Airlines Fill Up Seats At 80 Percent For April, 2006

The airline industry reported that it filled up more than 80 percent of available seats in April, 2006. Yet the airline industry continues to lose money hand over fist.  That is what happens when you sell a 10 dollar steak for 5 dollars.

The competition in the airline industry on price is killing it. Until the airlines figure out this lesson that competition does not mean destruction the industry will continue to be in turmoil.

And the early results from April, which indicate that more than 80% of U.S. airlines’ seats were filled with paying passengers, portend a record-setting — and uncomfortably crowded — summer travel season ahead.

Seven airlines that have reported for April all show fuller planes. No. 4 Northwest ran fullest: 84.9%. No. 1 American filled 81.7% of its seats. And No. 5 Continental filled 82.9%. No. 3 Delta, despite a public battle with pilots over cost cuts that included threats of a strike or shutdown in mid-April, filled 77.6% of its seats. Even discounters Southwest and AirTran, which normally record load factors lower than the big network carriers, came close to filling 80% of their April seats.

For all of 2005, the domestic airline industry filled 77.6% of its seats, according to the Air Transport Association. The April numbers are good news for an industry that has lost more than $40 billion over the last five years. Better yet for the industry, travelers have been paying on average about 13% more for their tickets than last summer. via USATODAY.com

Delta Employees Get New Uniform

Deltauniform

Today is the introduction of the new uniform for Delta Front Line employees. The flight attendants, gate agents, ticket agents, and Crown Room employees are all sporting the new uniforms.

Talking with many of these employees, the new uniforms are being warmly received after the blue themed uniforms they have been wearing the last few years. The previous uniforms were fairly non descript while the new Delta uniforms have a fashion forward focus that is much more glamorous.  For a work force that has gone through the bankruptcy and fear of strikes the new uniforms are a positive addition.

The stylish new uniforms feature splashes of gold and platinum along with the airline’s trademark navy blue and red.
Delta commissioned Tyler in 2004 to give its current uniforms a fashion overhaul. The struggling carrier views the uniforms as a way to boost morale among employees and customers after it filed for bankruptcy protection in September and has imposed pay cuts on most employees.
Company officials would not disclose the price tag for Tyler’s makeover, but research and development for new uniforms typically breaks down to about $1,000 per employee.
The outfits were designed for employees who deal directly with customers, including flight attendants< gate agents, ticket agents and workers in its Crown Room Club airport lounges.
“Richard’s collection is truly runway-ready,” said Joanne Smith, Delta’s marketing vice president. “We hope our customers will enjoy our new look just as much as we do.”  via USATODAY.com

Sorry for the Absense

We have had to restore a forum that crashed. Been busy with one of our sister sites and been absent from the controls. Tomorrow we will begin normal posting.

Thanks

Tom

Southwest Airlines Blog

SouthwestNuts about Southwest shows how Southwest Airlines gets it. They understand that building the bridge between the employees and customers is a great concept. Instead of shutting down blogs by employees as Delta did with the Queen of the Sky Blog, Southwest is embracing the new media and will prosper with this relationship.

Here is what Southwest has to say about their blog.

Nuts about Southwest is all about our Employees, Customers, airplanes, and airports. We really are Nuts about Southwest and we hope that our Readers will share that passion by posting their own comments.

Go read the Southwest Airlines Blog.

CDC Wants Airline Passenger Data To Track Bird Flu and Other Epidemics

The Centers for Disease Control is asking the domestic airline carriers to invest billions of dollars to develop a system to track all passengers in case of the bird flu or other epidemic breaks out. The costs of such a system would run into the billions of dollars, a cost the airline industry is not prepared to absorb at this time, and they are balking at implementing it.

The CDC wants to be able to easily find, notify and recommend treatment to airline passengers who have been exposed to bird flu as well as such diseases as plague, dengue fever or SARS – even if the travelers’ symptoms don’t appear while they’re traveling.

Health officials are especially concerned about a flu pandemic. Though bird flu hasn’t yet spread from human to human, they fear it could mutate into a strain that does.

The CDC plan calls for airlines to ask passengers their full name and address, emergency contact numbers and detailed flight information.

Airlines would have to keep the data for 60 days and, if asked, transmit it to the CDC within 12 hours.

Civil Liberty advocates also are against such a plan as it would violate an agreement with the European Union.

Barry Steinhardt, an American Civil Liberties Union attorney, said the U.S. government blithely ignored its agreement with the European Union that it wouldn’t share passenger records.

He also doesn’t think the CDC plan will work.

“This is probably physically impossible,” Steinhardt said. via The Seattle Post Intelligencer

Royal Caribbean Profits Fall 37 Percent

RoyalcaribbeanRoyal Caribbean Cruises posted revenue that  was 37 percent less than the a year ago during the busiest quarter of the year. The cruise line was not disappointed with the earnings report, but with all the bad news over the past few months, cruising as a whole has taken a hit.

Profit in the January-through-March quarter dipped to $119.5 million from $189.6 million. Revenue fell 2 percent to $1.15 billion from $1.17 billion.
But the world’s second-largest cruise ship operator managed to beat Wall Street’s expectations, as its stock rose $1.22 to $42.77 in New York Stock Exchange trading.
Wall Street analysts were encouraged that onboard spending remained strong, pushing revenue for each cabin, known as yields, up 1.9 percent. Royal Caribbean now expects yields will rise 3 percent to 4 percent for the year, based on a positive “pace of bookings.”
Royal Caribbean’s upbeat outlook contradicted a more cautionary note that sounded last month by its Miami-based rival Carnival Corp.
”This was a positive surprise for everybody,” said Felicia Kantor Hendrix, an analyst at Lehman Brothers in New York. “The Caribbean could be challenging for them, but they have so much going on that they’re able to offset that.”

Royal Caribbean profit falls 37%.

Credit Cards Monitored By Credit Card Companies Can Ruin a Vacation

The huge levels of credit card fraud is ruining many vacations. When you make a purchase outside of your normal pattern, the credit card companies software picks this up. They may try to contact you, and if they are unable to, will put a hold to avoid false charges on your card. As the credit card companies are liable for this, they are well within their rights to protect their interests.

MSNBC travel has an article on this trend, and things you can do to protect yourself.

Do you need a visa for your Visa? Maybe. A stamp of approval in advance of departure will make charging much easier overseas. If you are planning to travel to far-flung destinations, here are some tips to make sure your credit card keeps on charging:

  • Call your credit card company or the bank that issues your card and let them know your travel itinerary — both dates and destinations.
  • Make sure you have the issuer’s special toll-free number for overseas customer service. The regular 800 number, which is usually listed on the back of the card, will not work outside the United States and Canada.
  • Make a note of your card number and the overseas customer service number, and keep them in a safe place separate from the card. That way, if the card is stolen, you will have the necessary information to make a report.

Even with advance notification, you may not be able to spend as you please while you are abroad. Certain charge patterns will still arouse suspicion, and your card may be subject to spending limits, so you should always carry a second credit card. via  MSNBC.com.

Registered Traveler Program to Roll Out to 10-20 New Airports

The Registered Traveler Program is an initiative that will allow private companies to pre-screen airline travelers for an annual fee to allow them to pass by the majority of security procedures and save time at the nations airports. The program is being tested in Orlando presently, but is now being readied to roll out to 10 to 20 other airports across the country. The program is run by private companies and does background checks on travelers and if approved, provides expedited security lanes for these travelers.

“TSA is working with airports and private sector providers, and we will enable the private sector to launch Registered Traveler programs as soon as this summer,” said Assistant Secretary for TSA, Kip Hawley. “Security will be maintained, the program will be paid for by the private sector, and it will not disadvantage the general public when they fly.” via the TSA

Hat tip to CheapFlights.com

Cendant To Put CheapTickets and Orbitz Up For Sale – 4 Billion Dollar Price Tag

CendantThe Drudge Report had a flash tonight saying that Cendant is planning on selling its Travel Businesses including Orbitz and Cheaptickets. The expect price is 4 Billion Dollars.

We will keep you updated as we learn more.

A List of all the travel businesses from the Cendant Web Site:

The 22 brands within Travel Distribution Services are: AoYou.com, Asia-hotels.com, Away.com, Cendant Travel, CheapTickets, ebookers.com, Galileo International, Gullivers Travel Associates, HotelClub.com, Lodging.com, Neat Group, OctopusTravel, Orbitz, Orbitz for Business, RatesToGo.com, Shepherd Systems, THOR, Travel 2/Travel 4, Travel Bound, Inc., Travelport, TRUST International and WizCom.

Airline of the Future

CNET has an amazing pictorial on the future of the airlines. While the pictures remind me of the auto industries concept cars, it still makes one wonder on the future of airline travel.

AirlineFuture

Of course, lets look at the reality of the airline travel. The airline industry is cutting back at every opportunity and the low cost carriers are setting the tone for the industry.

But a man can dream.