United Airlines is planning to begin flying Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner sooner than previously expected, a sign of confidence in the jet’s return to service after regulators grounded it in January over safety concerns. Six of the planes have been delivered (out of 50) and six have been grounded. United said it expected to use the 787 on its Denver-Houston route starting May 31 and on the Denver-Tokyo Narita route beginning June 10. (BTN NEWS 4/15/13)
Virgin America is partnering for the sixth consecutive year with the California State Parks Foundation for its 16th Annual Earth Day to support vital environmental restoration and clean-up projects across the state, as well as in local environmental clean-up events in cities across the country throughout April.
Committed to reducing its fuel consumption and environmental footprint, United has announced its goal of saving 85 million gallons of fuel, representing 829 tons of CO2, in 2013. (Pacific News Center, 4/16/13)
For the second year in row, Delta rated highest among major domestic carriers in the Business Travel News annual survey of corporate buyer opinions of overall airline performance. Included were evaluations of carriers’ prices, service, relationships, complaints, negotiations, etc. It was the first time in the survey’s 15-year history that one airline was rated highest in all of the 10 survey categories. Delta beat second-place American, as well as Southwest, US Air, and United, in that order. All airlines but United increased their score from 2011, although almost a third of respondents felt that airline service worsened over the past 12 months. (Business Travel News, 11/26/12)
Virgin America will offer a four-times-faster wi-fi connection, and also offers smaller businesses and entrepreneurs a 3% future travel credit for spending at least $20,000 with them. Many airlines have created sections of coach that offer extra legroom for extra dollars—United has “economy plus,” Delta’s version is “economy comfort,” and JetBlue says its single class of service offers “even more space,” with early boarding and a quicker pass through security as part of the package. American plans to offer its “main cabin extra” on all flights, allowing passengers to purchase four to six more inches of legroom and the privilege of boarding before others in coach. Other debuting come-ons, range from the Samsung tablets that American offers premium passengers on some flights, to Southwest retooling its frequent-flier program last year and Delta renovating several of its Sky Clubs. (USAToday.com, Oct.1).
Pilots at American Airlines are calling in sick and working to the rule, causing flight delays and cancellations. The pilots are dissatisfied with management over new contract negotiations. Some industry watchers are advising caution in selecting AA in the near future. (USAToday.com, Sept. 24)
United has announced it will begin new daily nonstop service between Cleveland and Nashville on Dec. 19, 2012 and Cleveland and Oklahoma City on Feb. 14, 2013. ExpressJet will operate the flights on 50-seat regional jets. (TravelMole.com, Sept.22)
United’s major network outage that shut down its reservations system and website last Tuesday pointed out the advantage for consumers to work with travel agents. While many agents said they experienced little or no business disruptions during the outage, some were called on to assist clients caught up in the mess. Agents were able to help navigate stranded travelers through the crash, unlike passengers who booked online and were often left with no back-up or help. United’s computer glitch grounded airplanes for more than two hours, caused 580 delays, nine cancellations and rendered the carrier’s website inaccessible. GDS companies said that they did not have access to real-time inventory during the outage. Travel Market Report, 8/30/12
United launched the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) PreCheck program at O’Hare International Airport, Terminal 1. TSA PreCheck is a new pre-screening initiative which allows customers to volunteer information about themselves to expedite their screening experience. Eligible United customers traveling through Terminal 1 at O’Hare are allowed to leave their shoes, light outerwear and belts on, keep their laptops and leave 3-1-1 compliant liquids and gels in their carry-ons. This should ease their check-in experience. (Unitedcontinentalholdings.com, June 27)
Emirates Airline is embarking on a major expansion of its route network with three additional destinations to be launched in the next six months, on top of the 12 new routes already introduced this year. On November 1, Emirates will launch four weekly flights to Adelaide, rising to a daily service from February 1, 2013. Adelaide will be the airline’s fifth destination in Australia which is currently served with 70 flights per week. The airline’s current twice-daily service to Perth will grow to 19 weekly flights from December 1, becoming a triple daily operation on March 1 next year. (Eturbonews.com, July 4)
| United Airlines began daily non-stop flights between Newark and Buenos Aires on April 6, via Boeing 767-300 planes seating 183 passengers. The carrier operates daily non-stops from Houston to Buenos Aires as well. (Eturbonews.com, April 4)
Alaska Airlines began new daily non-stop flights between the San Francisco bay area and Honolulu Tuesday April 10
Allegiant Air will begin service to Honolulu from Las Vegas, NV on June 29, three times weekly and from Fresno, CA on June 30, once a week.
Allegiant will now charge passengers for their carry-on bags. The fee will vary depending on the route, ranging from $10 to $35. The maximum fee, one-way of $35, will be for passengers who do not check their bags online. (USAToday.com, April 10)
Beginning September 1, first-class American Airline passengers on flights between the U.S. and London Heathrow will receive premium sleep amenities. This new service includes quilted bed toppers, slippers and pajamas and high-end toiletries. Passengers in the business-class cabin will also receive high-end goodies, including duvets and pillows. Starting in October, the new services will be available on select flights between the U.S. and all international destinations. American is hoping that the luxury treatment will help them stand out among the other U.S. carriers.
Two U.S. legacy carriers plan to merge forming the world’s largest airline. United will buy Continental through an all stock deal and combine the Continental logo and colors with the United name. It will begin servicing about 144 million passengers through coordinated international route networks. The new carrier will emerge with much needed cash reserves and the potential to save over $1 billion in annual operating costs. (Travelweekly.com, May 3)