Delta Air Lines News

Stay up to date with the latest SkyMiles news and Medallion program updates for business travelers.

Introducing Delta Studio’s free entertainment service

Delta announces Delta Studio as its latest effort to improve the customer travel experience.

Delta Studio

Delta Studio entertainment services

Delta Studio entertainment services

With its latest investments in inflight products, including the complete installation of seat-back entertainment systems on all long haul international plane in 2013 and 140 additional mainline domestic plane with in-seat video screens, Delta is the clear leader in delivering personal entertainment selections.

With Delta Studio, customers will have access to free entertainment on more than 1,000 aircraft through a combination of seat-back systems or on demand video streaming on board the airline’s wifi equipped aircraft beginning August 1st.

In addition to seat-back systems, customers flying on Delta’s wifi equipped aircraft will be able to stream movies and TV options right to their mobile devices. By using either Gogo’s video player app or the integrated player within the Fly Delta app for iPhone, customers have a simple-to-access entertainment viewing experience on their own device.

Delta continues to listen to customer feedback which has consistently placed the wish to be entertained at the top of the list of ways to improve our customers’ time in the air, said Tim Mapes, s.v.p.–Marketing, in a release.

Customers traveling at every seat on international flights and in BusinessElite, First Class and Economy Comfort on domestic flights will have free, unrestricted access to all in-flight entertainment using either their seat-back system or their own portable electronic devices. Customers in domestic economy will have a menu of free entertainment options and premium entertainment for purchase.

“Through the introduction of Delta Studio our customers have yet another reason to choose Delta and a different travel experience,” Tim said.

Delta’s full entertainment line-up for the month of August is available in Sky magazine.

Delta also formally launched its exclusive new Artist Spotlight which started appearing on aircraft featuring emerging artist Sam Smith in June and will introduce Canadian-born songstress Kiezsa in August. The program highlights popular artists by bringing their music to millions of passengers during boarding and declaring as well as offering customized channel options on seat back entertainment systems.

Also introduced as part of its effort to improve customer entertainment options was an industry-first partnership with Billboard that started in July. The partnership provides passengers with new ergonomically designed ear buds with better sound quality and improved comfort. The ear buds are complimentary on international flights as well as flights between New York and Los Angeles. For flights like San Francisco or Seattle, ear buds are offered for purchase on all other flights more than 250 miles.

Delta’s investments in in-flight entertainment and products are part of the airline’s efforts to continue working toward its 2014 Flight Plan goals of earning the J.D. Power award for customer service among network carriers and raising affinity for the Delta brand to a new level.

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.

New BusinessElite flat beds on International Flights

Delta Air Lines has completed the installation of full flat-bed seats with direct-aisle access in BusinessElite across its entire international widebody fleet, making it the only U.S. carrier to offer full flat-bed seats and the convenience of direct-aisle access on all widebody overseas flights.

Delta Air Lines and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 370 destinations on six continents. For more information visit news.delta.com.
The completed interior fleet modifications include all Delta Airbus A330-200/300, Boeing 767-300ER/400ER, 747-400 and 777-200ER/LR aircraft, which represents Delta’s largest interior fleet modification investment in more than a decade. With these modifications complete, Delta also is the only U.S. domestic carrier to offer personal, on-demand entertainment at every seat on all long-haul international flights.

The fleet modifications are Delta’s latest investment in improving the customer experience. Since 2010, Delta also has:

  • Launched international wifi service and completed the installation of Wi-Fi on all domestic, two-class mainline and regional jets, offering more than 400,000 customers per day access to the Internet above 10,000 feet on more than 870 aircraft.
  • Transformed the sleep experience in the air by offering Westin Heavenly In-Flight bedding for customers in the BusinessElite cabin.
  • Updated BusinessElite amenity kits with stylish cases from Tumi and skincare product brand Malin+Goetz.
    Built a team of celebrity chefs and James Beard Award winners to offer customers great food and wine selections at 30,000 feet.
  • Introduced International Economy Sleep Kits and added new amenities for its Economy customers on transoceanic flights.

“We’re investing in giving our customers the wide range of options they want on long flights — from being fully connected via in-flight Wi-Fi to being fully disconnected and enjoying a great movie or comfortable sleep,” said Tim Mapes, senior vice president – Marketing. “Delta has set a new standard for our customers by adding full flat-bed seats with direct-aisle access, improved meals and amenities, and quality in-flight entertainment options.”

Beginning July 1, 2014, Delta also will operate three updated Boeing 757 aircraft with full flat-bed seats on the transcontinental route between New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. These will be the first 757 aircraft in service to feature Delta’s previously announced upgrades including full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite on transcon flights between New York-JFK and Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. All transcon flights on these routes will feature full flat-bed seats by summer 2015.

New upgrades of Delta’s BusinessElite seats are available on:

  • A330 BusinessElite seat
  • 747 BusinessElite seat
  • 777 BusinessElite seat
  • 767 BusinessElite seat

DELTA TO JOIN VIRGIN ATLANTIC AT HEATHROW TERMINAL

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) and Virgin Atlantic Airways today mark another major step forward in their partnership as Delta relocates some of its key services to join Virgin Atlantic at Heathrow Terminal 3. The move comes as both airlines start flying their new and aligned summer schedules that offer customers more choice and flexibility while reducing onward transit times.

Delta Air Lines and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 370 destinations on six continents.
Delta moves its arrival and departure terminal for several important business markets including its London to New York-JFK, London to Boston, and new London to Seattle services to Heathrow’s Terminal 3.

This move will enhance convenience and a seamless customer experience. For example, on the world’s most important business travel market between London Heathrow Terminal 3 and New York JFK Terminal 4 Delta and Virgin Atlantic will now operate from the same terminal and make it easier for customers to manage their travel plans including any last minute flight changes. The two airlines have also introduced a dedicated New York to London schedule with the customer in mind.

In co-operation with Virgin Atlantic, Delta will also operate a second daily service between London Heathrow and Detroit Metropolitan Airport effective June 2, 2014. The service will be particularly appealing to corporate customers needing an early morning arrival into London while offering more schedule choice for customers between London and the U.S. Midwest.

The two airlines’ summer schedule includes a total of 32 peak daily nonstop flights between North America and the U.K.. Of these, 25 flights will operate between London Heathrow and popular U.S. destinations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Washington.

NEW SEATTLE-LONDON HEATHROW SERVICE

Delta continued its rapid expansion in Seattle with the launch of new daily nonstop service from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to London Heathrow Airport on Saturday, March 29. The route, established as part of Delta’s joint venture with Virgin Atlantic Airways, gives Seattle customers nonstop access to one of the world’s top business markets and is an important enhancement to Delta’s growing trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific network from Seattle.

Delta Air Lines and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to nearly 370 destinations on six continents. For more information visit news.delta.com
Through its trans-Atlantic joint venture with Air France-KLM and Alitalia, Delta offers Seattle-area travelers nonstop service to Paris and Amsterdam while also providing connecting service to more than 150 additional destinations beyond those European hubs.

This spring Delta will also begin expanded Seattle service from Anchorage; Fairbanks, Alaska; Juneau, Alaska; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; San Diego; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; and Vancouver to support its growing international gateway that currently serves London Heathrow, Amsterdam and Paris-Charles de Gaulle as well as Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo-Narita, and Tokyo-Haneda.

In June, Delta will begin new international service from Seattle to Seoul and Hong Kong, bringing Delta’s total nonstop transoceanic destinations to nine, as many as all other Sea-Tac international carriers combined. Every transoceanic Delta flight from Seattle features full flat-bed seats in BusinessElite, Economy Comfort seating and personal, on demand entertainment at every seat throughout the aircraft. All international flights will feature Ku-band satellite Wi-Fi by the end of 2015.

Delta: wifi on International Flights & attendants get new Phablets

WIFI ACCESS ON INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS

Delta Air Lines will launch international wifi service on flights 283 and 295 equipped with Ku-band satellite wifi on Boeing 747-400 aircraft departing Los Angeles International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Narita International Airport in Tokyo.

Delta Kiosk

Delta kisok

Early check in at Delta kiosk at the Atlanta Airport

Customers can access wifi service with introductory pricing options that begin with one hour passes for laptop users as low as $14.00 and $8.00 for mobile users or a flight pass option, which will keep customers connected throughout their flight, starting at $24.95 for laptop users and $14.95 for mobile users. All of Delta’s 747-400 aircraft will have wifi installed by mid-2014.

Delta has three of 16 747-400 aircraft complete which also operate between Detroit and Seoul-Incheon; Detroit and Nagoya, Japan; Detroit and Tokyo-Narita; New York-JFK and Tel Aviv as well as New York-JFK and Tokyo-Narita.

The new international service uses satellites for global connectivity to offer coverage internationally and will compliment Delta’s existing air-to-ground service already provided by Gogo for aircraft flying within the domestic U.S.

DELTA FLIGHT ATTENDANTS TO SWITCH TO PHABLET

Delta Air Lines will equip more than 20,000 flight attendants with handheld Nokia Lumia 1520 phablets, which will serve as their on-board manual and in-flight sales device as well as a platform for future, more personalized in-flight customer service by this fall.

The Lumia 1520 features a larger format, 6-inch screen and will replace the smaller Lumia 820 already in the hands of Delta on-board professionals.

Providing electronic access to the more than 500 page, five pound On-Board Manual carried by every flight attendant is expected to save more than $1 million annually in reduced fuel and printing costs while providing on board professionals a more intuitive way to access essential information.

In addition to its functionality as an in-flight sales device and replacement for the on-board manual, the Nokia Lumia 1520 phablet, running Windows Phone 8.1, will, as it develops, enable flight attendants to take customer meal orders, receive detailed information about their flight and provide information for personalized service, including customers’ frequent flyer status and potential need for special services during flight.

Delta Air Lines Economy Fares Information

The Basic Economy product is designed to offer consumer choice and customization to the individual’s travel experience.

Delta Air Lines

Photo of Delta air plane taken on the runway by Ken Nash, pilot.

Photo by .

The product is ideal for travelers who seek the lowest fare option, do not intend to make changes and do not consider seat choice an important part of their travel experience.

Please note: Customers who prefer selecting seats and having flexibility in travel should consider fare options other than Basic Economy.

Basic Economy Fares Highlights:

  • Are identifiable by class of service E
  • Are published and available via GDS
  • Voluntary changes will not be permitted
  • Are non-refundable (except due to involuntary cases, such as irregular operations)
  • Are combinable only with other Basic Economy fares
    • Itinerary must be all E class segments or no E class segments
    • E class interline combinations are not permitted
  • Advance seat assignments are not permitted. Seats will be auto-assigned by Delta at the time of customer check-in, and once assigned, no changes will be allowed.

Note: Same-day Travel Changes, schedule changes, irregular operations, baggage handling and all other processes are treated the same for Basic Economy fares as they are for any other fare type purchased.

Travel Agency Information – GDS and Self Booking Tools

  • Fare Shopping, Pricing Low Fare Products, Low- Fare Finders, and Self Booking Tools
  • When using low-fare finder type options or self-booking tools that search for the lowest fares, it is important to note the following
  • Basic Economy will likely be returned, in the select markets where is offered, as it is the lowest fare
  • The Basic Economy fare will be nonrefundable, non-changeable and will not permit advanced seat assignments
  • If the Basic Economy fare is selected, the customer must be notified of all the fare rules. In addition, expectations of the travel experience must be clearly explained.
  • Consult the GDS or Online Booking Tool (OBT) provider to determine the most effective entries for pricing “sell up” fares or exclusions.

Delta flat beds, New Flights to Brazil and Caribbean

Starting in November, Delta will introduce new full flat-bed BusinessElite seats on flights between Atlanta and Zurich and between New York-JFK and Barcelona.

Delta Flat-Bed Seats

Delta flatbed on new flights.

Delta Introduces Full Flat-Bed Seats on ATL-ZRH and JFK-BCN Routes

In the JFK-BCN market, Delta becomes the only U.S. carrier to offer a full flat-bed seat on the route. By mid-2014, Delta will be the only U.S. carrier to offer full flat-bed seating with direct-aisle access on its entire international widebody fleet.

Delta to Start Second Daily Flight between Atlanta and Sao Paulo

Delta is expanding its presence in Brazil with a second daily nonstop flight between Atlanta and Sao Paulo starting in March 2014.

The additional frequency will be operated with a 210-seat Boeing 767-300ER aircraft featuring 35 BusinessElite full flat-bed seats, 32 seats in Economy Comfort and 143 seats in Economy Class. More

Delta Offers New and Expanded Caribbean Service to Freeport, Port au-Prince and Aruba

Delta has announced the expansion of its service between Atlanta and Freeport in The Bahamas, from a Saturday-only schedule to daily service. The daily flight will operate from December 19, 2013, to August 18, 2014.

Delta also announced the introduction of new daily seasonal service between Atlanta and Port-au-Prince in Haiti. The flight will operate from June 5, 2014, to August 18, 2014. In addition, Delta announced the return of Saturday seasonal service between New York- LGA and Aruba, operating from December 21, 2013 to August 16, 2014.

LaGuardia Update: Road Closure Advisory for New York-Area Travelers Oct. 28–Nov. 2, 2013

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has advised that because of construction activity at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, a portion of LaGuardia Road will be closed between Monday, Oct. 28 and Saturday, Nov. 2.

Affected portions include Parking Lot 5, the Terminal D inner roadway and the Terminal D middle roadway.

Air France Announces New La Première Dining Selections

Air France La Première customers departing Paris in October and November may enjoy new dining selections from Chef Jacques Le Divellec. Air France’s panel of chefs renews La Première dining selections monthly to ensure the best seasonal ingredients and ensure variety for frequent customers.

Air France’s aim is to offer customers in their first class cabin an exquisite dining experience that represents the best of French cuisine. Wines are especially selected by Air France’s sommelier to complement current menus. Since spring 2013, La Première customers have also been able to enjoy made-to-order salads and an additional hot dish as part of the snack on flights of more than six and a half hours.

Delta Double Skymiles & Passport Controlled Kiosks

Delta Offers Double Miles between SEA and SFO, LAX, LAS

Delta will offer SkyMiles members the opportunity to earn double miles from Seattle to San Francisco, Los Angeles or Las Vegas on all Delta-marketed and Delta or Delta Connection-operated flights through Oct. 31, 2014. SkyMiles members may register by Dec. 31, 2013 at delta.com/seattledoublemiles to be eligible for the promotion prior to travel.

Business travel at the Delta kiosk in the Atlanta Airport

Registered SkyMiles members may earn unlimited bonus miles during the promotional period for travel booked prior to Dec. 31, 2013. Members may begin or end their travel in any city to earn bonus miles on flights from Seattle to San Francisco, Los Angeles or Las Vegas. There is more information on Double Sky miles.

Complimentary wifi Service on Delta Shuttle Flights between LAX and SFO through November 22, 2013

Delta is offering complimentary access to Gogo Inflight Wi-Fi on mobile devices aboard Delta Shuttle service between Los Angeles and San Francisco through November 22, 2013. Delta began hourly, nonstop Delta Shuttle service between Los Angeles and San Francisco International airports on Sept. 3, 2013. The Delta Shuttle is tailored to business travelers while adding a California perspective to its popular New York-based shuttle product.

Delta Debuts Holiday-Themed Safety Video

Delta is spreading cheer and humor with a new holiday edition of the in-flight safety video. Featuring Delta employees, a 777 and even a surprise celebrity appearance. To view the video, click here.

Delta Adds Automated Passport Control Kiosks to Simplify International Arrivals at New York-JFK

Delta is pleased to have installed 40 Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks in an effort to further reduce wait times for international arriving customers at New York-JFK airport.

The APC kiosks are now activated and provide arriving U.S. citizens the convenience of scanning their passports and completing an electronic version of the U.S. Customs Declaration Form so that Customs Border Protection (CBP) officers can quickly and efficiently complete entry requirements.

Delta Partners: Virgin Air France KLM Alitalia

Thanks to recent government approval of Delta's partnership with Virgin Atlantic, travel professionals and their travelers may now benefit from a newly aligned flight schedule between New York-JFK and London-Heathrow.

Delta Airlines

Delta and Virgin Atlantic's Newly Aligned JFK-LHR Schedule Now Available for Sale

The updated schedule which became available on October 5 across all major computer reservations systems, offers business travelers a greater variety of departure times to better suit their needs. 

Starting March 30, 2014
Delta and Virgin Atlantic will offer daily departures from New York-JFK to London-LHR at 7:40 a.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:00 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

From London-LHR to New York-JFK, Delta and Virgin Atlantic will offer daily service at 9:05 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 4:15 p.m., 5:35 p.m. and 8:05 p.m. More informatiom

Air France Celebrates 80th Anniversary

In celebration of its 80th Anniversary on October 7, Air France kicked off a year of celebration marked by numerous events to commemorate. A dedicated Air France Anniversary website includes information about Air France's rich history. More information

Air France Wins Business Travel Awards

On September 26, Air France won 2 Business Travel Awards at the IFTM Top Resa, France's largest travel trade show in Paris.

Air France was awarded the 2013 gold prize in the category of the best mobile technology at the service of business travellers, along with a silver prize in the "best airline" category.

KLM Continues to Rollout New World Business Class Cabins

More KLM travelers are enjoying a brand new interior in World Business Class aboard long-haul intercontinental flights.

Dutch top designer Hella Jongerius has worked closely with KLM design teams to fully renovate the airline's World Business Class cabins; successfully combining top Dutch design with more personal space - making customers feel truly at home.

In the new World Business Class cabins, full-flat seats adjust to allow customers to "dream away" from departure to arrival. In total, 22 Boeing 747 aircraft will be converted through April 2014. After that date, the new World Business Class cabins will also be introduced on 15 Boeing 777-200 aircraft. More information

Alitalia & Delta: Fly to Milan with Full Flat-Bed Seats and Unlimited Bonus Miles

Delta and our joint venture partner Alitalia are the only airlines that offer two daily, nonstop flights between New York-JFK and Milan-MXP.

On the route, Delta and Alitalia offer full flat-bed seating with direct-aisle access in BusinessElite and Magnfica Business Class as well as business class amenities including celebrity chef-inspired and award-winning menus, premium bedding and a full array of in-flight entertainment on-demand options to enhance the customer experience.

Delta also offers Economy Comfort premium economy seating and Alitalia offers the Classica Plus premium economy cabin. Economy also features on-demand video entertainment and Italian-inspired cuisine, and Alitalia Classica class offers personal USB ports at each seat. 

While our unparalleled service may make the trip feel short, travelers can enjoy the bonus miles long after their flight lands. Register, book and fly between New York-JFK and Milan-MXP through January 15, 2014, and SkyMiles members can earn unlimited bonus miles on the route. More information

Crossover Rewards: Travelers Earn Rewards Overnight, Over the Clouds or Both

Through the Crossover RewardsT program, Delta SkyMiles Diamond and Platinum Medallion members enjoy Starwood Preferred Guest® (SPG®) benefits including priority check-in, 4 p.m. late checkout and free in-room internet access when staying at Starwood Hotels and Resorts.

Similarly, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) Platinum elite members enjoy the benefit of Unlimited Complimentary Upgrades on the day of departure for Delta and Delta Connection operated flights within the United States. SPG Platinum elite members who are enrolled in Crossover Rewards can request their complimentary upgrade at time of check-in. SPG Platinum elite members also enjoy several additional benefits, including one free checked bag, Priority Check-In and Priority Boarding when flying on eligible Delta flights. To view a complete list of Crossover Rewards benefits. More information

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).

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.)