Monthly Archives: September 2004

OTR in the News

If you’ll allow me to indulge…my tiny website received a bunch of mentions in the non-online press yesterday talking about the Orbitz/Cendant deal. You can find my blatherings in USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, and the Chicago Sun Times. I was also on Bloomberg Radio discussing the same topic. I promise I’ll never bore y’all again with this pathetic self promotion, but it’s nice to see this little website getting a little recognition. Carry on.

Take Advantage of US Airways’ Troubles

I was going to write about an amazing fare sale US Airways was having—$249 r/t from a bunch of east coast cities to Paris in October. Seats were available last night, but when I went to check this morning they were gone. Oh well.

But I will tell you that, assuming they’re still flying, US Airways will fly you round trip in first class from NYC to Barbados for $569. That is an incredible deal. They have a bunch of sale fares in first class available from the east coast to the Caribbean for roughly $500-600. Jump on that.

US Airways, Delta Air Lines, and Cyprus Air

In case you thought only US airlines were in the midst of massive cutbacks, tiny Cyprus Air has fired 1/3 of its management staff in a bid to cut costs. The carrier expects to lay off roughly 20% of its workforce as it hopes to emerge from financial troubles.

Axe-Wielding Nut Attacks Plane

An Algerian axe-wielding, asylum-seeking nutcase attacked pilots on a domestic flight in Norway two days ago before being restrained by passengers. Two pilots and a passenger on the 18-seat plane were injured in the struggle. No word on whether Norway will grant the man asylum, but I’ve got to imagine his chances aren’t so good. (By the way, is it “axe” or “ax”? Where’s the AP style guide when you need it…)

It’s Just as Bad in Europe

A NY Times article explores the sorry state of the European airline community. While not quite as bad as the US, European airlines are struggling financially for two reasons: higher fuel costs and extraordinary fare sales. European airlines are better hedged against higher fuel prices than US airlines, but competition (including $2 tickets and a brutal fight between EasyJet and Ryanair) has done major damage.

Paycuts at Delta and US Airways

Delta announced10% paycuts for non-union staff yesterday in a bid to stave off bankruptcy (or in a bid to make themselves leaner after bankruptcy). CEO Gerald Grinstein added that he will not take a salary for the rest of the year, he’ll just be paid in Skymiles points. That last part isn’t true. Keep in mind that not only will Delta’s staff be facing a 10% pay decrease, they haven’t seen a raise since 2000. Unreal.

US Airways said that they can do twice as wellas Delta, and announced 20% paycuts for its long-suffering staff.

Oh, and in both cases, to add insult to injury, health benefits will become more costly.

The airlines tried begging passengers to purchase higher fare classes, then they tried bullying passengers into higher fare classes by denying frequent flyer benefits on cheaper tickets, then they tried fuel surcharges, now they’re cutting staff pay. There is literally nothing left to do for Delta and US Airways, and I believe we’ll see a Delta bankruptcy this year, and a US Airways liquidation early next year.

Continental to Belfast

I don’t usually bother letting you know about new routes here, but it caught my attention that Continental will soon announce service from Newark to Belfast, Northern Ireland. The service to Belfast will be the only nonstop from the US.

Cendant Buying Orbitz for $1.2 Billion

Travel and real estate congolmerate is buying Orbitz for $1.2 billion in what I think is a great deal for both parties. Orbitz’ airline owners will get much-needed cash, and Cendant, which has been flailing online for years with Trip.com and Cheaptickets.com, will get a fantastic online distribution source.

If I may pat myself on the back slightly, I predicted this 18 months ago in an article in the Daily Deal. Click here to make myself feel vindicated (I’m in the 2nd to last paragraph).

US Airways May Liquidate by February

US Airways would like a judge to impose a 23% reduction to staff wages immediately to fend off a liquidation. In a bankruptcy filing the airline said that it will not have enough cash to continue operations if it does not receive the paycut. With this cut, the average flight attendant will see her (his?) salary reduced from roughly $37,000 a year to $27,000 a year. That is painful. I’m sure many FAs are asking themselves whether these cuts are worth it to save the flailing carrier.

Virgin to Start Airline in Nigeria

Richard Branson announced that Virgin Atlantic will be a 49% owner of a new airline based in Nigeria called Virgin Nigeria (or, as I’m calling it, Vigeria.) The new carrier, expected to start in 2005, will fly both domestically and to US and Europe. Currently, there is no nonstop travel between the US and Nigeria (which brings up something kind of amazing…think of how huge sub-Saharan Africa is. Isn’t it incredible that you can only fly nonstop from the US to South Africa and, a couple of days a week, to Senegal? There are NO other nonstops from the US to sub-Saharan Africa. Doesn’t that sound like an opportunity?)