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Inquirer Daily News

Archive: January, 2011

POSTED: Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 10:38 AM

Big, good news was reported by US Airways this morning. The once-struggling, almost-died-numerous-times, given-up-as-hopeless-at-customer-service airline, one of the best turnaround stories in the history of private sector transportation, said it made money in the fourth quarter and all of 2011. Not mentioned in the basic AP story found here was in a note to employees from CEO Doug Parker: The workforce gets to share in $47 million in 2010 profit sharing.

The new United also reported net income. Detail on that to follow. And by the end of the day, here they are.

POSTED: Monday, January 24, 2011, 3:01 PM

US Airways has been on what we might call an on-time roll the last year or two. US Airways' Robert Isom,  the chief operating officer, reported in a memo to his employees today details of the  bonuses the airline will continue to pay in 2011 for achieving high rankings in goverment (DOT) statistics for on-time flights and the number of complaints and lost bags. US Airways has ranked in the top three vs. the carriers it considers its peers (American, Continental, Delta, United) month after month in the three service categories, and finished that way for the full year (at least through November).

That has meant US Airways' employees earned bonuses last year of $600 apiece for the good work.  I've said it before and will say it again: PHL's biggest airline is enormously better today than it was a few years ago. Readers of this blog have had very little to say in the way of complaint about US Airways for at least two years now.

Here's one more bit of news about the airline. Unlike American Air, US Airways has decided to stick with one of the traditional methods of online ticket sales, signing a deal with the Expedia online travel agency, which gets its ticket inventory from the same "global distribution systems" that most traditional agencies use. Read more here, and find links to background on the ongoing dispute over American's move   

POSTED: Monday, January 24, 2011, 11:59 AM

You might consider reading this story from USA Today, reporting that U.S. airlines had no fatalities last year, in conjunction with the post above. This story also makes the previous point -- that actually flying on an airline in this country or most of the rest of the developed world is not an inherently dangerous activity. That would be driving while drunk -- or its equivalent,  texting or even talking on a cell phone while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.

POSTED: Monday, January 24, 2011, 11:46 AM

This story will be found all over the media today but bears repeating in this space. The explosion in one of Moscow's major airports underscores a problem that no amount of passenger screening and protection of travelers and aircraft beyond checkpoints can ever solve. The most vulnerable places for people to be these days are not aboad airplanes but at major transportation hubs, like airport arrival halls, train stations, ferry terminals and the like. We can still take heart from the fact terrorist acts such as this one are still extraordinarily rare, and have yet to keep people from abandoning all travel.    

POSTED: Thursday, January 20, 2011, 3:22 PM

The Inquirer's Linda Loyd has a delightful story todayabout the Texas advertising agency that has worked for Southwest Airlines for 30 years, and is behind the series of amusing commercials that emphasize the differences between Southwest and other carriers. Read that story here. And by the way, can an airline make money while still having fun with its customers and employees? Southwest found the formula, again, in 2010, as this story by its hometown newspaper notes.

UPDATE: Loyd added to yesterday's reporting in a story that used a great quote from Southwest's CEO: Find it here.

 

POSTED: Thursday, January 20, 2011, 11:13 AM

As many Philadelphia-area travelers have discovered in the last couple of years, new competitors have changed the intercity bus business, offering curbside pickups near other transportation hubs in Center City. The major lines, Boltbus and Megabus (the latter one with a growing network based on a Philly hub), contributed to making intercity bus service the fastest-growing mode of public transportation last year. A study done by DePaul University on the industry shows how successful services are growing, using clean new equipment, low fares and Wi-Fi on board to attract a new generation of customers. Read the full study at this link.

POSTED: Thursday, January 20, 2011, 11:00 AM

The major airlines continue to report their 2010 fourth-quarter and full-year financial results. American's parent, AMR, reported a 4Q loss that was smaller than analysts expected but contrasted with other carriers' results. Southwest, to no one's surprise, made money in the quarter and for the year; detail on that to follow.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 19, 2011, 5:55 PM

Here's anotrher update on American Airlines effort to avoid the traditional ticket-sales distribution system and require other sellers of its ticket to use its Direct Connect system. Priceline is now in the American camp, as reported in a tnooz trade story. 

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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