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.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Internet Airline News #5

Through year-end, luggage on Alaska Airlines will likely be on time

Alaska Airlines is taking a page from the Domino’s Pizza playbook and offering a delivery guarantee. But it’s not for pizza, it’s for checked bags.

Dare to dream: American and Delta want to charge money for access to their schedule info

American Airlines’ CEO Gerard Arpey dared to dream. He slipped a comment into their recent earnings call which seemed rather off the wall, until Delta CEO Richard Anderson effectively repeated the idea. The proposal? Instead of paying commissions to agencies and websites that sell their fares, airlines would charge those agencies a fee for the right to display and sell their fares.

Which Airlines Are Potentially Exposed the Most to Mexico Risk?

Gary Chase, airline analyst with Barclays, issued a note this morning in which he listed the exposure of different airlines to the potential short-term risk of passengers curtailing travel to Mexico.

United Responds: Two Airfare Increase Attempts Rolled into One Weekend

The activity actually began Thursday evening with a United “attempted” airfare hike (only for travel late June thru early August), followed by one instigated by Continental on Friday morning which had enough overlap to look very similar to partial matching - so over the weekend, we actually saw two airfare hike attempts, and some of the most ridiculous airfare filings I have ever tried to review as matching and rollbacks for both complicated matters tremendously, that and the fact the hike was targeted originally for July departures only.

Southwest's Load Planning System Improves Baggage Processes

When I visited Southwest’s operation at Dallas/Love Field last month, it wasn’t a normal day. It just happened to be the first day that the airline had launched its Load Planning System at Love and elsewhere in the system. This new system has the ability to really significantly improve Southwest’s baggage handling.

FAA Opens Access to the National Wildlife Strike Database

You can now download in MS Access format. [No wonder they didn’t want to release it. –Ed]

Adios, Mexico (somewhat)

US Airways and United Airlines have added their names to the carriers who are saying they'll be doing less Mexico for a while.

CEO base pay for 2008

US Airways put a chart in its proxy statement Thursday comparing the base pay of its CEO, Doug Parker, to other U.S. carriers.

Forget Doom & Gloom, Richard Branson’s Here (Get this Party Started!)

And now, the man who built the Virgin empire - which includes Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Blue and the U.S. based Virgin America (love that crazy mood-lighting) - has just brought the party to Orange County, California.

Airlines Return Gingerly to Oil Hedging

Airlines are tiptoeing back into fuel hedging after being burned by last year's wild swings in oil prices. (Subscription Required)

Was Southwest’s Mystery City Sale Deceptive?

For four days, Southwest has revealed a city (or in yesterday’s case, an area) that would have a 50% discount on Wanna Get Away fares on all flights. Friday was Philadelphia, Saturday was Nashville, Sunday was Albuquerque, and Monday all Bay Area airports (SFO, OAK, SJC) were on sale.

One More Post on That Southwest Sale

I already posted on the Southwest Mystery Sale and why I didn’t like it, but thanks to ftnoob on FlyerTalk I have a bit more on what happened.

787 - Roll Out!

Boeing confirms the first 787, ZA001, has moved to the flight line, and that fuel testing will begin in the next few days. AW&ST understands the schedule calls for this to start on May