Pilots strike and How to Cut the Confusion with Airfare Pricing

Posted on May 10, 2012

Approximately 150 airline pilots did not show up for work due to a protest against unpaid salaries and working conditions leading Air India to cancel four international flights Tuesday.

Air India officials confirm that the airline has fired 10 pilots and ordered the rest to return to work by Tuesday evening. The state-owned carrier—which operates 50 international flights and 400 domestic flights daily— was obliging passengers by placing them on other flights.

Air India’s pilots were in talks with the airline about better pay and job promotions—some pilots claim they have not been paid in six months— when the negotiations stalled leading the 150 pilots to call in sick.

The current strike could be dangerous for Air India international operations, especially with India’s peak holiday season right around the corner.

The Indian government recently agreed to a $6 billion bailout for the troubled national carrier with the emergency funding made available to the airline over the next eight years.

Under pressure ever since a poorly executed 2007 merger which left the company with debt costs and an inflated staff, Air India has been losing about a billion dollars a year.

How to cut the confusion with airfare pricing

When you're shopping for an airline ticket often you may see an advertisement for tickets starting at a certain fare, but you can't seem to find a ticket at that low price. This is because current airline regulations allow carriers to change the fares on a flight up to once an hour.

This can cause confusion when trying to book flights and get the best deal since consumers do not know when they should buy. The short answer is that it all depends. According to CheapAir CEO Jeff Klee as reported by Reuters, “On average, the cheapest fare for a flight will be sold about six weeks before departure, according to a study by the Airlines Reporting Commission, which processes transactions for the travel industry. "If you know far in advance you're going to take a trip, check the fares every week, or more often. Wait for the prices to drop. At that point, it's important that you pounce on it when you see a good deal."

You will typically find lower fares on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays than on the other days of the week. If you have flexibility in your travel plans and use resources like travel agents, discount airfare websites, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Consumer Airfare Report, you should be able to find a good deal.

White House and FBI Confirm Al-Qaida Airline Plot Was No Threat To Public

Recent reports of a thwarted al-Qaida attempt to target a plane bound for the United States of America have understandably concerned travelers. U.S. officials claim the terrorism plot was foiled before it posed any threat to the public.

Reports say that the plan was designed by al-Qaida's arm in Yemen, a group referred to as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Intelligence agencies report that the would-be suicide bomber was armed with device comparable to the one worn in the attempted Northwest Flight 253 Christmas Day bombing a few years back.

The FBI reportedly has the explosive device at their lab in Quantico, Virginia for examination. They say although the bomb is similar to that used in the attempted underwear bombing, this device has an improved detonation system and no metal parts, enabling it to evade detection in the airport.