I’m on a bad hotel connection today, so I apologize for all placing all of the news in one posting.
–One of the great American Airlines AAdvantage perks is gone. AA used to allow you to upgrade using miles on international flights, regardless of how cheap the ticket was. No longer. Cheap international tickets now require a $250 EACH WAY co-pay along with the miles. Sorry.
–United announceda change in strategy today, saying that they will now focus their attention on international routes. By next March expect to see a 14% increase in international capacity and a 12% reduction in domestic capacity (their 455 aircraft will represent a 20% decrease in capacity since 2002). It’s not a bad move at all as long as they find the correct balance of domestic traffic feeding into the international network (that sounds like a wildly obvious statement, doesn’t it?) My point is this: After deregulation, Pan Am focused on their international network and ignored their domestic flights leading to a situation where they didn’t have sufficient feeder traffic for their flights to Zagreb. United is a very different situation (they have a strong domestic network), but they will continue to tinker with their US schedule to find the right mix of flights. The considerably higher revenues generated from international traffic should give United a boost; when you combine this news with their soon-to-happen launch of premium transcontinental service, I’m guessing that United will try to market the United brand as a truly premium airline. International flights and transcons will feature 3 classes and (on the transcons, at least) all Economy Plus seating, while domestic flights will start to look a lot more like TED. If they actually differentiate the two brands–United is premium, TED is low fare–this just might work.
–Personal story: As I was going through security yesterday at Newark Airport, I handed my boarding pass to the security screener. We had this conversation:
Screener: That boarding pass is upside down.
Screener: I can’t read it if it’s upside down.
Me: Oh (turning it right side up)
Screener: That’s better.
So, terrorists, keep in mind that our security screeners can only tell a gun, bomb, or knife if it’s facing in the correct direction. Please pack accordingly.