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…
According to one reader, India’s Minister of State for Civil Aviation is demanding that state airlines hire more attractive flight attendants.I haven’t found stories validating the claims in the aforelinked-to article, and the piece in question takes on more of a tone of opinion (criticism) than reporting, but I assume that the quotes are genuine.Presumably the government believes that more attractive flight attendants will help attract business to the country’s national carriers. And as a passenger I’m not opposed to that — Singapore Air has followed this model quite well — but perhaps the airlines’ troubles can be traced to government policies that demand frequent air service on unprofitable routes and subsidized air travel for officials.
Just fly two roundtrips on America West’s new coast to coast flights for silver elite through February 2005!
Sign up for a free $25.00 off E-certificate for United Airlines. This is a promotion with Safeway Grocery Stores, so you need to have a Safeway Club card (their free discount card) associated with your United Mileage Plus account – which you want anyway because you’ll get United miles for your grocery purchases. The e-certificate will be e-mailed in November. Thanks to an alert reader for the pointer.
An article in the Dallas Morning News speculates that Southwest may be considering offering inflight entertainment to compete with lowcost rival JetBlue and the addition of smaller aircraft to grow service to smaller markets. This on top of recent speculation that Southwest may offer assigned seating. All this speculation comes in recognition of the challenges ahead for the most profitable airline in the industry over the past three decades. As a maturing carrier their costs are rising. New lowcost competitors like JetBlue are offering a superior inflight experience (all leather seating, satellite television, and they’re taking out a row of seats to offer more legroom). And the easy profitable growth routes may already be cherrypicked.
The Atlanta City Council voted to rename Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport. It will henceforth be known as “Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport” adding the name of the city’s first black mayor to the name of the city’s longest-serving mayor.The most over-the-top rhetoric advocating the change: “For years, Hartsfield-Jackson will symbolically hover over Atlanta like a protective shield and a glorious crown which says to us and the world, in the hometown of Martin Luther King Jr. and Margaret Mitchell, we are one,” said Johnson. I have mixed feelings about this. One the one hand, it seems absurd that the airport name issue should take up so much time for the city council. On the other hand, I presume it’s better for them to spend time on things like the name of an airport than their next best…
This op-ed deals with the Phoenix area’s proposed transit system, but the arguments are pretty universal. Light rail projects invariably cost more than projected; cost more than equivalent freeway projects, carry fewer people; don’t help the environment; and pilfer passengers from buses rather than reducing the use of cars.No wonder city bureaucrats love light rail. (Link via Reason’s Hit and Run.)
As noted both on these pages and elsewhere, the TSA has revised its list of items prohibited through airport security. Corkscrews and nail clippers are back in. So are knitting needles, cigar cutters and blunt scissors. Pool cues and golf clubs are still banned. Lifting the ban on nail clippers is long overdue, but the contradictory nature of the list of what is allowed and what isn’t just becomes all the more clear.It seemed odd when metal butter knives were banned, but metal forks were not. Bending back the thynes seemed at least as effective weapon as a dull knife. Then it seemed even stranger when the ban on metal knives was lifted onboard (an airline could serve them) but passengers couldn’t take them through security! The whole idea of security was to keep items…
Andrew Sullivan had a very bad hotel experience with Priceline. He delayed his trip a day and the hotel wouldn’t let him start his stay when he arrived. He lost all his money. Frustrating, but his analysis of Priceline’s business model is just wrong: the profit margin is obviously highly correlated with suckers and incompetents like me. Priceline doesn’t make more or less depending on whether someone shows up for their reservation. Priceline makes money from their booking fee, from a commission charged to the hotel, and from any overbid (the difference between a successful bid and the highest applicable rate that bid allows Priceline to book). (Link via Spot On.)
I love a good steak, but PETA is giving away free stickers that are pretty witty. Just email Education@peta.org with “Veg Stickers” as the subject with your name and address.