What’s in the Tranquiliser Trolley on Your Flight?

Do you enjoy a few drinks when you’re flying on the airlines? Do you recall the “good ol’ days” when the drinks were free even in economy? How about when cocktails were mixed for you or when drinks weren’t served in a little plastic cup?

For most of us those days are pretty much gone unless we can pony up the cash for business or first class or happen to be flying on an airline that’s trying something retro (like V Australia’s self-service bars in Business Class and Premium Economy). That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t some good drinks being served on airliners around the world as they carry people from place to place high above the usual levels where drinks are consumed.

A friend of mine from back in my crazy days living in Boston is now based in San Francisco and is a freelance writer covering the world of cocktails & spirits. He also runs the Alcademics.com, a blog about drinking and travelling.

He’s recently started a page on his site where he’s listing drinks menus from airlines around the world. In addition to his own travels, he’s asking for people to help by taking photos of the drinks list (usually found in the inflight magazine) and sending it to him along with the date and the airline. Also supplying what route you were travelling would help but the key is the drinks, the date and the airline.

So far his collection is primarily from US airlines with a couple from Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic. Given it’s a great idea and a good start, how about we help add to the stash. Next time you’re flying, don’t forget to take a photo of the drinks list and send it in. You can also help by . . . →

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Shakey Alliances for Virgin Blue

John Borghetti at Virgin Blue is getting some bad news lately with both the Department of Transport and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission raising objections to proposed alliances. The DoT have said they don’t like the look of the alliance with Delta (aka Delta-V) while the ACCC have said the same about the proposed alliance with Air New Zealand. The ACCC have also said they’re going to expedite their review of the recently announced alliance with Etihad so hopefully that one doesn’t get blocked too.

While I wouldn’t necessarily say that these alliance plans are in tatters, they are certainly taking some body blows and aren’t looking too healthy. Unless Virgin Blue, Delta & Air New Zealand can put up some good responses to the various objections, the proposed linkages aren’t going to happen for a while.

So the big question from this is what will Borghetti do if the Delta & Air New Zealand alliances are blocked? He’s already shown he is not adverse to culling failing operations or routes as he has removed Pacific Blue’s domestic operations in New Zealand and pulled the V Australia 777s out of Johannesburg, Fiji & Phuket.

If he can’t get cosy with Delta across the Pacific, will he ramp up V Australia’s presence in the market or pull out entirely and settle for a code-share with Delta, channeling Virgin Blue’s domestic passengers onto Delta and taking their passengers around Australia. If he leaves the Pacific to a linkage with Delta, will he redirect the 777s to routes into Abu Dhabi to supplement flights from Etihad? Could he decide to drop the long haul 777s all together to focus on the Australian domestic market and short international flights to the Pacific and South East Asia with 737s and A330s?

It’s always an . . . →

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