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6/06/2008-Weekly Roundup: Let Fish Send You Flying; Fish On TV; New Visa Rules; Songs To Bring You Home; New TSA Regulations?; Unstable Airfares
This week has been a week of news for flyers. The industry that takes us where we need to go is slipping further into turmoil. With the rising costs of oil forcing airlines to cut costs, a weakening US dollar and recession curtailing both pleasure travel and business travel, the ‘desperation’ scenarios for airlines seem to rapidly be appearing one after another.
This week Spirit Airlines announces it’s plans close its crew bases in both San Juan International Airport (SJU) in Puerto Rico and LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in New York. Additionally Spirit Airlines will seek to shrink its main hub at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) in Florida. In additional cost saving measure Spirit Airlines will seek to lay off 60% of it’s flight attendants and 45% of it’s pilots.
United Airlines‘ announcements this week are broad and drastic. United plans to trim its US domestic capacity by 18% through 2009. In addition to slashing domestic capacity the airline will be parking 100 aircraft from it’s fleet. With the reduction of the fleet always comes the reduction of employees. United initially announced the reduction of 500 employees and has now changed this staffing cut to 1,500 employees.
In addition to United Airlines cutting its domestic traffic, parking 100 aircraft (of it’s 460 aircraft) has announced that it will be closing down “Ted.” Ted is United’s internal low cost airline. Many United frequent flyers are not fond of Ted, but as a product when competing with other low cost carriers I found its service on par with other low cost carriers. Of course an airline operating a “sub-fleet” with an airline adds additional costs to the operations.
Continental Airlines, one of the last seemingly stable “legacy airlines” in the United States announced that it will slash 3,000 jobs within the company and ground 67 of it’s 368 aircraft. The fate of the 85 aircraft Continental Airlines has on order is currently unknown.
British all-business-class airline Silverjet pushed off for possibly the last time. Silverjet however already has investors lined up, and it is trying to put this well respected airline back into the air as soon as possible. I hope to see Silver Jet in the air again soon.
Hawaiian Airlines has gained ground and revenue from the unfortunate recent closure of Aloha Airlines. With the increase in capacity Hawaiian Airlines has actually added four Boeing 717-200 aircraft to meet this new capacity need. But again, this increase in traffic comes from the demise of a long standing, and storied, airline. With a virtual monopoly on Hawaiian inter-island traffic, the passengers have few alternatives and it does not improve the options for flyers.
In a stunning turn for airlines, but not unexpected given the airlines, Southwest Airlines showed a 7% growth in May 2008! Other airlines are dropping routes, parking aircraft, and SWA flew 6.7 billion passenger miles in May 2008, up from 6.3 billion passenger miles in 2007. For the entire start of 2008 Southwest Airlines’ passenger loads are up 8% while other airlines are struggling to retain passengers, cutting perks, adding on additional fees for everything from booking with a reservations agents and checking baggage, yet Southwest Airlines once again defies all other US based airlines.
……..now that I’ve sombered the mood a bit, let’s move onto the week in review.
This week kicked off with me offering one of you readers the chance to spread your wings and roam the country! Flying With Fish is offering a $100 Southwest Airlines e-gift card, good for travel anywhere Southwest Airlines flies! All you need to do is tell me where you want to go, why you want to go and what you want to see there. Come on, you’re reading this right now, which means you’re at your computer…….start thinking about this and let Flying With Fish help you get out and see the United States! You can read all the details here : 2/06/2008 – Go Flying On Fish! Tell Me Why You Want To Travel & Win A $100 Southwest Airlines Gift Card!
Did you miss my tips for getting through airport security on ABC News’ Good Morning America? Well, if so, watch my appearance on Good Morning America here: 2/06/2008 – Flying With Fish On Good Morning America : The Video Clip!
This week the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the introduction of the new ‘eVisa’ program for foreign visitors to the United States….and I many of you read the information Flying With Fish hours before it was announced here in the U.S. The new system has its ups and downs, it is more streamlined than then I-94 forms, but the integration and effectiveness of this new program has yet to be seen. You can read additional information on this new registration scheme for those traveling from Visa Waiver nations in this post: 2/06/2008 – New Rules For Foreign Visitors To The United States : Be Prepared
Music keeps us sane on the road. Everyone has their own play lists for various situations. You can find out my play list (and watch some music videos) for reminding me that it’s time to end my trip and go home in this entry: 3/06/2008 – Six Songs That Remind Me To Go Home
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has long since discussing changing some regulations and standard operating procedures (SOP). While nothing has been announced, I have posted the changes that seem to be the most credible based on research and verification. If you want to know the potentially soon to be announced changes in the TSA regulations and SOP read this : 4/06/2008 – Are New TSA Standard Operating Procedures On The Horizon?
This week wrapped up with addressing the recent trend of unstable airfares. While I am not an economist by any stretch of the imagination, I offer some suggestion on how to try and potentially hedge your bets when booking flights during these tough and rapidly changing times in the airline industry. For some insights on how to try and beat the system, or at least work with the system, during this time of commercial aviation upheaval you can check here: 5/06/2008 – Unstable Airfares & The Need To Travel : Are There Options?
I’m hoping for a more relaxing and positive week next week!