Airline Updates for August 2008

Air Mexico

After Month-Long Hiatus, Airlines Try Another Fare Hike
The airfare monitoring website FareCompare.com reported that Northwest Airlines upped its domestic fares by nearly $80 roundtrip in over 4,000 city pairs for both business and leisure travelers.

The increase came after nearly a month of no airfare hikes. Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare, said that fares may be topping out, due to a sluggish economy and the fact that oil is down, relatively speaking, to the mid $120s per barrel.

He said revenue from added fees is also kicking in. (Source: FareCompare.com).

Delta Doubles Fee for Second Bag, Northwest Charges for First Bag FF Ticket Delta Air Lines upped its charge for a second bag to $50 from $25. It also said it would increase fees for specialty items that require special handling such as surfboards or ski equipment on domestic and international flights.

The new fees apply to tickets bought after July 31 for travel on or after Aug. 5. First Class, BusinessElite and Medallion customers will continue to be able to check up to three bags at no charge.

Customers checking bags on international flights may continue checking a first and second bag at no charge.

Northwest Airlines instituted a $15 charge for the first checked bagged, following American Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways’ lead; this applied to tickets sold after July 10 for travel starting Aug. 28.

Frequent flier elites are exempt from the policy, along with full-fare coach passengers. As of Sept. 15, it will also begin charging service fees for frequent flyer tickets: $25 for domestic, $50 for transatlantic and $100 for transpacific travel. (Source: Delta, Northwest press releases).

Hawaiian Charges for First Bag, Phone Bookings
Hawaiian Airlines began charging $15 for the first piece of checked luggage on flights between the mainland U.S. and Hawaii; the first bag remains free on interisland flights.

Hawaiian will also begin charging a $10 ticketing fee for telephone bookings for interisland flights, $20 for all other routes and $25 for ticketing at the airport. (Source: Hawaiian Airlines press release).

Flight Attendants Decry Turning Planes into Flying Vending Machines
The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA), lamented the fact that US Airways is now charging for soft drinks in flight, saying it was turning aircraft into “flying vending machines.”

The group said the airline is nickel and diming passengers and turning flight attendants, who are safety pros, into cashiers. (Source: AFA-CWA press release).

Delta Restructures Loyalty Program, Upping Some Mileage Requirements

Delta Air Lines said it was restructuring its SkyMiles frequent flyer program, saying it wanted to give its members greater flexibility and more options when redeeming miles, including the ability to again book the last seat on a flight using miles and three redemption tiers for Award Travel within the continental United States, Alaska and Canada..

Tiers will start at 25,000, 40,000 and 60,000 miles round-trip rather than the two current Award levels starting at 25,000 and 50,000 miles for travel within the continental United States, Alaska and Canada. (Source: Delta press release).

Northwest Ads Nonstop Milwaukee-Los Angeles Service
Northwest Airlines is beginning daily nonstop service between Milwaukee and Los Angeles beginning Sept. 6, using the 148-seat Airbus 320. (Source: Northwest press release).