On Friday, May 24, Delta Air Lines will officially inaugurate its new state-of-the-art facility at JFK International Airport’s Terminal 4, which Delta has been expanding and upgrading since November 2010 through a $1.2 billion investment. Delta international operations will shift to Terminal 4, where nine new gates and additional space will span about 491,000 square feet. To handle an additional 5 million passengers, the terminal is getting more security screening lanes, more customs and immigration capacity and more check-in desks. Delta’s JFK project is a key feature of the airline’s huge expansion and facilities upgrades in the New York region which, until now, had been more visible at LaGuardia Airport. (Newsismybusiness.com, 5/20/13)
According to J.D. Power & Associates’ 2013 North America Airline Satisfaction Study, airline passenger satisfaction has increased to its highest levels since 2006. The study measured passenger satisfaction with North American airlines based on seven factors: costs and fees; in-flight services; boarding/deplaning/baggage; flight crew; aircraft; check-in; and reservations. Satisfaction improved across all factors, with the largest yearly increase in boarding/deplaning/baggage. Overall satisfaction with the airlines improved approximately 2% over 2012 survey results. JetBlue earned the top score among low-cost carriers. Alaska Airlines topped the traditional carrier rankings, with Delta Air Lines in second place. (CNN.com, 5/15/2013 and eTurboNews.com, 5/19/2013)
According to an estimate released Thursday by Airlines for America, a trade group for the nation’s airlines, nearly 209 million people will fly on U.S.-based airlines, up 1% over last year. While that would mark the fourth year in a row that passenger totals have increased, it is still off from the all-time high of nearly 218 million in 2007. Nine of the 11 busiest travel days of 2013 will be in June through August, and the average plane will be 86% to 87% full throughout the summer. The Airlines for America forecast did not predict airfares for the summer, but travelers should expect no drastic increases for the next few months as long as fuel prices don’t surge. (LA Times, 5/17/2013)
American Airlines is now offering passengers who carry just a personal item that fits under the seat — no rolling suitcases — the opportunity to board before most others. American said the change will allow flights to take off sooner, helping the airline improve its on-time performance. American tested the new boarding procedure at seven airports and began applying it to all flights Thursday, May 16. Passengers carrying a purse, backpack, computer bag or other personal item small enough to fit under the seat may now board immediately after Group 1 premium passengers. (Seattle Times/AP, 5/16/2013)
ANA will resume its Boeing 787 Dreamliner service on June 1st, following the successful completion of a series of battery system modifications, safety checks and test flights. 787 routes will be Tokyo Narita to San Jose, CA, Seattle, and Beijing; and Tokyo Haneda to Taipei, Frankfurt and Beijing. ANA has initially scheduled five flights a week to San Jose and seven to Seattle. Additional routes will begin later in the summer. (ANA, 5-9-13)
American has extended Flagship Check-in to New York JFK for its premium passengers. Currently available also at LAX and MIA, it creates a private, expedited check-in experience . . . the airline’s AAdvantage has launched the “Miles for the Cure” promotion to encourage its members to support breast cancer research by donating to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Until May 31, members will earn 15 miles instead of the standard 10 for each dollar donated, with a minimum donation of $25 required. Members may also donate by giving a gift card; for every $50 purchased with the gift card, AA will donate $5. (Business Travel News 5-8-13)
United has scheduled Boeing 787 Dreamliner service to begin May 20 on routes from Houston to other domestic hubs, and will begin international 787 flights on the Denver-Tokyo route on June 10. (E-Turbo News, 5-14-13)
AA now offers Choice Fare Options, a program to purchase various packaged travel services at a lower cost than when selected a la carte. #1 The Choice gives customers traveling in coach the flexibility to purchase services such as
pre-reserved seating, priority boarding, Admirals Club and frequent flyer mile accrual. #2 Choice Essential, offers; no change fee, one checked bag and Group 1 boarding for an additional $68 round-trip. #3 Choice Plus, packages; no change fee, one checked bag, Group 1 Boarding, 50 percent frequent flyer mileage bonus, Same-Day Flight Change, Same-Day Standby, and a premium beverage onboard for an additional $88 round-trip. Select only the combination of services desired and pay less.
The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has expanded its PreCheck expedited screening program to include international flights. PreCheck passengers traveling from 40 airports on Alaska, American, Delta, United, or US Airways will be allowed to leave on shoes, jackets, and belts, and leave laptops in cases. This program is open to U.S. citizens who are members of certain airline frequent flier programs or of CBP Trusted Traveler programs, including Global Entry, SENTRI and NEXUS. Canadian citizens who are NEXUS members are also eligible. The TSA is committed to implementing innovative ways to move recognized travelers through check-in quickly and placing the focus on those passengers about whom less is known.
The true price of a one-way airline ticket has increased by more than 29% since 2008 when you include all fees and taxes and airline imposed charges for commonly used and previously free services. The presence of a low-cost carrier in a market does not always forecast lower airfares. Airlines have become increasingly savvy in the art of capturing ancillary fees. The fare is just the deposit. Fees for “optional” services such as, checked bags, early boarding, “preferred” seating and much more, accounts for an additional 15% of a one-way ticket.