3 Links I Love: Horizon’s Pilot Problems, Irma Gouging Isn’t Real, Rescue Flight in San Juan

This week’s featured link:
Pilots’ union sues Horizon Air over deferral of 6 jet deliveriesSeattle Times
These are interesting times up in the Pacific Northwest. Horizon, unsurprisingly, has a pilot shortage. At first it just impacted the Q400 flying which had to be scaled back. But now, presumably because of training issues, there aren’t enough pilots to fly the new Embraer 175 either. So, Alaska wants to have SkyWest flying some of Horizon’s 175s until Horizon (a wholly-owned subsidiary, mind you) can gets its act together. The Horizon pilots are angry, as you’d expect. It’s lawsuit time, and this thing is just going to get uglier.

Two for the road:
Are Airlines Price Gouging Ahead Of Hurricane Irma?One Mile at a Time
No, they aren’t. This article lacks a basic understanding of how airline pricing works. As airplanes fill up, that means prices get more expensive. Most of the time, you don’t see everything sold out several days in advance, but there’s been such a run on seats, that’s exactly what’s happening now. The few seats that are left are being sold at full fare. This would be the case regardless of whether there’s a hurricane or not. It would actually require the airlines to take steps to lower fares purposefully, as JetBlue has done, if they wanted to impact what was selling during the hurricane. This isn’t gouging; it’s just how the mechanics of airline pricing work.

Watch a Delta flight race Hurricane Irma into and out of Puerto RicoQuartz
This article is ridiculous. It’s basically just someone copying and pasting Jason Rabinowitz’s Twitter feed. Is it fun to watch Delta squeeze an airplane into San Juan as a hurricane gets close? Sure is, but you don’t need some to regurgitate Jason. Just follow him on Twitter for this kind of avgeekiness on a regular basis.

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20 Comments on "3 Links I Love: Horizon’s Pilot Problems, Irma Gouging Isn’t Real, Rescue Flight in San Juan"

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Not sure the 3 links I love the adequate title of this post considering your comments on the second and third articles !… :-)
I think I preferred when you were pointing to real interesting articles, not just click-baits to point out to what they were ! If one clicks too fast without first reading your comment, It just helps them !


Yeah – I agree….Especially the third article, how about UNlinking the title and push folks to Jason who really deserves the credit (& traffic)


He is the CRANKY Flier afterall….

But IMHO it is important when accusations like “Price Gouging” get tossed at airlines by amateurs with no understanding of airline pricing that journalists such as Cranky call them out accordingly. Doing so is much appreciated by those of us who also know how it works but do not seek or maintain the public voice that Cranky has.

Thank you for your service Cranky.

Alex Hill

Is the normal, full Y fare on MIA-DEN really as high as $6785? I doubt that. That sounds like a different-than-usual fare they would have to manually intervene to create.


Alex, UA’s Full Y base fare on this route is about $6,200. Add in taxes and fees and $6,700 sounds about right. The fare was last touched in April of this year, so nothing to do with the hurricane.

Alex Hill

OK, thank you for the clarification.


Has anyone ever paid it?

How much does NetJets or someone like that charge?

Tim Dunn
Three good articles… in order AS is playing a risky game with Horizon even as it integrates Virgin America. They have their plates full and their brand image will suffer as labor issues, including at their regional carrier, lead to more operational disruptions for customers. Of course, AS also is negotiating labor contracts with its own pilots and has to integrate Virgin America’s so Horizon is quite a bit down the list – and all of them will require money that AS is trying not to spend in order to deliver the financial benefits which it promised for the merger.… Read more »

In a way the flying is going to skywest as their just announced it order five more jets it will be flying for AS http://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/skywest-orders-more-jets-it-will-fly-for-alaska-air-reflecting-horizons-troubles/ . In the end the deferred jets and the five more for Skywest might give AS more muscle to go to war with Southwest in California esp SNA please


“No, they aren’t”

Yes, they are. “Normal” practice in a time of emergency can be abusive, something the airlines know quite well. They’re all waiving the “normal” practice of change fees, aren’t they?

Quoting from Cranky’s commentary: “It would actually require the airlines to take steps to lower fares purposefully, as JetBlue has done, if they wanted to impact what was selling during the hurricane.” Point being is that the airlines did nothing special (good or bad) in terms of pricing for the hurricane. This is just their normal systems operating as usual… If you walked up to an airline counter in the airport a day or two before Thanksgiving or Christmas and bought a ticket for a flight the same day (or if you booked a business trip on very short notice… Read more »
Yes, I understand that it would require the airlines to do something for the emergency. The airlines did, in fact, do something for the emergency: they waived change fees. At the same moment, they could well have capped the fares out of Florida airports. *Not* doing so is making a deliberate choice to continuing to charge extortionate fares to people who are desperate, the very definition of gouging. “and the impact on revenues probably wouldn’t be worth the PR benefit” How about doing it because it’s the right thing to do? P.S. Please don’t do that Internet thing where you… Read more »
David SF eastbay

I was mad to see price gouging stories written by stupid people to rile the public. These are just full fares that are normal walk up fares that are the only seats left that the average traveler wouldn’t see 6 months ahead of time when they buy their ticket.

Bill Johnson

Well, JETBLUE did lower fares and as you point out, the other airlines COULD HAVE lowered fares. They were just happy to stick it to evacuees. Stop defending the indefensible.