United Airlines

United Pay with Miles, Starwood Marriott Hilton Hotel Updates

Marriott and Hilton Announce Last-Minute Penalties

The airline industry has generated billions in revenue by charging fees on top of base fares. Now the hotel industry has the same idea.

Marriott Resort Cayman Islands

2 hotel companies, Marriott and Hilton, recently announced that they would increase their fees by tightening rules on last minute cancellations. Business travelers have been accustomed to being able to cancel a reservation at many hotels, without charge, some as late as 6 p.m. on the day of arrival.

Effective now, at the Marriott and Hilton hotels. Both companies say if you don’t cancel your reservation the day before your scheduled arrival, you’ll be charged a penalty of 1 night’s room rate.

Pay with Miles at Newark Airport

You maybe used to cashing in your frequent flier miles for a free flight, but now you can use them at the airport to buy a steak dinner, a neck pillow or perhaps a glass of wine?

United passengers flying through Newark Liberty Airport’s Terminal C can now pay for food and merchandise with miles they’ve earned through the airline’s loyalty program, instead of cash.

The new payment system kicked in at a few airport restaurants last week, and United and partners, OTG Management, believe this marks the first time a terminal has allowed the use of miles to pay for purchases.

Open Hotel Doors With Your Phone at Starwood

You leave your plane, get a cab, and arrive at your hotel, and stand behind a travel group as each tourist checks in one at a time. Starwood Hotels & Resorts is working toward a day when you’ll skip the front desk and simply open your door using your smartphone.

The service, called SPG Keyless, rolls out to Starwood loyalty customers on Nov. 5 at 10 in hotels across its Aloft, Element, and W brands, including Aloft Beijing, W Hollywood, and Element Times Square. The hospitality company tested the program earlier this year and plans to make it available in 150 hotels around the world by early 2015.

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.

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).

Airlines news wifi aviation bio fuels & performance

Atlanta Arport Clock tower

Airlines’ On-time Performance is Best in Two Years
U.S. airlines reported their best on time performance in two years in April, according to the Department of Transportation’s latest figures.

Just over 86% of flights arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time, the best since November 2009. And, airlines are getting better at keeping track of your bags. April’s mishandled baggage report was down to 2.63 reports per 1,000 passengers from 3.3 in April 2011 and 3.09 in March 2012. Airlines also reported no tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights or more than four hours on international flights. (Source: DOT press release).

U.S. Air Passenger Traffic Up Slightly
The number of passengers U.S. airlines carry continues to increase, according to the latest statistics from the Department of Transportation.

The first three months of 2012 continued the growth trend of 2011, when system and domestic load factors hit an all-time high. U.S. airlines carried 2.8% more passengers in the first quarter of 2012 than in the first quarter of 2011. That meant that overall, passenger numbers were up 1.4%. The March 2012 passenger total was 3.6% above March 2010. Delta Air Lines carried the most total passengers.

Southwest Airlines carried more domestic passengers. United Airlines, which merged with Continental Airlines, carried the most international passengers. (Source: DOT press release).

U.S. Air Capacity Dips
Airlines might be carrying more passengers, but they’re flying fewer seats as U.S. carriers continue to trim capacity. In March, domestic capacity decreased by .6%t and capacity system wide was down .3%.

This is an ongoing trend; in late June both Delta Air Liens and United Airlines reduced their total seats by about 1 percent, anticipating slackening demand after Labor Day. (Source: DOT press release, news reports).

Delta to Offer In-flight WiFi on Its International Fleet
Delta Air Lines, the airline that has more planes equipped with WiFi than any other domestically, said that it will start offering in in-flight Internet service on its long-haul international fleet in early 2013.

Once it completes installing WiFi on all of its international aircraft in 2015, it will have more than 1,000 planes with WiFi. Lufthansa now offers WiFi on some transatlantic flights; Virgin Atlantic is introducing it later this year. (Source: Delta, Lufthansa press releases, news reports).

Aviation Continues to Work on Bio fuel Development
KLM flew the longest commercial bio fuel flight ever to the Rio+20 sustainable development conference in Rio de Janeiro late last month. It’s part of an ongoing aviation industry effort to develop use of bio fuel.

Lufthansa just wound up a six-month trial in which it used a 50-50 blend of bio fuel and regular fuel on its planes. Air New Zealand has flown bio fuel test flights and is working on developing bio fuel production in New Zealand.

British Airways said it plans to use a fuel derived from waste by 2015, while Virgin Atlantic said it will use fuel derived from waste gases by 2014, cutting its carbon footprint by 50 percent.

European carriers, bio fuel producers and the EU commission last year signed a pact to produce 2 million tons of bio fuel by 2020. In the U.S.A., United Airlines, Boeing, Honeywell’s UOP, the Chicago Department of Aviation and the Clean Energy Trust have formed the Midwest Aviation Sustainable Bio fuels initiative. Its goal: to promote bio fuel development in a 12-state region. (Source: press releases)

Airline news: Oil cost, wifi & Tarmac delays down

Delta Airlines


U.S. Airline Revenues Are Up—But Oil Costs Hurt
Passenger revenues for U.S. carriers were up 13% in February, the latest figures available from the Air Transport Association, marking the 14th consecutive month of revenue growth for a core group of U.S. airlines.

Miles flown by paying passengers were up 2.1%, while the average price to fly one mile rose 10.8%. International markets remained especially strong, with passenger revenue growing 17%, led by a 27% increase in Pacific revenue. Domestic revenue grew 11.5%, fueled in large part by a 10.5% increase in yield. Figures are based on data from seven major U.S. carriers and 20 regional carriers. (Source: ATA press release).

Air Traffic is Up, But Still Below Pre-Recession Levels
Air traffic was up 2.9% in December 2010 over December 2009 according to the latest figures from the Department of Transportation.

The December 2010 passenger total was 2.1% above that of two years ago in December 2008 but still remained 3.6% below the pre-recession level of 60.8 million in December 2007. The number of scheduled domestic and international passengers on U.S. airlines increased 2.4% in 2010 over 2009 to 720.4 million. The number of passengers declined 3% from the full year 2008 to the full year 2010. U.S. airlines carried 2% more domestic passengers and 5.9% more international passengers in the full year 2010 than in 2009.

In December, Southwest Airlines carried more total system and domestic passengers than any other U.S. airline. (Source: Department of Transportation).

Triple Digit Oil Prices Could Crimp Business Travel Growth—But Not Stop It
Short-term oil price spikes might slow business travel growth but shouldn’t stop it, according to a study by the Global Business Travel Foundation. It found that because business travel pays off, companies will continue to invest in it even if rising fuel costs make travel more expensive.

Even if oil hits $200 per barrel, business travel and the number of trips taken would continue—although high oil prices would hurt the rate of projected business travel growth over time. (Source: GBTA press release).

No Tarmac Delays of Longer Than Three Hours In February
No airline passengers sat on the tarmac for more than three hours in February, down from 60 flights in February 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

February was the tenth full month of data since a new rule prohibiting carriers from keeping planes on the tarmac for more than three hours went into effect. Large parts of the country saw severe weather during February, and airlines canceled 4.9 percent of their scheduled domestic flights, compared to 5.4 percent in February 2010 and 3.9 percent in January 2011.

The number of canceled flights with tarmac delays of more than two hours increased only slightly, from 289 between May 2009 and February 2010 to 331 between May 2010 and February 2011. There were 19 canceled flights with tarmac delays of more than two hours in February 2011, down from 21 in February 2010. (Source: DOT).

United Continental Expands Wi-Fi Service to More Than 200 Aircraft
United Continental Holdings, Inc., is adding Wi-Fi service to more than 200 domestic Boeing 737 and 757. It’s using LiveTV’s Ka-band technology, which offers offer higher transmission speeds for more extensive onboard connection capabilities, including browsing content-rich websites, sending and receiving e-mails and downloading files. The airline will start offering the new service next year. Right now, United offers in-flight Wi-Fi on 14 aircraft. (Source: United Continental Holdings 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

Hotel and Car Rental April Update

Hotel Prices Fall 12 Percent Worldwide
 Hotel prices are falling, according to Hotels.com’s Hotel Price Index. Rates for hotels in December 2008 were more than one tenth lower than they had been a year earlier and just one percent above their level in January 2004.

 Empress Hotel
North American rates fell the most, down 12 percent in the fourth quarter of  2008.
(Source: HPI, STR Global press releases).

Omni Hotels Offers Triple Miles with American, United
 Omni Hotels is offering members of its Select Guest program the opportunity to earn unlimited triple miles in the American AAdvantage and United Mileage Plus programs.

Guest Select members also get complimentary Wifi, morning beverages, pressing,  newspapers and online check-in and express checkout. To take advantage of the triple miles offer, visit SelectGuestProgram/ .
(Source: Omni Hotels).

Car Rental

Hertz Offers Summer Specials
 Hertz is offering 50 percent off weekend rentals through June 30 at participating airports in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It’s also offering a Weekender, that includes an attractive rate, free child’s seat, no drop-off fee for one-way rentals and up to three days of Hertz NeverLost service. (Source: Hertz).

Travel Back Lash

Concerned by public perception of meetings and events as frivolous, some corporations are opting to meet in places that may look like a bargain but actually cost more.

An Association of Corporate Travel Executives survey of business managers found companies are factoring political correctness into their calculations.

  1. Sixty percent would avoid a “resort” destination like Las Vegas even if the resort city were a better deal than a non-leisure destination.
  2. Thirty-eight percent said public perception is now a key factor in choosing a meeting site.
  3. Sixty-two percent said it would take a dramatic increase in their own business or an increase in projects that required meetings for them to increase the number of meetings and conferences they attend.

Source: Association of Corporate Travel Executives press release.

Airlines Travel News Updates

Airplane at take off.
International Travel Keeps Dropping
Demand for international travel fell 5.6 percent year over year in January, a full percentage point more than the 4.6 percent drop in December and the fifth consecutive month that traffic fell, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Demand continues to fall faster than airlines can cut capacity; capacity cuts were two percent. The decline was biggest in Asia, 8.4 percent; North America was second with 6.2 percent.

The Middle East was the only region to see traffic grow, 3.1 percent. There was one bit of good news: the fact that fuel prices remain well below last year’s levels. But IATA projects that airline revenues will drop $35 billion to $500 billion this year. (Source: IATA press release).

Southwest Offers Free Wi-Fi on Four Planes
Southwest Airlines expects to have four aircraft with in-flight Wi-Fi this month –you’ll be able to tell if you’re aboard one from the placards you see upon boarding and onboard instruction sheets.

Southwest is offering the service for free during the test period. Passengers will be able to log on using Wi-Fi enabled devices such as laptops, iPhones and smart phones. Southwest is also offering an in-flight homepage with the service. It includes an in-flight homepage with a flight tracker and local news and information.

Passengers can follow the plane’s flight path and view points of interest they’re flying over. Cellular technology will not work. (Source: Southwest press release).

More Airlines Go Cash-Free
United Airlines and American Airlines are phasing out cash in flight and will only accept major credit cards and debit cards after a transition period. United is introducing EasyPurchase March 23.

After a brief transition, it will only accept credit and debit cards on flights within the United States, including Hawaii, and on flights to and from Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. It will continue to accept cash on flights to and from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America. On United Express, it will continue to accept cash.

American will begin its transition to credit and debit cards only this summer on flights within the United States and to and from Canada. (Source: United, American press releases).

Delta Enables Mileage Transfers Between Sky Miles, Worldperks
Delta Air Lines said that Delta SkyMiles and Northwest WorldPerks members now can link frequent flyer accounts and transfer miles between both accounts at no charge. Members who link their accounts before March 15, 2009 will earn 500 bonus miles.

This means members who have SkyMiles and WorldPerks accounts can visit delta.com to link their accounts and transfer any amount of miles into either account on an unlimited basis. Both accounts will remain open and functioning until late 2009 when Delta plans to merge the two programs. (Source: Delta press release).

More Accidents But Fewer Fatalities in 2008
On the bright side, aviation safety performance improved, with the total number of aviation fatalities dropping from 692 in 2007 to 502 in 2008, a 56 percent improvement in the fatality rate, according to IATA.

There were more accidents in 2008—109 compared to 100—and the number of fatal accidents increased from 20 in 2007 to 23 in 2008. There were regional differences. North Asia had zero losses.

North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific performed better than the global average; Africa’s accident rate was 2.6 times worse than the world average, but that was a vast improvement over 2005, when it was the worst in the world. Separately, the U.S. Department of Transportation said that the U.S. has seen a 65 percent reduction in the aviation fatal accident rate between 1997 and 2006.

Before the fatal crash in Buffalo last month, the DOT said that there had been no fatal commercial accidents for more than two years. (Source: IATA, DOT press releases).

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).