Monthly Archives

Monthly Archives for October 2003.

A View from the Wing Primer

Since this website is brought to you in the form of a blog — daily commentary offered with the most recent items first — older items quickly fall off the page. I only display the most recent week’s worth of content at any one time. I like to think, though, that some of the entries retain their value even after the week has passed. And you can still read them — just click on the Archives link or pick one of the entries labeled “Greatest Hits” at the right (under my picture).Don’t want to miss a single deal or offer? Just be sure to enter your email address under Subscribe for Updates and each night you’ll receive an email with the day’s content. And I will never use your email for any other purpose. For…

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Another note about Northwest

Two weeks ago I said that Northwest Airlines was best positioned not to change its frequent flyer elite program qualification rules, but that they’d face pressure because partners Delta and Continental had already made changes. Looks like they followed their own best interest, ignoring the calls to restructure their program to reward fare basis purchased rather than miles flown.

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No news is the best news

Northwest Airlines has announced program changes for 2004. The biggest news is no change at all: Northwest won’t go along with partners Delta and Continental on elite qualification — Northwest flights will continue to earn 100% elite mileage even on the lowest fares.Additional changes: Northwest will only award 50% of elite mileage on Continental flights at the lowest fares, so stay on Northwest metal! Most strikingly, Northwest will award 100% of elite mileage on Delta flights at the lowest fares (effective this Sunday – we don’t have to wait until January 1 for this one!). So Delta frequent flyers flying L, U, and T fares will only earn 50% mileage, Northwest frequent flyers will earn 100% elite mileage on the same flights. Northwest is increasing the number of miles required for First Class awards from…

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So long 757

Transport Blog eulogizes the Boeing 757 as that aircraft is ushered out of production. The 757 was intended to replace the 727, but for some reason Boeing got its market research wrong. Rather than building a 150 seat replacement for the 150 seat 727, Boeing made the 757 a 200 seater. As it happened, most of the airlines that were replacing their 727s didn’t want a 200 seater, but wanted a 150 seater. Boeing did not immediately have one available, and this provided a market opening that was ultimately taken up by Airbus, who built the A320, and by McDonnell Douglas, who built a stretched version of the DC-9 called the MD-80. This was the market opening that allowed Airbus to move from a niche player in the airliner world to being clear number two…

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That Can’t Be Her Real Name, Right?

Patrice Miles, Vice President of Consumer Marketing for Delta Air Lines, defends changes to the Delta Skymiles program in USA Today. Her piece is pretty weak. Elliott’s commentary [criticizing Delta’s frequent flyer program changes], in our view, fails to recognize the fundamental nature of recent Delta Air Lines’ SkyMiles program changes. They do not severely cut back customer benefits but rather reallocate them to passengers based on miles flown and revenue spent. Delta’s changes have two parts. First, they change who qualifies for elite status (in a crude way realigning status with revenue). Second, the benefits of status have changed. Patrice Miles says part one has changed but not part two. That is patently false. Delta’s top spenders under the new plan lose their unlimited upgrade benefit and ability to confirm upgrades at booking on…

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