We lost quite a bit in 2008. Several old banks are gone, the value of your house is probably gone, and in the world of travel several things disappeared for good as well.
I’ve listed 5 things no longer with us as we head into the new year. Come back in a few days to read my list of 5 things we gained in 2008, and keep your fingers crossed that things pick up a bit in 2009!
In 2008, almost 80 airlines went bankrupt. I’m sure most of you were not too upset when Swazi Express Airways stopped flying, but one of the more popular airlines we lost was Aloha Airlines.
Aloha had been flying between the islands and the mainland since 1946, but 2008 would become their final year. As usual, rising fuel costs were cited as one of the main reasons they could not survive.
Another, probably more important reason for their demise, was an intense price war that broke out between Aloha and GO!. GO! started offering inter island flights to local residents for as little as $15.
In an ironic twist of events, the very airline that contributed to the collapse of Aloha has managed to purchase their name and will be renaming themselves “Aloha” next year.
Airlines come, and airlines go. But seldom does this happen as fast as with Skybus. Skybus started operating out of Columbus, Ohio in May of 2007, and by April of 2008 it was grounded. The airline had set itself up like many European carriers, with flights to smaller secondary airports, a flexible pricing system and even forced people to dispose of all food and beverages before boarding the plane.
Once on board, food, beverages, snacks and pillows were sold, and 10% of the revenue became salary for the flight attendants.
The concept obviously looked good on paper, but their timing was horrible, and passengers did not care for the total lack of service. Skybus never published a phone number, and all communications with the airline had to be made through email.
In the end, their business model clashed with rising fuel prices, and the airline went under, stranding 1000’s of people at various airports around the country.
Free baggage allowance
Of all the perks the airlines took away from us in recent years, this is the one that is bound to hurt the most. I survived the removal of pretzels, I managed to deal with a 4 hour flight without a pillow, but forcing people to pay for their checked luggage is just cruel.
Of course, the natural effect this is having on passengers and their bags, is that people are now carrying more than ever on board the plane. The airlines still have a tad of compassion left, as their elite travelers are currently exempt from these new money making measures.
Berlin Tempelhof Airport
I’m sure more airports closed in 2008, but none of them were as important to aviation history as Berlin Tempelhof. The airport closed on October 30th, and will make way for a single Berlin Airport which is scheduled to open in 2011.
Tempelhof played a very important role in German aviation history, and was the home of Lufthansa for many years. Of course, the war transformed the airport, and the massive terminal building at Tempelhof was one of many buildings Hitler commissioned for the city. After the war, Tempelhof played a pivotal role in supplying food and other supplies during the Berlin Airlift.
The 2008 Chinese Olympics
The buildup to the Chinese Olympics was filled with scandals, anticipation and a lot of worrying.
In the end, the games went pretty much like clockwork. It’s always a little sad when such a long wait for something is over in just 2 weeks. The Chinese put on one heck of a show, in some of the most impressive sporting venues the world has ever seen.
Like with most Olympic events, before the games start, there is always a ton of bad news, rumors about incomplete facilities and some corruption scandals, but he Chinese managed to prove everyone wrong, and gave the world a great show as well as a nice view into their culture.