Jetblue Business Travel News

The Low Down for Carry on Bags

Airlines are cracking down on carry on bags.

This may sound inconvenient, but it could actually be good news if you can travel light. Fewer travelers with overstuffed bags translates into faster, easier boarding.

Packing Carry on luggage

Carry on Bag Dimensions

Although enforcement varies, the current restriction for carryon bag dimensions is 22x14x9 for American, Delta, United and US Airways. AirTran, JetBlue and Southwest are slightly more generous with dimensions set at 24x16x10. Of course, you can also bring a purse, laptop or small personal item, but it must fit under the seat in front of you. Check the policies from the major airlines.

While most major U.S. airlines don’t charge a fee for one carry-on, budget carriers may. Allegiant, Frontier and Spirit Airlines charge anywhere from $25 to $100 per carry-on bag.

You may be surprised to find that your relatively small, wheeled luggage is now too big for the overhead bin. In fact, if it doesn’t fit in the size-wise metal frame at the gate, you may have to go back to check-in, where you’ll likely encounter a fee to check your luggage.

Nearly all the airlines (except Southwest) are charging fees for checked luggage, starting around $15 and running up to $30 apiece for the first bag or two. After that, fees skyrocket: extra, overweight or over sized luggage can cost up to $200 per bag.

Dimension restrictions vary on foreign carriers, so make sure you check out their policies before leaving for an international trip. In addition, while most U.S. airlines don’t have carry-on baggage weight limits, some foreign carriers do (and the weight fees can be hefty, up to and over $150 per overweight bag).

Packing Tips

  • Balance the need for wheels – Wheels and a frame can lighten your load, but they also take up quite a bit of space. To make the most of your carry-on space, consider a soft tote that can expand but still manages to meet size requirements.
  • Use and lose – Disposable items, like shavers and old clothes, are a great way to lighten the load on your return, especially if you have to bring back paperwork or business tchotchkes.
  • Go monotone – Pack one color theme (black or brown) to cut down on the need for more shoes and other accessories.
  • Downsize – Travel-sized toiletries can save a lot of space… and don’t forget that most business hotels have good health and beauty products.

Rethink what you need to bring; Be more discriminating when packing. Make decisions before you put everything in your luggage, as we tend to want to throw in a few extras after a bag is packed. And remember, you can always buy as you go.

Airline Industry News: Delta baggage policy & Southwest Fees

Delta baggage policy

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 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 baggage policy 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.)

Airline merger & International air traffic

Airline merger

American Merger Talks Heat Up
US Airways, which has is pursuing a reluctant American Airlines, has signed a nondisclosure agreement with American’s parent company, AMR, according to a memo US Airways’ CEO Doug Parker sent to employees.

The two airlines have agreed to exchange confidential information to work in good faith on evaluating a potential combination. Parker said that the NDA means only that the airlines have agreed to talk about the possibility of merging. AMR’s CEO Tom Horton initially resisted the idea of a merger.

AMR has also signed an NDA with British Airways, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Jet Blue Airways and Virgin America. (Source: press reports).

International Air Traffic Continues to Grow at a Slower Pace
Global air traffic grew 3.4% in July 2012 over a year earlier, down from a growth rate of 6.3% in June and 6.5% for the first half of the year, according to the International Air Traffic Association.

It blamed the slowdown on a recent fall in business confidence in many economies. Airlines are responding to slower growth by holding capacity, which means planes are flying full—and profitably. Traffic is growing, but at a slower pace, said Tony Tyler, IATA’s director general and CEO. And he said that, combined with rising fuel prices, means a tough second half of the year. (Source: IATA press release).

FAA to Study Use of Handhelds on Planes
The Federal Aviation Administration FAA has created a committee to study the use of portable electronic devices on planes. Right now, the FAA leaves the decision of how passengers can use handhelds in flight up to airlines.

The FAA committee will be made up of representatives of aircraft manufacturers, mobile technology providers, airlines, including flight attendants and pilots, as well as airline passenger organizations. Passengers are increasingly interested in staying connected while in flight. This is an effort to learn if there are ways for more electronic devices to be used without interfering with the radio frequencies pilots use.

The group will look at a variety of issues, including how to test for safety. The group is not looking at whether or not to allow cell phone use while in flight. (Source: FAA press release).

Delta to Reduce Mileage Rewards for Some Unpublished Fares
Delta Air Lines is reducing mileage passengers can earn when they buy certain unpublished fares. These include group fares, consolidator fares, tour or group package fares and student fares.

Travelers flying using negotiated corporate, governments and sports fares will continue to get full mileage credit. Other airlines also limit or provide no mileage awards for some unpublished fares. (Source: news reports).

TSA Expands Pre Program to Phoenix Sky Harbor
The Transportation Security Administration has introduced its Pre program at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, with US Airways as its partner.

Participants who are from certain airline frequent flyer programs or who participate in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Trusted Traveler program provide biometric information about themselves and qualify for expedited screening.

The Pre is now available in 22 airports with partner carriers US Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. (Source: TSA press release).

Airlines News Travel Up For November

Global Air Capacity Up Slightly Last Month
Global air capacity was up three percent for November 2009 over November 2008, according to OAG, the aviation data company. Global frequencies are up 1% compared to November 2008, with a total of 2.3 million flights for November 2009, despite an average North American frequency decline of 2%.

Worldwide, frequencies and capacity in the low-cost sector are both up by 8%, compared to a year ago.

Transatlantic capacity between North America and Western Europe decreased 8% year on year; frequencies were down 10%, (Source: OAG press release).

Aviation Group Reports Uptick in Demand, But Airlines Still Have Lost Two Years of Growth
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) reported international scheduled traffic results for October 2009 showed passenger demand was up 0.5% compared to October 2008. That was much better than the 5.4% drop IATA reported in September and marks a return to a trend of gradual improvement that began in March.

Still, the crisis has cost the industry two years of growth, according to IATA, which credited much of the improvement to careful capacity management. (Source: IATA press release).

JetBlue Relaunches TrueBlue Loyalty Program
JetBlue Airways has relaunched TrueBlue, its’ customer loyalty program. The program now has no blackout dates; every seat on every JetBlue flight is now available for redemption. Membership account numbers remain unchanged, and previously issued TrueBlue points and Awards remain intact and available for redemption based on their original terms.

TrueBlue Points are earned based on dollars spent with JetBlue or charged on a member's JetBlue Card. For every eligible dollar spent with JetBlue, members will earn 3 TrueBlue points. Customers who carry the JetBlue Card will earn 1 TrueBlue point for every $1 of eligible spending, with double points awarded for purchases made at www.jetblue.com.

JetBlue is also offering bonuses for frequent travelers. (Source: JetBlue press release).

Continental, United Upgrade Services for Their Most Loyal Customers
United Airlines and Continental Airlines have announced that members of each carrier’s frequent flyer program who have earned elite status will receive unlimited, complimentary domestic upgrades on flights operated by both airlines when space is available.

Members of each airline’s loyalty club will have access to premium seating—United’s Economy Plus and Continental’s Premium Seating. These new benefits will begin to roll out in mid-2010. (Source: Continental and United press release).

International Registered Traveler Program Expands
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expanding and making permanent its Global Entry international registered traveler program.

Global Entry—currently available as a pilot program at 20 U.S. international airports—allows pre-approved members a streamlined, automated alternative to regular passport processing lines.

The proposed rule would make Global Entry permanent and expand it to more international airports. The program currently reduces average wait times by more than 70 percent, with more than 75 percent of travelers using Global Entry processed in under five minutes. (Source: DHS press release).

Flyers Interest in Flying Green
American consumers seem eco-friendly with 28% saying that they would be more likely to fly a certain airline if it introduced more "green" practices.

When asked which domestic airlines operate in the most "green" manner, JetBlue, Southwest, Virgin America, Continental and Delta, in order, landed the top five positions. Also important to airline consumers: direct routes and reasonable prices. (Source: Zagat press release).

Reservations and Frequent Flier Program Charts

Reservations
Airline Book round-trip ticket by phone Preferred seat Ticket change fee:
Domestic-International
Fee to change flight to same destination on day of departure1
AirTran $15 $6 or $20 $75-Not applicable $75
Alaska $15 Not available $75 online; $100 on phone; $125 at travel agency-$100 0
Allegiant $23.50 per one-way flight; $33.50 for roundtrip $5-$25 $50 per one-way flight-Not applicable Not allowed to change ticket within 24 hours of departure
American $20 Not applicable $150-$150-$250 $50
Continental $15 Not available $150-$150-$250 $50
Delta $20 Not available on Delta; $5-$35 on domestic flights, $15-$75 Northwest international flights $150-$250 $50
Frontier $25 Not available $50 or $150-$150 $75 or $150
Hawaiian $10-$25 Not available $150 or $200 per flight-$150 or $200 per flight $150 or $200 per flight
JetBlue $15 $10-$40 $100-$100 $40
Midwest $25 $20-$50 $100-$100 $50
Southwest 0 priority-boarding fee $10 0-Not applicable 0
Spirit 0 $7-$20 $100 online; $110 on telephone-$100 online; $110 on telephone $100 online; $110 on telephone
United $25 $14-$119 $150-$150-$250 $75
US Airways $25 domestic ticket; $35 international ticket $5-$30 $150-$250 $50

 

Frequent Flier Programs
Airline Book free ticket:
on phone-online2
Change free ticket's origin-destination:
domestic-international
Buying miles-credits
AirTran 0-0 $75- Not applicable $39.50-credit
Alaska $15-0 $75 online; $100 on phone; $125 at travel agency-$100 $25-1,000 miles when buying a ticket online; $27.50-1,000 miles when redeeming miles
Allegiant Not applicable- Not applicable Not applicable- Not applicable Not applicable- Not applicable
American $20-0 $150-$150 $27.50-1,000 miles
Continental $25-0 $150-$150 $32-1,000 miles
Delta $20-0 $100-$100 $27.50-1,000 miles
Frontier $25-0 $75-$75 $28-1,000 miles
Hawaiian $10 or $20-0 $30 or $50-$50 $30-1,000 miles
JetBlue $15-0 $100-$100 $5-point, plus $20 fee
Midwest $25-0 $50-$50 $25-1,000 miles, plus $20 processing fee
Southwest 0-0 0-Not applicable 0-Not applicable
Spirit 0-Not available $70-$70 not available
United $25-0 $150-$250 $32.25-1,000 miles, plus $35 processing fee
US Airways $55 domestic flight; $70-$95 international-$25-$50 $150-$250 $25-1,000 miles, plus $30 processing fee

Airlines and Security Updates for May

Air Travel Demand Falls Fifth Month in a Row
The Air Transport Association of America reported that passenger revenue fell 23 percent in March 2009 versus the same month in 2008 – the fifth consecutive month in which passenger revenue has fallen from the prior year.

March passenger traffic on U.S. airlines fell by 10 percent, while the overall cost to fly one mile fell by 13 percent. Declines extended beyond the mainland United States to transatlantic, transpacific and Latin markets. (Source: Air Transport Association press release).

Airlines Cut Fares
JetBlue Airways trimmed $100 off some of its nonrefundable fares. Air France introduced a lower priced business “leisure” fare for the summer and Continental Airlines cut BusinessFirst fares to Asia. JetBlue dropped nonrefundable fares from $599 to $499 on 24 of its transcontinental routes.

Air France is offering a 60-day advance purchase business fare to 25 popular destinations in Europe and the Middle East. Sample roundtrip fares: New York-Paris, $2,222, Houston-Madrid, $2,622 and Chicago-Zurich, $2,458. Continental is now offering fares from the New York area to Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong and Tokyo starting at $3,076. (Source: Air France, Continental, JetBlue press releases).

Delta, Northwest Merge Frequent Flyer Programs in SkyMiles Card

A marketing campaign to build awareness for the SkyMiles cards in key Delta hubs that were formerly Northwest hubs within the U.S. including Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul and Memphis.

The Northwest WorldPerks and Delta SkyMiles frequent flyer programs are merging, but Northwest members will have to apply for a Delta SkyMiles Credit Card to continue earning miles both from credit card purchases and from flying. They are expanding benefits in the program, so that card members can earn and redeem miles in more ways and places, including the ability to earn double miles on all Delta and Northwest operated flights.

Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit card members and Delta Reserve card members, who now earn Double Miles on virtually every dollar of spend with Delta, can also earn Double Miles on all purchases made with Delta’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Northwest.

The Pay with Miles feature, which currently allows Gold, Platinum and Reserve card members to book Delta flights with no black-out dates or inventory restrictions on delta.com, will also be expanded to all Northwest-operated flights. (Source: press release).

Corporate America Curtails Travel to Mexico
Forty-seven percent of members of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) responding to a survey of the impact of the swine flu on their company’s travel said that their companies have restricted business travel to Mexico.

Three percent have restricted travel to the U.S. and Mexico, while 7 percent are restricting travel to any country with reported cases of H1N1 swine influenza. One percent reported restricting travel to the U.S. only. Forty-two percent are claiming no travel restrictions at all. Excluding travel to Mexico, only 11 percent of respondents cited travel restrictions.

Meanwhile, the International Air Transport Association said airlines were prepared for dealing with swine flu, saying IATA has worked with WHO to prepare guidance materials for front-line staff at airlines, including cabin crew, maintenance workers, cleaners, passenger agents and cargo/baggage handlers. WHO advises there should be no restriction of regular travel or closure of borders.

It is considered prudent for people who are ill to delay international travel and for people developing symptoms following international travel to seek medical attention, in line with guidance from national authorities. (Source: ACTE, IATA press releases).

Security

Customs Deactivates Older NEXUS Cards
U.S. Customs and Border Protection canceled old NEXUS cards for current NEXUS members on May 1. CBP has been mailing new NEXUS cards, a card that simplifies border crossing for pre-approved, low-risk travelers, to all members since November. The new cards have enhanced security features and allow U.S. and Canadian citizen cardholders to comply with the documentary requirements of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

All members must activate their new cards within 30 days, verify and update their U.S. mailing address by going to https://goes-app.cbp.dhs.gov/.
NEXUS members should destroy their old cards after activating their new ones.
(Source: Customs press release).

Airlines News Updates Feb 2009

Airfares Show Some Decreases
Domestic airfares are starting to dip. The average domestic fare fell to $428.29 in December from $525.63 in November according to airfare tracking company Topaz International’s national database. And the average fare for the fourth quarter was $497.69, down from 526.18 for the third quarter.

Airfares have been climbing steadily throughout the year, hitting a high of $633.44 in June and trending downward subsequently.(Source: Topaz International Monthly Airfare Index).

IATA Figures Show Air Travel Continues Decline The International Air Transport

Association (IATA) reported that international traffic dropped 4.6 percent in December from December 2007, but that the 4.6 percent decline was far less dramatic than cargo’s 22.6 drop from the previous December.

Year-end leisure travel booked in advance kept passenger numbers from falling as dramatically as cargo. Still, a 1.5 percent cutback in supply could not keep pace with falling demand. That meant planes weren’t quite as full. “Airlines are struggling to match capacity with fast-falling demand.

Until this comes into balance, even the sharp fall in fuel prices cannot save the industry from drowning in red ink,” said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA’s general director. He pointed out that premium travel—the profitable front of the plane–declined 11.5 percent in November. (Source: IATA press release).

Air France-KLM Invest in Alitalia
Air France-KLM is taking a 25 percent minority stake in Alitalia. The partnership will be based on a multi-hub strategy, adding Rome Fiumicino and Milan Malpensa to Paris Charles-de-Gaulle and Amsterdam Schiphol.

The airline said Alitalia’s acquisition for Air One has strengthened its position in the domestic market; the carriers say they will plan to create synergies using network optimization and revenue management. (Source: Air France-KLM press
release).

United, British Airways Keep Passengers Connected in the Air
Both United Airlines and British Airways are keeping their passengers connected in-flight on certain routes. United Airlines will begin offering in-flight internet service to customers on board its p.s. transcontinental service between New York and California starting in the second half of this year.

The service will be available in all classes for a flat $12.95 fee on all 13 of the Boeing 757s United flies between JFK and Los Angeles and San Francisco.

British Airways will launch text and mobile services on its all-business class service between London City Airport and JFK later this year.

Customers will be able to access the internet and send emails from laptops with GSM data cards as well as their mobile phones and PDAs. Voice service may be offered in the future, depending on customer demand and feedback. (Source: BA, United press releases).

California Fare Wares Mean Cheaper Flights
Southwest is expanding its California service, adding five new nonstops between San Francisco International Airport and John Wayne International Airport starting May 1 and kicking off the service with a $69 fare.

That followed Virgin America’s announcement that it was starting service between San Francisco and John Wayne International April 30 with a $59 introductory fare.

The airfare monitoring website FareCompare.com reported that American Airlines and United Airlines responded with $59 fares April 30 through June 10 and said that a year ago, the two were charging $125 for one-way fights. (Source: Southwest and Virgin America press releases, FareCompare.com blog).

JetBlue to Start Service Out of LAX to New York and Boston
JetBlue Airways will begin service out of Los Angeles International June 18. It is JetBlue’s third Los Angeles airport. It will offer two daily nonstops to New York’s JFK and two daily flights to Boston’s Logan International. (Source: Jet Blue press release).

June Footnotes for Airlines

Airlines Up Fares Again for 16th Time This Year
Airlines continued to increase fares and search for new revenue streams to help them cope with soaring fuel prices.

United Airlines initiated what was the 16th fare hike to stick since the beginning of the year, with fare increases that ranged from $10 to $60, depending on the route. Other legacy carriers—Continental Airlines, US Airways and Northwest matched.

American Airlines upped some fares and other carriers tacked on increases as well.

Rick Seaney, CEO of FareCompare.com, an airline comparison website, said that airlines have no choice but to pass on the cost of fuel to consumers and when passengers do begin to push back in significant numbers the airlines have no choice but slash capacity by that same amount. (Source: FareCompare.com.)

American Cuts Flights, Staff, Charges for First Checked Bag, Ups Other
Fees

American Airlines said it would charge its passengers $15 for their first checked bag as well as cut domestic flights by 11 to 12 percent as part of its efforts to cope with fuel costs.

At press time, no other carrier had followed American’s lead in charging for the first checked bag; Southwest Airlines, in fact, pointedly stated that it continues to let its customers check two bags—for free.

American, meanwhile, upped other fees, including those for oversized bags (from $100 to $15); ticket change fees from $100 to $150 for domestic tickets and from $100 to $200 to $150 to $250 for international tickets. It also upped its reservation service fee and AAdvantage Award ticket fees up by $5 each to $20. US Airways took another tactic—it said it would eliminate free snacks, although it will continue to serve free soft drinks.

And Midwest Airlines said it would begin charging $20 to check a second bag.
(Source: American, Southwest, Midwest Airlines press releases).

Major Carriers Continue to Experiment With All-Business Class Flights
The number of air travelers flying first or business class is dropping at increasingly faster rates, according to the International Air Transport Association, an industry group.
And three transatlantic carriers that offered premium seating—MAXJet, Eos and Silverjet—have ceased flying. But major carriers continue to experiment with the oncept. Singapore Airlines has introduced all-business class flights between New York and Singapore.

In October, Lufthansa will introduce all-business class service between Boston and Munich. That’s in addition to the all-business class service it operates between Chicago and Düsseldorf, Newark and Düsseldorf and Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

Meanwhile, on June 19, OpenSkies, a British Airways-backed carrier that has three classes of service but has allocated nearly two-thirds of the plane to premium seats, will begin to fly between New York and Paris. And L’Avion, the all-business class French carrier, is now code sharing with OpenSkies to offer three flights daily between Paris and JFK (Sources: IATA, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, OpenSkies and L’Avion press releases.)

Network Carriers Add International Flights, Low Cost Carriers Add
Domestic

Some U.S. carriers are adding flights, many focusing on international routes. Northwest Airlines has begun flying between Memphis and Columbia, Mo., and began serving Taipei via Tokyo. Delta Air Lines began flying from New York to Georgetown, Guyana and will start flight from Atlanta to Kuwait in November.

On the domestic front, JetBlue has begun daily service from Boston’s Logan International Airport to Chicago O’Hare and New Orleans. Southwest Airlines is adding flights from Denver to San Francisco and from Denver to Omaha in September.
(Source: Northwest, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest press releases).

New Virgin Atlantic Boston Clubhouse
At last, it’s here – the new Boston Clubhouse has opened its doors and is now accepting Upper Class flyers and Flying Club Gold members for some preflight rest, relaxation and pampering. Boston Clubhouse features a deli counter and bar, dedicated business area with PCs, free WiFi connection, charging facility for mobiles and blackberries, dining, lounge seating, free newspapers and magazines.

Airlines Information, May 2008

Airlines Up Change Fees, Institute Minimum Stay Requirement

In airlines ongoing quest for additional revenues in the face of $120-a-barrel oil, several network carriers have upped their change fees and re-instituted Saturday night stay and/or minimum stay requirements.

Airlines

United Airlines increased its change fees by 50 percent to $150 and added a Saturday night stay requirement on routes in about 65 percent of its markets.

Continental upped its change fee to $150 for domestic and $250 for international flights. US Airways upped the cost of its change fees by $50, to $150 for domestic and $250 for international flights.In some instances, top customers, such as elite members of airline loyalty programs, are exempt from these fees.

In addition, United, Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Continental have instituted minimum stay requirements on all or many of their routes.

Meanwhile, most network carriers and some low cost carriers, including JetBlue and AirTran have added fees for checking a second bag; fees range from$10 to $25. (Source: airline press releases).

Compensation Doubles for Involuntary Bumping
If you’re involuntarily bumped from your flight, you’ll get twice as much as you used to get. Effective this month, if you’re bumped you can receive up to $400 if you’re rescheduled to arrive within two hours of your original arrival time on domestic flights, four hours on international flights, and up to $800 if you’re not rerouted within that time frame.

The rule now covers aircraft seating 30 people or more; it previously covered flights with 60 seats and up. Reimbursement is determined by the price of the ticket, its refundability and the length of the delay. (Source: DOT press release).

DOT, FAA Announce Plans Designed to Ease Congestion
Even though airlines are reducing their domestic capacity, many by as much as five percent, aviation congestion remains a problem.

The Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration have announced a new routing alternative that will provide an “escape route” into Canadian airspace so that aircraft can fly around summer thunderstorms and high winds. And, the FAA is opening a second westbound route for aircraft, which will provide a parallel route along a heavily traveled corridor, which should cut westbound delays out of New York.

The DOT has also proposed auctioning off a limited amount of slots-the number of flights airlines can operate in a single day-at LaGuardia. The Air Transport Association, an airline trade group, is opposing such market-based solutions, saying that the DOT doesn’t have the authority to institute auctions and congestion pricing and that they are inconsistent with international practices. (Source: DOT, ATA press releases.)

Fare Expert Finds Majority of Airline Attempts to Hike Fares Are ticking
When Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines announced their proposed merger, they said that stratospheric oil prices have fundamentally changed the economics of aviation.

Oil prices are fueling mergers and other alliance, bankruptcies (more than a half dozen this spring, with the latest being the premium transatlantic carrier Eos), capacity reductions and ongoing fare hikes.

Rick Seaney, CEO of the airfare monitoring site FareCompare.com, has been tracking airline fare increases and reports that the airlines have attempted 14 price hikes so far this year; nine have been successful.

Summer demand and soaring fuel prices are making airlines comfortable with these increases, meaning travelers need to lock in summer travel now. (Source: FareCompare.com)

Virgin Atlantic Adds Second Dulles-London Flight for Summer
Virgin Atlantic has begun a second daily flight between Washington Dulles International and London Heathrow. The flight will operate until October 26. (Source: Virgin Atlantic press release).

Airlines FootNotes for November

Business travel at the Delta kiosk in the Atlanta Airport

It’s a Pricier World for Airlines
The Air Transport Association of America has re-launched its quarterly Airline Cost Index. The latest version includes data through the second quarter of 2006.

It covers factors such as fuel efficiency, workplace productivity, labor costs, break-even load factors and travel agency commissions.

Year-over-year highlights show that the composite cost index was up 17.4 percent, compared to a 4.0 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index. The three largest cost components were fuel (25.5 percent), labor (23.8%) and transport-related expenses (14.7%). Some figures dropped; the average cost of employing a full-time equivalent worker dropped $248 to $72,301.

The overall unit operating cost per available seat mile rose 6.3 percent while the average break-even load factor dropped 3.4 points to 76.7%. (Source: ATAA press release).

JetBlue Launches Chicago Service
JetBlue Airways is introducing service to Chicago January 4, starting with five daily flights to New York’s John F. Kennedy International and two daily flights to LA/Long Beach Airport. In other parts of the country, JetBlue continues to expand its service.

In New York, it will introduce two daily flights to Florida from Newburgh’s Stewart International Airport to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando starting December 19 and it will add a daily nonstop to West Palm Beach January 5 2007. In addition, it has just launched non-stop service between Columbus, Ohio, and JFK. (Source: JetBlue press releases)

Delta Introduces Lie-Flat Seats
Delta Air Lines is installing fully horizontal sleeper seats in its international business class service.

It will introduce Contour Premium Aircraft seating early in 2008 when it takes delivery of two new Boeing 777 Long Range aircraft.

Delta joins international carriers British Airways and Virgin Atlantic in offering lie-flat seats on transatlantic routes. American Airlines is upgrading its business class seats to recline to an almost-flat 171 degrees, just a few degrees shy of the full 180-degree recline. (Source: Delta press release)

Northwest Airlines Extends Boarding Pass Faxing Service
Northwest now allow customers to print their boarding passes at international fax machines after checking in for flights over the internet.

This is in response to the fact that many business travelers have a laptop but no printer with them on the road, meaning they can’t check in online because they can’t print out a boarding pass.

In 2005, Northwest enhanced its Internet check-in service to allow customers to select either the “print boarding pass” or “fax boarding pass function after beginning online check in. “(Source, Northwest press release).

United Introduces Washington-Tokyo Service
United Airlines has introduced daily nonstop passenger service between Washington, D.C., and Tokyo, its first-ever Asia service from the nation’s capital.

This fall, United has increased its’ service out of Washington Dulles International Airport by 39 flights. (Source: United press release).

Airlines Open Interim Passenger Lounges in LAX International Terminal
First and business class passengers at Los Angeles International Airport, which is undergoing a $576 million renovation, can use interim premium class lounges in the Tom Bradley International Terminal.

The first class lounge is in the Bradley terminals’ mezzanine. The business class lounge is in a vacant ramp area opposite the terminal; passengers can use it by taking one of a continuing operating stream of buses serving the terminal.

The lounges will be in use until four new lounges open in May of 2007. (Source: Los Angeles World Airports press release).