Monthly Archives: September 2007

Airline Contacts…For Your Next 3 Hour Runway Delay

I was thinking about what I could do to help you out the next time you’re stranded on a runway for 3 or 4 hours, and I’ve decided to create a list of contacts at each airline that may be useful. 

So, I’ve compiled a list of the CEOs of each major US airline, the head of flight operations for each airline, and the board of directors of each airline.  I’ve included office phone numbers for each as well.  You can download the spreadsheet here

or view it as a webpage here (I know, I’m not a web designer).

Let’s consider this a work-in-progress — if anyone has better contact info for the attached folks, I’d be happy to upload it.  These are publicly traded companies, and they’d love (hahahaha) to hear from you when you’re sitting next to a crying baby for a few hours.

Mesa CFO: Wait, I Wasn’t Deleting Legal Files, I Was Deleting Porn

A couple of days ago I mentioned that Mesa Air had suspended its CFO after allegations that he had deleted files relating to a lawsuit between Mesa and Hawaiian Airlines.  Well, it’s a bit more complicated.  A lawyer for the airline told a judge that (in a perfect definition of "the lesser of two evils") the CFO was not, in fact, purposefully deleting files related to the case.  Rather, he was deleting porn from his computer and accidentally deleted case-related material.

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Delta to Overhaul JFK Operations and Add New Flights: It’s Good News, Really!

Delta announced a major expansion at JFK, including 14 new international routes.  This is great news, as a number of these routes are thinly serviced or not serviced at all nonstop (new flights include service to Tel Aviv, Edinburgh, Dakar, Nairobi, Lagos, Cairo, Amman, Malaga, Cape Town, Panama City (Panama), Guatemala City, Port of Spain, San Jose (Costa Rica), and Liberia (Costa Rica).  As I’ve mentioned here, about 2 years ago, no US airline served any cities in Africa – with this announcement Delta now serves 6 in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Well done.

Even better, Delta is actually trying to make operations at JFK more bearable.  They’re eliminating all turboprop flights to ease the number of takeoffs and landings.  Now about 2/3 of flights will be served by larger 2-class airplanes (up from about 40% last year).  And they’re pushing some of their shorter trans-Atlantic flights to after 7pm to ease the crazy amount of Europe-bound traffic that leaves between 5 and 7. 

Bravo to Delta for actually making changes that will positively impact your flying experience.

US Government to Passengers: You Can Rot on the Runway for All We Care

From the government that has already proudly discarded 800 years of habeas corpus:  The US Department of Transportation issued a pathetic report that found several airlines (Delta and US Airways included) have no formal policies about allowing passengers off planes in the event of a delay on the tarmac, meaning that their policy is to imprison you for hours on end without food, water or explanation.  The pathetic part is that the DoT refuses to recommend a time limit, saying that they’ll leave it up to the industry (which has done such an AMAZING job at figuring this out themselves so far) to figure it out themselves. 

And in case you thought that the worst of the Guan-tarmac-o Bay imprisonments ended with the JetBlue fiasco in February, you’d be sadly mistaken.  In June, 462 (462!!) flights were stuck on the tarmac for 3 or more hours.  And even better – these figures don’t count diverted or canceled flights.  500 flights stranded for more than 3 hours in ONE MONTH, and the DoT has told them that they’re certain the industry, which doesn’t even acknowledge that this is a problem (hey, once we leave the gate we can’t lose our takeoff slot) can fix this themselves.  This same industry that said they’d fix it after the February JetBlue meltdown.  Yeah right!

I’m not exactly calling for insurrections, but the government won’t fix it and the airlines won’t fix it – it’s up to passengers stuck on the runway for hours to invoke their right to habeas corpus – either give me a legitimate reason why I’m stuck here, or let me off this plane.  Ring the flight attendant button.  Ask questions.   Call the airline’s headquarters and ask to speak to flight operations (they won’t put you through, but they’ll put you through to someone…and you’ll make your point.)  It’s enough already.  As I’ve said before:  the fact that these companies think that keeping you in a cramped area (31" pitch, my ass) with screaming babies with no idea when you’re leaving and no access to food is an acceptable way (let alone legally acceptable way) of treating people is the biggest issue.  Enough is enough.

Oman Air to Lease 6 787s

The fast-growing Middle East market is getting a little bit more crowded: also-ran Oman Air announced that it will lease 6 787s as the government looks to grow the airline at the expense of its former investment in Gulf Air.  The region seems to suck up all capacity thrown at it, so it will be interesting to watch if the tiny nation of Oman can take some share from Emirates and Etihad.

World’s Busiest Routes

(via Today in the Sky…)

I will give you three guesses as to what the world’s busiest route is (by number of frequencies per week).  Ok ready?  Guess.

-No.

-No, that’s not it either.

-Not even close.

Turns out that Barcelona – Madrid has the most frequent flights, with 971 (yes, 971) per week.  Rio to Sao Paulo is close with 894. 

I’ll give you 3 guesses for the most frequent in the US.

-Nope.

– There?  Are you kidding?

– You have no clue.

You likely didn’t guess Honolulu to Kahalui (Maui) with 639 per week. 

The article is kinda fun (if you consider this type of thing to be fun)

Mesa’s CFO Placed on Leave for Possible Misconduct

The situation at Mesa Airlines involving their behavior in the Hawaiian market has just gotten a bit uglier:  the company has placed its CFO on administrative leave after it was alleged that he deleted files related to a lawsuit that Hawaiian Airlines filed against Mesa.  Hawaiian alleges that Mesa placed a takeover bid for Hawaiian as a way to learn how Hawaiian operates to Mesa could launch its own intra-island airline (called Go!). 

Quick MAXjet Update

In case you were wondering how MAXjet was doing, you can see here that they posted a $31 million loss on $27 million in revenue for the first half of 2007.  Yes, it’s difficult to run an airline profitably.

A Word about Older Airplanes

A quick follow-up on the One-Two-Go! crash in Phuket last week.  A number of stories I’ve read pointed to the age of the airplane possibly being a factor (as does nearly every story about any plane crash).  It is important to note here that planes do not crash because they are old.  Northwest is flying some very old planes right now and they are exactly as safe as a new plane.  Well-maintained planes are like a Honda Accord – they’ll go forever if taken care of properly.  Of course, shoddy maintenance is a legitimate cause of concern, and (obviously) older planes have more opportunities to be maintained.  That said, when you read articles about plane crashes, please ignore the parts where they talk about how the plane is 17 years old, as if that’s some sort of indictment.

Midwest to Offer Both Good and Bad Seats on All Planes

Midwest Airlines was (at one time) known for its all-business-class seating and great food.  Then came the post-9/11 airline industry meltdown (that actually started back in 2000), and Midwest went to a conventional seating layout on many of its flights (called "Saver" service) and left regular seating (called "Signature" service) on other flights.

The airline is now putting both types of seats on every plane, which is good if you had previously been stuck on a plane without the good seats and bad if you were flying on aircraft with only good seats.  Access to the 12 good seats will cost $60 per segment.