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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: March, 2012

POSTED: Monday, March 19, 2012, 2:52 PM

This is a delightful story that sorta-literallly flies in the face of stories of unhappy airline employees. Read here about the United flight attendant, hired as one of the first native Hawaiian "stewards" on old prop planes flying to Hawaii from the West Coast, is still enjoying his work after 63 years.

POSTED: Monday, March 19, 2012, 2:04 PM

The evidence keeps mounting that so-called low-cost airlines, a misnomer these days after the older network carriers have used Chapter 11 to cut labor costs in recent years, simply have better customer service than most of the big guys. JD Power & Associates annual survey of what airline passengers like and don't like shows what so many measures of customer sentiment have: Southwest, Virgin America and JetBlue are among those that simply aggravate their customers less. Read more about it here ...

POSTED: Monday, March 19, 2012, 1:53 PM

Four British airlines are cautioning UK transport officials that they need help, and some special handling, during the London smmer Olympic games if the country's airports are not going to be overwhelmed by the extra air traffic that's expected. Read a little more at this link ....

POSTED: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 5:01 PM

PHL's on-time flight departure record in January was the best we can recall in a long time: It was the 10th best in the nation, according to the monthly report from the U.S. DOT's Bureau of Transportation Statistics. The arrival performance was more typical, in 21st place. Both numbers are highly dependent on how US Airways performs, of course, and the big carrier here has been doing very well in operating an efficient airline lately.

At the same time, the DOT statistics for the month need to be seen in context: Milder weather in places that usually suffer in the winter helped other major airports to have an even better record than PHL, including Minneapolis/St. Paul, Charlotte, Boston, Washington National and New York LaGuardia. Airline and airport on-time tables can be found here, and more detail than anyone could possibly love, about the airlines' improvements in mishandled bags and consumer complaints filed with DOT, can be found at this link.  

POSTED: Thursday, March 15, 2012, 4:31 PM

US Airways has been active, news-wise, the last few days. Today, CEO Doug Parker told employees how much 2011 profit-sharing cash they were getting ($12 milliion). Yesterday, president Scott Kirby told an investors' conference in New York that the airline was eschewing hostility if it decides to take over another airline. US Airways will seek labor cooperation if it wants to acquire American, he says.

POSTED: Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 11:27 AM

US Airways, trying to make sure it's not the victim of "cyber-squatting" on Internet domain names if it makes a deal to merge with American Airlines, has  been buying up possible domain names to protect itself. Read more about US Airways actions here ...

POSTED: Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 4:43 PM

We naturally hear more these days about the rising price of motor fuel, since it affects so many people, than we do about the effect of oil prices on airlines. But the carriers' customers are going to be hit with higher fares and fewer flights to some cities this year as jet fuel costs also keep rising. Whereas labor was once the airlines' biggest cost category, reductions or slowdowns in employee compensation (and fewer employees) means that fuel is the largest expense today. Read more about FAA forecasts related to airlines for this year at this link .... Which airlines are being hit the hardest .... that's not clear yet, but one big that usually makes money, Southwest, says it will be in the red in the first quarter.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 13, 2012, 4:22 PM

Hello ... back from another long break of the kind afforded the semi-retired ... with unfortunate news for customers of Direct Air, a public charter carrier that served some secondary airports, including ABE (Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton), also known as Lehigh Valley. Direct Air canceled all its flights today, leaving some passengers stranded away from home and airports (ABE included) holding the bag for services rendered but not paid for. Read what little more is known here ....

About this blog
Tom Belden has been reporting about Philadelphia International Airport and other air travel subjects for more than 20 years, writing columns for The Inquirer's Travel and Business sections. His reporting (with colleague Craig McCoy) on baggage handling problems in Philadelphia have been credited with helping to improve the system. His previous blog was called Road Warrior. He can reached at tbelden@phillynews.com. Reach Tom at tbelden@phillynews.com.

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