Archive: June, 2010
Signs are everywhere that the airline business, with capacity cuts and a little more demand, is recovering from the recession. In the Winging It column today, I provide some numbers on that, and a report on research on the industry. Surveys indicate people with a little money plan on spending some of it on travel this summer, while other research shows the airlines' frequent-flier programs vary greatly in providing members with the free tickets they promise. Read it all here...
UPDATE: Spirit Airlines has now canceled all flights through tomorrow, Tuesday. Beyond that, we see little new information available.Here's what we posted on Sunday, 6-13:
Spirit Airlines left thousand of customers in the lurch again for a second day after it canceled its entire schedule for today because of a strike by its pilots. The pilots' union has been trying to negotiate a new contract with Spirit management for four years and spent recent weeks warning that time had run out.
Spirit, which only flies to Atlantic City International Airport in the PHL region, is the same airline that plans to charge for carry-on bags ... we will have to see how that works out, if it settles the labor dispute but has so angered its passengers that they find another carrier in the future.
Those of you who have followed my work awhile know that I have focused on what to do with Terminal F in the past. The terminal has been a work in progress almost since it opened close to a decade ago. Complaints about its limited gate areas, inadequate concessions, small bag-claim area and lousy signage went on for years. Conditions (especially the signage) have improved significantly, but the building still needs a total makeover. I'm happy to see The Inquirer's airport reporter, Linda Loyd, has a story today outlining a $135 million upgrade for Terminal F.
American Eagle Airlines today launched service, three times a day in each direction, between Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) and Chicago O'Hare Airport, American's big hub. Earlier this year, American Eagle also started flying nonstop between O'Hare and Harrisburg. ABE is a good alternative to PHL for many people who need access to the network airlines' systems.
The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that airline employment shrank in 2009 compared with the year before, with the ranks of mechanics and pilots taking the biggest hits. The report detailed how the amount of aircraft maintenance work done by outside contractors instead of airline employees has been growing. Read more here ...
Spirit Airlines, which serves Atlantic City, says it's working with other airlines to provide some help if its pilots go on strike this weekend after failing to reach a new contract agreement. Here is a good roundup of reporting about the situation.
It's been a given in the first century of powered flight that pilots are needed to operate airplanes. But the Federal Aviation Administration is testing technology in Atlantic City that could make pilotless flight possible. Whether anyone would pay to fly such aircraft will have to be determined at a later date but the technology is getting there, according to a good Inquirer story today. Read more here.
Last week's Winging It column noted that surveys abound in the travel business and some can be read with greater faith than others, considering that most aren't scientific random samples but done by self-selected individuals. One of the more venerable surveys, of all sorts of products, is done by J.D. Power and this year's results on the airlines came out today. Airlines were rated higher, by a small fraction, this year compared with last. USA Today was given the results a day in advance for this story.