October 6, 2013

home-typewriter copy 1Hi there everyone. This week’s issue of PlaneBusiness Banter is now posted.

This week’s issue is a bit later then usual. Yours truly was flying around the countryside this week, and then I came down with a damn cold Thursday after I had returned to the Worldwide Headquarters. Blech.

However neither sniffling, sneezing or runny eyes could keep me from my appointed task. Just took me a while.

Oh my gosh. What a week. I started by flying to Tampa – St. Petersburg on Sunday, where I presented to the Society of Collegiate Travel and Expense Managers. Then Monday afternoon I was off to Miami and The Beat Live — a conference I’ve enjoyed attending and participating in for the last six years.

In this week’s issue of PBB, I’ll tell you what the hot buttons were at the conference. But I’ll give you some hints — complaints about lack of customer service at Concur; continued confusion and misinformation about IATA’s NDC proposal; and a rousing discussion about the place of technology in travel — what works, what doesn’t, and why not.

While all this was going on, Tuesday was one hell of a day in the airline industry as first, the Department of Justice tried to convince the Judge who in charge of the American Airlines/US Airways antitrust case that she should grant a stay — and delay the trial — because of the government shutdown.

The Judge not only told the DOJ no, there was not going to be a delay, she laid out the planned schedule for the trial again, adding that she anticipates ruling on the case no later than the middle of January. I like this woman more and more.

Then we have U.S. airlines over in Europe trying to bring home airplanes. But they can’t.

Seems that no U.S. airline will be able to take delivery of any aircraft manufactured outside the United States as long as the office that performs the registration tasks for aircraft remains closed — the result of the ridiculousness in Washington.

Don’t get me started on that topic.

Oh, and speaking of stupid political tricks, we had the flip that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott did Tuesday, as he switched positions on the planned merger between American Airlines and US Airways.

He will no longer be a party to the DOJ case against it.

Not surprisingly, he said that politics played no role in his decision. Right. In return for this “support” the airline essentially promised nothing it was not already going to do in the first place. That’s okay. Everybody looked good. It provided a nice photo op. And now the pressure can be put on other attorneys general to get with the plan.

But this had NOTHING to do with the fact that a certain Democratic candidate for Governor (Abbott is the presumed Republican nominee) was announcing her candidacy on Thursday and certainly was not going to hesitate to use Abbott’s opposition to a merger that affects so many of his constituents in her comments.

No. Nothing whatsoever.

Just another week in Paradise.

Oh, and did I tell you how American Airlines sold me a day pass to an Admiral’s Club the other day when I checked in at Tampa for my flight to Miami? Only one problem. There is no Admiral’s Club in Tampa.

Fun with upsells.

Last week we also saw the end of 3Q13. (That’s third quarter 2013 for you who are not that Wall Street cognizant.)

How did the airline sector do for the quarter? Great.

This week we get you up on all that — and we talk about the latest tweaks and changes in analyst estimates and targets for 3Q13, following a number of airline updates to guidance. Essentially United Airlines surprised analysts on the down side for the quarter the week before, but both Delta Air Lines and US Airways¬†issued guidance this week that puts both airlines on track to report earnings ahead of previous estimates.

Yee haw.

Subscribers can access this week’s issue here.¬†