On Saturday, the crew of a Southwest Airlines flight between the California cities of Oakland and Burbank asked a passenger to leave the plane before takeoff because it deemed him too overweight to fly. Unfortunately, that passenger happened to be Clerks and Chasing Amy director Kevin Smith, who has more than 1.5 million Twitter followers and was willing to make sure that they all heard all about it.
Welcome to privacy week in America.
While millions of Gmail users begin to adjust to the notion that Google might consider they have feelings, movie director Kevin Smith is having his own privacy issues with Southwest Airlines.
Unless you've spent the last few hours locked in a cupboard as a post-Valentine's Day spousal punishment, you might be aware that Smith, the director of such movies as "Clerks" and a man who made an appearance at last week's Macworld, was reportedly removed from a Southwest flight Saturday for being a hazard to its stability.
You see, … Read more
Updated at 2:50 p.m. PST to include quotes from senators and names of retailers that do business with Vertrue, Webloyalty, and Affinion.
Words like "scam," "fraud," and "arrest" filled the air during a Senate hearing on Tuesday that focused on the controversial marketing companies that allegedly dupe consumers into paying monthly fees to join online loyalty programs.
Vertrue, Webloyalty, and Affinion generated more than $1.4 billion by "misleading" Web shoppers, said members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, which called the hearing. Lawmakers saved … Read more
Wi-Fi Internet access could help airlines win over customers who are looking to stay connected while en route, a recent survey concludes.
According to a study published this week by Wakefield Research for the Wi-Fi Alliance, about 75 percent of frequent business travelers surveyed said they'd choose an airline based on whether the flight has Wi-Fi or not. Half of respondents said they'd even consider moving their reservation by a day to get on a flight that offered Wi-Fi. And more than 70 percent of those surveyed said they'd rather have Wi-Fi access on board a flight … Read more
British Airways will not extend in-flight mobile communication to any of its aircraft already in service, CEO Willie Walsh says.
The airline is planning to launch a mobile e-mail, Web browsing, and texting service from OnAir on two new Airbus A318 aircrafts in September.
However, it would cost the airline too much to fit similar systems to its current aircraft, Walsh said Wednesday at the Sita Air Transport IT Summit 2009 conference in Cannes, France.
"We are not planning to retrofit the equipment to existing aircraft because we believe it will be too expensive," he said.
He added … Read more
If you haven't figured this out already, I'm a serious airline geek. Yes, I'm the kind of person who keeps track of all his flights and I can identify planes as they taxi by at the airport. Want to know which airlines flies nonstop between San Francisco and Sydney? Well, I can tell you (United and Qantas). Some would call it an obsession, but I think that it's just an interest.
If you're like me, you'll be delighted to know that the iPhone App store has quite a few options to indulge your passion. Without ever leaving your iPhone, you can check for delays, find the best seat on your flight, learn facts about your aircraft, and find your departure gate at the airport.
The following is a list of apps that I've used on CNET's iPhone. When I'm not using them just for fun--like I said, it's an interest--they have come in handy quite a few times. The titles that I've highlighted below aren't the only such apps available, but they are the ones that I've used. If you have other picks, be sure to tell me about them below.
Airport Status 99 cents
This app won't show delays for specific flights, but it will show general delays affecting U.S. airports. This is especially useful when your home airport is San Francisco International--due to low clouds it often suffers from "ground stops" where flights are held at their departure airport until the weather improves. Newark Liberty is another airport that's constantly on here. New Yorkers and Jerseyites, take note.… Read more
Last November, when Virgin America debuted Gogo's Wi-Fi service on a single flight, it stated that by the second quarter of 2009, the service would be available fleet-wide. On Wednesday, it announced that it had reached its goal.
Virgin America has done that with GoGo Inflight Internet, enabling all Virgin America customers to experience Internet service at 37,000 feet.
The company demonstrated its Wi-Fi tech by hosting a Skype video chat conference with Oprah Winfrey during a live taping of her show. The segment is set to air Thursday, May 21. Unless you're a billionaire media personality, … Read more
Those who need their Internet fix while in flight should appreciate a report released on Wednesday by market researcher In-Stat.
The number of commercial airplanes providing broadband access is expected to jump from 25 in 2008 to 800 by end the of 2009, according to the report.
Broadband connectivity is brought to airplanes either through satellite or an air-to-ground network. Both technologies are battling for market share, with Aircell's service based on its own air-to-ground network, and Row44 and Panasonic's service satellite-based.
In-flight broadband has struggled to gain a foothold due to the weak economy and the availability … Read more
Biofuels are on the way up, while carbon emissions are on the way down, a global airline industry spokesman said Tuesday at the annual Aviation and Environment Summit in Geneva.
After a successful run of pilot programs from Continental, Virgin, Air New Zealand, and JAL, sustainable biofuels are on track to be approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for wide commercial use in planes by 2010 or 2011, Giovanni Bisignani, director general of the IATA, said in a speech given at the summit.
A new scanner developed by Kaminsky and friends can help find Conficker-infected machines. We're so drenched in Conficker news at this point that I think the Girl Scouts have started selling Confickerdoodles. We also analyze Netflix's Blu-ray-rate hike, and try to decide why they're fighting over toilets in space.Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 942
Netflix to hike up monthly Blu-ray fee by up to $8 a month http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10207302-2.html
New method for detecting Conficker discovered, debuted http://arstechnica.com/security/news/2009/03/new-method-for-detecting-conficker-discovered-debuted.ars
YouTube gets Disney http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123844481702470815.html… Read more