Monday, October 8, 2012

The Special Etiquette at Exit Row

I will not conclude myself as a person who travels a lot, but I have done a decent share.

I have to admit – I am cheap. So unlike others, I will not concern about the class of service that much. In that case, Economy is my friend.

One of the great benefits of my elite status is having the choice of exit row seating. These seats are usually considered the best seats in the Economy Class due to its non-restrictive space for the emergency exits purpose. So not only me, but others, elite or not, would like to get a piece of it. These seats, to a lot of airlines, are in fact an auxiliary source of revenue.

Here is the responsibility part – for those people who are seating in the exit rows, they are required under federal regulations (or similar statutes) to assist the crews in case of emergency. So the passengers sitting in the exit row, in theory, should have understood the safety features of the aircrafts more than typical passengers.

Here is the funny part – being traveled in the exit rows, I discovered that exit row passengers (except me of course) are usually the passengers in the aircraft who always disregard the rules on an airplane:

1. I have never seen an exit row passenger reading the information on the safety card;

2. Some passengers intentionally left their electronic appliance on, like playing games, reading book. Some even let the devices’ transmission on;

3. Some even think exit rows are music chair – pick as you want.

I won’t blame the airlines for it – really, will an airline kick people off the plane because of that? Unlikely.

But do you see the irony? The passengers who supposed to understand the safety feature of the aircraft disregard the rules (like a traffic cop has a traffic violation). This makes me wonder – is breaking the rule the etiquette for the exit row?

P.S. These are my personal observations. Your experience may vary.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Should you trust a SKYTRAX rating at all?

For frequent flyers, the name "SKYTRAX" always sounds familiar.

SKYTRAX is basically a consultancy known for rating airlines.

When you are told an airlines has such rating, in most of the case, it will be a SKYTRAX rating.

So why do I want to talk about SKYTRAX today?

Simple - how exactly SKYTRAX rates airlines?

Here is an explanation from SKYTRAX:

Official World Airline Star Ranking

In term of the methodology, SKYTRAX mentions:

"Star Rating determination examines over 800 different areas of product and service delivery, and the complete listing is only available to airlines featured in the World Airline Star Ranking programme."

So do we know? No.

So how do we know it is accurate? Let me illustrate by an example - Age of Aircraft in Fleet.

6 5-star airlines (Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Hainan, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia) are given the following rating on this category:

5-star: Qatar

4-star: Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Hainan, Qatar, Singapore

3.5-star: Malaysia

So how about the exact data in average (based on

Asiana - 9.4 years

Cathay Pacific - 10.4 years

Hainan - 5.9 years

Qatar - 5.6 years

Singapore - 7.1 years*

Malaysia - 11.5 year

(* The actual data may be lower as the current data reflects Boeing 747-400s as in-service, which is not the case in the reality.)

Based on that, there is no doubt why Qatar scores 5-star and Malaysia scores 3.5-star in this category. But how about the rest? They are scored 4-star, but the range can go as low as 5.9 years to 10.4 years.

Should Hainan scores 5-star and Cathay Pacific score 3.5-start in this category instead? I don't know. Remember - the methodology is not known to the public.

Unknown methodology, questionable data - if these have not yet convinced you to question SKYTRAX's rating, continue to read.

Virgin America - an airline that is named by SKYTRAX at 2012 World Airline Awards for:

Best Domestic Airline in North America

Best Low-Cost Airline in North America

So do you want to guess its SKYTRAX's rating?

See it yourself.

I am back...

It has been 4 months since I updated this blog.

What make me extremely ssurprised that even without a single update, all of you are still reading my blog.

I truly appreciate your encourage and visit.