Sunday, November 15, 2009

Internet Airline News #12

ROW 13: Why some airlines have it and others do not

Of course this makes sense. There are a lot of passengers who fear flying and the number "13″ doesn't have the most positive thoughts attached to it. This explains why airlines have their entire fleets with or without a 13th row, but I wondered, why did Alaska Airlines have a 13th row in all planes except their Boeing 737-800's?

Geoff Pettis, Manager of Interior Engineering with Alaska Airlines, cleared up my confusion…

British Airways and Iberia Agree to Merge

British Airways and Iberia have reached an agreement on a merger plan for the two carriers. If the

merger occurs, the combined carrier would serve 205 destinations with 419 aircraft.

American's Firing of Mr X Becoming a Social Media Black Eye

Thanks to the Mr. X incident, American Airlines is about to get a dose of what United recently experienced when it broke guitars - a wave of negative social media coverage. Not sure who Mr. X is? Read on, and see why I think they’re making a mistake in the way they’re handling this.

What Virgin America's doing right

USA TODAY'S David Grossman recently scored an interview with David Cush, Virgin America's CEO, and came away with some interesting details about how the airline sees itself. Mr Cush is a former American Airlines employee, but he says Virgin doesn't look at his former employer for inspiration…

Qantas plans 'Airport of the Future,' premium service upgrades

Qantas plans to introduce an Airport of the Future concept in major domestic markets next year that it said will reduce dramatically time spent at check-in and in security queues and speed baggage collection.

Domestic passengers will be issued new RFID cards that will replace both the standard boarding pass and baggage tags and give instant recognition to security agents.

Alaska Airlines Bucks Industry Trends To Build Profits From Operations And Cash Flow

When Alaska Air Group CEO Bill Ayer rang the New York Stock Exchange opening bell on Nov. 10, he might as well have rung it to celebrate the end of a fantastic quarter for the airline. Alaska reported a third-quarter profit of $87.6 million, in a period when most U.S. mainline carriers bled red ink.

Worried About Losing Tax Revenue, Congress to Investigate Airlines’ Fees

Congress has been furrowing its collective brow at the practice. An investigation is under way, and could lead to changes in this increasingly popular tactic that airlines use to bring in more revenue without raising fares.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Internet Airline News #11

Vengeance? Karma? Bad luck? United loses the luggage of the “United Breaks Guitars” guy

After famously breaking his guitar, United Airlines has managed to cause further trouble for David Carroll by losing his luggage — just as the Canadian singer-songwriter was en route to deliver a speech about customer service.

Ontario Airport's High Costs Showcase Missed Opportunity

Just last week I wrote about the anger increasingly being directed toward LA World Airports by Ontario Airport stakeholders. Now, it appears that Ontario is getting more serious as the city looks at potential alternatives for the airport, something that might involve taking management away from LAWA. Looking at some numbers, it seems incredibly clear that they should very seriously consider doing just that. Their costs could and should be dramatically lowered.

If You Want to Try Wifi Onboard, You’ll Have Plenty of Free Chances

It’s no surprise that when you make something completely free, people use it a lot more often than if you make them pay. Duh. And that’s why it’s not surprising to see airlines scrambling to find a way to offer wireless internet for free. Just in the last few days, we’ve seen three promotions that will let anyone log on from 30,000 feet without paying a dime.

Midwest and Frontier Start Swapping Airplanes in the Middle of the Day

We’ve talked about how Republic’s acquisition of Frontier and Midwest has given the carrier tremendous flexibility in moving its airplanes around between its different subsidiaries. We’ve already seen announcements that Frontier will operate aircraft under the Midwest name, and some of the Republic-operated Embraer aircraft will come to Denver to operate for Frontier. Now, we’re seeing something even more interesting. Republic will have a single airplane operate for both airlines on the same exact day.

Southwest Airlines web site has high load factors

"The popularity of our 72-hour fare sale is generating a lot of interest in southwest.com," Southwest is putting on its web site. "The web experience might be slower than usual. Thanks for your patience."

Airplane Part Falls on Suburban Lawn

It was a rather large piece of metal (3′ X 4′) shaped like a cone - and, according to the cops, it came from a commercial airplane. At this point, nobody knows what airline it belonged to but if anyone’s missing anything, you can contact the Roosevelt P.D.

JetBlue's All-You-Can-Jet Pass Considered a Success

You likely could have figured out from the early press it got that JetBlue’s All-You-Can-Jet pass would be a success, but now we have JetBlue Senior VP Marketing & Commercial Marty St George talking about it in more detail. This was a rock star of a promotion.

Alaska's Profits Heat Up

Alaska Airlines continues to stand out as a bright spot in the struggling U.S. airline industry. The carrier had the highest profit margin of the nine largest U.S. airlines during the first nine months of 2009, notes airline analyst Michael Derchin of FTN Equity Capital. Alaska's pre-tax margin of 6% beat out AirTran Airways (5%), JetBlue Airways (3%), and Southwest Airlines (1%). United Airlines finished at the bottom of the pack, with a pre-tax margin of negative 8%.

Are the economics of Twitter airfares worth it?

More and more budget-travel tipsters are pointing towards Twitter, Facebook and social media outlets as the source for wild cheap airfares these days. And it's true, in a way. By subscribing to the pundit feeds online it's possible to get the inside scoop on a few good routes, often saving a few shekels on a future itinerary.

Internet Airline News #10

An Onboard Wifi Update

I’m at the National Business Travel Association (NBTA) conference this week, and I spent awhile chatting with the folks at AirCell (provider of wifi fun) yesterday. That made me think it was a good time for a wifi update, especially since there has been so much news lately.

The Safest Airlines to Fly On

There's no accounting for terrible fate and random events, but The Daily Beast wants you to see how major and regional airlines rank in accidents and incidents. It's worth a peek before booking your next flight.

Continental’s Overnight Excursion in Rochester, Minnesota

I haven’t commented on the ridiculousness that is Continental #2816 yet, and I’ve received plenty of emails asking me why that hasn’t happened. You know the flight; that’s the one where the passengers got stuck on their little regional jet all night long after diverting from Minneapolis/St Paul to Rochester, Minnesota because of bad weather. I decided to wait to write a post until I could get full information, and I simply couldn’t get it. But now that the initial report is out from the DOT, I’ve got enough to start talking. Surprisingly, it points to Delta Connection carrier Mesaba as the real problem here, though they are denying it.

One Airline Gets It: Sun Country to Limit “Time on Tarmac”

The CEO of the Minnesota-based Sun Country Airlines believes his airline is the first to do this: setting a limit on how much time passengers will spend sitting on a plane, when the plane isn’t going anywhere. The new limit is four hours maximum - then the plane and passengers have to return to the terminal (and of course, can do so sooner).

Alaska’s Monthly Investor Update

Alaska releases a monthly update with some traffic and financial data, and it’s always interesting to take a look. First, let’s look at revenue. PRASM was down 1.3% year-over-year and RASM was actually up 0.7%. That’s great, right? Well, not so fast.

Southwest’s Sweet E-Mail Marketing

I’m heading to San Diego in a little less than a month for the National Business Travel Association conference (which I’m really looking forward to), and I’m flying down on Southwest. Last week, I received this e-mail:

Summer Reading: Flying High In a Competitive Industry

First, I’d like to say that this is not a book for airplane geeks, or at least not all of them. The book reads like a business case study for students, which makes perfect sense since it’s published by McGraw-Hill Education.

AirportSnapshot.com

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