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Airfare Hike Falling Apart: United Bails Out

August 31, 2008 | Posted in: Airfare News,Delta,United | 0 comments

The airfare hike initiated by United Airlines late Thursday is starting to fizzle out.

In fact, the fizzling was also initiated by United; now UA has rolled back its hike, since only one legacy carrier joined in on it – Delta.

We’ll let you know if and when Delta bails.

UPDATE: United Initiates Airfare Hike, Delta Matches

August 29, 2008 | Posted in: Airfare News,United | 0 comments

UPDATE: As of Friday night, Delta matches United’s airfare hike.

EARLIER: We had almost 2 months of calm from system-wide legacy airline hikes, until last night – when United Airlines initiated the 22nd attempt of 2008.

The carrier increased airfares up to $20 roundtrip, on the bulk of its route system, affecting both leisure and business travelers. Curiously, the increase comes amidst 3 weeks of very active leisure ticket discounting for travel through mid-November.

Capacity cutbacks begin in earnest starting after Labor Day and I had expected to see some hikes a bit earlier to correspond with these cuts – it appears however that consumers benefited from the drop in oil prices from $147 to $115 a barrel since early July. But that’s changing.

Our laboratory beta “Best Time to Buy Technology” showed the following United price graph comparing the cheapest roundtrip prices at noon Thursday, to the newly hiked prices of last night between the top 50 cities (1200 markets):

Note the graph highlights United pricing behavior:

  • Cheaper prices through end of October
  • Price increase for Thanksgiving Travel in Mid November
  • Price increase for Christmas Travel in Mid December
  • Huge price increase for those that book outside the Southwest airlines booking window which ends in early March.

NOTE: Air travelers should not procrastinate on holiday travel this year as we are likely to see a few more hikes before the end of the year.

And for a look back at the year’s hikes by all the airlines, see our 2008 Airfare Hike Timeline Chart.


ATTN: Hurricane/Tropical Storm Gustav Travelers

August 29, 2008 | Posted in: Storms,Weather | 0 comments


If you will be traveling in the Caribbean, Louisiana, Mississippi or any region that may be affected by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Gustav (the definition keeps changing), contact your airline.

Many are waiving “change” fees for those that have to make other plans.

For a list of all the airlines and their contact info, just click here. And stay safe.

Update: NO Labor Day Weekend Strike at LAX (Bag Handlers, Security, Etc.)

August 29, 2008 | Posted in: News | 2 comments

UPDATE: The strike is over — LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has brokered a 3 week “cooling off” period

EARLIER: If your Labor Day travel plans include Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), you might be in for a spot of inconvenience.

Several hundred airline service workers of the Service Employees International Union (Local 1877) — which includes baggage handlers, skycaps, aircraft cabin cleaners, security personnel and the people who push wheelchair-bound passengers went on strike yesterday.

The affected terminals include the Tom Bradley International Terminal and terminals serving American, United, Southwest and Northwest airlines.

As of now, there is nothing about the strike on the airport’s website, and the LA Times reports that contract employees and execs are filling in for the striking employees.

“Airline and airport officials said the strike had not disrupted operations or delayed flights, but they cautioned travelers to arrive at the airport two hours before their departures for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights.” — Airport, airline officials, Los Angeles Times

The striking workers are seeking a wage increase and health benefits.

Jazz Air: No More Life Vests Onboard

August 28, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News,Fuel Watch,Travel Safety | 5 comments

Do you ever wish you could get the flight attendants to skip that boring “here’s how to use the life vest/life jacket” part of their safety presentations? Well, according to a report on ABCNews.com, that won’t be a problem on Air Canada’s regional carrier, Jazz.

Yes, Jazz is removing life vests from all its planes to save weight (and thereby, saving fuel).

Now, it should be noted that Jazz does not fly over the ocean – but it does fly over the Great Lakes, and it seems to me they could qualify as mini-oceans. But not to worry: a Jazz spokesperson says, you can still use your seat cushion as a “flotation device”.

You’re probably wondering what these vests weigh: well, we know a commercial vest weighs about half a kilogram — which is a little more than a pound.

Okay, readers – sound off!

Zoom Airlines Goes Bust

August 28, 2008 | Posted in: Airline News,Fuel Watch,News | 0 comments
High fuel prices have claimed another victim, with today’s announcement that Canadian-based Zoom Airlines is ceasing operations.

The founders of the discount carrier said today, that they hadleft no stone unturned to secure a re-financing package that would have kept our aircraft flying.” Apparently they couldn’t find a stone with deep enough pockets.

I’m sorry to see them go, but not as sorry as folks that purchased airfare for future flights on Zoom. If you are one of the unlucky ones holding now useless tickets, the airline’s website has some information on who to contact, but the smart ones will get on the phone with their credit card companies, right away.

Thursday is Deal Day – Cheap Airfare Available Here

August 28, 2008 | Posted in: Airfare News | 0 comments

Every Thursday, I like to point out some of the better deals we’ve posted on our Deals Page – and do check out this page everyday – we’re contstantly updating it.

Here’s a sampling of some great deals (click on the airline name for details):

Both airlines have lots more flights all over – time to start making plans.

Air Traffic Control System: If They Can Put a Man on the Moon…

August 28, 2008 | Posted in: DOT,Travel Safety | 1 comment

I’ve said this before, and never with more urgency since Tuesday’s debacle – we have to replace our decades old ATC system now.

Yes, I know by year’s end, the FAA says it will have completed upgrades to the “aging” National Airspace Data Interchange Network, and it “has a lot more memory so what happened [Tuesday] could never happen again” but, this strikes me a a patch work job – a piecemeal effort at a “fix”.

I’m also very aware that the FAA has been pushing for a whole new satellite-guided system that equips planes with GPS (and I’ve interviewed FAA officials about this), but that’s expected to take more than a decade. An FAA spokesman described it this way:

“This is one of the largest project management challenges the U.S. government has had since we put somebody on the moon.” — FAA spokesman

But already, it’s been talked about for years. Let’s see – it was 1961 when President Kennedy called for putting a man on the moon – a mission that was accomplished in 1969. How about the same urgency for equipment to handle the flights all of us take everyday?

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