Monthly Archives: July 2012

American’s making a bold, and smart move

I’m really happy to hear about some of the new things going on at American Airlines.  Yes, they’re mired in bankruptcy, and the speculation about a tie-up between American and US Airways is out there (with the city of Philadelphia throwing their weight behind such a deal).  But this new news is about American’s new planes.

American is going after the business traveler market.  Hard.  And this can only be good for them, because I think they’re going to win it.

The elusive business traveler is a client that is most loved by the airlines, but after 2001, the need for these travelers has tapered.  Sure, it’s been coming back, but there’s no single airline that’s really going after that market hard.  Until American’s announcement yesterday.

American is introducing their Airbus A321 Transcontinental fleet with 3 classes of service (click here for a video introduction).  Yep, this is a good thing to start.  But not only the three classes of service is on the plate.  They’ve also committed to WiFi on every plane, as well as a powerport.  That means business travelers – in coach, business, or first – will all have the same ability to continue their work at 36,000 feet.  And for business travelers like me, that’s a huge plus.  Many airlines have WiFi, but not throughout their fleet – and those that do rarely have powerports.  I remember a Continental flight 2 years ago where I had power, but absolutely no WiFi, which I think is a crime…

But American is doing it right.  New, fuel efficient planes with 3 classes of service (including lie-flat seats), powerports with USB at every seat in the plane, and WiFi.  Given the choice, I would definitely take an American flight (even paying $50 one-way more than a competitor’s flight without WiFi and/or power) for these amenities.

So good on you, American Airlines.  And business travelers?  Welcome to your ‘Office In The Clouds’.

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Freedom Of Expression v. The TSA

And who wins?  Freedom of Expression!

Remember a few months back when there was a guy who protested the TSA by stripping naked in the middle of Portland International Airport?  Well he went to trial on indecency charges, and they were dropped by the judge.

I can’t believe they even bothered to take the guy to trial, but they did.  But there’s a ruling in Oregon that freedom of speech/freedom of expression can include being naked, and that’s why the judge threw the charges out.

One for the good guys!

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My First US Airways Flight

Well, I’ve abandoned my usual Alaska Air to fly on US Airways for a few weeks, just for a little exposure. Thing is, I’m not all that impressed…

I did choose to pay for my Gold status (a trial for $400) on US Airways, which has given me a first class upgrade on my first flight. But so far, that’s my only perk.

Yes, I’m leaving on a Monday morning, at the buttcrack of dawn, but it’s a Monday. I’d planned on doing a couple of hours of work to make up for not being on site first thing Monday morning, but that’s out of the question since there’s no WiFi on the plane. Oh well… Maybe I’ll have breakfast.

Oh wait. There’s no meal, nor is there food for sale. Seriously.

But there is a blanket and pillow – if you want e. coli or the bird flu.

Missed amenities, and unwelcome ones. This is gonna be a long few weeks.

::sigh::

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Scoop, or Bad Writing?

Okay, so we all know that American Airlines is looking to merge with another carrier – possibly – if the deal is right, and American comes out on top.  Immediately the pundits, including me, started talking about the possibilities.

But I’m startled by something.  There’s one source that I’ve found (after an admittedly short search) that says American is looking to specifically merge with Frontier, buying them off of Republic.  But does the article really say that?  Or is it just bad writing or conjecture on the part of the author?  You decide – and then you can tell me ’cause I have no freaking idea.

Most of the regular articles read like this one, and though they single out Frontier in the title, it’s clear that every one of the six carriers (though I highly doubt Virgin America – way too young, and not enough of a route-map to make a huge difference) is in consideration.  But read this one.  Notice the focus specifically on Frontier?  It’s odd to say the least.  At least further on, they do seem to muddy the waters and mention other carriers, but still.  It’s an odd duck.

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Let the merger-mania speculation begin!

So American Airlines came out and said that, instead of looking at options after they emerge from bankruptcy, they may start to look at merger options now.  Oh, the games that are just about to start…

Everyone knows that US Airways is out to gobble up American, but what about the crap that America West went through after they bought US Airways?  Just because they shed that America West skin doesn’t mean that they shed the attitude and other issues.  It actually got worse when you think about all the union problems and fights.  But can a merger with American do any worse?  Probably not.

And I can’t see American being allowed to merge with Delta, nor United; I think Delta is just spouting off, to be honest.  So that really leaves the only other large carrier, US Airways.  Otherwise, companies like Republic, Alaska, or Jetblue are just too damned small to justify a merger.

Unless …  I know that movement into Asia is the key to making money for a lot of airlines.  The only thing I could see useful for going with a smaller carrier – or rather two – would be if American bought out Alaska and Hawaiian both.  That would give them a toehold into Asia from both Hawaii as well as the Pacific Northwest bases of Portland and Seattle of Alaska.  But I’ll say it again – don’t touch my Alaska Airlines!!!!

Thoughts?

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