Friday, November 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Archive: March, 2010

POSTED: Wednesday, March 31, 2010, 11:38 AM

UPDATE: So much for informed speculation, as I waxed eloquent yesterday about American's plan to ramp up more service at New York area airports. Here's the basic story. The airline said it would serve seven new destinations from the New York area; PHL is not one of them., Based on AA saying this announcement would be of "interest" to PHL fliers, I guessed one of the seven would be PHL to Kennedy airport to feed international flights. I will strive to be better informed from now on.

Any increase in service that enhances international connections at JFK, of course, is of interest to US Airways and customers who use its overseas flights from PHL. The recession has prompted US to trim some of its Europe flights from PHL, and AA may be moving to take advantage of what could be a perceived weakening of US's competitiveness through the PHL hub.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 1:21 PM

American Airlines has scheduled a news conference with CEO Gerard Arpey for tomorrow regarding service in New York, and says the subject could be of interest to PHL travelers. Hmmm? What could this mean? Here is some informed speculation.

American has extensive international operations at Kennedy airport but has no nonstop big-jet flights or regional service by its Eagle unit between PHL and JFK. Its archrival Delta, an even bigger player at JFK, does have nonstops to connect passengers between JFK and PHL. American may be ready to launch a number of new routes, including one from PHL, into JFK to feed passengers to the overseas flights.

Another possibility is American has struck a code-share deal with Amtrak similar to what Continental has with the rail service at Newark Liberty airport; code shares allow airlines to sell each others' tickets and share revenue on routes. If that's what American would like to do, remember that getting from Amtrak's Penn Station in mid-town Manhattan to JFK requires a good hour or two on public transportation, much different from being able to go from the EWR rail station to the terminal in about 10 minutes on a free people mover system.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 10:35 AM

US Airways has started offering in-flight Wi-Fi service, enabling customers to pay a fee and get Internet access on laptops or smart phones above 10,000 feet. The Gogo Inflight Internet service is installed on five A321 jets, and by June 1 should be ready to go on all 51 of the airline's A321s, the airlne and Gogo announced yesterday.

As I've reported in the Winging It column last week, I  used Gogo service on an AirTran flight earlier this month and found it worked well, provided you have enough legroom in coach to put down your tray table to use a laptop. The service on US Airways is priced similarly to other airlines that have Gogo: $4.95 for flights of 90 minutes or less, with fees rising to as much as $12.95 for the longest domestic flights to use a laptop or netbook, or $7.95 for mobile devices.

POSTED: Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 10:09 AM

British Airways and its striking cabin crew union, Unite, don't agree on much these days, including how much BA lost as a result of two long-weekend strikes that prompted widespread flight cancellations. More here ...

POSTED: Tuesday, March 30, 2010, 10:00 AM

Two reports today confirm with data what we've known, or sensed in recent months about the depressing effect of the recession on airline traffic. The U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics says that the number of passengers on U.S. airlines last year declined 5.3 percent last year from 2008, and was more than 8 percent below what it was in the record year of 2007. Read more about it here...

On the other hand, worldwide passenger traffic jumped by almost 10 percent in February compared with a year before, the International Air Transport Association reported in a monthly roundup. Here is that story ...

POSTED: Monday, March 29, 2010, 10:54 AM

Southwest has a funny new TV commercial in its ongoing "bags fly free" campaign that has played heavily during the NCAA basketball tournment, and whether you realize it or not, appears aimed at rival low-cost carrier AirTran. (I wasn't sure which airline Southwest was targeting but this seems to be the best guess.) AirTran tried a non-response to the Southwest jab but then did respond with a video of its own that's funny as well. Dallas Morning News Airline Biz blogger Terry Maxon put both videos online. Find them here ....  

POSTED: Monday, March 29, 2010, 9:53 AM

Today's Winging It column contrasts the deep political divide over health care reform with the way Congress usually approaches transportation issues: Everybody seems to like trains, planes and autombiles. The bipartisan approach to transportation spending is expected to keep strong support for all modes, and particularly better passenger-rail service. Find the column here ....

POSTED: Saturday, March 27, 2010, 11:58 AM

Here is some additional information about an issue air travelers should be concerned about, even thought it doesn't deal directly with PHL. The Consumer Traveler Web site has a longish post by writer Charles Leocha about the questionable proposal of US Airways and Delta to swap slots at Washington National and New York LaGuardia airports. As you may recall, the Department of Transportation rejected the airlines' first proposal, which would have given Delta more market control at LGA and US Airways more at DCA.

Their revised proposal revealed last week would have them sell slots -- which as you will see if you keep reading Leocha's post were obtained by the airlines at no cost -- to four smaller airlines. Left out of the deal was Southwest, which would like the chance to expand at LGA and possibly serve DCA.  Read the Consumer Traveler article 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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