A week ago, pilots at American Airlines voted down a proposed new contract that the airline said was its last, best offer. That rejection cleared the way for American to ask the bankruptcy court for permission to toss out its existing contract and impose its own terms on pilots, but the court has given a thumbs down to that plan — for now.
Air Travel News
A Florida law firm has filed a class action suit against low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines over its so-called "passenger usage fee." While consumer resentment over Spirit's excessive reliance on various fees is hardly new, what's interesting about this fee is that the Transportation Department has judged it to be an unfair and deceptive trade practice — twice — and the airline had agreed both times to stop breaking it out from its base fare.
For a while there, it looked like bankrupt American Airlines was finally making some real headway in the longstanding deadlock with its key labor unions over new contracts. American's pilot leadership, followed by those of unions for flight attendants and mechanics, had finally agreed to new contracts that the airline said were its last, best offers. But the pilot union's rank-and-file membership has now rejected their deal, a vote that cost the union chief his position and could mean big trouble for the airline.
In U.S. airline news, Virgin America has increased certain passenger fees; Delta has opened up the availability of its Economy Comfort seats through more sales channels; and United creates a new spending opportunity for MileagePlus miles.
The latest chapter in the ongoing saga about a potential merger of bankrupt American Airlines and US Airways is a new white paper from two independent groups that warns such a combination "could be the capstone event that transforms the industry into a fundamentally different one from what we have known."
In news of U.S. airlines this week, JetBlue is expanding its Even More Space seating option on some aircraft; US Airways will offer international passengers a new option for in-flight dining; American starts selling Preferred Seats through a big online travel retailer; and SkyWest plans to overhaul its Delta Connection fleet with larger, two-class aircraft.
Delta Air Lines said its Comair subsidiary, which has provided it with regional feeder service mostly out of Cincinnati for years, has outlived its usefulness – but it assures passengers that they won’t be inconvenienced.
American Airlines has hundreds of new narrow-body planes on order from both Airbus and Boeing, and it has announced plans for the first couple of hundred – including a new three-class service with premium lie-flat seats in key transcontinental markets.
JetBlue Airways said it will enhance its TrueBlue loyalty program starting this fall with the introduction of an elite level of membership, and it also announced another new international interline partnership with a leading transpacific carrier.
To mark its fifth anniversary, Virgin America Airlines has announced plans to expand its Elevate frequent flyer program with the addition of two elite levels—Silver and Gold – along with a plethora of perks for customers who achieve that status.