Saturday, August 22, 2009

Internet Airline News #9

What will Denver look like in two years?

Frontier's going to get out of bankruptcy protection pronto. They're making operational profits that are based on lower expenses and they've got a corporate parent with some resources, but not a huge war chest to wage a long-term fare battle.

LAX Rent Increase Ruled Not Discriminatory, But Fight Continues

There was interesting ruling out of the appeals courts last week. LAX’s efforts to jack up rent for some airlines and not others was ruled to be not discriminatory. But that doesn’t mean this fight is over.

Airlines Update Their Social Media Efforts

Anyone who’s a regular reader of this blog knows about my interest in all things social media.  And I’ve been following how airlines are using it to communication and expand their brands.  Today’s Aviation Daily includes my story (subscribers only) on the efforts of Continental Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines when it comes to social media.

How Budget Airlines Undercut the Majors (Spoiler: Infographics)

Personal theory: Man has a natural propensity to question what he reads but believe anything he sees in neat infographic form. And this is one heck of an infographic, comparing budget airlines (like Southwest) to traditional companies like Delta.

Flightcaster Tells You When Your Flight Is Delayed Hours Before The Airline Will

“ON TIME”. It’s the first thing we look for when we arrive at the airport — oftentimes we’ll even check a flight’s status before leaving home to make sure things are proceeding as planned. But as anyone who has done extensive traveling could tell you, that ‘On Time’ indicator isn’t exactly honest.

Deconstructing United Airlines: Where Customers are Transactions

If you’re a loyalty marketer and look at my United profile, you find something that would make you 4.5 on a scale of 5.0 when it comes to warm and fuzzy.   You’d see hundreds of thousands of United Airlines frequent flier (FF) miles; a pattern that suggests that I fly exclusively…

Small Cities Pay to Keep Air Travel

With airlines cutting back service in a weak economy, some cities that are too big to qualify for federal help but too small to keep the planes flying in have stepped up with ways to hang on: paying the airlines, either directly or indirectly.

Random Dude with a Laptop Called Up to Cockpit to Help Pilots Plot a New Course

I've heard pilots ask if there's a doctor on board in the event of a medical emergency on an airplane, but to ask if there's a guy with a Wi-Fi-equipped laptop on board? That's a new one to me.

Dave Carroll's "Truly Inspired" 'United Breaks Guitars' Sequel

You know Dave. The man who grabbed more than five million sets of eyeballs to YouTube with his original hit, "United Breaks Guitars." Yes, well, Dave's back.

How new legislation will affect air safety

Late last month, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers introduced legislation designed to improve air safety. The move, led by Aviation Subcommittee chair Jerry Costello, D-Ill., comes in response to February's crash of a Colgan Air regional plane outside Buffalo, N.Y. Fifty people were killed when the Dash-8 Q400 went down on final approach.

Virgin America Announces Bag Fee Changes

Virgin America today announced changes to the airline's baggage fees. Effective for all bookings made on or after Aug. 21, 2009, for travel starting on or after Sept. 10, 2009, the airline has changed its baggage fee to a flat $20 rate for all checked items (excluding the first and second bag for First Class travelers; and the first bag for Main Cabin Select and Refundable Fare travelers.)

Clever Marketing Moves the Needle on Market Share

Remember our earlier post about JetBlue’s “All You Can Jet Pass” that’s good for travel anywhere from Sept. 8 through Oct. 8? It was a clever stunt that became a “trending topic” on Twitter.

Southwest to offer wi-fi on all flights by 2010

To add to its cheap fares, no-extra-fees policy, and wise-cracking flight attendants, Southwest Airlines is giving us one more reason to love the low-cost carrier. Southwest says that, by the first quarter of 2010, wi-fi internet will be available on all flights.

Airlines and social media: dialogue waiting to happen

Social media means that airlines just have another place where they can be raked over the coals. We complain to ticket agents. We complain to gate agents. We complain to customer service reps. And now, we can complain to the world, thanks to the likes of Twitter. [Read the comments –Ed]

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Internet Airline News #8

Row 44 wins permanent FCC authority (let the games begin)

I gotta jump out of my jolly holiday to tell you this - Row 44 has won permanent authority from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to offer its Ku-band-based connectivity service to airlines.

Does Your Seatmate Need “Internetiquette”?

In case you’re wondering, “Internetiquette” is a new etiquette guide from AirTran - part of an ad campaign to publicize an AirTran milestone: all its jets now offer wireless internet service. [Might be worth checking into for Row44 –Ed]

Upgrd 29: Alaska...Mystery

The Alaska Airlines Board Room lounge, Status and earning levels on AS, Upgrades and their first class product. [ Alaska topic starts 16 minutes in –Ed]

Tweeting Airports

I think the airlines that have been tweeting successfully have received plenty of coverage of late, so I wanted to look into some of the airports that have been doing so. I really haven’t seen much coverage in that area, except for this excellent post on Fish’s blog.

The Legacies Start Using Social Media Effectively

When one is asked about airlines that have been using social media effectively, long-time favorites like Southwest and JetBlue come to mind. But, much to my surprise, some other carries have caught up, like American and United.

Things With Wings Podcast: Airlines And Social Media

Late last month at a low-cost carrier conference in Miami, I sat down with airline marketing and branding strategist Shashank Nigam of SimpliFlying to talk about airline use of social media--or the lack thereof. Listen to this Things With Wings podcast (14:44) to hear Nigam explain:

The fine print on Twitter-only fares

Since the world has gone ga-ga for Twitter, corporations have been trying to figure out how to take advantage of the popularity of the micro-blogging service. Some airlines are trying out Twitter-only discounted airfares to fill seats. (United calls them “Twares.” JetBlue calls theirs “Cheeps.” I’m sure there are others, but it’s still not the norm for airlines to offer these.)

Engagement Checkup: Airlines on YouTube

In this week’s engagement checkup, we examine how airlines are using the video-sharing site to recruit, inform and entertain potential passengers. In true YouTube fashion, results range from the banal to the outrageous.

Delta And The Soft Sell

On Twitter, one Jon Berry found a Delta video travel short about Las Vegas on YouTube, put together by airline employees; Delta tweets back about the collection of around 20 they have online. They're quick low-fidelity clips that give a good quick taste.

Guess Who's Looking for a Social Media Manager?

One of my social media geek friends sent me a chat message on my Facebook account telling me that Continental Airlines is looking for a manager of social media.  You can see the job link here.

American Airlines tests mobile bag check-in at Boston Logan Airport

While other airlines are dissuading customers from transacting business at the airport, by imposing penalty fees, American Airlines is looking to smoothe things for passengers at the counter. At Boston Logan Airport, the airline is testing a new set of mobile check-in devices.

Republic, Frontier, and Southwest: More Questions Than Answers
As you’ve probably all heard, Republic ended up getting Frontier in the end, and to be honest, that’s not the result I expected. I did write about this topic last evening, but I posted about 15 minutes after the press releases came out.
Interviewing Virgin America CEO David Cush

I am going to be attending the National Business Travel Association conference in San Diego in a few days, and I have been trying to arrange a few interviews. I contacted Abby Lunardini, Virgin America’s Director of Corporate Communications, and she offered an interview with the company’s CEO, David Cush. Sadly, though, he was only available the day I’m flying back home. But, Abby worked her magic and I was able to score an interview on Tuesday! So thanks to Abby for arranging this and thanks to David for willing to give me some of his time.

If You Think Capacity Is Tight Now...

Yesterday Bloomberg sat down Robert Herbst of to update the state of the airline industry. No big surprises here—Herbst notes that leisure demand is probably as high as it's every been, with low fares, but there is not enough premium- or biz-class traffic to keep the airlines healthy.