No Takers for Alitalia and the Disaster of Cuba Travel

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @ Gary — No doubt the Italian government will bail out Alitalia. AGAIN.

    Any speculation regarding what Asiana will do for those (myself included) that already redeemed for F but will now get J+?

  2. Well the Asiana First lounge at ICN was already first class in name only. The Asiana business class lounges are as nice if not better.

  3. The naval aviator article is one of countless examples of why “free” information is oftentimes a bad thing for democratic societies.

    Hopefully those who sent you that article feel like fools.

  4. @Gene that’s a great question, lots of folks in that bucket for post-9/1, I assume you’re not on an Asiana ticket so Asiana isn’t refunding anything. [I wish they would do like BA did when they subbed-in 747s with old first class about four years back, they were proactively giving out 50k miles IIRC]

    I guess it depends what booking class they sell business suites into, if it happens to be O – which I hope, because then the seats will still be bookable on points – then probably nothing.

    But presumably you’ll be able to get miles back if you’re reticketed into business (I). I’m just hopeful there’s no change in seat assignments. I’d make sure you have seat assignments on your current flights asap.

  5. Gary,
    Asiana already confirmed that business suites will not be bookable with miles, and they definitely are not going to be mapped to O class.
    They will be available only for the highest revenue business class fare bucket, which is J.

  6. Wow! With so much of the news in recent months regarding Asiana in a bit of a financial tailspin, after reporting W26.2 billion ($22.4 million) loss for the year ending December, 2018, and what with the announcements since then, including:

    – trading of its stock suspended (March 22)

    – asset sales & route cuts announced shortly thereafter (April 1st), followed by the above referenced by Gary elimination of 1st class replaced with enhanced business class suites on its Airbus A380s & four (4) routes, including Chicago (ICN-ORD; as of October 27th 2019) announced yesterday (May 7th)

    – 33% equity owner Kumho Industrial announcing (April 15th) it will sell its stake in Asiana as part of its own financial restructuring to comply with terms of a loan from state-run Korea Development Bank

    – an anticipated capital injection of W1.6 trillion ($1.4 billion) led by state-run KDB and including “other creditors” (announced April 23rd)

    – route cuts, elimination of 1st class announced yesterday referenced by Gary and myself above.

    Now, with that summary and analysis regarding the possible/likely impacts on Asiana Airlines resulting from its hometown rival benefiting from Delta’s steroids over the past year that very suddenly transformed Korean Airlines into a turbo charged foe, with the subject of the anticipated W1.6 trillion ($1.4 billion) capital/liquidity injection into financially ailing Asiana Airlines on the table, let’s have look-see for a moment at the issue of a government sponsored bailout for an airline that most surely impacts Delta!

    Shall we?!?! 😉

    So let’s jump right in and ask this very relevant question:

    Isn’t a direct liquidity/capital injection by “state-run Korea Development Bank” into Asian Airlines a government subsidy?

    Here’s looking at you, United, as this is your Star Alliance partner, yes?

    And Delta, can we now say that there’s NOT just a wee-bit hypocrisy about all that hyperventilating that is the excessive (and incredibly hypocritical) sound and fury directed at the Big 3 Middle East airlines seeing as several SkyTeam alliance partners, including Alitalia, are kept afloat with government funding, but hate to say it, a bit of let’s just say presents optics (intentional or not) that some might credibly argue as suggesting a tinge, or whiff of ‘bias’ against the religion and cultures of a particular region where the airlines that are the target of your, United, American, and all of your respective European-based alliance partners are the only targets of your intense ire and political/diplomatic efforts single out just that “Group of 3” airlines as unfairly subsidized by their governments?

    I mean, SER-EYE-OUSLY?

    Especially, you, Delta, what with your anti-trust immunized, joint-venture (“metal neutral”) SkyTeam alliance partner, Korean Airlines, and you, Delta, yourself, in direct competition on an expansive portfolio of extremely lucrative intercontinental routes to/from one of the fastest growing economic regions in the world AND in direct competition at the hub airport, Seoul-Incheon, itself no less, with Korean Air and Asiana BOTH operating their foundational (and only) hubs that is to cornerstone of your, Delta, Asia connections (with Tokyo long gone for that) as well as the even more profitable local Origin & Destination (O&D) traffic for one of the most prominent & important US military strategic partners, that’s also an economic powerhouse in its own right, among other things, that make for Seoul being an important, if not centerpiece of Delta’s current, and future, operations.

    So, the SILENCE on Asiana receiving a “government-led” $1.4 billion BAILOUT by a “state run ‘Development Bank’’” for a financially ailing, directly competing airline that probably is struggling to keep up with its newly formidable (as in like on steroids) hometown competitor (that you, Delta & your partner, Korean Air, now clearly are) now bulked up with an impossible to match “anti-trust immunized, metal neutral, joint venture global alliance partner as powerful as Delta is that itself likely is the result of that aligned operation taking effect a year or so ago – is so freakin’ ***DEAFENING*** it hurts!

    And yes, in this instance, the “all caps” most definitely ***SHOUTING*** and intended as if shouting from rooftops type of counterpoint to better draw attention to the spectacularly silent Delta, and all of the other big time, raging hypocrites and “fact-fudgers” when it comes to the hysteria about a “certain 3 airlines” based in a certain region of the world which have been, and continue to be your whipping boys – as if Orwellian-like targets of “2-minute hates” (“1984” folks) too – for the government subsidies they allegedly receive that Delta and its phonyAF, hypocriticalAF, fudging their buttsAF, oligopolistic, bullying, cartel club members are, since for sure, if this already announced BAILOUT of financially ailing Asiana Airlines “‘led by’ a ‘state run’ ‘Development Bank’” doesn’t SCREAM FULL-ON, BLATANT, IN YOUR FACE, ***GOVERNMENT BAILOUT/SUBSIDY*** – then nothing will!

    I mean c’mon. Do you really think everyone is THAT stupid that they’ll swallow the fudged facts that now practically take on a (not so good) “look” as nothing more than unsavory politically tinged propaganda.

    Don’t ‘ya think?

    Just sayin’

    Of course, political leaders in Seoul are also wise to take whatever measures necessary as a matter of economic policies and consumer protections to prevent Seoul, and de facto the country itself, from becoming prisoners of an impenetrable, super dominant, overpowering fortress hub controlled by Korean Airlines (which Delta clearly benefits from) were that type of hyper monopoly to ever become an albatross around the neck of Seoul and the country.

    I mean, just look at cities and countries (like London, especially LHR) where THAT’s happened to some degree, or our own cities and regions already suffocating under the burden of obscenely high fares aboard badly degraded, overly densified cabins of, and held hostage by, the way too few (pretending to compete on anything other than who can screw its passengers best and get away with it, or who brags about “winning” the “competition” of who has the biggest resource draining share buybacks each year) airlines in the current era of state sanctioned oligopoly and airline industry cartelization.

    Yes, my dear, Delta (you know you’re the Belle of the Ball in the USA and you’re our family’s favorite, too), but your equally hypocritical “let’s all fudge the facts together with your alliance and cartel club member ‘friends’” SILENCE about this FULL-ON, MASSIVE GOVERNMENT “LED” $1.4 billion BAILOUT of Asiana Airlines puts in stark relief not just your jaw-dropping, gobsmacking hypocrisy regarding the VERY LIMITED AND SELECTIVE APPLICATION regarding the subject of government subsidies and bailouts for foreign airlines, but hate to say, this DEAFENING SILENCE leaves one with no other choice but to begin wondering if there’s not just a wee bit of “other motives” and “other reasons” that some airlines (like perpetually ailing Alitalia, Asiana, or some of those cross-owned equity partners around the world where your fellow equity partners are government owned/controlled entities, too) get free passes when it comes to being showered with government goodies and largesse those airlines receive (without being the object of your, and others’ hairy eyeballs)…

    …while a very limited few, 3 in fact, airlines, that just so happen to be in one particular region of the world where their religions and cultures (perhaps even races?) not only don’t get the free passes you so generously give when you look the other way at others (like Alitalia or Asiana, for example) when their own sovereign governments participate in the ownership, control or restructuring of their countries’ airlines, these particular 3 airlines are singled out and brutalized with doom and gloom scenarios that portray them as job stealing, other airlines’ company jeopardizing threats so great that it’s as if they’re “Public Enemy’s #1”.

    Which simply doesn’t even pass the laugh test anymore what with Asiana on the ropes and getting its government’s direct assistance AND participation via its STATE-RUN DEVELOPMENT BANK.

    I mean, HELLO – can it get any more blatant and obvious that this is a government sponsored AND funded effort than that?

    To wit, our country HAS THE SAME TYPE OF “OPEN SKIES” AGREEMENT WITH SOUTH KOREA THAT MAKES YOUR ANTI-TRUST IMMUNIZED, JOINT VENTURE, TRANS-PACIFIC ALLIANCE POSSIBLE that you (and your equally shameful and hypocritical ‘friends’) constantly whine about.

    Seriously! Can it get anymore hypocritical than THAT: reaping/exploiting the benefits of a government blessed, anti-trust immunized arrangement to legally collide (imagine that, LEGALLY COLLUDE with a former competitor to better crush others like, say, Asiana?) on pricing, scheduling, inventory and more arising from the same “Open Skies” treaties the “ME3” airlines exploit through their happening to offer geographic advantage along the world’s busiest trade routes?

    Imagine that! The nerve of them for seeking to exploit whatever advantages they have geographically with, perhaps, alleged government help using the same aviation policies you and Korean Airlines are using that’s crushing Asiana now that two of the biggest names on the industry can lawfully combine resources to crush competitors by taking advantage of “options” as afforded by Open Skies treaties after the era of rigid bilateral treaties dating back to the Chicago Convention (practice a million years ago) began being replaced by the same type of Open Skies treaties around the world that has allowed Delta and its “Charter” alliance partners in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere to erect their own very cartel-y anti-trust immunized alliances that now practically print money on the world’s most traveled routes (LHR-NYC anyone?)

    How dare those ME3 airlines take advantage of the same Open Skies policies as WE do?!?!

    Just who do they think they are?!?!

    You get the point?

    Can’t have it both ways! Rrrrriiiight?

    Perhaps this is all a big misunderstanding; but with Asiana Airlines scheduled to get $1.4 billion worth of “government led” TLC as part
    its now underway restructuring, and it being a direct competitor of Delta’s cornerstone partner for its Asia/Pacific operations, I’d say its high time you and your pals begin to take a long, hard look at the stark contrast that is how so many airlines around the world, including ones you own and/or align with, or even those that are direct competitors of your alliance partners receive government “love and support” while 3 in a currently political charged region are the only ones you’re putting the screws to?

    Hmmmm. Indeed-y.

  7. @Jojo,

    Thanks for the shout out!

    Totally cool; and the vote of confidence so very much appreciated.

    To answer your question: No(t yet).

    But, definitely interested! 😉

    Since this is not a job hunting site, don’t want to post a too long CV/resume-type cover letter highlighting past published work (bylined and/or uncredited), plus other industry focused work, but readers here at VFTW, at other Boarding Area affiliated blogs, and elsewhere at sites featuring other well known industry focused bloggers, have likely seen in my many reader’s comments posts in recent years references to past bylined published work in PlaneBusiness Banter (1999-2004; and other industry research featured prominently elsewhere); extensive travel agent work; and private client research & consulting for leading companies including: British Airways, Terminal One Group Association LP (JFK T1), Korean Airlines (cargo), HMSHost, among others.

    Happy to continue the conversation – with all of the above easily verifiable/documented upon request for any serious inquiries.

    But for sure, @jojo, thanks for making my day!


  8. The Boyd Group International take on the current state of Cuba is reasonably correct once you cut through the ultra-right wing editorialization.
    It is a pity that the author chose to disparage the country with an article dripping in putrid right wing Trumpian ideology. Taking steps backwards regarding Cuba, is probably a good thing; Cuba is gaining some insulation from its odious neighbour.
    I am surprised that VFTW (lookin’ at you Gary) chose to include this Link; or does it speak to your mindset?

  9. Has anybody here kept track of how many times this piece of crap has gone bankrupt? If someone offered the Italian taxpayer 25c to take it off their hands the Italian taxpayer would be better off.

  10. I was looking for an analytical story from the Boyd Group. What I got was name calling, which does not add anything to analysis. Sub-ethical, clepto’s, socio-wacko Peanut Gallery, etc., etc., etc. Anytime I see name calling, I pretty much ignore the writer.

  11. wow an article not causing bashing of our President Trump regarding the Cuba situation!!the eal reality of CUBA..nice

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