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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.

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