Monthly Archives: March 2010

Southwest Airlines Dissed by Tiger’s Mistress


Okay, so only one of his women dissed Southwest Airlines.

I admit it. I had to go read the excerpts online in the New York Post this afternoon concerning the upcoming Vanity Fair article on Tiger and his women.

And in the midst of the article, where it talks about how cheap he supposedly is — was this priceless airline-related nugget attributed to Las Vegas nightclub waitress Jamie Jungers.

“Jungers said Tiger’s cheapness always bugged her. She recalled how Team Tiger always flew her on discount carrier Southwest Airlines and never in first class.”

Well, yes, I guess it’s a pretty safe bet that she never flew in first class if they made her fly Southwest.

Ya think?

Clearly intelligence was not a priority item in the selection of these women. But then, we already knew that.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

Hi guys. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

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This week we talk about round two of the British Airways strike — and about how we think Unite’s efforts are — or are not having — an effect on the airline’s operations.

Meanwhile, there is a pilot strike now scheduled against Lufthansa in two weeks. Not only are the pilots there picking up verbal support from other pilots groups worldwide, but now another airline employee group may join them on the picket line.

Did we just have an outbreak of Norovirus on an airline flight? Yuck.

WestJet’s new CEO dropped a bomb in an interview Friday with the Financial Post. Looks like WestJet isn’t going to wait on Southwest to get it’s IT act together. It’s apparently considering a codesharing agreement with Delta. Is this a good move for WestJet? We talk about it — as well as one of our subscribers who has been taking a closer look at the airline and its market opportunities.

Then there is the slot swap deal involving US Airways and Delta Air Lines. The two airlines don’t think the FAA should be involved in the deal at all. Or the DOT.

Want to take a guess as to who they think should make the decision on this proposed deal?

We have a guest columnist this week in PBB. I’m not tellin.’

Airline stocks had a great week again this week, we have the latest “Airline Question of the Week” from Morgan Stanley, and we talk about why it is Barclays is bullish on JetBlue in Beantown.

All this and more – as we all eagerly await the arrival of the Easter Bunny here at the PlaneBusiness Worldwide Headquarters later this week.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

1933 American Airlines Video: What a Hoot

This is simply too good. A 1933 “American Airways” Promotional video.
And I quote, “From the beginning of time, man has been the master of his own journey, he chooses the road by which he goes. He steps ahead or he steps aside. Here’s the man who steps ahead. The kind of man who gets things done. He knows where he’s going and how to get there — The American Airways way.”
Oh, I’m telling you. It’s a trip. Watch it. It runs about 21 minutes.

This Week in PlaneBusiness Banter

You want to know how much money the airline industry had to shell out in additional GDS fees in 2009 as a result of the OTAs dropping their online booking fees?

We know the answer. At least we know how much Forrester Research estimates the airlines lost.

This week in PlaneBusiness Banter I sit down with Henry Harteveldt, VP and Principal Analyst with Forrester Research. We not only talk about the airlines and their additional GDS costs, we talk about onboard Wi-Fi and why AirCell’s pricing is too expensive, American’s lousy business class seats, Braniff, the shift that Forrester sees happening from legacy carriers to LCCs by corporate travel managers, and, of course, United’s decrepit onboard entertainment systems.

In other news, we look at the surprise Continental Airlines pulled on its pilot group last week. Hey, if the pilot group is going to keep waving the Delta Air Lines‘ pilot contract around — why not just give it to them? With a few minor revisions. That is exactly what the company has offered as a counter-proposal to what the pilots offered up in December.

Is this a good deal for the airline? For the pilots?

Meanwhile, Unite, the union that represents the cabin crew at British Airways made good on their promise to strike the airline this weekend. The airline estimates it has lost £7 million ($10.6 million) for each of the three days. It also says it will take the rest of the week to get itself re-positioned. Then– on Saturday, Unite has scheduled to begin a four-day strike against the airline.

Not to be outdone by the British Airways‘ cabin crew members, pilots at Germanwings and Lufthansa Cargo are now set to join Lufthansa pilots in a strike against that airline in April. After Easter. (That was considerate of them.)

This last week ISTAT held its annual conference in Orlando. We talk about the feedback we received from several subscribers who were in attendance — and yes, ILFC’s Steve Hazy was there talking up his new airline leasing venture.

Meanwhile, lots of regulatory news last week from the FAA, the NTSB, and the Office of the Special Counsel. We talk about all that — and yep, then there was that “Flight from Hell” on Virgin America last week. JetBlue saved the day. Ouch.

On the analyst front — Dan McKenzie with Hudson Securities issued an informative research note last week that looks at the changes in the competitive capacity game. We always like those.

All this — and a lot more. In this week’s issue.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

Hi guys. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now available for your perusal. Or you can read it if you prefer. But only if you are a subscriber. Otherwise, I’d prefer that you don’t peruse it. Or read it.

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This week we have a pretty good issue, if I do say so myself. Obviously we are talking about the latest over at American Airlines as the TWU formally requested to be released from the NMB last week.

But the situation at British Airways is much more serious — as the labor laws in the U.K. are very different than they are here. There, the union that represents the cabin crew for the airline — Unite — has already set strike dates against the airline. The first walk-out is scheduled to start this Saturday and run for three days. Unless something happens between now and then.

This dispute has turned into a first class political fight — as there is a general election coming up in the U.K. and what happens with British Airways has now become a political hot potato for the Labour government of Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The Labour party, you see, has been heavily supported by the Unite organization in the past.

But most of U.K residents do not want a strike.

So you can see the problem here — not to mention the fact that the Conservatives are now running a couple of points ahead in the current polling.

Yes, it’s just one bloody mess, as our friend the Brits would say.

Back on this side of the pond, there is a lot of action in Washington these days concerning our beloved things with wings. First, Congress is attempting, one more time, to finally pass an FAA Reauthorization Bill. I’ll update you on where all that stands after two major breaks in the logjam were made last week.

The FAA Forecast Conference was held last week in Washington as well — and yes, NextGen was top of mind with FAA administrator Randy Babbitt — but there were other things talked about as well. Including high-speed rail.

Then there is the upcoming resumption of negotiations between the EU and the U.S. on a new “Open Skies” agreement. The EU is still saying publicly that there will be no new agreement without a change in the current U.S. airline ownership laws.

The U.S. has not been able to agree to this in the past.

If no agreement is reached here before November — then the EU has some retaliatory things it can do — and it would not be pleasant.

The DOT issued its Airline Consumer Travel Report for January last week. We have the numbers. Alaska Air Group had a terrific month overall.

Two Wall Street analysts chimed in with their take on Allegiant’s 757 aircraft announcement. We talk about that. We also take a look at an interesting research note that Dan McKenzie, who is with Hudson Securities put out last week on why he thinks a United/Continental deal needs to be done sooner rather than later.

And guess who pops up in the discussion? That’s right. Southwest Airlines.

All this and much, much more including the new airport outside of Tokyo that has one flight a day currently scheduled.

It’s that Japan Airlines way of looking at the world, I guess.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

PlaneBusiness Banter Now Posted!

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Hello everyone.

The latest issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted. Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.

Yours truly attended a wedding this past weekend. That is why I am a day late with this week’s issue. As I told subscribers last week — for the first time in 14 years I left on a weekend and never planned on picking up a laptop. Yay!

But back to the wedding. This was not just any wedding. It was a wedding of two industry employees. One a dedicated union dues-paying member. Another — an executive member of an airline management team.

No surprise that I ruminate a bit this week on why it is that this industry is so hard on human relationships.

In other news, the JP Morgan Airline Investment Conference kicked off today, and it has already provided some good sound bytes, including a couple from the new sheriff in Houston, Continental Airlines‘ CEO Jeff Smisek. I really do believe that Jeff is attempting to channel Gordon Bethune — only he’s using a much younger persona.

On the potential airline strike front, it looks, as of this writing, that the cabin crew employees (flight attendants for those of this on this side of the pond) for British Airways could strike the airline as soon as next Wednesday, pending what happened today with talks.

Meanwhile, on this side of the pond, both the mechanics and the flight attendants at American Airlines continue their lock-step move towards both being released from the National Mediation Board from their negotiations with American Airlines. At essentially the same time.

Originally we had expected news on this front yesterday, but the NMB has asked both sides to keep talking. But we could get a release to a 30-day cooling off period before the end of the week for one or both unions, depending on what happens tomorrow.

We talk about this in this week’s issue. How close is the airline to a potential strike? Pretty damn close. And the fact that the two unions are more or less joined at the hip in terms of the timetable here — that does not help the airline at all. It gives the unions much more clout.

Airline stocks had another good week last week. And, as expected, the traffic and RASM estimates from those airlines that provide them have been almost — across the board — as expected or better. Southwest Airlines was a little light for some reason — but the rest of the numbers have looked just as strong as the industry analysts had projected.

On another topic, we apparently have a new airline lurking in the weeds. Sorry. No more info until the end of the month.

And finally — Allegiant Travel Company announced it was buying six 757-200s. The airline, which up until now has only flown Maddogs, is going to use the aircraft for new service to Hawaii. Hmmm. I can see it now. Des Moines to Maui.

Or something like that.

All this and more in this week’s issue of PBB.