October 29, 2010

Weekly Airline News Roundup – Seesaw

Image courtesy of neys on Flickr

This week’s news included several big ticket items on both sides of the fence, both positive and negative. In some ways, news in the airline industry this week felt like a seesaw.

Since we’re the type to prefer the bad news first (save the best for last mentality), on the lower end of the seesaw this week we saw two Alaska Airlines jets bumped on the ground in Seattle (though thankfully no one was injured), Ryanair reduced service to Frankfurt, and the Airline Quality Rating Report (AQR) showed the meanest airlines in the U.S. (thankfully, we were not one of them).

British Airways, meanwhile, lashed out this week at American airport security protocol, the victims’ families from last year’s Buffalo crash are lashing out at regional airline safety, and the TSA is tightening security further by requiring full names to be submitted 72 hours prior to a flight. In more downtrodden news, the DOT found this week the airline workforce to be down 1.7% this August compared with last, the NTSB is investigating the safety of airline partnerships, and the TSA will start increased pat-downs this week after a test run in Boston’s Logan International Airport, that are “new aggressive and controversial body searches likened to ‘foreplay’ pat-downs,” according to the Boston Herald. And you thought New Englanders were cold!

Also on the downside this week (though, that depends on who you are, we suppose), Air Canada announced it will cease service to the OC, Delta said this week it will defer 18 787 aircraft for a decade or longer, and Allegiant will be leaving its base in Orlando. Additionally, travel sites are fighting Google’s proposed acquisition of airline software, and an Ottawa man (would that make him an Ottawan?) faces charges for airline ticket fraud.

On the middle of the fence – or seesaw, shall we say –  is news this week that a loophole was found in the recent pilot fatigue rules, it may – or may not – be safe to use cell phones inflight, and Zappos (yes, the online shoe company) mentioned it may consider starting an airline one day; a logical next step (get it, step?!) as far as anyone can tell.

On the upside of the teeter-totter* this week was news that our buddies across the pond at Lufthansa posted a nine-month profit and upped their outlook as a result and the U.S. and Japan signed an “Open Skies” agreement. Virgin America will move its email to Google to save a bundle, Continental announces new flights to Turks & Caicos, and Alaska Airlines launches Wi-Fi in Alaska. Southwest also announced some new product where you can book a connecting flight on Mexican Airline Volaris by way of two transactions (how is that different from booking two, separate flights on different airlines, you ask? We don’t rightly know!), at least two people will be happy when British Airways and Iberia become one, with an announcement this week that the heads of both airlines will get a big pay raise when the merger is complete, and Spirit announced it will offer service to five new destinations from Myrtle Beach, including seasonal service to Washington, DC; Plattsburgh, NY; Niagara Falls, NY; Latrobe, PA; and Charleston, WV. Southwest also announced this week that it will serve Newark Liberty International Airport with six flights to Chicago’s Midway and two to St. Louis.

JetBlue was definitely on the higher end of the seesaw this week, though it did some teetering on Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning, when former Inflight Crewmember, Steven Slater, made a little appearance on Larry King Live and then just about every morning show in the continental United States.  More importantly this week, we announced exciting new seasonal service from Long Beach to Anchorage, ESPN’s Monday Night Football commentator John Gruden named the wide receivers on the NY Giants “JetBlue”, and Top 40 pop sensation Taylor Swift performed at our JFK Terminal 5 as part of our Live From T5 Concert Series.

As always, safe travels and have a great weekend. Thanks for reading!

*For your reference, according to linguist Peter Trudgill, the term “teeter-totter” originates from the Norfolk language word tittermatorter.”

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