Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Weather and Competition Snag Brash Spirit

Spirit Airlines , sometimes referred to as the "in your face", "customer be dammed"  and "Bare Fare" airline (among others that shall not be published here) is blaming weather and competition for the poor numbers and margins posted in June.  We are always skeptical when companies blame the weather for their poor performance.  Another explanation, not given by analysts or the company is that perhaps travelers finally figured out the "unbundling" gig that ends up costing more when it is all said and done.  Remember that Spirit back in 2012 more than doubled the carry-on luggage fee to a $100 and made no apologies.  The applause from Wall Street was deafening.  Reality is finally setting in, and Wall Street is showing no love for Spirit today.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

JetBlue Joins the Legacy Nickel and Dime Club

JetBlue, which for years distinguished itself as different and better than the domestic legacy carriers, and one of the last holdouts in charging for checked bags, finally succumbed to the temptation and will start charging for checked bags for bookings made as of June 30, 2015.  While this is not a surprise, JetBlue added couple of wrinkles by associating the fees with the fares paid.  Southwest Airlines remains the only major carrier not to charge a bag fee.  www.premieretravel.com

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Dogfight Over Love

Dallas Love Field that is.
Lawsuits are erupting involving the City Of Dallas, DOT, FAA, Southwest and Delta over the chaotic situation with the gates.  Southwest controls the vast majority of the gates at Love Field, a new hot favorite among travelers tired of American Airlines' dominance at Dallas-Ft. Worth.  Delta operates from 5 gates at Love Field but is supposed to surrender the gates to Southwest on July 6.  Delta however continues to book flights into and out of Love Field beyond the dates and their presence at Love Field will terminate on July 6.  DOT added to the confusion saying Delta has the right to continue to operate beyond the July deadline.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wall Street Stands In Way of Airline Capacity Increase

When Southwest Airlines announced last week plans for increasing seat capacity starting November, Wall Street analysts and investors were very quick in taking the entire airline sector to the shed.  All airline stocks lost 2-3% when the announcement was made, as analysts were "concerned" about empty seats.
This misguided notion disregards the reality that airlines have been cutting capacity across the board for the past four years and a mere increase of 7% by one airline does not spell the doom of an entire industry.

There are many under-served airports and regions in the country that have seen high growth rates since the 2008 recession.  Airports like Austin and Dallas, along with many west coast cities have experienced double-digit growth on an annual basis.  Yet, airline service has decreased over the past few years.  The capacity increase announced by Southwest should be viewed as a healthy sign of demand not dilution by Wall Street, the investors and the "expert analysts".


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

TSA Failure Rate: 95%

Investigators were able to smuggle  banned (fake) weapons showing a high rate of failure in TSA screening at the nation's busiest airports.

The breaches and lapses from the investigation resulted in the "reassignment" of Melvin Carraway, the acting administrator.

The silver lining and  one thing perhaps worth noting was that TSA agents were good at barking orders better than 95% of the time.www.premieretravel.com

Friday, April 17, 2015

Flying Somewhere? Your Checked Baggage May Not Be On Your Flight

The first text notification you might receive upon  arrival at your destination may be from your carrier advising you that your bag may have been put on an earlier flight or a later flight.

This is one of many examples of airlines' notifications to passengers, which include among other things flight delays, change of gates, missed connections and protection.
It is highly recommended that passengers provide airlines and/or their travel management companies their mobile phone numbers for better service. www.premieretravel.com

Monday, April 13, 2015

Airline "Misery Index" Hits an All-Time High

Airlines promised better service and cheaper fares to get their mergers approved.  After USAirways and American were the latest pair to tie the knot, passengers' frustration with airlines and the travel experience hit another high.  In every category, airlines fared worse than years before:
  • On-time arrivals dropped 2 percent;
  • A slight increase in the percentage of passengers bumped from flights;
  • Mishandled baggage climbed 11 percent.
The good news? Airlines like United climbed from #12 (last year) to #9 overall.  Part of the reason is there are less airlines to rate because of mergers. www.premieretravel.com