Sunday, May 10, 2009

Internet Airline News #6

JetBlue Uses New Media To Its Advantage, Other Airlines Should Take Note

More and more airlines are starting to involve themselves with new media, but I’m not convinced that many of them know what they’re doing. I don’t need a bunch of tweets about a new fare sale to Zimbabwe, but I do need fast answers to questions and good access to the people who have those answers.

Dueling Videos

Some airlines host their own channels on YouTube, which I occasionally raid for all your blog-entertainment needs. But it struck me that the American Airlines video (from March, and yes American posts less frequently) on its "Road Warrior" competition and a Southwest vid promoting new coffee definitely projected their separate corporate identities, or at least how their ad agencies want to present them.

US Airways Now Scanning Bags at Planeside, Improving Bag Tracking

I had the chance to sit down with US Airways’ Managing Director of Customer Strategy Tim Lindeman and Director of Customer Strategy, Melody Anderson (yes, the customer strategy group needs a lot of “directing”) to talk about what US Airways is doing in the world of baggage. You might be surprised to know that it’s pretty cool.
[-Ed… See this Malcolm Gladwell article in the New Yorker where he talks with TIBCO Founder Vivek Randive… “We’ve been working with some airlines,” he said. “You know, when you get on a plane and your bag doesn’t, they actually know right away that it’s not there. But no one tells you, and a big part of that is that they don’t have all their information in one place.]

Cellphone industry wants cellphones on airplanes

The wireless industry is fighting legislation that would prevent the use of mobile phones to make calls on airplanes.

US Airways customer service director: À la carte fees are the only way forward

John Romantic is the director of customer relations and central baggage resolution at US Airways. But he'd prefer that you simply think of him as your advocate at the airline. For the last nine months, he's had the unenviable job of improving the carrier's checkered reputation for customer service. I asked him how he's doing it.

Alaska Airlines: No Pillows and Blankets Means Cleanliness

I read with interest that Alaska Airlines was going to discontinue pillows and blankets for passengers in all of its 114 planes to reduce the spread of swine flu. Apparently keeping pillows and blankets on board means they could be infected with swine flu germs, which could make people sick. Pillows and blankets might get passed around, spreading the virus, so it’s better if they’re no longer an option, right?

Alaska Plays With Its Route Map

The airline has announced a 37% cut in Mexico capacity starting July 2. The timing for this seems a bit off to me. Last week, other airlines announced capacity cuts in this focusing on May and June. US Airways actually announced that it hopes to have a full schedule to Mexico again on the same day. I’m sure there’s a reason, but it just seems a bit weird to wait to cut capacity for so long.

US Airways Wants More Cash

Looks like US Airways wants to boost its liquidity and get some extra cash, which sounds like a good idea.

Airlines report less traffic, less capacity, higher loads

The biggest U.S. airlines as a group are reporting that their traffic shrank slower than their capacity in April, resulting in higher load factors

What’s Up With Southwest’s Traffic? (And Other Traffic Statistics)

So Southwest posted a 4.4 point increase in load factor in April to 77 percent, thanks to a 4.1% increase in RPMs and a 1.9% decrease in ASMs. Revenue passengers were also down 1.5%. Wait what?

Photo of Presidential Plane on New York Flyover Released

Well, in spite of all the hubbub this flight caused, the picture did turn out pretty nice.

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