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Archive for the ‘deltanet news’ Category

Delta & Industry news – August 2013

There has been some confusion about hangar closings … Hanger 2 is closed for renovations; however, Hangar 1, where the Museum Store and DC-3 are housed, is still open. DC-3 Tours are every Tuesday at 12noon. The Museum Store is open Monday – Thursday, 9a-4p.
Judy Bean, Delta Heritage Museum Store Manager ~ 404-773-1219 ~

Obama signs bill to relax security screening for veterans
President Barack Obama signed a bill on Friday that would make the security screening process at airports easier for wounded or disabled veterans. The legislation requires the Transportation Security Administration to develop a new protocol, with input from the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs. The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)/The Associated Press (8/9)
UPS issues statement on flight 1354 incident
UPS Airlines President Mitch Nichols issued the following statement on the incident in Birmingham, Ala., involving flight 1354: “We place the utmost value on the safety of our employees, our customers and the public. We will immediately engage with the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation, and we will work exhaustively on response efforts.” He continued, “This incident is very unfortunate, and our thoughts and prayers are with those involved.” WDRB-TV/WMYO-TV (Louisville, Ky.)/The Associated Press (8/14)
A4A: Consumers win when airlines are strong
In response to the Department of Justice’s decision to block the US Airways-American Airlines merger, Airlines for America stated that the “financial viability of U.S. airlines is critical to their ability to provide service to consumers, whether connecting small communities to larger cities, or the U.S. to the world. In approving the last four airline mergers, the DOJ has found that consumers benefit from strong networks, improved efficiencies and new and increased service. Airfare remains an unmatched bargain as fares have not kept pace with inflation over time, and recent mergers have not changed that. Consumers win when airlines are strong, able to compete and reinvest in their business with new planes, products and destinations, including expanded service to small communities and internationally, which in turn creates jobs.” Crain’s Chicago Business (8/13)
Seattle airport builds pipeline for preconditioned air
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport has built a central plant and 15 miles of pipes to send preconditioned air to heat or cool jets at each of its 73 gates. “This long-range investment by the airport will save money for the airlines, reduce our carbon footprint, clean the air of emissions and reduce noise for our neighbors,” Elizabeth Leavitt, the airport’s director of Planning & Environmental Management, said in a statement. (8/13)
Chicago O’Hare airport deploys herds of goats to clear brush
Chicago O’Hare International Airport is turning to animals to mow the lawn and clear brush on sections of the 8,000-acre airport. The airport maintains livestock such as goats, sheep, llamas and wild burros in an environmental initiative dubbed “Project Herd.” Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)/The Associated Press (8/13)
Delta promotes Mike Medeiros to head of Seattle operations
Delta Air Lines has appointed Mike Medeiros as head of its operations in Seattle. The carrier has recently expanded operations at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Medeiros previously served as vice president of global human resources and talent development for Delta. American City Business Journals/Atlanta (8/16)
Blog: Delta drafts smart strategy for Los Angeles
Delta Air Lines has created a smart strategy to crack the Los Angeles market, writes blogger the Cranky Flier. By implementing an hourly shuttle between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the carrier is appealing to travelers without having to add a lot of capacity. “But the real benefit is that there are dedicated check-in counters that require arriving only 30 minutes before departure and close-in gates to make things move quickly,” he writes. (8/19)
Airlines offer a touch of luxury to premium passengers
Airlines are offering luxury brands to entice first- and business-class travelers. Delta recently announced a partnership with Westin Hotels to provide blankets and pillows to business-class passengers. British Airways has also joined forces with Twinings to offer special blends of tea to premium passengers. The Telegraph (London) (tiered subscription model) (8/19)
Designers unveil innovations for middle seats on airplanes
Designers are trying to enhance the middle seat on airplanes. “You have to balance the ergonomics —- making sure it’s comfortable — with getting as many people on board in the smallest amount of space,” said Rob Green, a senior design engineer at Dyson. Innovations include the Side-Slip Seat, which staggers the middle seat, and the AirGo seat, which uses less-bulky fabric to create more space. CNBC/Road Warrior blog (8/20)
Delta flight attendants to carry Windows phones
Delta Air Lines is giving 19,000 flight attendants Windows Phones to improve inflight customer service. The Nokia Lumia 820 phones offer credit-card processing for purchases and seat upgrades. Delta has entered an agreement to use the latest version of the Nokia phones for the next three years. GigaOm (8/22)
Pick up a good read at the airport
Airports and local libraries can take advantage of the fact that many travelers have e-readers on hand. Many of them are teaming up to offer free downloadable books, or programs to boost library members. In 2011, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and the Broward County Libraries Division launched the first airport program offering free e-book downloads to passengers. USA Today (8/21)
A4A SVP: A National Airline Policy will enable a better travel experience
Airlines for America Senior Vice President Sean Kennedy called the performance metrics being met by airlines “remarkable” given the excessive tax and regulatory environment the industry is forced to operate under. Kennedy called for a National Airline Policy to enable a better travel experience for customers and benefit our overall economy. “First and foremost, the tax rate on air travel is beyond excessive. There are 17 unique aviation taxes and fees levied on the U.S. aviation industry and airline passengers. On a typical $300 domestic roundtrip ticket, roughly $61 –- or 20% of the ticket -– is taxes. This defies logic and must be rationalized,” Kennedy writes. FlyerTalk (8/28)



Delta Streamlines In-Flight Customer Service with New Windows Phone Handheld Devices for Flight Attendants

More than 19,000 devices distributed to flight attendants worldwide as Delta continues push for technological innovation

ATLANTA, Aug. 22, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — More than 19,000 Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) flight attendants today begin using new Windows Phone 8 handheld devices that will streamline on-board purchasing as Delta continues its investment in technological innovation to improve the customer experience.


“Delta’s 19,000 in-flight professionals are there for the safety and comfort of our customers, and equipping them with innovative solutions means they can better meet our customers’ needs on board every flight,” said Joanne Smith, senior vice president – In-Flight Service. “This is yet another way we’re investing in technology to improve the customer experience.”

The Windows Phone 8 device, a Nokia Lumia 820, enables Delta flight attendants to offer:
•Near real-time credit card processing for on-board purchases, including upgrades to Delta’s popular Economy Comfort seating. On-board Economy Comfort upgrades will begin on transcontinental and international flights before being offered on flights across Delta’s system.
•Convenient eReceipts that can be emailed to customers.
•Customers’ use of pre-paid credit cards for on-board purchases.
•Quicker transaction processing times.
•In the near future, the ability to read coupons displayed on a customer’s mobile device.
•More efficient service recovery.

On Aug. 26, flight attendants on Delta Connection flights also will begin using the device.

In the future, Delta expects to provide flight attendants with certain customer-specific information to enable more personalized service.

This solution was developed by Microsoft, Avanade and AT&T after months of development and feedback from flight attendants. The Windows Phone 8 devices will include a Delta-specific customer experience developed by Avanade on the Microsoft Dynamics for Retail mobile point-of sale platform and will operate over Wi-Fi and AT&T’s 4G LTE Network. The agreement includes plans to expand the solution over the next three years to the newest Nokia devices.

The new handheld device is Delta’s latest investment in technology for customers and employees, which in the past year has included the Fly Delta app for iPad, the launch of the new delta.comin December 2012 and revamped self-service kiosks in September 2012. Delta also offers its popular Fly Delta app for iPhone, Windows Phone, Android and Blackberry smartphones, and today offers in-flight Wi-Fi on more than 800 aircraft.

Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. Delta was named by Fortune magazine as the most admired airline worldwidein its 2013 World’s Most Admired Companies airline industry list, topping the list for the second time in three years. With an industry-leading global network, Delta and the Delta Connectioncarriers offer service to 327 destinations in 63 countries on six continents. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs nearly 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 700 aircraft. The airline is a founding member of the SkyTeamglobal alliance and participates in the industry’s leading trans-Atlantic joint venturewith Air France-KLMand Alitalia. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers customers more than 15,000 daily flights, with hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York-LaGuardia, New York-JFK, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Salt Lake Cityand Tokyo-Narita. Delta is investing more than $3 billion in airport facilities and global products, services and technology to enhance the customer experience in the air and on the ground. Additional information is available on, Twitter @Delta,

SOURCE Delta Air Lines

For press inquiries: Delta Corporate Communications, 404-715-2554, news archive at

From Around the System – June/July 2013


6/13 … Mark Clarke’s mother, Pat Grant, passed away on June 11 … her family was by her side.

On June 3 she fell and broke her hip and had surgery which went well. Complications began to set in with her kidneys and attempts were made at dialysis which failed. Please no phone calls or text messages.

Mark and Leette’s address: 3597 Lilac Spring Dr., Powder Springs, GA 30127
6/25 from Cindy Jackson Mounger … Thank you so much for all of the cards, phone calls and e-mails I received at the time of my mother’s death. It has been quite comforting to me and I wish to acknowledge the outpouring of sympathy and prayers at this sad time. I was really quite overwhelmed and wish to let everyone know I am so appreciative of being part of such an organization and group as our fellow flight attendants.

6/27 from Marti Wilson … Due to the untimely death of the son of my dear friend, Karin Bolz, I am getting several requests for her address. Many F/A’s joined myself and Karin and her son, Daniel, when they would come in and meet us for dinner on our layovers in MUC.
Please keep Karin, Erhard, Daniel’s son Sebastian, and Daniel’s partner Isabel in your thoughts and prayers as they get through this traumatic time.

Karin and her husband’s address is Karin and Erhard Bolz, Zugspitzstr 9, 85614 Kirchseeon, Germany.

FYI: the standard rate for postage to Germany is 98¢ for a normal envelope.
7/3 update from Janice Peed Jenkins … Thank goodness the expanders are out and the reconstruction surgery is over! Keeping the pain in check is the present challenge.

Thanks so much for all the prayers, words of encouragement and many acts of kindness. I’m so grateful for friends and family. You all have lifted me up and carried me through this difficult time with your many acts of kindness. I’m so grateful for friends and family.

Thank you for loving and caring for me.

Address: 2857 Landing Dr., Marietta, GA 30066 ~ (FA class 08/31/70)

7/20 … Feeling pretty good now and looking great with her pretty head of hair and great shape. She is happy to be feeling so much better and enjoying life. Janice can’t play tennis for a few weeks, but she will definitely be on the courts after that. She is sticking to her healthy diet to maintain her good health now and to keep her immune system strong. This is the first time that I have ever heard her say she is trying to gain some weight. Cutting out sugar and other things is making it hard to gain weight. She misses coffee the most but is going to do whatever it takes to remain healthy.

Thanks to all her friends that have been there for her during this 1 year + journey. Life will never be exactly the same but she appreciates each day and enjoys her life with her church, other activities, friends and family.

7/7 … We regret to inform you of the passing of Andrea Blustein’s 90 year old father, Andrew Gofus, on June 26. Please keep Andrea and her family in your prayers as they face this sad time.

Address: 2407 Country Park Dr., Smyrna, GA 30080 ~ (FA class 10/31/66)

7/23 from Andrea Blustein … I am truly humbled by the many dear friends who took the time to send me cards, calls or emails regarding the passing of my father. Even though he was 90 it is never easy to lose a parent. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers.

7/12 … Candy McClellan Bruton’s mother passed away peacefully at 0230 in the morning (07/12), surrounded by her family. Service arrangements will be for family only in Florida.

Address: 1872 Wicks Valley Dr., Marietta, GA 30062 ~ (FA class 09/27/71)

7/13 from Pat Winstead … My husband, Bill, has been diagnosed with kidney cancer. We have been up and down bunches of rabbit trails, but finally after months and months of doctors appointments they finally came up with the reason his b/p was so irregular.

We have just returned from MD Anderson in Houston and are working on a plan of action. We will return the end of August or 1st of September. We are blessed in the fact that it is in the beginning stages. Please keep us in your prayers.

7/30 update … We have had wonderful news about my husband, Bill … he does not have Kidney Cancer … This all started here in Atlanta with a kidney specialist at St. Joe’s. The doctor did an ultrasound and it was suspicious. So she had Bill go have a normal CT Scan, which came back the same and she informed us that he had the beginning stages of kidney cancer. She said since we were already scheduled for a parathyroid check at MD Anderson that we needed to go ahead and see an urologist which we did.

We took the CD with us to Houston so they could check it. The doctor there told us yes, he felt sure it was the beginning stages; however, he wanted to do his own testing. So he did chest x-rays, blood work and a CT Scan … this time with contrast. We are so excited the tests came back great.

I want to thank all the Delta Clipped Wings’ prayer warriors for their notes, calls and prayers. Lord what a group … I have been overwhelmed and so has Bill.

We are going to be keeping a check on those simple cysts, as they are called, for the rest of his life I guess. For the next few years the tests will be every six months. We are still dealing with blood pressure issues, but with that we are doing a lot better and hope for continued good news there. Thanks again for everything.

Address: 145 Longwood Ln., Newnan, GA 30263 ~ (FA class 01/31/66)

7/24 … We regret to inform you of the passing of Norma “Jane” Tuttle (FA class 10/31/77). Jane had breast cancer.

Online condolences can be posted at OR

GREENSBORO — Norma “Jane” Tuttle, 62, died at her home on Beckwith Drive, Greensboro, NC on July 22, 2013.

She was born in Greensboro on May 4, 1951, to the late Austin Thomas Tuttle and Norma Parker Tuttle. She grew up in Summerfield, NC and graduated from Northwest Guilford High School in 1969. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1972 with a degree in Biology. She furthered her education and graduated from Baylor Hospital School of Medical Technology in Baylor, Texas.

After working as a medical technologist at Baylor Hospital for 4 years, she joined Delta Air Lines as a flight attendant. She lived in New Orleans, Louisiana, for several years before settling down in Atlanta, Georgia. Jane flew international flights and “saw the world” for 29 years. She retired form Delta Air Lines in 2004 and moved back to Greensboro, NC.

In addition to travel, Jane enjoyed working in her yard, reading, cooking, refinishing antique furniture, and spending time with her family and friends. She is preceded in death by her parents and a niece, Stephanie Sherrill McCanless.

Norma is survived by her sisters, Karen Tuttle McCanless and husband Dan of Summerfield and Donna Tuttle Smith of Blacklick, Ohio; and nieces, Molly Parker Smith of Blacklick, Ohio and Meredith Austin McCanless of Greensboro and nephew, Richard Gwyn Smith, IV of Blacklick, Ohio.

The family will receive friends and family at Forbis and Dick-Guilford Chapel. at 5926 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro, NC from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Friday, July 26, 2013. At Jane’s request, she is to be cremated and no formal service will be held.

Memorials may be made to the Alight Foundation, Cone Health Cancer Center, 501 N. Elam Avenue, Suite 2-006, Greensboro, NC 27403; or to a charity of the givers choice.

Jane’s sister’s address is: Karen McCannliss, 7041 Denison Rd., Summerfield, NC. 27358.

Delta & Industry news – July 2013

What Flight Attendants Do – By Susan Estrich

Back in the old days, it was “coffee, tea or me.” Flight attendants were stewardesses. They wore sometimes stylish and sometimes just plain bizarre suits or dresses. They were all young and thin and single and definitely not pregnant. That’s what male travelers (and most of the travelers were male) preferred.

And that was the argument the airlines made when they got sued for discrimination. They claimed that being young and thin and female was “job related,” a business “necessity” even and they produced all kinds of studies showing that passengers really did feel more comfortable with stewardesses they could flirt with.

The reason the airlines ultimately lost, the reason you see flight attendants who are old and male and feel no need to flirt, is because the courts ruled that making passengers feel comfortable is not the primary job of a flight attendant.

And, by the way, it’s also not making sure you get a good dinner or a stiff drink the minute you sit down.

Flight attendants are there for safety. They are trained for the moment no one ever wants to experience, the moment passengers on Asiana Airlines experienced last week at San Francisco International Airport, the moment when safety is all that matters.

In the days since, there has been much talk about the actions of the “flight crew” — including the revelation that the pilot was “training” on the flight.

But there has been nothing but praise for the flight attendants — in the case of Asiana, high heels and pencil skirts and all — who carried people off of the plane, dealt with a chute that had wrongly inflated inside the plane and, in short, did what they were trained to do: save lives, not make drinks.

I fly a lot and have for many years. And over the years, I’ve seen life get harder and harder for the women, and now the men, too, who “serve” the passengers. They have more of us to deal with and fewer goodies to give us; we are tired and overbooked and cranky. The food is terrible and there isn’t enough of it (to quote Woody Allen) and you have to pay for it, to boot. It takes forever to get a drink. There’s no blanket. There’s no outlet. The WiFi doesn’t work. The seat won’t go back. There’s a line for the bathroom.

When I was a kid, I thought airports were incredibly glamorous places. I thought flying was exciting. I would get all dressed up to “travel.” It would never occur to me to complain.

These days, it occurs to me all the time. Traveling brings out the worst in many of us. I’m guilty, too. Ask my kids.

It shouldn’t take a tragedy like the Asiana crash to remind us that airplanes are not hotels and restaurants that happen to have wings, and flight attendants are not traveling waiters and waitresses or front desk clerks at the hotel in the sky.

When lives are on the line, their job is to put us first. That’s what the flight attendants on the Asiana flight did and that’s what that overworked man or woman greeting you at the front of the plane or serving you your soda will do if, God forbid, they need to. They will put your life first. Their instincts, honed by training, will be to save you. They are ready to do it every time they get on a plane and, for that, every one of us who travels for work or play owes them a debt of gratitude.

So if you happen to be on a plane this week, maybe it’s a good time to sit back and thank the flight attendant — not for the orange juice or the pillow, but for being ready.


Asiana flight attendants make news with bravery

By LISA LEFF and YOUKYUNG LEE, Associated Press | July 13, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Before Asiana Flight 214 crash-landed in San Francisco, the last time the Korean airlines’ flight attendants made news it was over an effort by their union earlier this year to get the dress code updated so female attendants could wear trousers.

Now, with half of the 12-person cabin crew having suffered injuries in the accident and the remaining attendants receiving praise for displaying heroism during the emergency evacuation, the focus has shifted from their uniform looks to their heroic actions.

In the July 6 crash three members of the crew were ejected from the plane’s sheared off tail section while still strapped in their seats. Those who were able, meanwhile, oversaw the emergency evacuation of nearly 300 passengers — using knives to slash seatbelts, calling pilots who slung axes to free two colleagues trapped by malfunctioning slides, fighting flames and bringing out frightened children.

“I wasn’t really thinking, but my body started carrying out the steps needed for an evacuation,” head attendant Lee Yoon-hye, 40, said during a news conference Sunday night before federal safety investigators instructed the airlines not to let the crew discuss the accident. “I was only thinking about rescuing the next passenger.”

Such conduct has given a measure of pride to members of a profession who often are recognized only for their appearance and customer service skills.

“In the face of tremendous adversity and obstacles, they did their job and evacuated an entire wide-bodied aircraft in a very short period of time,” said Veda Shook, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants and an Alaska Airlines flight attendant.

“It’s such a shining reflection, not just of the crew, but of the importance of flight attendants in their roles as first responders,” Shook said.

Along with training in first aid and firefighting, flight attendants every year are required to practice the moves needed to get passengers off a plane in 90 seconds or less, Shook said. They go through timed trials, practicing skills that include shouting over pandemonium and engine noise, communicating with people frozen in fear and opening jammed doors and windows, she said. The goal is to make performing these tasks automatic.

“We have the muscle memory,” Shook said.

It’s a significant departure from the days when flight attendants were always women and known as stewardesses or air hostesses. In that era decades ago, members of the cabin crew weren’t expected to play much of a role in emergencies.

Laura Brentlinger, who spent 31 years as a United Airlines flight attendant, recalled having no idea how much danger everyone was in during one of her first emergency landings in 1972. She didn’t realize the severity of the situation until it was over and she saw the pilot’s face.

“In those days, it was like pat you on the head, just go back and keep the people nice and smile. That’s how far we’ve come, thank the Lord,” Brentlinger said. “We were just little Barbie dolls back there.”

The role of flight attendants in the U.S. expanded significantly in 1989 after Air Ontario Flight 1363 crashed after taking off in Canada. An investigation revealed that a flight attendant had seen ice on a wing but did not speak up, assuming the pilots knew and would not welcome the information from her.

Since then, FAA rules have required that cabin crew members be incorporated into the communications system known as “crew resource management” that empowers all airline personnel to voice concerns to the cockpit even if it means challenging senior pilots.

The philosophy also authorizes flight attendants to order emergency evacuations. Hearing that the pilots of Asiana Flight 214 told the flight attendants to delay an evacuation for 90 seconds after the crash landing in San Francisco, giving the order only after a flight attendant spotted flames outside, made Brentlinger wonder whether Asiana Airline’s attendants have the same authority.

“I’m sure they have a very different hierarchy and can’t do anything without the pilot’s permission,” she said. “There is no doubt in my mind I would have evacuated that aircraft immediately.”

Brentlinger said her heart aches when she thinks about what Asiana’s flight attendants are going through now and are likely to go through in the months to come.

She was aboard a 747 that lost a cargo door at 22,000 feet, sucking nine passengers to their deaths over the Pacific Ocean in 1989.

After the disaster aboard United Flight 811, Brentlinger said she suffered severe post-traumatic stress disorder and was unable to get back on a plane for more than four years. Handling the emergency itself was “the easiest part of the whole process … because you train for it and you just do it,” she said.

She went on to say that “after the dust settles, so to speak” and one tries to get on with life, “it’s horrific, at least it was for me.”

The Flight 214 cabin crew consisted of 11 women and one man, ranging in age from 21 to 42, according to the airline. Spokeswoman Lee Hyomin said Asiana is not sharing information on emergency training hours of its flight attendants because the National Transportation Safety Board asked it not to share any information related to the accident while it’s being investigated.

Jean Carmela Lim, 32, a Sydney-based travel consultant, spent a year working as an Asiana flight attendant eight years ago and posted pictures from her experience on her travel blog, Holy Smithereens, this week. She recalls her weeks-long safety training as rigorous.

“We needed to be able to swim while dragging another human — dead weight — in one hand, and hoist ourselves and the dead weight onto the safety raft,” Lim said.

The appearance standards were almost as demanding. Lim, who was 23 when she applied for the job, initially was told she too old. During the interview, she was required to wear a short skirt without stockings. Flight attendant school included sessions on hair, makeup and comportment. During flights, the cabin manager inspected the attendants to make sure they were wearing the right color of nail polish and had their aprons properly ironed.

Lim said that appearance is important, but seeing pictures of Flight 214’s attendants outside the burned-out aircraft in skirts made her hope their union prevails on the pants issue.

“If there’s evidence that wearing a skirt will enable you to save more lives than wearing pants, then by all means keep them in skirts,” she said. “If I’m trapped in a burning aircraft , I doubt I’ll notice if the cabin crew saving me had lipstick on her teeth or had a tuft of hair out of place.”
Travelport signs new content deal with Delta Air Lines
Traveport and Delta Air Lines have signed a new content agreement that expands the range of optional products available to travel agents on the Travelport GDS. Travelport and Delta are also working to expand the functionality of the new Travelport Merchandising Platform. Travel Weekly (7/1)

Delta Air Lines to ramp up hiring for flight attendants
Delta Air Lines plans to hire 225 flight attendants from its existing pool of applicants. Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said the flight attendants would receive training in the fall, and would begin work by the start of 2014. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/5)

Touch screens will revolutionize cockpits by 2020, experts say
Touch-screen technology could replace cockpit control panels by the end of the decade, experts say. “The idea is to reduce as much as possible the number of buttons and control panels and replace them with virtualization,” said Denis Bonnet, head of cockpit innovation at Thales. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (7/8)

Airport lounge to open at Atlanta airport
An independent airport lounge plans to open in the international terminal of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on 18 July. “The Club at ATL” will sell $35 day passes, and will also be open to selected frequent fliers. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/9)

Buy some tablets

Businessweek reported a rather interesting sort of airline fine a couple weeks ago. After violating passenger bumping rules, Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) was assessed with a fine of $750,000, but there’s a catch to the terms of the fine: Delta can use $425,000 of the fine to purchase tablet computers to find volunteers to be bumped when an overbooking occurs. Exactly what difference nearly half a million dollars of tablets will make depends on how Delta implements the proposed program. As a Delta shareholder myself, I congratulate the airline’s negotiators on keeping more than half the fine to reinvest in its own business, however the incident does raise questions as to how future passengers’ rights violations will be handled by federal regulators.

Delta premium economy seats for sale on Travelport
Delta Air Lines has completed the launch of premium economy seat sales on Travelport GDS, with the seats available for purchase by Travelport users in almost 150 countries. “Additional ancillary products may be considered in the future,” according to Delta. Travel Weekly (7/12)

Southwest medical grant program gives patients a lift
Southwest Airlines offers a grant program that gives free flights to patients who need to travel out of town for medical treatment. The carrier’s Medical Transportation Grant Program also covers airfares for caregivers or family members. This year, Southwest expects the program to give away $2.8 million in free transportation. The Baltimore Sun (7/15)

O’Hare on pace to beat Atlanta as busiest U.S. airport
When its new runway opens this fall, O’Hare airport will likely resume its spot as the busiest airport in the U.S. Currently, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is listed as the busiest hub. According to Federal Aviation Administration data, Atlanta had 453,800 takeoffs and landings in the first half of this year, and O’Hare had 426,800 flights. Chicago Tribune (tiered subscription model) (7/16)

Column: Airlines can learn lessons from retailers
Derek Sharp, managing director for global distribution sales and services at Travelport, examines the pros and cons of airlines behaving more like retailers. “Airlines are learning the lessons from other industries and the day when we can view the industry as an industry of air travel retailers is rapidly approaching,” he writes. (7/16)

How to avoid rising inflight wi-fi prices

Inflight wi-fi provider Gogo released statistics today showing that San Francisco International has the highest percentage of passengers using its service, followed by New York JFK and then John Wayne/Orange County. LAX is the fourth most-connected. Interestingly, Atlanta did not even place in the top 10. (See infographic below.) It’s no surprise that airports located in […]

Delta/Virgin done + pricey summer travel + PreCheck @ SFO + mess at United

DELTA AND VIRGIN ATLANTIC INK DEAL. Delta’s recent acquisition of 49% of Virgin Atlantic Airways is now complete, paving the way for the roll out of new benefits for travelers. Immediately, Delta Platinum, and Diamond Medallion members plus business class flyers gain access to Virgin Clubhouses (oases of luxury with restaurant menus, luxury bars, beauty […]

Delta guts SkyTeam partner earning

So you thought that airline alliances are about making travel on member airlines a seamless experience? Think again. All of those glossy SkyTeam ads may have you fooled. This week Delta gutted the SkyTeam partner airline mileage-earning chart reducing the amount of miles to be earned on certain carriers within the alliance. Star Alliance and […]

New York to California in 45 minutes? Maybe

Since Elon Musk (the mind behind Tesla Motors and SpaceX) quipped about a new “hyperloop” high speed transportation system last week, futurists and techies have been abuzz about a new mode of transportation that could eclipse air travel one day—cutting travel time between New York and California to just 45 minutes, or between New York […]

Fewer Sky Club freebies + JFK Extension + New PreCheck lane at ATL

FEWER FREEBIES AT SKY CLUBS. With little notice, Delta has moved several beverages from the Sky Club complimentary bar menu to the Luxury Bar pay menu. You’ll now be asked to pay for beers like Heineken or local brews, liqueurs such as Bailey’s and other popular pops. We contacted Delta to determine what it still […]

5 travel fees worth paying

The whole country seems to be making a collective groan when it comes to planning summer vacations. And why not? An early look at airfares (especially to Europe) shows some painful peak pricing, especially in July and early August. For example, July nonstops from Atlanta to cities such as London, Frankfurt and Paris are already […]

Delta’s new $200 fee + PreCheck at kiosk + More flat seats + Routehappy

DELTA’S $200 FEE. This morning Delta joined United and US Airways in raising its standard change fee to a painful $200, up from $150. Like the same-day-change policy shift we wrote about last week, this news is particularly painful to business travelers, who are most likely to make ticketing changes. So far, American is the […]
Delta plans to hire 300 new pilots starting in November
For the first time since 2010, Delta will begin hiring pilots again. Starting in November, the airline will hire about 300 pilots, adding about 50 per month through early 2014, then about 20 a month until September 2014. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (7/18)

Delta expected to post Q2 profit, analysts say
Delta Air Lines plans to report its quarterly results on Wednesday, and analysts are predicting a profit of 95 cents per share for the second quarter. During the quarter, passenger traffic stayed flat but the carrier trimmed capacity by 0.8%. Bloomberg Businessweek/The Associated Press (7/22)
Southwest awaits end of Wright Amendment restrictions
Southwest Airlines is looking forward to the end of the Wright Amendment restrictions in 2014, which limited the carrier’s routes from Dallas. “We obviously know it’s coming, and we are very excited about it. It is big news for Southwest Airlines,” said Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz. “We’ll add cities from Dallas. That’s a certainty,” he continued. The Wichita Eagle (Kan.) (7/20)
Delta posts net income of $685M for Q2
Delta Air Lines reported net income of $685 million, or 80 cents per share, in the second quarter, compared to a loss of $168 million in the same quarter last year. Delta reduced fuel costs for the quarter as traffic rose 0.5%. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (7/24)
A4A: Long customs waits for airline passengers at U.S. airports are unacceptable
Airlines for America said long customs waits at U.S. airports should be rectified. “Airline passengers lose millions of hours each day waiting in exceedingly long and unacceptable Customs lines,” said A4A spokeswoman Katie Connell. “Travelers should not be greeted by a frustrating, inefficient process upon entering major U.S. gateway airports like Dallas/Fort Worth.” DFW Airport spokesman David Magana said: “It is a developing problem that is growing worse through the summer.” He noted airport staff often provide free bottles of water and chairs to passengers waiting in hallways to enter customs lines. “It’s something we have been working on for a long time at D/FW Airport,” adding that “the Customs and Border Protection people who are on the ground at Dallas/Fort Worth Airport are outstanding … But at a certain point, their hands are tied because of funding.” The Dallas Morning News (free content)/Airline Biz blog (7/23), Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas) (7/23), KXAS-TV (Dallas-Fort Worth) (7/23), The Dallas Morning News (free content)/Airline Biz blog (7/23)
Draw the Line Here petition
Waiting in customs lines at U.S. points of entry can average one hour, all the way up to three or four! So, then why does Customs and Border Protection, along with Department of Homeland Security, want to establish a preclearance facility, where no U.S. carrier flies, when the wait times at home are unacceptable? Join A4A in opposing an Abu Dhabi preclearance facility—it’s bad for the U.S. economy, its airlines, and you—the passenger. Sign the petition at

Delta & Industry news – May/June 2013

Editorial: Delta’s stock has risen from $14 to $18 per share
Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson is investing another $100 million to retool Delta’s Pennsylvania oil refinery to handle more jet fuel. His strategy to mitigate high fuel prices has been rewarded on Wall Street, where the carrier’s stock has risen from $14 to $18 per share. MessAge Media (Minnesota) (5/29)


TSA still debating change in carry-on policy, Pistole says
Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole said he plans to proceed with changing the TSA’s carry-on policy. “While our original intention was to make these changes effective at the end of April, we are still gathering input from key stakeholders and have delayed implementation until that process is complete,” Pistole said. Government Security News (5/28)

Delta to offer daily service to Quebec from NYC
Delta Air Lines will offer daily service between New York and Quebec, starting on June 8. The flights will take off twice a day between John F. Kennedy International Airport and Quebec City Jean Lesage International Airport. Delta also will offer seasonal service between Detroit and Quebec from June through September. Frequent Business Traveler (5/28)

Delta reports 0.5% rise for per-seat revenue in May
Delta Air Lines announced its per-seat revenue rose 0.5% in May as traffic increased 1.4% for the month. Separately, Delta CEO Richard Anderson was named as chairman of the International Air Transport Association for a one-year appointment. Bloomberg Businessweek/The Associated Press (6/4)

Delta Air Lines to trim operations in Memphis
Delta Air Lines plans to reduce positions for 230 non-union employees at its hub in Memphis, Tenn., through voluntary-retirement packages, job transfers to other locations or furloughs with severance pay. According to a Delta spokesman, the carrier is phasing out its 50-seat regional jets that serve Memphis. Star Tribune (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.)/The Associated Press (6/4), The Wall Street Journal (6/4), Bloomberg (6/4)


TSA says no change in carry-on policy for knives, other items
The Transportation Security Administration has rescinded a plan to change its carry-on policy concerning small knives and other banned items. “After extensive engagement with the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, law enforcement officials, passenger advocates, and other important stakeholders, TSA will continue to enforce the current prohibited items list,” the agency said in a statement. The Wall Street Journal (6/5), The Star-Ledger (Newark, N.J.) (6/5), Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (6/5)


Free app allows user to voice search for airfares
The mobile application allows travelers to search for airfares through voice search. The free app is available on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The app works for flights in the U.S., or international flights to and from the U.S. USA Today (6/5)


EU to approve Delta-Virgin Atlantic deal, sources say
EU regulators are preparing to approve a deal between Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic, sources say. The agreement will allow Delta to purchase a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic and set up a joint venture for trans-Atlantic flights. “The European Commission is likely to approve the deal without conditions,” said one of the sources. Reuters (6/10)

Delta Air Lines to open Sky Deck at Atlanta airport
Delta Air Lines plans to open an outdoor terrace at its Delta Sky Club in the Atlanta airport. The Sky Deck will feature runway views from the airport lounge, which is located on Concourse F at the Maynard H. Jackson Jr. International Terminal. Financial News Online (U.K.) (free content) (6/11)

Delta forecasts strong Q2 because of lower fuel costs
Delta Air Lines forecast a healthy profit in the second quarter due to lower fuel costs. “June is shaping up to be a strong quarter,” said Delta President Edward Bastian. He predicted an operating margin for the quarter of 9% to 11%. Reuters (6/13), Bloomberg (6/13)

Delta cutting 30 more Memphis flights, eliminating hub status
By Kevin McKenzie, Wayne Risher – June 4, 2013

Delta Air Lines will idle 230 jobs, cut its daily flights from Memphis to about 64 from 94 in September and no longer use Memphis International Airport as a hub, officials said Tuesday. Jack Sammons, chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, said two Delta senior vice presidents delivered the news in Memphis that the airline will make the cuts effective Sept. 3. “It’s a blow to our community, but we’re not going to sit around and wait for something to happen,” Sammons said.

Delta’s decision offers opportunity to low-cost carriers to expand their service, he said. The Atlanta-based carrier has been steadily scaling back the Memphis hub since inheriting it in the 2008 buyout of bankrupt Northwest Airlines. The total number of departures from Memphis International had fallen from 115 to 94 in early 2012. Just before the merger, Northwest averaged 226 daily flights from Memphis.

Delta’s cuts have opened way for Southwest Airlines on a limited basis. Southwest recently announced it will enter the Memphis market Nov. 3 with daily nonstop service to Houston, Baltimore, Chicago and Tampa and Orlando, Fla.

Delta officials on Tuesday said the flight reduction would eliminate 230 positions in Memphis airport customer service and Delta Cargo as of Sept. 3. Affected employees will be offered the option of transferring to other locations or participating in an early retirement program, Delta officials said in a memo to employees Tuesday. “Despite a series of adjustments in recent years, high fuel costs and the predominant use of inefficient 50-seat regional jets in a small local-traffic market have made Memphis unprofitable as a hub,” said the memo from Gil West, senior vice president, airport customer service and Delta TechOps, and Tony Charaf, senior vice president and chief cargo officer.
“As we work to find the right level of service, the fall 2013 Memphis schedule will be reduced to approximately 60 daily flights. This will unfortunately require a reduction of approximately 230 Memphis Airport Customer Service and Delta Cargo positions effective September 3.”
The memo added, “The new schedule will preserve nearly all the top destinations for Memphis customers. The biggest piece of the schedule reduction is 50-seat regional jet flying, as those aircraft begin to come out of the fleet.”


Delta to maintain service at Cincinnati hub, CEO says
Delta Air Lines said the carrier has no plans to cut back service at its Cincinnati hub, after recently announcing plans to scale back its presence in Memphis, Tenn. “The Cincinnati hub is doing quite well,” said Delta CEO Richard Anderson. “We feel really good about where our service levels are there, and beyond what we’ve announced in Memphis, we don’t have any significant network changes planned.” Bloomberg Businessweek (6/14), American City Business Journals/Cincinnati (6/14)

Experts look into portable devices in cockpit
Air-safety experts are considering pilots’ use of portable devices, such as tablets, during flight. More planes are being equipped with Wi-Fi devices, including Honeywell avionics for the cockpit. The Wall Street Journal (6/16)

Delta: Ex-Im ruling requires bank to take industry complaints seriously
A U.S. appeals court allowed the Export-Import Bank to grant loans to Air India, but said the bank should explain its rationale for the loans. “The bank now will be required to take the complaints of industry participants seriously before proceeding with potentially harmful subsidies to foreign airlines,” Delta Air Lines said in a statement. Airlines for America said the decision “recognizes that the U.S. Export-Import Bank … must consider the impact of loan guarantees on U.S. industries and U.S. jobs.” Reuters (6/18), Associated Press (6/18)

Delta gets green light on Virgin Atlantic deal
Delta has gained approval from the European Union to purchase a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways. The move will help Delta expand its trans-Atlantic flights. Bloomberg (6/20)

Airlines offering enhanced frequent flier offerings
Airlines are increasingly expanding their offerings for frequent flier miles beyond the free trip, including one-of-a-kind experiences through online auctions or the latest electronics gadgets. “More options are good for frequent fliers,” says Gary Leff, co-founder of the frequent-flier community “Not everyone wants to fly throughout the year for business and be rewarded with another flight. Sometimes they’d just like to stay home and use their miles for a retail treat.” USA Today (6/23)


Cellphone waiting lots become a popular airport amenity
Many airports have added cellphone waiting lots due to added airport security after 9/11. “It’s wonderful to have this and not have to go into short-term parking, and worry that if the flight is delayed, you will have to pay extra,” said Jamie Kravec, who was waiting for a call from her boyfriend at the Philadelphia International Airport. The Philadelphia Inquirer (6/23)


Delta predicts Virgin Atlantic will be profitable in 2015
After purchasing a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines expects the U.K.-based carrier to return to profit by 2015. Delta President Ed Bastian said the two carriers will form a trans-Atlantic joint venture in the first quarter of next year. The Wall Street Journal (6/24), Bloomberg (6/25), USA Today/Today In The Sky blog (6/24)

Column: Delta Air Lines charts different strategy
Columnist Holman W. Jenkins Jr. writes that Delta Air Lines is buying older aircraft instead of snapping up new planes. “As others commit capital to new planes, Delta has noticed bargains among older aircraft,” he writes. Delta has also challenged U.S. government loan guarantees to foreign carriers with wide-body jets with which Delta competes for international traffic, which helped result in an agreement that will begin paring back these export-credit subsidies altogether. The Wall Street Journal (6/25)


U.S. airline employment dipped in April
U.S. airlines employed fewer people in April on a year-over-year basis, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Airline industry employment totaled 584,227 in April, a 0.2% drop from the same month last year. The Dallas Morning News (free content)/Airline Biz blog (6/25)

Delta CEO praises senior management team for success
As Delta Air Lines charts a course to its fourth straight annual profit, CEO Richard Anderson credits his management team for the carrier’s success. “The senior management team hunts as a pack,” he said. Delta also took the unusual step of purchasing an oil refinery to help keep fuel prices stable. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model)/The Associated Press (6/26)


Delta announces renovations, new name for Delta Museum

June 28, 2013

Delta announced that it will begin renovations to the Delta Museum funded by a $6.3 million grant and will also kick-off a corporate sponsorship campaign to refurbish Delta’s historic hangars one and two. The project will last nearly a year and is projected to hold an employee opening during the 2014 Atlanta Block Party. The public opening is scheduled for Delta’s 85th anniversary of commercial aviation on June 17, 2014.

When construction is complete, the facility will re-open to the public under a new name as well. Marketed as the Delta Flight Museum, it will offer daily tours, charge admission for guests and provide a unique private, one-of-a-kind event facility. Atlanta-based architect Todd Dolson, grandson of Charles Dolson, Delta’s second CEO, has been selected as the primary designer of the building upgrades.

“Returning Delta’s historic hangars to their original glory helps preserve the history and rich Delta employee culture for generations of aviation enthusiasts,” said Tad Hutcheson, vice president – Community Affairs in a news release today. “The new Delta Flight Museum will offer a one-of-a-kind experience for the Atlanta community and visitors from around the world.”

The project will include preserving the hangar doors, building exterior and polishing the concrete floors; the addition of air conditioning and heat controls to provide a comfortable visitor experience; the introduction of a Convair 880 cockpit already owned by the museum; a Boeing 737-200 flight simulator exhibit in which patrons will be able to schedule time; a new retail store to purchase aviation memorabilia and Delta branded items; and a new entrance off the east edge of the Delta campus. The museum will also re-launch its website.

Delta moved its headquarters from Monroe, La. to Atlanta in 1941 and began use of the hangars as the primary maintenance facility for its daily commercial flight operations. In the 1960s, Delta moved this function to the current Delta TechOps facility. Historic hangars one and two were repurposed and opened to the public by appointment only as the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum in 1995.

The Delta Flight Museum is devoted to collecting and preserving the history and heritage of Delta Air Lines and includes artifacts from 40 airlines.

Delta News: How management ‘pack’ revived Delta Air Lines

How management ‘pack’ revived Delta Air Lines

By JOSHUA FREED ~ The Associated Press

Published in Atlanta Journal Constitution 06-26-13

In this Tuesday, May 21, 2013 photo, Delta Air Lines CEO Richard Anderson talks during an interview, in New York. Delta Air Lines is on track for its fourth straight annual profit, its best stretch since the six years ended in 2000. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

NEW YORK — Delta Air Lines is on track for its fourth straight annual profit, its best stretch since the six years ended in 2000. Its passengers file fewer complaints about lost bags and late flights than those flying its chief rivals. Delta’s merger with Northwest is considered a blueprint for combining airlines.

That performance has come under the guidance of CEO Richard Anderson, who started as CEO in 2007, just after Delta exited bankruptcy protection, and just before fuel prices jumped and the Great Recession began.

But Anderson says he isn’t the only one with the answers. “The senior management team hunts as a pack,” he says.

The hunt has led to opportunities in some key markets. In the New York area, Delta has raised its passenger count by 10 percent in the past three years and is challenging United as the dominant airline there. Delta’s partnership with Virgin Atlantic will give it a bigger share of the New York-London route, the world’s busiest.

The pack also ventured into uncharted territory for an airline. Management took the unusual step of buying an oil refinery, in an effort to exert some control over the price of jet fuel. At $12 billion, fuel is Delta’s biggest annual expense. Delta also added in-flight Internet access faster than other airlines.

In an interview at The Associated Press headquarters in New York, Anderson and Delta President Ed Bastian talked about how Delta initially considered buying an oil company before settling on the refinery, how it restored its reputation and how passengers may eventually see security wait times of no more than 15 minutes.

Below are excerpts, edited for length and clarity:

AP: Spirit, Allegiant, and Frontier are charging to put a bag in the overhead bin. Is that something that you could imagine for Delta?

ANDERSON: That’s not in our plans. (We see) more carry-ons going in the belly. Those carriers have a different business model, right? There’s no first class, there’s no Economy Comfort, there’s no assigned seating. No leg room. At Delta, we’re really focused on providing a really premium product, for all travelers.

Our operating performance is stellar. If you don’t have a tornado in Oklahoma City, a typical day for us is 95 percent of our flights arriving under DOT rules, on time, and no cancellations. That level of operating capability was really unheard of in this business ten years ago.

AP: Delta didn’t always have that reputation in recent years. What has happened at Delta to make that work?

ANDERSON: Well, you know, Delta has great employees and we went through that tough period after 9/11 and really restructured. All we did was pull the Delta values out again, where you value the people, you value the customer and give the employees the tools and the direction that they needed. And they’ve just done a phenomenal job.

Now we put a lot of research and industrial engineering know-how into the operation. Our customer complaint numbers, in the first quarter of this year, were lower than any time since the DOT has been collecting the data, since 1997. And we just continue to drive improvement in the operation.

AP: Is there an example you can share?

ANDERSON: We put a flat tire rule in place, for someone that misses their flight. (The rule allows customer service workers to waive a change fee and get passengers on the next flight if they were delayed by something unforeseen, like a flat tire.) We put a lot more discretion in our front-line employees. We brought back redcoats. Delta was always famous for the redcoats, who were the senior airport customer service agents who were there to solve problems on the spot.

AP: Have you made enough progress over the last decade to eliminate, or at least ease, the boom and bust cycle in airlines?

BASTIAN: I think we’ve made tremendous progress in that regard. 2012 was the third straight solidly profitable year for Delta and we’re off to a good start in 2013. Our return on invested capital was over 10 percent for the last several years. We’ll probably do a little better than that (this year), a low double-digit return, which is something that has never been seen from one company, much less the industry. Consolidation has had a lot to do with that. We think consolidation is still in the relatively early stages, with more to come that will provide more stability.

One of the things that’s allowed for that stability is higher fuel prices. Candidly, while we hate where fuel prices have gone, it’s become our new normal, we’ve had to plan for it. It requires us to be disciplined about the supply we put out, about the offerings we provide. It requires us to be as productive as we can. It also means the new entrants that historically have disrupted the industry have a difficult time financially.

AP: If it’s harder for new entrants, is that a good thing for the traveling public? And where do you see fares going?

BASTIAN: I think we have more rational disruptors. There’s always going to be a low cost, low fare component to the aviation space. Years ago it was Southwest. Today it’s Spirit and Allegiant.

Fares are still lower today than they were then. We charge differently, with a fee component and a base component, and charge travelers for what they value in a product. But it’s a much more stable, rational business that benefits everybody.

AP: Does the Transportation Security Administration need to make changes to get your travelers to their gates quicker?

ANDERSON: We’re the third biggest industry in the U.S., after agriculture and oil. So if we want economic development and economic growth, and we want this city full of people traveling here, we need to let people know that you’re never going to have more than a 15-minute wait in security. One of the key ways to get there is with PreCheck (the government’s pre-screening system). Our ultimate goal needs to be 75 to 80 percent PreCheck.

It’s going to be a matter of using the data. It’s amazing how much information is out there. If you go to a normal consumer data company like Axiom or Nexis or Equifax, they have massive databases with scoring technologies. And so I think it’s a matter of taking the kind of technology that we have in the financial world and bringing that to bear at the security checkpoint.

AP: In the next five years, what do you expect would be two or three changes the flying public could see?

ANDERSON: We were really the first to pioneer a ubiquitous Wi-Fi product, so we have Wi-Fi across our system. And the next piece of what we’re going to do there is stored content; so the ability to provide entertainment on all of our airplanes through stored content to your own device, on the internal Wi-Fi of the airplane.

AP: For a fee?

ANDERSON: We’re talking about that. We actually think there would be a piece that we would probably offer to all the passengers on the airplane. And then if you wanted, you could buy other things.

AP: How about allowing voice communications?

ANDERSON: No. Our customer survey data tell us that consumers do not want that on the airplane.

AP: Business travelers are willing to pay a premium to fly Delta. What about the guy just looking for the fare that’s $10 cheaper on

ANDERSON: Well, we believe that we are in the market to serve all customers. From the value-minded customer that wants to buy four months ahead of time to the IBMs and Procter & Gambles of the world (which buy at the last minute). It’s still an incredibly competitive marketplace, with American, United, Delta, Southwest, Jet Blue, Spirit and Allegiant. Which is how it should be.

AP: We’ve had 9/11, we’ve had volcanic ash, we’ve had Federal Aviation Administration furloughs. What’s the thing that’s keeping you up at night?

ANDERSON: You know, I don’t know that there’s really anything that keeps us up at night. The business is running well and continues to run well. There are risks out there, but I think the industry is now consolidated to a point where we have a very stable model.

AP: And oil prices?

ANDERSON: We assume oil is going to stay high and, even if it doesn’t, we would rather build our business plan assuming jet fuel is going to be $4.40 or $4.50 a gallon in a few years.

AP: Whose idea was it to buy an oil refinery?

ANDERSON: Well, we actually first started looking at buying an oil company. We didn’t have one picked out. You’ve got to take control over every aspect of your business. You can’t let any of your suppliers dictate the way the refiners were dictating to us. Our business model has to capture the full cost of fuel, but when it’s $12 billion, you’ve got to invest and figure out how you’re going to keep that cost under your control. We talked about oil companies, we talked about refineries. It took us a couple of years, but then this one came on the market for the price of a 787.

AP: How often do you check your stock price?

ANDERSON: You know, some days I don’t check it. You know what I check more than that? I check fuel and crack spreads, unit revenue, and how the airline is running.

AP: What’s a day like for you? Are you one of those guys who’s there at 6 a.m.?

ANDERSON: Well see, you make it sound like it’s an “I” problem. It’s not an “I” problem, it’s a “we” problem, right?

AP: I realize that you’re not gassing up the planes.

ANDERSON: I live a normal life like you guys do. I get up in the morning and drive to work and get to work and have meetings. I live close to the office, so my trip is 15 minutes. Atlanta may have a traffic problem, but it doesn’t have a New York problem. I get up really early, do my email and drink coffee with my wife, pet the dog, get in the car, drive to work, drink coffee on my way to work, get in the office and bother Ed.

AP: As you fly around, where do you sit?

ANDERSON: I was in row 28 coming up here. I wear my badge. And I fly in coach.

AP: And enough people know what you look like?

ANDERSON: Oh, yeah, because of that movie. (Anderson introduces the pre-flight safety video). That’s when you get the newspaper and kind of go like this (raises imaginary newspaper over his eyes).

AP: Do you always fly coach, even on long-haul to Asia?

ANDERSON: I’ve done long-haul to Asia. You know what I like to try to do? I like to try to fly on the competition when I go long-haul. I take my little black book and just make notes and observe what’s going on and how the airports are operating and how your competitors are operating.

AP: You were once a prosecutor. How do you get into this mindset, of dealing with operational data and redcoats?

ANDERSON: Well, just when you’re a bad lawyer, you’ve got to be able to do something more productive. I’ve done a lot of different things. Lawyer. I even spent time as the chief counsel to the criminal trial court judges in Houston. United Health Group was a lot of fun.

AP: What have you learned about managing from all those jobs?

ANDERSON: It’s probably just a mishmash of a lot of little rules, right? You know, always return your phone calls promptly, always be on time for your meetings. Always be the person that people look forward to go into a meeting with. Don’t ask people to do things you wouldn’t do. Be kind to people. I don’t know — it’s probably how you were raised or something. I was raised in a very big Catholic family, so you know, you were taught to be polite.

I never took a business course in school. I didn’t take an accounting class in school. I thought I was going to practice law, but I got married and had children. My mother and father died from cancer, my dad, when I was 20, my mom when I was 21, after long illnesses. I just didn’t have any money.

So I went to night law school. You get out and you go, “Well I’m just going to practice law.” Then you get married and have a child and you’ve still got student loans. Sue said, “When are we going to ever pay off these student loans?” So, you know, I think life is serendipitous in that regard.

AP: Did you get those student loans paid off?

ANDERSON: I did, finally, but I was the vice president at Northwest Airlines. It took a while.

AP: Well, if your interest rate is low enough, then maybe it’s prudent debt?

ANDERSON: No. As you learn at airlines, there’s no such thing as prudent debt. That’s the lesson, we’ve learned it.

: Delta, Virgin Atlantic to Cross-Market Flights

Delta, Virgin Atlantic to Cross-Market Flights

byRich Duprey, The Motley Fool Jun 25th 2013 7:05PM
Updated Jun 25th 2013 7:06PM

With Delta Air Lines’ acquisition of a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways, having received regulator approval both here at home and in Europe last week, the carriers jointly announced their intention to begin cross-marketing their flights through a code-share agreement that covers 108 routes across North America and the U.K.

In code-sharing, one airline places its flight designator codes on a flight operated by another carrier, giving both airlines the opportunity to sell seating on the same flight. Thus, a passenger can buy a seat through Delta for a flight being operated by Virgin, and vice versa, giving both airlines access to a larger number of cities than they might otherwise be able to without having to increase the number of flights offered. Virtually all major airlines have code-sharing agreements in place.

Virgin will place its code on 91 Delta routes, including both trans-Atlantic and domestic routes, while Delta will place its code on 17 Virgin Atlantic routes. Although it gives Delta passengers six more daily frequencies between London to New York, Virgin fliers will now enjoy a vast network of connecting North American destinations.

Moreover, the respective loyalty programs both carriers offer, Delta’s SkyMiles and Virgin’s Flying Club, will now be available to passengers regardless of their flight and whether they were booked via the code-share agreement. Additional benefits include access to VIP lounges and priority check-in, boarding, baggage handling, and additional baggage allowances.

Virgin Atlantic CEO Craig Kreeger said: “As new shareholders in the airline, Delta is an important ally in the all-important trans-Atlantic market. We can stand firm together against the competition and can now offer more destinations, a smoother connecting airport experience, and ultimately the best trans-Atlantic on board experience.”

The stake Delta has taken, along with the code-sharing agreement, is seen as the next stepping stone to a full joint venture between the two carriers, which they announced their intention of forming in December. They’ve asked the Transportation Department for antitrust immunity for the JV on nonstop routes between the U.S. and the U.K., and they expect the application review to be completed by the third quarter.

Previously they said because 60% of the slots at London Heathrow Airport are currently controlled by a joint venture of AMR’s American Airlines and British Airways, they dominate air travel between the U.S. and the U.K. To allow them to coordinate their schedules and fares, those two airlines received antitrust immunity from DOT.

If approval is gained, the joint venture is expected to take flight in the first quarter of 2014.

The article Delta, Virgin Atlantic to Cross-Market Flights originally appeared on



Delta Moves Again to Grow in New York, Boosts London Access

BY Ted Reed| 06/25/13 – 06:45 AM EDT

Stock quotes in this article: AAMRQ.PK, DAL, LCC



See what Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link are trading today.

NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Continuing its methodical build-up in New York, Delta(DAL_) said Monday it will code-share with new partner Virgin Atlantic on 108 routes and, most importantly, on nine daily flights between New York airports and London’s Heathrow Airport.

Delta opened its new $1.4 billion JFK terminal on May 24. The terminal, as gleaming and inviting and full of food options as it is, has lacked one thing: frequent service to London Heathrow, the favorite international destination for New Yorkers.

Currently, Delta has three daily departures from JFK to Heathrow. By contrast, rival American(AAMRQ.PK) operates four daily departures from JFK to Heathrow, while its code-share and joint venture partner British Airways operates eight. British Airways also operates three daily departures from Newark to Heathrow.

New York/Heathrow expansion was a principal reason for Delta’s December deal to acquire 49% of Virgin Atlantic. Speaking at an investor conference in March, Delta President Ed Bastian said the route “is the driving force behind our investment decision at Virgin Atlantic.”
Now, the Delta code will be on six additional New York/London routes, including four daily Virgin flights from JFK to Heathrow and two daily Virgin flights from Newark to Heathrow. That will give Delta passengers nine daily options to get from New York to Heathrow and seven daily options from JFK. Overall, Virgin Atlantic will put its code on 91 Delta routes, including both trans-Atlantic and domestic U.S. routes, while Delta will place its code on 17 Virgin Atlantic routes, including Little Red routes connecting London to Manchester, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
Codeshares enable airlines to allow passengers to book flights on each other’s Web sites. The Delta/Virgin Atlantic codeshares will take effect July 3, with codeshare booking available starting June 29. Starting then, customers can decide where they want to accumulate frequent flier miles.
Besides the flights from Heathrow to the New York area, Delta will also be able to put its code on Virgin Atlantic Heathrow flights serving six U.S. airports — Boston, Washington Dulles, Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco, as well as Vancouver, Canada. Delta has said it would begin Heathrow-Seattle service if the joint venture is approved.


The Dumbest Fee in the Airline Business

BY Ted Reed| 06/26/13 – 06:45 AM EDT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (TheStreet) — Two weeks ago, flying from New York to Charlotte, I arrived at LaGuardia Airport early to catch the 3:40 p.m. US Airways'(LCC_) flight home. I was early enough that when I arrived at the gate, the 2:50 p.m. flight to Charlotte was still boarding.

I asked the agent if I could take the earlier flight. He said, “Yes, lots of seats.” But then he said he would have to charge me $75 to change. Not being a person who makes $75 an hour, I decided to wait the extra 50 minutes. My 3:40 flight left a few minutes late and arrived on-time in Charlotte.

Like many people familiar with the airline business, I generally think positively about the industry’s new fee-for-service model. I can argue that charging to check baggage is morally virtuous, because passenger’s tendency to pack far more stuff than they need wastes fuel. I even think charging for beverages makes sense. Nearly every business in the world charges for beverages, except for the one that has to buy extra jet fuel in order to cart the beverages around until someone decides to drink one, free of charge.

But charging a change fee to fly standby when a passenger is already at the gate seems not only avaricious but also disadvantageous for the airline.
The charge could easily mean that a plane departs with an empty seat, which immediately becomes worthless. It also denies the airline the flexibility that comes with an empty seat on the next flight. Possibly that seat can be sold. Possibly it can accommodate a passenger who missed a connection. Possibly bad weather or congestion or a mechanical failure will delay that flight, pushing all the passengers onto future flights, creating unforeseen complexities and expenses for the airline.
US Airways, United(UAL_) and American(AAMRQ.PK) all charge $75 to change at the gate. All three waive the fee for premium level fliers and, of course, for passengers with unrestricted fares. Also, American spokesman Kent Powell said the carrier “empowers our personnel to make decisions which consider our overall operation and various other factors (such as) when there are operational issues or service disruptions.”


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