November 5, 2010

Weekly Airline News Roundup – Crowded

One meaty story trumped another in what turned out to be a crowded week for airline news. Perhaps the biggest – and strangest – news to come out of the airline industry this week is the story of Qantas A380′s engine failure, which was first reported as a crash.

In other big industry news, Delta’s flight attendants rejected voting in a union, Ireland will not sell its stake in Aer Lingus to arch-rival Ryanair, and a JFK-bound jet was escorted by military planes after a cargo scare that proved false.

Tuesday was Election Day in the U.S., which yielded a reshuffling in the roles of those with an ear to the aviation industry. Delta and United, in particular, are seen as having gained some Republican support from the outcome of the elections. Outside of the U.S., Gulf airlines are claiming their advantages over their European counterparts are mainly because they are younger and more nimble, not because they are heavily subsidized by their governments as many claim. And Air Canada’s boss spoke up this week, claiming that outdated policies decreed by Ottawa force his airline and others to face higher fees than competitors in most other countries. Despite the higher fees and all the nagging, Air Canada saw a nice increase in revenue for the quarter. Speaking of profits, Emirates announced quadruple profits on the first half of the year. And international airlines more generally are getting a get-out-of-jail-free card for the tarmac delay rules imposed on U.S.-based airlines.

WestJet announced this week it will start charging for a second checked bag, Southwest is trying to lure more business travelers, and AirTran loyalists are begging Southwest to keep some semblance of a first class when it takes over operations.

American and Air Canada are chatting with the TSA about the possibility of rolling out self-bag-tagging for checked luggage. The TSA is also rolling out its Secure Flight Program, last week’s implementation of the new screening measures are being met with scrutiny, and there is also new pressure for additional screening on luggage after related research from the cargo security scare shows the holes in safety protocol. While we’re on the topic of gaps, an American Airlines plane is under examination by regulators after a hole was discovered in the fuselage. Thankfully all are safe from the incident.

On a slightly brighter note for airlines, and perhaps and equally dark and gloomy one for passengers is that Thanksgiving fares are expected to rise with an increase in travelers as compared with last year. One less thing to be thankful for in terms of your wallets, but good for a recovering economy.

Perhaps the most tasty story to circulate in the industry this week is Cathay Pacific’s announcement of a dessert contest, where they ask people to come up with their most delectable dessert dishes and send the recipes in for a chance to win a business class flight to Hong Kong and have your dessert featured on Cathay’s in-flight menu. You can see some mouthwatering entries on their Facebook fan page.

We had a crowded news week as well, with announcements that our 62nd BlueCity is now open, Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C., we’ve been nominated for a Pixel Award for best website with jetblue.com (Shameless plug: you can vote for us through November 30!), and tickets with our new partner EL AL are now on sale. We also announced this week our Jets touchdown contest with Mastercard, where Customers can have their flights refunded (as per the terms and conditions) if the Jets win the Big Game in Dallas!

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

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