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).

Fuel prices Traffic growth International wifi

Business travel

Southwest’s Kelly Calls Fuel Prices Aviation’s Greatest Threat
Gary C. Kelly, chairman, president and CEO of Southwest Airlines, said that the greatest and most serious challenge facing aviation is the cost of fuel. Speaking at the Wings Club in New York last month, he said that a look over the past decade shows the havoc soaring fuel prices wreak on aviation.

Kelly, who was just named vice chair of the Air Transport Association board, said that the ATA has three major goals: make a serious effort to develop alternative fuels, modernize air traffic control and develop the latest next generation aerospace technology. “Otherwise we see a continuing diminunization of air transport domestically,” he said. (Source: Kelly´s speech).

Air Traffic Growth Slows But Outlook Remains Positive
Air traffic growth slowed slightly in November, growing 8.2 percent year over year as opposed to the 10 percent increase reported in October, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Even with that decline, however, passenger and freight traffic are growing at an annualized rate of between five and six percent, which is in line with industry´s historical growth trends.

The level of air travel is now four percent above the pre-recession peak of 2008. North American carriers´ November passenger levels equal the pre-recession levels of early 2008. Giovanni Bisignani, IATA´s director general and CEO, said that a strong end to 2010 has boosted the year’s profit forecast to $15.1 billion. (Source: IATA press release).

U.S. Carriers See Continued Growth; Global Air Capacity is Up
U.S. airline revenue grew 14.5% in November, according to the Air Transport Association, which tracks a core group of carriers, including major network carriers, low-cost carriers and regional airlines.

It was the 11th consecutive month of revenue growth. The miles flown by paying passengers rose 6.5 percent, while the average price to fly a mile rose 7.5 percent. Passenger revenue improved 11 percent domestically and 23% in international markets.

Separately, OAG, which tracks air traffic, said that global air capacity grew 6% in December. Over the last ten years, the number of available seats worldwide has increased 40 percent, while the number of flights has increased 24%.

Capacity in the Americas and Europe are growing at a modest rate while Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East are increasing at much higher rates. The improving global economy is having a positive impact on passenger demand. (Source: OAG, ATA press releases).

Inflight WiFi Goes International
Lufthansa passengers traveling on long-haul flights can use inflight WiFi on intercontinental routes. The service, which initially will be provided on select North Atlantic routes, will be available on nearly the entire Lufthansa intercontinental network by the end of 2011. The service will be free this month. (Source: Lufthansa press release).

Delta Reinstates Codesharing With Aeromexico After FAA Upgrades Mexico to Category 1
The Federal Aviation Administration’s decision to upgrade Mexico´s federal civil aviation authority to Category 1 means that Delta Air Lines has been able to reinstate code sharing with AeroMexico, Delta´s SkyTeam partner. A Category 1 rating is required to allow U.S. carriers to code-share with an international airline. (Source: Delta press release).

Delta Air Lines
Delta is expanding the First Class cabin on more than 60% of its mainline domestic fleet, approximately 350 aircraft, as it responds to business customers´ requests for more premium cabin seating. The addition of First Class cabins to all Delta Connection regional jets with more than 60 seats, does not impact Delta´s previously announced capacity guidance.

Delta expanded its Asia Pacific network with new nonstop flights between Japan and Honolulu & the Pacific island of Palau. The new service to Palau brings the number of Asia-Pacific destinations offered by Delta to 17. The Nagoya-Honolulu route is a new competitive option for customers traveling between the two cities. Delta´s new service between its Tokyo-Narita hub and Palau operates 4 times weekly and is the only service that connects the two airports.

Airlines Industry News & Updates

Delta Airlines

U.S. Carriers Report Double-Digit Increases in March Passenger Revenues
Airlines, struggling with another crisis, the cloud of ash from Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano, which shut down European skies, did have some good news.

The Air Transport Association reported passenger revenues, based on data from nine major U.S. carriers, were up 15 percent in March, the third consecutive month of revenue growth.

International markets: passenger revenues were up 19.6 percent. The number of passengers was up slightly, 1.4 percent. Separately, the International Air Transport Association showed that international air traffic demand was up in March by 10.9 percent. (Source: ATA, IATA press releases).

Premium Travel Up Again in February
The front of the plane is filling up again, according to the International Air Transport Association's latest figures.

February saw a 5.9 percent increase in premium travel and a 6.9 percent increase in economy travel, IATA said.

The level of economy travel is close to recovering to early 2008 levels, but premium travel is still 16 percent down on previous highs. Still, as world trade increases, so does premium travel. The Far East, South American and Middle East did the best; Europe, the North Atlantic, the Pacific and Africa were weakest.

Europe Institutes Post-Volcano Relief Plan for Airlines
The volcanic ash that shut down the skies over Europe cost airlines, which already expected to lose $2.8 billion this year, another $1.7 billion, according to the International Air Transport Association.

The five-day shutdown, canceled 100,000 flights and left 10 million passengers stranded. However, the European Commission was asking member nations to provide airlines immediate relief with measures such as making market-rate loans and deferring payments for air traffic control services.

Under normal circumstances, that would be considered illegal aid under EU rules. The crisis also appeared to give impetus to move to create a single European Sky. (Source: IATA, news reports).

Gogo Inflight WiFi Introduces Monthly Subscription Good on Multiple Airlines
Aircell, a major provider of inflight WiFi, has introduced the Gogo Monthly Subscription, which you can use on any airline whose fleet uses Gogo's inflight WiFi service.

Previously such monthly subscriptions had only been good on one carrier-fine for a frequently flyer who always flies the same carrier, but not for those who fly different airlines in a single month.

It can be redeemed on any carrier using Gogo, but initially will be available for purchase only on AirTran Airways, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Virgin America; all airlines that have equipped a high percentage of their fleet with Gogo. (Source: Gogo press release).

Germany, Netherlands Integrate Trusted Traveler Programs With U.S.
The United States is integrating its biometric-based trusted traveler programs with those of the Netherlands and German.

These programs expedite pre-approved, low-risk travelers members' trips through Customs upon arriving in the country. Under these partnerships, travelers can apply for both the U.S. Global Entry and the German Automated and Biometric Border Control or the Netherlands Privium programs simultaneously. (Source: Department of Homeland Security).

Airline updates: fees increase

Delta Airlines

International Premium Travel Sees First Uptick in Nearly Two Years
The International Air Transport Association reported that international premium travel was up 1.7 percent in December 2009 over a year earlier. That’s the first increase since May 2008. Economy travel was up five percent over a year earlier.

The recession hit airlines hard throughout the first half of 2009, but a post-recession upturn began in the second half. May marked the low point for premium travel while February marked the low point for economy travel. (Source: IATA press release).

Global Air Capacity Grows for the Sixth Month in a Row More good news came from OAG, the aviation data tracking company.

It reported that in February, global airline capacity was up five percent, the sixth month in a row that it has increased. The single exception: North America, which reported a one percent decline in February in both flight frequency and capacity.

However, North America saw positive growth of three percent and two percent for frequency and capacity in flights to and from the region. Decreases continue on service between North America and Western Europe, where routes have five percent fewer seats and five percent fewer flights for the month.

Still, the OAG said airlines are adding routes in North America—108, with most being domestic flights. (Source: OAG press release).

U.S. Airline Revenue Up for First Time in More Than a Year
Other positive airline news: The Air Transport Association reported that passenger revenue rose 1.4 percent in January, reversing 14 consecutive months of declines.

Traffic was down very slightly--.4 percent—and the average price to fly one mile was up very slightly--.6 percent. James C. May, president and CEO of the ATA, said that the small revenue increase, coupled with a 17 percent increase in cargo traffic, could be the sign of a recovery. (Source: ATA press release).

Business Travel Continues Slow Recovery
Business travel continues its slow recovery with more than one in seven (15 percent) adults planning at least one business trip during the next six months, up from 13 percent recorded one year earlier.

According to the travel horizons survey co-authored by Ypartnership and the U.S. Travel Association.The U.S. Travel Association projects a slight increase in both business and leisure travel for 2010 over 2009. The "perceived safety of travel," declined from 93.8 in October 2009 to 84.8 in February 2010, presumably due to lingering concerns about the "Christmas Bomber" incident that occurred in Detroit over the recent holidays. (Source: Ypartnership and U.S. Travel Association press release).

Virgin America Ups Baggage Fees, American Charges for Blankets
Airlines continue to add on fees. American Airlines, following the lead of other airlines, will charge $8 for blankets and pillows in coach starting May 1.

Virgin America upped its baggage fee for all checked bags to $25 from $20. First Class passengers continue to check two bags for free; Main Cabin select and Main Cabin passengers with refundable fares can check their first bag for free. (Source: Virgin America press release, American statement).

Road Warriors Biggest Worry is Those at Home
Nearly 74 percent of business travelers say their stay-behind spouse has expressed concern about being left home alone, according to a survey commissioned by Logitech, a Swiss technology company.

Even more, 79 percent frequently worry about their significant other when traveling for business. Fifty-nine percent said they would look for a job with less business travel when the economy improves. And 54 percent would take a $5,000 paycut if it meant never having to travel for work again. (Source: Logitech press release)

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, 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).


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
NEXUS members should destroy their old cards after activating their new ones.
(Source: Customs press release).

Business travel & Delta Northwest Merger News

Delta Airlines

North American Carriers Are Single Bright Spot in Dismal Global Aviation Market
The International Air Transport Association revised its outlook for global aviation last month, forecasting $4.7 billion loss for 2009, a bigger loss than the $2.5 billion it projected in December. But it said that North American carriers were doing the best and forecasting a $100 million combined profit for the year for them.

IATA said they had matched a 7.5 percent fall in demand with 7.5 percent in capacity cuts. It also said they benefited management and lower spot fuel prices. The current economic turmoil is hitting Asia Pacific carriers the hardest.

The Middle East is the only region to see demand grow, and capacity grew more.  European carriers are expected to lose $1 billion. An expected 2.9 percent drop in the Europe’s GDP probably will cause demand to drop 6.5 percent. (Source: IATA press release).

Delta Phases Out Northwest Signs
Delta Air Lines absorption of Northwest has moved to the frontline. Nearly 40,000 flight attendants, pilots, airport lounge  representatives, ticket counter and gate agents now are wearing Delta livery.

New Delta signs are now up at more than 400 ticket counters, gates and baggage claim areas at three hub airports in Detroit, Memphis and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Delta has already rebranded 119 other airports worldwide.

By the end of next year, all Northwest planes will be painted Delta colors.
The two carriers have already synchronized flight schedules and route maps. (Source: Delta press release).

Delta Offers Up To Triple Miles through June 15
Delta Air Lines is offering SkyMiles and Northwest WorldPerks members up to triple flown miles toward elite status on select fares purchased for travel through June 15.

Travelers will earn triple miles on first, business and premium economy fares; double miles on discounted economy fares. Travelers will earn actual miles on deeply discounted fares.

The bonus applies only to miles counting towards Medallion or Elite status.  Medallion and Elite Qualification Segments—another way to qualify for elite status—are not included.

To qualify for Medallion status, fliers must earn 25,000 qualified
miles. (Source: Delta press release).

American to Install Wi-Fi on 300 more Planes over Next Two Years
It’s getting easier to stay connected in flight. American Airlines will install  Gogo Inflight Internet on more than 300 domestic aircraft over the next two years.

It already has Wi-Fi on 15 of its 767-200s, which are primarily used on nonstops between New York’s JFK and San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami.

It will install the service on 150 MD-80 aircraft this year and then move on to its Boeing 737-800 fleet. The cost is $12.95 for flights more than three hours, $9.95 for flights three hours or less and $7.95 for a pass for customers using a handheld device on flights of any length (Source: American press release).

Southwest Continues Adding Priority Security Access for Business Select, Rapid Rewards Customers
Southwest Airlines has introduced priority security lane access for its Business Select and Rapid Reward A-list customer at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

It’s already in place at several other Southwest airports, including Baltimore/Washington International, Dallas Love Field, Phoenix Sky Harbor International, Orange County John Wayne, Denver International, San Francisco International, and Los Angeles International. It will continue to add it as needed. (Source: Southwest press release).

Amtrak Offers Lower Acela Fares
Amtrak is offering new low fares on Acela Express trains, saving passengers up to 25 percent on previous lowest fares. Acela Business class tickets start at $99 between Washington, DC (WAS) and New York (NYP), and $79 between New York and Boston (BOS).

A 14-day advance purchase policy applies, and availability is limited. Fares are available through June 26. The tickets are one-way and nonrefundable, but can be exchanged. (Source: Amtrak 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

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 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, 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).

Airlines News and Updates

Global Air Travel Keeps Falling
IATA (the International Air Travel Association) said that global air travel dropped for the second month in a row, with international passenger traffic down 1.3 percent compared to October 2007. That was a smaller decline than September’s 2.9 percent drop.

North American traffic declined 0.8 percent; Asia Pacific traffic was down 6.1 percent, European traffic was up 1.8 percent. IATA’s head, Giovanni Bisagnani, said that recession is now the biggest threat to airline profitability. (Source: IATA press release).

Fewer Planes in the Air Boost Performance
The airline industry’s capacity cuts, resulting in fewer flights operating daily, have contributed to the improvements in on-time performance shown above.

Notably, in September, when the share of flights arriving on time rose to 84.9%, carriers implemented the bulk of the large capacity cuts announced at the height of the summer’s oil-price surge. (Source: Wall Street Journal)

Trend: Premium Economy Offers More Comfort but Still Coach
As tightening travel budgets restrict first and business class bookings, interest in the premium economy class is resurfacing. A dozen international airlines flying to the U.S. now offer extra legroom, wider seats and seats that recline lower in premium economy cabins at a cost that’s slightly more than coach but notably less than business class. Some carriers even include better meals, early boarding, access to faster airport security lines, and other amenities. (Source: The Wall Street Journal)

United Makes It A Little Easier to Pay Baggage Fees and Buy Extra Leg Room
More airlines are making it a little easier for consumers to pay baggage and other fees.

United Airlines canceled its previously announced plans to increase the domestic second bag fee from $25 to $50 one way, and now lets you pay your baggage fee in advance on its website instead of at check-in. You can now upgrade online instead of at check-in to Economy Plus, which starts at an additional $14 one way for up to five additional inches of legroom. Next spring, your travel agent will be able to book your baggage and upgrade you to Economy Plus.

Northwest Airlines is another carrier that now lets you pay your baggage fee in advance when you check in online; Spirit Airlines discounts your baggage fees when you pay online. Look for more airlines to make it easier to pay a variety of fees in advance, either through your travel agent or on their website. (Source: United, Northwest and Spirit press releases).

Lufthansa Italia
Lufthansa has launched its new Lufthansa Italia, which it is billing as a blend of Lufthansa’s reliability and quality with Italian flair.

It will begin flying a fleet of six aircraft in February between northern Italy and major European destinations.

It ultimately plans to operate its own Italian airline. It will first operate to Paris and Barcelona, and then will add Brussels, Budapest, Bucharest, Madrid, London and Lisbon. (Source: Lufthansa press release).

Delta Realigns Fees
Delta Air Lines, which recently acquired Northwest Airlines, is aligning the fee structures of the two carriers. It has dropped award ticket fuel charges instituted to cope with soaring fuel costs and reduced the cost of telephone reservations from $25 to $20.

It has eliminated curbside check in administrative fees and aligned the two carriers’ baggage fees. In addition, Delta now offers passengers Coach Choice seats for an additional fee when they check in online 24 hours before departure. These are certain aisle, window or exit row seats. (Source: Delta press release).