Sunday, March 08, 2009

Travelography #146: Direct Flights are Best & Filling Cruises at Any Price

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Stories discussed in this podcast are from the Travelography Twitter Blog for the week of 1 to 8 March 2009. This podcast is also available at and

  • "Threatening civilian airliners' normal operations under international aviation regulations is not only against international rules but is an act against humanity," ... North should "immediately withdraw the military threat."
  • Several cruise lines including Carnival have reported strong bookings in recent months. ... Still, "while these bookings are clearly being taken at steep discounts, it is a positive that consumers are responding to the operators’ promotions and making up for some lost load factor,"
  • Alaska “appears especially weak” with pricing down from 20 to 40 percent as fares “hit new lows in February….We believe both companies [Carnival Corp. and RCCL] are now aggressively moving to fill remaining Q2 and Q3 capacity after attempting to hold price as long as possible,”
  • Nimble discount airlines here and around the world are growing and opening new routes even as the recession forces traditional carriers to cut flights and jobs. Low-cost carriers, such as New York-based JetBlue (JBLU), Ireland-based Ryanair and Canada-based WestJet, are making inroads where higher-cost carriers are shrinking amid falling travel demand, especially among cost-conscious fliers.
  • ... the marginal cost of a connecting flight was $12 more expensive than that of a direct flight. The change is probably driven by the increasing fuel cost in the sample period. Since the fraction of fuel consumed at the takeoffs and landings could be as high as 40 percent, rising fuel costs offset the benefit of denser traffic created by connecting flights.
  • The world's largest cruise line says it recorded the highest number of net weekly bookings in its history during the one-week period that ended Sunday. On a cumulative basis, net bookings are up 10% as compared to last year since mid-January.
  • "With the centennial this year of the Robert F. Peary discovery of the North Pole, combined with the fear that global warming may soon change the arctic regions forever, it's a very busy year for us,"...