Delta: wifi on International Flights & attendants get new Phablets

WIFI ACCESS ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

Delta Air Lines will launch international wifi service on flights 283 and 295 equipped with Ku-band satellite wifi on Boeing 747-400 aircraft departing Los Angeles International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Narita International Airport in Tokyo.

Delta Kiosk

Delta kisok

Early check in at Delta kiosk at the Atlanta Airport

Customers can access wifi service with introductory pricing options that begin with one hour passes for laptop users as low as $14.00 and $8.00 for mobile users or a flight pass option, which will keep customers connected throughout their flight, starting at $24.95 for laptop users and $14.95 for mobile users. All of Delta’s 747-400 aircraft will have wifi installed by mid-2014.

Delta has three of 16 747-400 aircraft complete which also operate between Detroit and Seoul-Incheon; Detroit and Nagoya, Japan; Detroit and Tokyo-Narita; New York-JFK and Tel Aviv as well as New York-JFK and Tokyo-Narita.

The new international service uses satellites for global connectivity to offer coverage internationally and will compliment Delta’s existing air-to-ground service already provided by Gogo for aircraft flying within the domestic U.S.

DELTA FLIGHT ATTENDANTS TO SWITCH TO PHABLET

Delta Air Lines will equip more than 20,000 flight attendants with handheld Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets, which will serve as their on-board manual and in-flight sales device as well as a platform for future, more personalized in-flight customer service by this fall.

The Lumia 1520 features a larger format, 6-inch screen and will replace the smaller Lumia 820 already in the hands of Delta on-board professionals.

Providing electronic access to the more than 500 page, five pound On-Board Manual carried by every flight attendant is expected to save more than $1 million annually in reduced fuel and printing costs while providing on board professionals a more intuitive way to access essential information.

In addition to its functionality as an in-flight sales device and replacement for the on-board manual, the Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet, running Windows Phone 8.1, will, as it develops, enable flight attendants to take customer meal orders, receive detailed information about their flight and provide information for personalized service, including customers’ frequent flyer status and potential need for special services during flight.

Delta Air Lines Economy Fares Information

The Basic Economy product is designed to offer consumer choice and customization to the individual’s travel experience.

Delta Air Lines

Photo of Delta air plane taken on the runway by Ken Nash, pilot.

Photo by .

The product is ideal for travelers who seek the lowest fare option, do not intend to make changes and do not consider seat choice an important part of their travel experience.

Please note: Customers who prefer selecting seats and having flexibility in travel should consider fare options other than Basic Economy.

Basic Economy Fares Highlights:

  • Are identifiable by class of service E
  • Are published and available via GDS
  • Voluntary changes will not be permitted
  • Are non-refundable (except due to involuntary cases, such as irregular operations)
  • Are combinable only with other Basic Economy fares
    • Itinerary must be all E class segments or no E class segments
    • E class interline combinations are not permitted
  • Advance seat assignments are not permitted. Seats will be auto-assigned by Delta at the time of customer check-in, and once assigned, no changes will be allowed.

Note: Same-day Travel Changes, schedule changes, irregular operations, baggage handling and all other processes are treated the same for Basic Economy fares as they are for any other fare type purchased.

Travel Agency Information – GDS and Self Booking Tools

  • Fare Shopping, Pricing Low Fare Products, Low- Fare Finders, and Self Booking Tools
  • When using low-fare finder type options or self-booking tools that search for the lowest fares, it is important to note the following
  • Basic Economy will likely be returned, in the select markets where is offered, as it is the lowest fare
  • The Basic Economy fare will be nonrefundable, non-changeable and will not permit advanced seat assignments
  • If the Basic Economy fare is selected, the customer must be notified of all the fare rules. In addition, expectations of the travel experience must be clearly explained.
  • Consult the GDS or Online Booking Tool (OBT) provider to determine the most effective entries for pricing “sell up” fares or exclusions.

Delta Updates it’s Seats and Flat Beds

Delta to Improve Passenger Comfort on 225 Domestic Narrow body Aircraft

Delta Airlines

Delta Air Lines at the Atlanta Airport.

Delta Air Lines will invest more than $770 million through 2016 to refresh the interiors on its Boeing 757-200, 737-800, Airbus A319 and A320 aircraft to provide power at every seat, add new slim-line seats with adjustable headrests, updated lavatories, add more efficient galleys and additional features to improve passenger comfort.

We’re continuing to make smart long-term investments in our products and services to meet the expectations of our customers,” said Glen Hauenstein, executive vice president – Chief Revenue Officer. “In just six years, we will have made updates to interiors throughout Delta’s fleet giving customers improved comfort and more options to work or relax and be entertained.”

This investment will improve the service consistency provided to Delta’s customers in First Class and Economy cabins as well as increasing aircraft efficiency and overall customer satisfaction of the airline’s domestic narrowbody fleet.

All Delta international widebody aircraft will include full flat-bed seats with direct-aisle access in BusinessElite by mid-2014 and all transcontinental flights will have full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite by summer 2015.

Delta will maintain more First Class seats than any U.S. carrier; offer more in-flight entertainment options; provided access to Wi-Fi on all domestic two-class domestic aircraft and willexpan to the international fleet by 2015.

757-200 aircraft improvements

Delta’s new modifications to 56 of its 757-200s will include installing in-seat video, satellite TV and access to power for every passenger, along with new galleys, updated LED cabin lighting, new lavatory designs as well as larger capacity overhead bins.

Delta will be the first carrier in North America to install the new bin system which will increase passenger carry-on baggage capacity by more than 50%.

The 49 modified domestic aircraft will feature a layout of

  • 20 First Class seats
  • 29 Economy Comfort seats
  • 150 Economy seats.

The remaining seven 757-200 international aircraft will have a configuration of

  • 18 First Class seats,
  • 28 Economy Comfort seats
  • 151 Economy seats.

737-800 aircraft improvements

The investment in 43 of Delta’s 737-800 aircraft will include the addition of in-seat video with satellite TV, new LED cabin lighting and updated lavatories. The aircraft will be configured with

  • 16 First Class seats
  • 18 Economy Comfort seats
  • 126 Economy seats.

When the modifications are complete, Delta’s entire fleet of 73 737-800 aircraft will have in-seat video with access to satellite TV and in-seat power throughout the aircraft.

A319 and A320 aircraft improvements

Delta’s 57 A319 and 69 A320 aircraft will receive complete interior updates including new seats in both First Class and Economy cabins with in-seat power throughout the aircraft.

The aircraft will also receive new space-saving galleys, new lavatories, new larger-capacity overhead bins with an average increase of 60 percent more carry-on baggage space, updated LED lighting systems and new cabin interiors. Updates to the A319 fleet will also include the installation of in-seat video with satellite TV.

Delta Continues Transcon Enhancements with New Food and Wine

Delta Air Lines is introducing a new line of healthy menu items from Luvo now available in the economy cabin on Delta’s transcontinental flights between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport  and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.

The Luvo meals – all made with natural ingredients, no added trans-fats, and hormone and antibiotic-free proteins – are complimentary for customers seated in Economy Comfort and available for purchase for customers seated in Economy.

“Our customers love Luvo’s fresh snacks on our west coast Delta Shuttle flights, so it makes sense to make these healthy, delicious meals available on our coast-to-coast flights,” said Joanne Smith, Delta’s senior vice president In-flight Service.

Each flight will feature two sandwich wraps from the following menu:

  • Luvo Quinoa Crunch Wrap (360 calories) – Fresh crunchy vegetables, quinoa, avocado, edamame hummus, black rice and bean salad in an olive oil-whole wheat tortilla with a side of seedless grapes and a multi-seed coconut chocolate chip cookie.
  • Luvo Grilled Chicken Wrap (400 calories) – Spiced grilled chicken, crisp romaine lettuce, avocado, cherry tomato, vegan herb aioli, in an olive oil-whole wheat tortilla with a side of seedless grapes and a multi-seed coconut chocolate chip cookie.
  • Luvo Roast Turkey & Havarti Wrap (440 calories) – Sliced roast turkey breast, havarti cheese, black rice and bean salad, arugula, edamame hummus in an olive oil-whole wheat tortilla with a side of seedless grapes and a multi-seed coconut chocolate chip cookie.

The new transcontinental menu follows the successful launch of Luvo snacks currently offered on Delta Shuttle flights between Los Angeles and San Francisco International airports.

Additionally, customers in BusinessElite on transcontinental flights will continue to enjoy the Delta WineMaker Series with new selections for 2014.  Since its launch in 2012, the series has featured high profile and sought-after California wines curated by Master Sommlier Andrea Robinson.

The first two selections for 2014 are a Sauvignon Blanc from Matanzas Creek Winery in Sonoma County and a Cabernet Sauvignon from Arrowood inSonoma County. Customers in BusinessElite will continue to enjoy multi-course meals developed by Napa Valley based Chef Michael Chiarello.

Transcontinental service between JFK and Los Angeles increases to eight daily frequencies beginning in April and this July,

Delta is coming out with 3 new Boeing 757s. These will be the first 757 aircraft in service to feature Delta’s previously announced upgrades including

  • full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite on transcon flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
  • All transcon flights on these routes will feature flat-bed seats by summer 2015.

On the Ground

Delta’s new Terminal 4 at New York-JFK International Airport features the largest Delta Sky Club in the system with a chef-designed menu and wine list as well as the award winning Sky Deck.

Last year, Delta debuted a brighter, more open lobby at LAX Terminal 5. The new lobby complements recent upgrades to the LAX Delta Sky Club as well as new dining and retail options throughout the concourse.

Passport Control Kiosks Installed at Seattle

A total of 14 new Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks have been installed at Seattle’s international airport to assist U.S. citizens arriving into the U.S. from international flights. These self-service kiosks offer sophisticated technology to process passengers at the customs checkpoint; reducing wait times and congestion.

Business Travel Trends for 2014

Business travel is expected to increase during 2014 – and that’s according to road warriors and travel agents specializing in business travel.

Atlanta Airport Delta Welcome

As part of its comprehensive 2014 Travel Trends Survey, Travel Leaders asked its front-line business travel agents what their clients are saying about trends for the New Year.

When asked how business travel during 2014 will compare to 2013 based on client feedback and actual bookings:

  • 5.4% of agents responded that it will be significantly more
  • 33% said somewhat more
  • 39.4% said business it will be about the same
  • Only 5.7% predict it will be less

Travel agents were also asked about the concerns business travelers expect to have during 2014. The top six answers followed.

1. Flight Delays. Travel delays can wreak havoc on a tight schedule of client visits and meetings. Fortunately, business travel professionals easily help their clients search for alternatives to delayed flights, which may get them to their destinations sooner.

2. Limited airline seat availability. For the past several years, airlines have been cutting the number of daily flights, as well as entire routes. As a result, it can be challenging to find an available seat, especially when traveling on short notice. A business travel professional can help by researching alternate airlines and flights, and even alternate airports.

3. Earning frequent flyer or loyalty points. Some airlines have tightened up the availability of frequent flyer points during the past year or two, but business travel agents can provide advice on earning maximum points – and, using them for maximum rewards. Travel professionals also work to ensure those loyalty numbers are included in itineraries so that upgrades for the most frequent of travelers can automatically occur.

4. Travel costs. Travel agencies can negotiate discounted rates with airlines, hotels, car rental agencies and more. This helps business travelers contain the cost of travel and focus on maintaining their own customer and supplier relationships.

5. Ease of passing through security. The ability to move through airport security quickly can make all the difference when rushing to catch a flight. More than 75% of Travel Leaders’ business-oriented agents said they have clients who are approved for the TSA Precheck program, which provides an expedited screening process.

6. Making sure someone “has their back.” This role is tailor-made for a travel professional. Business travelers should contact their travel agents whenever they need to change travel reservations or run into unexpected travel difficulties while on the road.

Wifi Business Travel Trends

Inflight Wi-Fi

While it has only been in the past few years that Wi-Fi has been made available on flights and still only on some carriers, over half (59.7%) of you indicated Wi-Fi is either very important or an absolute must have for your business travel clients. Only 4.2% indicated it is not at all important for your clients when flying.

Hotel Wi-Fi

When asked, “How vital is it for your business travel clients to have access to Wi-Fi in their hotel room?” more than nine out of every ten of you (95.1%) stated it is either an absolute necessity or very vital. Only 1% indicated that Wi-Fi in your business travelers’ hotel rooms are “not all that vital.”

When asked, If your business travel clients have to pay for Internet access in their hotel room, what would you say is their limit in terms of daily cost? the top response from you was: Only if it is $10.99 or less per day (37.10%), followed by $11 – $15 per day (29.1%).

Delta flat beds, New Flights to Brazil and Caribbean

Delta Introduces Full Flat-Bed Seats on ATL-ZRH and JFK-BCN Routes

Starting in November, Delta will introduce new full flat-bed BusinessElite seats on flights between Atlanta and Zurich and between New York-JFK and Barcelona.

Delta flatbed on new flights.

In the JFK-BCN market, Delta becomes the only U.S. carrier to offer a full flat-bed seat on the route. By mid-2014, Delta will be the only U.S. carrier to offer full flat-bed seating with direct-aisle access on its entire international widebody fleet.

Delta to Start Second Daily Flight between Atlanta and Sao Paulo

Delta is expanding its presence in Brazil with a second daily nonstop flight between Atlanta and Sao Paulo starting in March 2014.

The additional frequency will be operated with a 210-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft featuring 35 BusinessElite full flat-bed seats, 32 seats in Economy Comfort and 143 seats in Economy Class. More

Delta Offers New and Expanded Caribbean Service to Freeport, Port au-Prince and Aruba

Delta has announced the expansion of its service between Atlanta and Freeport in The Bahamas, from a Saturday-only schedule to daily service. The daily flight will operate from December 19, 2013, to August 18, 2014.

Delta also announced the introduction of new daily seasonal service between Atlanta and Port-au-Prince in Haiti. The flight will operate from June 5, 2014, to August 18, 2014. In addition, Delta announced the return of Saturday seasonal service between New York- LGA and Aruba, operating from December 21, 2013 to August 16, 2014.

LaGuardia Update: Road Closure Advisory for New York-Area Travelers Oct. 28–Nov. 2, 2013

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has advised that because of construction activity at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, a portion of LaGuardia Road will be closed between Monday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Nov. 2.

Affected portions include Parking Lot 5, the Terminal D inner roadway and the Terminal D middle roadway.

Air France Announces New La Première Dining Selections

Air France La Première customers departing Paris in October and November may enjoy new dining selections from Chef Jacques Le Divellec. Air France’s panel of chefs renews La Première dining selections monthly to ensure the best seasonal ingredients and ensure variety for frequent customers.

Air France’s aim is to offer customers in their first class cabin an exquisite dining experience that represents the best of French cuisine. Wines are especially selected by Air France’s sommelier to complement current menus. Since spring 2013, La Première customers have also been able to enjoy made-to-order salads and an additional hot dish as part of the snack on flights of more than six and a half hours.

Delta Corporate News, TSA PreExpedited, Pilots get Tablets

Travel News for Delta Airlines, TSA

Delta Launches New Seattle Service from West Coast Markets

Delta will offer new daily nonstop service to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport from San Francisco International Airport as well as increased service from Las Vegas McCarran International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport, beginning next year.

The new service is designed to provide customers access to the airline's growing trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific network from its global gateway in Seattle. More information

Delta Offers Savings and Award Travel Deals to Asia

Delta has published a fare sale and Award Travel deals for travel to select cities in Asia.  Flights must be booked and ticketed by October 21, 2013, for departures in BusinessElite between November 25, 2013, and January 1, 2014.  Fares are available across all major computer reservations systems. More information

JFK Update: TSA PreCheck now Available at T2

TSA PreExpedited is now available at New York-JFK Airport Terminal 2 (T2) and T4, in addition to 40 other airports nationwide.  Learn more about TSA PreExpedited Screening A complete list of U.S. airports offering TSA Pre.

Delta Launches 'Pink Plane' Commemorating Breast Cancer Research Foundation's 20th Anniversary

Delta's annual "Breast Cancer One" employee survivor charter flight launched last week, kicking off the airline's October fundraising campaign for The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and celebrating the organization's two decades of dedication to preventing and finding a cure for breast cancer.

Since 2005, Delta's employees, customers and their friends and families have raised $6.7 million for the foundation, with more than $1.75 million raised last year alone. Delta's contributions have funded the vital work of 18 different research projects over the years in the pursuit of eradicating breast cancer. More information

Delta to Equip 11,000 Pilots with Microsoft Surface 2 Tablet Devices

Delta is providing its 11,000 pilots with the Microsoft Surface 2 tablet, which will be used initially as an electronic flight bag to replace heavy paper-based flight kits containing navigational charts and aircraft operating and reference manuals.

Device roll out to pilots flying the Boeing 757 and Boeing 767 fleets will start later this year and all Delta cockpits are projected to be paperless by the end of 2014. More information

Delta Continues Expansion in Mexico with Two New Flights to Leon

Increased services highlight Delta's commitment to offer Mexican market more options to meet the demand for connections between the country's main cities and the U.S.

Delta announced its new daily nonstop flights connecting El Bajio International Airport in the city of Leon with Atlanta and Los Angeles. The new services will start in December 2013. The routes are in the process of government approval and will be operated by Delta Connection partners using a CRJ-900 aircraft with 76 seats, including 12 Business class seats, 12 seats in Economy Comfort and 52 seats in Economy. More information

Delta Partners: Virgin Air France KLM Alitalia

Delta Airlines

Delta and Virgin Atlantic's Newly Aligned JFK-LHR Schedule Now Available for Sale

Thanks to recent government approval of Delta's partnership with Virgin Atlantic, travel professionals and their travelers may now benefit from a newly aligned flight schedule between New York-JFK and London-Heathrow.

The updated schedule which became available on October 5 across all major computer reservations systems, offers business travelers a greater variety of departure times to better suit their needs. 

Starting March 30, 2014
Delta and Virgin Atlantic will offer daily departures from New York-JFK to London-LHR at 7:40 a.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

From London-LHR to New York-JFK, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will offer daily service at 9:05 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 5:35 p.m. and 8:05 p.m. More informatiom

Air France Celebrates 80th Anniversary

In celebration of its 80th Anniversary on October 7, Air France kicked off a year of celebration marked by numerous events to commemorate. A dedicated Air France Anniversary website includes information about Air France's rich history. More information

Air France Wins Business Travel Awards

On September 26, Air France won 2 Business Travel Awards at the IFTM Top Resa, France's largest travel trade show in Paris.

Air France was awarded the 2013 gold prize in the category of the best mobile technology at the service of business travellers, along with a silver prize in the "best airline" category.

KLM Continues to Rollout New World Business Class Cabins

More KLM travelers are enjoying a brand new interior in World Business Class aboard long-haul intercontinental flights.

Dutch top designer Hella Jongerius has worked closely with KLM design teams to fully renovate the airline's World Business Class cabins; successfully combining top Dutch design with more personal space - making customers feel truly at home.

In the new World Business Class cabins, full-flat seats adjust to allow customers to "dream away" from departure to arrival. In total, 22 Boeing 747 aircraft will be converted through April 2014. After that date, the new World Business Class cabins will also be introduced on 15 Boeing 777-200 aircraft. More information

Alitalia & Delta: Fly to Milan with Full Flat-Bed Seats and Unlimited Bonus Miles

Delta and our joint venture partner Alitalia are the only airlines that offer two daily, nonstop flights between New York-JFK and Milan-MXP.

On the route, Delta and Alitalia offer full flat-bed seating with direct-aisle access in BusinessElite and Magnfica Business Class as well as business class amenities including celebrity chef-inspired and award-winning menus, premium bedding and a full array of in-flight entertainment on-demand options to enhance the customer experience.

Delta also offers Economy Comfort premium economy seating and Alitalia offers the Classica Plus premium economy cabin. Economy also features on-demand video entertainment and Italian-inspired cuisine, and Alitalia Classica class offers personal USB ports at each seat. 

While our unparalleled service may make the trip feel short, travelers can enjoy the bonus miles long after their flight lands. Register, book and fly between New York-JFK and Milan-MXP through January 15, 2014, and SkyMiles members can earn unlimited bonus miles on the route. More information

Crossover Rewards: Travelers Earn Rewards Overnight, Over the Clouds or Both

Through the Crossover RewardsT program, Delta SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members enjoy Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) benefits including priority check-in, 4 p.m. late checkout and free in-room internet access when staying at Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Similarly, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Platinum elite members enjoy the benefit of Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades on the day of departure for Delta and Delta Connection operated flights within the United States. SPG Platinum elite members who are enrolled in Crossover Rewards can request their complimentary upgrade at time of check-in. SPG Platinum elite members also enjoy several additional benefits, including one free checked bag, Priority Check-In and Priority Boarding when flying on eligible Delta flights. To view a complete list of Crossover Rewards benefits. More information

Airlines News, Passenger load, Priority boarding, Electronic Devices

Delta Airlines

Airlines Are Fullest They´ve Been Since 1945

U.S. airlines had an average load factor of 82.8% last year, their highest since 1945, according to the latest figures from the Department of Transportation.

Load factors were even higher for domestic flights, averaging 83.4%. In addition, U.S. airlines carried 0.8 % more total system passengers in 2012, 736.6 million, than in 2011.

And the biggest carrier, when measured by number of passengers carried, was Delta Air Lines, carrying more system passengers than any other. It was the third year in a row that Delta hit this metric. Southwest Airlines carried more domestic passengers than any other airline for the ninth year in a row. United Airlines, its merger with Continental now complete, carried the most international passengers. (Source: DOT press release).

AA Tests Giving Priority Boarding to Passengers Who Check Bags

American Airlines is giving passengers who check their bags prioritized boarding in a test in four markets, letting them board between groups one and two.

Higher load factors and passengers’ desire to save on baggage fees and to skip the wait at the baggage carousel have made dealing with carry-on bags more time-consuming for airlines.

Flight attendants often urge passengers to quickly stow their bags in order to have an on time departure. In addition, flight attendant unions are reporting increased injuries among flight attendants and passengers from hoisting heavy bags into overhead bins or from improperly stowed bags falling out. American is testing the priority boarding in Austin, Washington Dulles Baltimore and Fort Lauderdale. (Source: American Airlines, industry interviews).

FAA Continues to Examine Changing Policies on Inflight Reading Devices

A Federal Aviation Administration spokesman would not comment on press reports that the Federal Aviation Administration might allow passengers to read their Kindles or Nooks during take-off. However, the spokesman did confirm that the FAA’s Portable and (PED) Advisory and Rulemaking Committee is continuing to examine policies for using cell phones, electronic readers and tablets on planes and will end deliberations in July.

The FAA actually allows airlines to decide what can and can’t be used right now on planes, but the FAA provides guidance on those policies. The current guidance requires passengers to turn everything off below 10,000 feet. The committee is not looking at cell phone use, which is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission. The committee has more than two dozen members, who include representatives of the FAA, Amazon, airlines, pilot and flight attendant unions, aircraft manufacturers, the FCC, the consumer electronics association and others. (Source: FAA interview).

IATA Forecasts Bigger Profits for Airlines in 2013

The latest financial forecast from the International Air Transport Association projects larger industry profits in 2013 for most airlines around the globe than it had estimated in December.

Tony Tyler, IATA´s director general and CEO, credited the improvement to optimism for the global economy. “Passenger demand has been strong and cargo markets are starting to grow again,” he said. IATA said that it expects North American airlines to make a $3.6 billion profit, which is slightly ahead of the $3.4 billion IATA originally projected for the year and well above the $2.3 billion profit reported in 2012.

Other regions were reporting smaller profits–$800 million in Europe, $1.4 billion in the Middle East, $600 million in South America and $100 million in Africa. IATA said that the recovery could be derailed by factors such as the continuing Eurozone crisis, specifically naming what it called the draconian bailout proposal for Cypriot financial institutions.
Tyler pointed out that travel demand has been supported by robust growth in emerging markets, reflecting a longer-term shift in the center of gravity in the industry. (Source: IATA press release).

WIFI Upgrades, Airline Fees, Electronics, In Flight Study

Delta flatbed in business class.

Upgrading Inflight wifi

Inflight wifi junkies know that when a lot of their fellow passengers are online, service speed plummets. Some research indicates just having 10% of passengers online can hurt internet speeds. But airlines are moving from air-to-ground to satellite technology to improve the inflight experience.

Southwest Airlines has quietly installed satellite-based wifi on more than 400 of its aircraft—about 75% of its fleet—and is adding movies and on-demand TV shows. Jet Blue Airways has begun the installation and certification process for its satellite wifi this month. And United Airlines has started offering satellite-based wifi on some of its international wide-body aircraft.

It is also offering it on two aircraft flying domestic routes and is charging more for the satellite service. United offers wifi on about 20 of its aircraft now and expects most of its fleet to have satellite wifi by 2015.
(Source: press releases and industry interviews)

Southwest Introduces Early Boarding Option

Southwest Airlines has introduced a fourth way for passengers to improve their boarding position with its new $40 early boarding option.

Southwest does not assign seats but boards its passengers by groups—A, B and C. However, Business Select passengers always have the coveted A1-15 boarding slots. Now, when those are available, ticket agents can sell them for $40 to other travelers, 45 minutes before the flight departs.

Southwest passengers have other ways of getting a better chance at getting the seat they want. For $10, they can buy EarlyBird boarding, which automatically checks passengers in 36 hours before departure, 12 hours before general boarding becomes available. The earlier you check in, the better your boarding position, so travelers can also move up in the boarding line by checking 23 hours and 59 minutes before their departure.
(Source: interviews)

Changing Airline Fees

Having trouble keeping up with all the different fees airlines charge? Well, it’s not surprising, given the fact that airlines changed those fees more than 50 times last year, according to Travel Nerd, which developed an airline fee comparison and shopping tool.

More than half of the fee changes were for baggage, but a significant number of fee changes were for services such as selecting seats, priority boarding or changing tickets. It found that ultra-low-cost carriers Spirit Airlines and Allegiant Air accounted for 18 of the fee changes.
(Source: Travel Nerd)

FAA Studies Use of Portable Electronics In Flight

The Federal Aviation Administration is studying the use of portable electronics in flight, considering whether or not to let passengers keep their devices on during takeoff and landing.

The question is whether or not electromagnetic interference from devices poses a safety threat to aircraft navigation or communication systems. There are other concerns—such as whether handhelds could become projectiles during an aborted landing.

The group is not looking at cell phone use because that falls under the authority of the Federal Communications Commission.
(Source: FAA press release)

Third Quarter Domestic Airfares Up 1.8%

Third quarter domestic airfares were up 1.8% over a year earlier according to the Department of Transportation’s latest figures. Not adjusted for inflation, the $367 third-quarter fare is the fifth highest since the DOT started tracking fares in 1995.

However, third-quarter 2012 fares were $243 in 1995 dollars, down 18.1% from the average fare of $297 in 2000, the inflation-adjusted high for any third quarter.
(Source: DOT)

Airline Industry News: Delta baggage policy & Southwest Fees

January 2013
Travel News for Delta Airlines, Southwest and US Airways

Skipping to the Front of the Line

JetBlue Airways is testing a new ancillary service a $10 fee to use expedited security lanes at select airports. For $10, passengers can buy an Even More Speed option that lets them use expedited security lanes usually reserved for elite frequent flyer club members and first and business class ticket holders.

Even More Speed was originally part of Even More Space for seats with extra legroom, but JetBlue has now made the service a stand-alone option. There are other expedited security programs, including the Transportation Security Administration´s Pre Check program, a trusted traveler program whose members are pre-vetted and can not only go through an expedited security line but also go through an expedited security process. (Source: industry interviews.)

Southwest Institutes No Show Fee

Southwest Airlines, which does not charge a penalty to change a flight, will introduce a no-show fee on its least expensive tickets at some point this year. Passengers who book the cheapest fare and fail to show up for the flight will be charged a fee.

To avoid the fee, passengers just have to notify Southwest that they will not be on the flight. The fee applies only to Southwest´s cheapest fares; passengers buying more expensive tickets don´t have to tell the airline they won’t be on the flight.

Southwest is unique in that its travelers can book a flight, pay for it, not use the ticket and have a year to apply what they paid for that ticket to another purchase, with having to pay a penalty. The new fee is essentially saying "Give us the courtesy of letting us know," said a Southwest spokesman. (Source: interviews).

Airlines Still Profitable in Q3 2012

Major airlines still showed a profit for the third quarter of 2012 according to the latest Department of Transportation figures.

The largest scheduled passenger carriers showed a 6.4% profit margin, down from 6.8% from the same quarter a year earlier. The DOT said that the largest 10 airlines have achieved an operating profit margin as a group in each of the last six quarters. The DOT also reported that all U.S. passenger airlines collected $924 million in baggage fees and $652 million from reservation change fees in the third quarter.

Airlines do not break out the fees they collect for other ancillary fees, such as revenue from sating assignments and sales of food, beverages and entertainment, for the DOT. (Source: DOT press release).

American and US Airways Lay Groundwork for Pilot Deal

American Airlines and US Airways said that they have completed discussions with the unions representing American and US Airways pilots. The talks were to create a framework for employment of pilots as well as prepare for the possibility of integrating the pilots working for the two airlines, should American and US Airways merge.

The two pilot unions created a memorandum of understanding designed to help determine whether or not the two carriers should merge. (Source: American, US Airways’ press release).

Delta Delays New Baggage Policy

Delta Air Lines, which had planned on implementing a new baggage policy on single or conjuncted tickets, checking bags only between the origin and destination points indicated on that ticket, is delaying the new policy.

This is for instances in which travelers have separate tickets for a trip. Previously, Delta and most other carriers in this circumstance would check
through the bags to the final destination, but Delta´s new policy would end that convenience and require customers to claim and the recheck the bag after flying the first leg. (Source: Global Business Travel Association press release.)