cliffe? Not so much. (c/o addedentry) Inhabitants of Crawley, sell now. Expansion at Gatwick looks ever more likely.

  • Eight days ago, the government gave a green light for an airport at Doncaster, which is about 80 miles south of here. The fact that Doncaster is going to be owned and operated by Peel Holdings, who also run Teesside (, Humberside and Liverpool John Lennon) means that this will dilute Peel's efforts further. This would seem to reduce the chances of low-cost flights ever arriving at Teesside Airport, which is about 10 miles west of here. Sigh.

  • Except that on Thursday, bmibaby announced that they would be launching their fourth base in Teesside after all from the autumn. Hurrah! Cheers, cheers. To begin with, there will be two aeroplanes based there servicing three destinations; local BBC news speculate these will be Prague, Geneva and Belfast, with Spain and Italy to be added later. Looking at bmibaby's current destinations suggests some plausible guesses. This doesn't come as a complete surprise; local BBC news had suggested it was probable six months ago (back in the days when bmibaby only had one or two bases!) though I thought it was only the sort of careless talk that could harm rather than help. Cheap flights a-go-go!

  • Talking of cheap flights, although the Daily Mail may be a hateful paper, they have teamed up with Virgin Atlantic to promote a rather good offer. Confirm you're UK-based then you can get transatlantic Economy travel for under GBP 200 in May when you book online - including all taxes. I had expected that the war would cause some bargain basement transatlantic flights, so here they are. Eyes peeled for other transatlantic operators doing very similar things in the next few days.

    If I book right now, I really can get a zorac-style return from London to Boston flying out on Thursday 8th of May and returning on Monday 12th of May for under GBP 190 including tax. (Of course, getting to London and back is going to be another GBP 50, plus the cost of a long weekend in Boston isn't going to be free.) Have to say that I know enough nice people in MA that I'm tempted. Furthermore, it's with Virgin Atlantic, who are very, very nice.

    Of course, this assumes that the last flight available at this price on those days hasn't sold out while I've been typing this entry out - but if one of you nice folk sees it and books a cheap flight then that would be a good result.

Current Mood: hopefulhopeful

(11 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:April 12th, 2003 08:28 am (UTC)
I didn't understand half of what you said about flight systems in Britain, but it does sound rather intriguing. Can you point me toward any sites where I might be able to educate myself?

Come to think of it, I should probably become well-versed in international air-traffic patterns anyway. *Sets aside time for Google searches later tomorrow*

Enjoy cheap travel!
[User Picture]
Date:April 12th, 2003 07:14 pm (UTC)

Geek factor eight, Captain

Hmm. I'm struggling off-hand to think of a single site for all purposes here. Fwoggie's Budget Airlines is a decent starting-point for cheap flights and isn't just British, though the webmaster is a Londoner (well, London-ish-er) and so there's a fair bit of British concentration therein.

I found a reasonably good chart with a grid showing all the US<->UK routes that are currently served and the airlines which serve them the other month. Darned if I can find it now. I can tell you who replied first to the post where I pointed it out straight away - philonightmare - but I can't tell you more about it than that right now.

Airwise is a bit flaky and is absolutely pop-up-mungous but there's a lot of good information there.

It'll be interesting to see whether the US low-cost flight segment follows the British pattern. You already have a direct equivalent of Ryanair, Southwest, and I can see more than a bit of EasyJet in JetBlue. Delta will beget Song much as British Airways begat Go; it'll be interesting to see who else will act as BMI to sprog bmibaby and so forth.

"Time for bed" said Zebedee.
Date:April 13th, 2003 07:49 pm (UTC)

Re: Geek factor eight, Captain

Thankee kindly, good sir.

Hoping that you slept well.

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