Monthly Archives: June 2007

Northwest Feeling Pinch of Crew Shortages


We are not usually prowling around in here on Sunday nights, but in checking the email tonight I noted a couple of notes from readers, including the irrepressible Scott McMurren up there in Alaska, along with an email advisory from Joe Brancatelli from earlier today. It seems that Northwest Airlines has canceled a lot of flights this weekend — and Joe was advising folks to check on their flights before leaving for the airport.

According to FlightStats, on Friday, the airline cancelled 100 flights. On Saturday, it cancelled 159 flights, or 12% of its schedule. Sunday, as of 8:50 p.m. CDT, the airline had cancelled a hefty 190 flights. or about 16% of its schedule.

Sent out a few notes to some Northwest folks we know, and yes, they all are confirming to us tonight that the airline has had to cancel flights because they simply don’t have the crews to fly them.

And we have almost a whole week left in June.

While we can pretty much bet the farm this isn’t the only airline that is having these problems, Northwest does seem to be having the worst case.

The flight attendants and the pilots have been telling Northwest for months that there were going to be crew shortages this summer.

Well — here we go.

Update on FAA Advisories

Thanks to Brett Snyder, aka Cranky Flier, who just let me know that because I pulled up the FAA status page in Firefox, that is why all the airports pop up orange. He alerted me to the fact that  the page will not work properly in Firefox. Apparently the last time I used the page I accessed it in Safari, because it functioned correctly.

The things we learn…..right?

So having said that — things are that bad this afternoon. Maybe I’ll go fly somewhere.

But not to the Northeast and not to Dallas. Looks like there is nasty weather in Dallas, and the usual gridlock in the Northeast.

Oil Prices Looking Ugly as Well

Gas Prices

Oil prices were up again today as fears of the effect of a Nigerian strike against oil producers caused traders to come down with a case of the nervous jitters. Oil was up almost 50 cents on the day, closing at 69.14 a barrel.

Word to the wise. Don’t get used to those lower prices at the gas station. They aren’t going to stay there for much longer with oil moving up as it has been for the last two weeks. Remember — there is usually a lag time between rising oil prices and higher gasoline prices.

Friday Afternoon Looking Ugly Again

This map only looks good if you are a Big Orange fan of Tennessee or a Texas Longhorns fan. Nothing but orange. And as we all know, the only worse possibility is nothing but red. I guess we should be happy for small favors. I’m still glad I’m not on a plane today.


AirTran Pilots TA Vote Postponed

0432371211 Airtran

There was some interesting news out today concerning the tentative agreement between AirTran and its pilots.

While all TAs are important, this one has a little more behind it, as the airline and the pilot group don’t want to to into a potential merger situation with Midwest with no contract in place.

Apparently the National Pilots Association was in the midst of doing their road shows and talking to their membership and it became pretty clear that the rank and file were not going to vote to accept the TA.

Rather than go to a vote and an inevitable demise, the union and the airline have instead now postponed the vote, and both sides are going to be meeting under the watchful eye of the National Mediation Board next month in Washington, in an attempt to work out the issues that members of the union have cited as being the most objectionable.

Good for them. This is a decision that makes sense. Unless there’s more to this story that I don’t know about.

PlaneBusiness Banter Posting Update

Home-Typewriter Copy-1-41

Hey guys. We’re going to post PBB tomorrow. But it won’t be late in the day. We’re just trying to get a few things nailed down — and I need to wait until normal people are up and answering their phone or their email.

I’ll update everyone here when the issue is posted.


Ah, How I Love the Smell of Sewage in the Cabin

By now you’ve all probably heard of the crappy experience (and I mean literally) that 250 passengers on a trans-Atlantic Continental Airlines‘ flight had to endure last week.


Thanks to CrankyFlier, who let me know there was a first hand account from a passenger online. To read the missive, you can click here. This photo was taken by a passenger on the aircraft — yes, that is backed up sewage coming down the aisle. Coffee, tea or pee?

The worst part? These folks were herded off the original flight and forced to spend the night — then re-herded onto the same aircraft, which then developed the exact same problems shortly after taking off.

While I did have a pretty bad lav experience on Chicken Taco (Chautauqua for those not PBB subscribers) last week, it was nothing compared to this.

Ticker: (NYSE:CAL)

Follow Up on Changes in Southwest’s Routes


For those of you interested in this subject that we talked about earlier this week, I wanted to let you know that the airline has scheduled an analyst/investor update session in New York next week — on June 27. The date coincides with the airline being listed publicly on the NYSE for 30 years — in case anyone is a real history buff and into those types of nifty pieces of information.

Because of the time frame in which the airline will be loading up its new schedules in its system (which also just happens to coincide with this date), expect to see some news from the airline about the changes next week.

Also, this meeting with CEO Gary Kelly and the analysts will be webcast.