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Internet Airline News #7

Woo Boy, it’s been awhile since I published #6. Still working through my backlog. The amount of interesting things I’m doing at work is not helping out much either. Here without further ado..

Your Take: Customer Experience Planning & Development

If you’re one of our frequent customers you probably spend a lot of time in one of our airports on your way to your next meeting. And while you were there, have you found yourself thinking “Why can’t I…” or “I wish I could (fill in the blank)”. [Read the comments for some interesting ideas from Delta customers…-Ed]

Volaris Lands in Los Angeles, First Destination North of the Border

Volaris is now flying a single daily trip from LAX to Toluca (outside Mexico City) and another one to Guadalajara. They’ll be starting flights to those cities from Oakland as well, and at the press conference yesterday, Volaris Managing Director and CEO Enrique Beltranena (bottom left in the picture, though I’ll certainly understand if you’re distracted by those flight attendants) announced that they had just received approval to fly from Oakland to Tijuana as well. He also said that he expects Volaris to be flying to more than 10 cities in the US in the next two and a half years. So this is no small plan.

Ryanair Wants To Let People Bring Unlimited Carry On Bags

It’s incredible to think about how the title of a post or article really sets the tone for a story. For example, if you saw the recent Dow Jones article entitled “Ryanair To Ban Check-In Baggage And Airport Check-In,” you might be surprised to know that it’s referencing the exact same piece of news that I’m discussing here today. The only difference? I see some good in this idea while Dow Jones is clearly going for the sensational, eye-catching headline. [As cranky says, it will probably never happen, but it’s interesting…reminds me of another airlines a la carte baggage service. –Ed]

A Bon-Bon for Richard: Why Delta Should Buy Alaska ASAP . . .

Delta is in the middle of digesting Northwest, quite a meal. For dessert, we suggest Alaska Airlines, which should be sweeter for Delta than for any other airline in the US.

British Airways Builds Fee Comparison and Southwest Should Take It Further

I never thought we’d see the day where British Airways does something that Southwest should follow, but that day has come. British Airways has rolled out a value calculator on its website showing how much more BA includes in its fares than Ryanair or easyJet.

Virgin America Makes Progress on Costs

Earlier today, I talked about Virgin America’s poor revenue performance, but there is a silver lining. They significantly reduced their costs in the quarter. Unit costs declined from 11.12 cents in the fourth quarter to 8.99 cents in the first quarter.

Great Communication on Southwest, Not on JetBlue (Trip Report)

We had a quick trip this weekend up to San Francisco, and man, was this a lesson in the importance of communication. We flew JetBlue up from Long Beach and had a miserable experience. On the other hand, our flight home to Los Angeles on Southwest was excellent. Both flights were delayed, so what made the difference? Quality communication.

TSA Paperless Boarding Pass Pilot Expanding

We’ve talked about this before, but the paperless boarding pass pilot program is picking up steam and I thought I’d give you an update.

Analyst sees AMR, UAL with $1 billion-plus losses in 2009

In an interesting note, Derchin sees five of the top nine U.S. carriers losing money, but four of them making money. The five losers collectively would lose $3.85 billion, while the three winners collectively would earn $490 million.

Computer problems snarl United's Chicago flights

Computer problems have disrupted United Airlines flights at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on Thursday. This is no minor matter -- O'Hare is United's biggest hub and is key to both its domestic and international route system. Let's hope the problem is resolved quickly.

Alaska Airlines begins Portland-Maui service Friday

Alaska Airlines will begin service between Portland and Maui on Friday. Flights operate three times a week. The Portland-Maui flight leaves Portland at 9:50 a.m. Pacific time on Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays, and will arrive at Kahului Airport at 12:45 p.m. Hawaii time.

Southwest Airlines rapper raps up NY service

Southwest Airlines flight attendant David Holmes, who has become a mini-personality for his rapping preflight announcements on Southwest flights, performed Sunday to kick off Southwest's service at New York LaGuardia. [More viral marketing from YouTube for WN… –Ed]

Republic Airways -- another day, another airline

Republic Airways announced Tuesday it was buying Midwest Airlines from TPG Capital for a relative pittance…This follows on Monday's announcement that Republic is buying Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc. for just under $109 million. That would make the new Republic bigger than No. 9 Alaska (1.50 billion ASMs) or spurned Midwest bidder No. 8 AirTran (1.54 billion ASMs).

Alaska’s Aviation Geek Night

Alaska Airlines is still a relative newcomer to the social media scene, but it’s been using it effectively basically from the get-go in my opinion, which is a lot better compared to other carriers. I think one very good example is the airline’s utilization of Twitter to get the word out about service disruptions due the eruption of Mt. Redoubt

AAAE Session: Enhancing Airline and Airport Partnerships (Part 2)

Next, someone asked about common use terminals (especially at small airports) and what the panelists thought of them. All three seemed to like the idea as a cost-saving measure, but seemed a bit skeptical on it working (Korbey from UA said he’s seen a system like this advertised for years). From what they were saying, it seems that the IT angle is what’s slowing this down.

The next question I really found interesting was on the future of check-in counters. Rhett of US said that the airline took a field trip up to Seattle and Anchorage to see what Alaska had been doing to their ticket counters to increase output (I’ll have to ask the folks over at AS what they’ve been doing).

US Airways Unveils Beta Version of Website

I usually don’t use the US Airways website because, well, I haven’t flown them in ages. But, I had a book a flight for next week a couple of days ago, and my dad was flying them yesterday. When I saw this window come up suggesting I try the new website I figured, sure, why not?

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