Airlines News March 2008

United, U.S. Airways Start Charging for Second Checked Bag

United Airlines and U.S. Airways in May will begin charging economy passengers $25 for their second checked bag on domestic flights. U.S. Airways is charging the fee on all flights within the U.S., to/from Canada, Latin America, the Caribbeanand Europe.

Dividend Miles Preferred members (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Chairman’s Preferred), confirmed First Class and Envoy passengers at time of check in, Star Alliance Silver and Gold status members, military personnel in uniform with an ID, unaccompanied minors and those checking assistive devices will not be charged.

United is charging for domestic flights as well as for travel beginning in the U.S. to and from Canada, San Juan, Puerto Rico and St. Thomas. Mileage Plus Premier status and Star Alliance Silver status passengers will not be charged.
Spirit Airlines has upped its checked bags fees from $5 to $10 per checked bag for baggage booked on its website and $20 for checked baggage requested at the airport.
(Source: US Airways, United and Spirit press releases).

DOT Reports More Complaints About Airlines Mishandling Baggage,
Flight Delays The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Air Travel Consumer Report said that carriers’ rate of mishandling baggage rose from 6.73 per 1,000 passengers in 2006 to 7.03 reports per 1,000 passengers in 2007. Air travel delays also increased.

The 20 airlines reporting on-time performance with DOT recorded an on-time arrival rate of 73.4 percent in 2007, down from their 75.4 percent mark in 2006.
(Source: DOT press release).

Delta Introduce Pay with Miles
Delta Air Lines have introduced the Pay with Miles program, a new feature of Delta’s SkyMiles program, which is exclusively for Gold and Platinum Delta SkyMiles card memnbers. The program allows these travelers to book flights on and use Miles to pay for all or part of a Delta ticket in any class of service on any route, with no blackout dates or inventory restrictions.
(Source: press release).

Air France Introduces Half-Price Business Class Fare
Air France has introduced a new Business Class Leisure Fare available year round. It is about fifty percent off the normal price and is available to passengers who book their travel 30 days in advance of their departure date.
Sample one-way fares are: Washington-Barcleona, $1,681; Chicago-Madrid, $1,880; Los Angeles-Rome, $2,419. All flights connect through Paris-CDG. Fuel surcharges are included; government-imposed fees and taxes are approximately $80 to $150 extra.
(Source: Air France press release).

American Airlines Pilots Support BA Pilots Opposition to New OpenSkies
Airline OpenSkies, a stand alone airline backed by British Airways that is designed to take advantage of the new U.S.-EU Open skies agreement, is hitting some bumps.

Eighty-six percent of BA’s pilots have voted to authorize a strike in response to management’s plans for OpenSkies. That’s because pilots for the six 757s flying in the mostly upper class plane will not be drawn from the existing BA pilots’ seniority list. The Allied Pilots Association (APA), the collective bargaining agent for American Airlines pilot has expressed its “unequivocal support” for BA pots.
(Source: APA press release).

Continental Starts Nonstops From Cleveland to Greensboro,
Omaha and Savannah Continental Airlines has begun new daily nonstop service from its Cleveland hub at Hopkins International Airport to three new cities — Greensboro, N.C.; Omaha, Neb.; and Savannah, Ga.

The new cities are part of Continental’s expansion program underway at Cleveland that will add 12 new domestic nonstop destinations this year, in addition to previously announced new service to Paris, France. Other new destinations from Cleveland will include Birmingham, Ala., Charleston, S.C., Green Bay, Wis., Tulsa, Okla., Little Rock, Ark., Memphis, Tenn., Lansing,
Mich., Des Moines, Iowa and Kalamazoo, Mich.