Monthly Archives: November 2007

Will Someone Tell United to Put a Sock In It and Put Their Clothes Back On?


If I read one more major media story concerning United Airlines and it’s “desire to merge” with a partner, I’m going to scream.

Yesterday it was  the rehash story that BusinessWeek posted. Not one piece of news in the whole thing. Today, Reuters is in on the act. And there have been others. Many others.

Says one thing to me. The United Airlines’ PR and positioning machine is making Tilton available to all who want to talk to him, and they are pushing to get this story out as much as they can.

Interesting. I wonder if this means fourth quarter is shaping up worse than expected, and they want to try and sucker, er, convince a would-be suitor/investment banking team before they have to face the music of reporting how much damage Virgin is doing to the airline’s trans-con business?

Whatever the reason, the airline is beginning to look like some of the women who hang out on Bourbon Street. Actually, I’m not sure those women might not be more subtle in their approach.

Oh, yeah. To be fair, there have been two stories concerning United this week. The merger story — and the story yesterday about how the airline wants to alter its debt repayment plans so that it can have the opportunity to “spread the wealth” to its shareholders.

Such a fine airline, that United.

Ticker: (Nasdaq:UAUA)

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We’re Back

PlaneDad is just fine. Surgery went as expected, and he’s antsy to get back to his normal routine. Good sign. Although I don’t think he cared too much for that goofy blue surgical cap they put on his head.

I threatened to take his picture while it was still on his head.

I don’t think he thought that was very funny.

Such A Fine Upstanding Man

Terry Maxon, our partner in airline related mayhem over at the Dallas Morning News gets a quote of the week nod this week.

More than one subscriber sent us a note yesterday about Terry’s take on Virgin America’s Fred Reid. The comment came in connection with American’s Dave Cush’s move over to Virgin territory.

And I quote from one email, ” I burst out laughing when I saw Terry Maxon’s post calling Fred Reid a “fine airline executive.”

Here’s the full quote:

“C. David Cush, American Airlines’ senior vice president for global sales, will become CEO of Virgin America.

And who got to make the announcement? Why, Donald J. Carty, Mr. Cush’s former boss at American. David obviously made an impression on Mr. Carty, who is both chairman of Virgin America’s board of directors and chief financial officer at Dell.

Mr. Cush replaces Fred Reid, a fine airline executive who unfortunately for Mr. Reid and Virgin America was seen as too tightly connected with the Virgin Group, the British investors behind the new airline. Although foreign investors don’t own more of Virgin America than U.S. law allows, DOT thought Mr. Reid would be too beholden to the foreign investors.”

That Terry. He’s one snarky fellow, isn’t he?  Yes, Fred is certainly a “fine airline executive.” Isn’t he?

Those folks in Dallas had better watch out. I understand Terry’s daughter is a writer, just like Dad. And a pretty good one at that.

The weekend before last, Dad and daughter were in New Orleans where she picked up the “Best Short Story by a High School Student” Award at the New Orleans Words and Music Festival. She was also a finalist and semi-finalist in a couple of other writing categories. The Festival is put on by the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society. Proud Dad tells me she met with a few agents, had her work critiqued by some movers and shakers, and all in all, it sounds like Lindsey Maxon is already an accomplished writer.

And she’s only 16.

Dad had better watch out. He’s got some competition in the house.

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This Week: Out of Pocket with PlaneDad


Hey guys. Just a heads up.

PlaneDad has to have some surgery tomorrow — and yours truly is the designated hand-holder, limo driver,  chair sitter, and prescription retriever.

So I won’t be around here too much for the next couple of days.

As for now — I’m off to find that nurse’s uniform with the ugly white shoes and that funky little cap.

AMR Exec Named to Virgin America CEO Post


Think Virgin America Chairman Don Carty had anything to do with this?

Virgin America announced today that it has found a replacement for CEO Fred Reid. Dave Cush, formerly SVP of Global Sales at American, will take over as CEO at the airline effective Dec.10.

So — is this good for Virgin, good for American — bad for either?

I think Cush’s departure is not a particularly good piece of news for American.  As for Virgin, I’m sure Cush’s international experience will come in handy — no matter what the future holds for Virgin America. My guess is that his type of experience will be quite valuable to the Virgin Group in the long term.

As for Cush himself, this is clearly a nice grab, as no one is really moving up at American. The only way up is out.

Ticker: (NYSE:AMR)

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Wall Street: Airline Stocks Look at Another Down Day


Taking a look at today’s action on Wall Street it’s not a very pretty sight — as airline stocks are once again taking some hits. However, on the good side, the hits are relatively minor, compared to the major body blows the sector has endured over the last week or so.

And this, as oil more or less just sits around $97 a barrel.

Looking at the stocks we track here at PlaneBusiness, as of this posting at around 1:15 PM ET, the losers far outnumber the winners.

Leading the gainers are ADRs of China Eastern Airlines, which are currently trading up 4% at 80.08. The biggest loser for the group are ADRs of TAM. The Brazilian airline’s ADRs are now trading down 4% for the day at 26.78. ADRs of AirFrance/KLM  are also down 4%, trading around 36.15 as of this writing.

Continental shares are currently down 2% for the day at 27, while shares of Delta Air Lines are flat at 18.13. AMR, parent of American Airlines, is down about 2%, trading at 20.32, while shares of US Airways are down almost 3%, trading at 19.78.

Shares of United are down almost 1%, trading around 39.94. Southwest shares are down 1%, trading at 13.59, while shares of Northwest Airlines are down almost 2%, trading at 17.50.


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Thanksgiving Airline Horror Stories: The Non-Story


Last week in PlaneBusiness Banter, I mentioned that the reports we had received from many of our PlaneBuzz readers and our PBB subscribers seemed to be telling a similar story. In the days leading up to Thanksgiving, many of you had written me, telling me that loads on your flights were not that bad, weather was cooperating, and that overall, things at the nation’s airports were humming right along.

Or as one reader put it, “I’ve seen Friday afternoons at ORD that were much worse than they were Wednesday afternoon.”

This morning, we’re starting to get the first reports in from yesterday from a number of flight crew members, and those at the airlines who have access to their airline’s respective flight info — and again — while I hate to disappoint those national media types who seemed to be salivating at the thought of an ugly passenger experience last week — I’ve got some breaking news for you.

There is no story here.

The busiest air travel weekend has come and gone. And by all accounts that we have read, it went pretty damn well.

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Football Hangover: Monday Musings on Tigers Burning Out and Tigers Burning Bright

Missouri Univ Tigers Vinyl Football

Okay, I give up. I guess I need to just acknowledge the obvious and make a “Football” category over there on the right.

Will do.

But after a weekend like this, how can one not talk about football?

Pro or college, it was a weekend that will not be soon forgotten.

LSU-Arkansas. Want three overtimes with your public hanging of the nation’s number one ranked team? Oh, that was nothing. Let’s move to Saturday and the four overtime game between Tennessee and Kentucky. I thought Kentucky should have won that game, for whatever that’s worth. Tennessee, as one writer put it today, “Has more lives than any damn cat I’ve ever owned.”

As for LSU, Arkansas was the more prepared and more hungry of the two teams. They deserved to win. The LSU Tigers  played as if they had all eaten way too much turkey on Thursday. And the LSU crowd? For three quarters of the game, they were sound asleep as well.

Then we had Missouri-Kansas Saturday night — at the same time we had Alabama-Auburn.

No question who I was for in the Mizzou match. I have too many readers who have kids who play football for Carroll High School in Southlake, TX. Chase Daniel, quarterback for Missouri, played high school football there.

All hail the new number one ranked BCS team. For now. (Very important disclaimer, that one. Especially this year.)

And then there was the Iron Bowl. Hey, did I not predict that Tommy Tuberville and the boys were going to beat St. Nick here last week? Yes I did. Tuscaloosa is not a place I’d like to be this morning. Furthermore, if Auburn is seriously considering giving Tuberville his walking papers — they need to have their heads examined.

All in all, I feel this morning like my football circuits have been shorted out.

But wait. There was more to come. What about the Eagles last night? You can bet that AFC teams are cranking up that video this morning, taking copious notes as to just what Philly did to outgun, outsmart, and flummox the Patriots.

While technically New England pulled it out — they did end up with more points on the board when the fourth quarter ended — there’s no question Philly won the fight. And with A.J. Feeley at quarterback no less.

What a weekend.

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Tigers Toast


Congrats to you hogheads out there. Arkansas deserved to win today. The Tigers were asleep for the bulk of the game. I guess the Tigers decided to give Coach Les Miles a nice excuse to take the job at head coaching gig at Michigan. With no National Championship game, now Les can say …”yes!”

Not a happy night in Tigerland. Sigh.

Tomorrow, we’ve got our Tennessee Vols and Kentucky playing for the Eastern Conference slot in the SEC Championship. Should be a good game.