Cranky in the News

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USA Today

Airline customer satisfaction up, but industry ranks low

Charisse Jones – April 20, 2015

Brett Snyder, founder of the website, says airlines have done a lot to improve their service, and should be given more credit.

“The airlines in general have really been investing in their product a lot lately,” he says. “Even in coach you’ve seen upgraded meals, and in some cases, like with Delta, dramatically increased on-time performance compared to historical averages. … If people are looking at this and saying I want first class for the price of coach, then you’re never going to get that.”

Cincinnati Enquirer logo

Delta downsizing flights to 14 more cities

Jason Williams – March 11, 2015

“I’d say it already stopped being a hub,” said Brett Snyder, an airline expert who publishes the Cranky Flier blog. “If you look at any (Delta) press release, Cincinnati is not included as a ‘key hub and market’ in the boilerplate type. Delta is now running Cincinnati flights to match local market demand.”

Baltimore Sun Logo

Southwest CEO sees BWI as international gateway

Kevin Rector – February 20, 2015

But according to Brett Snyder, an aviation consultant and founder of, the change means customers will know less about the value of their points, which will vary based on which flight they want to take, how popular it is, and what algorithm Southwest uses to assess its point value.

“Maybe this is only going to apply to some crazy full flights on Christmas Day, and otherwise it will be normal,” he said. “But they won’t give any details and we don’t know what the impact will be.”

In terms of managing seat inventory, the airline already does that through fares — which its rewards program is tied to — so tying the rewards themselves to seat availability just makes the program more complicated, Snyder said.

“It’s the trend towards, ‘You don’t need to know. We’ll tell you what you need when you’re ready,'” he said. “These points are supposed to be aspirational. People want to save up for things. They want to have a goal, and this makes it harder and harder to do that.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer Logo

A year after United Airlines dismantles its hub, scrappy new airlines, gaps in service

Alison Grant – January 27, 2015

“Some thought this was Spirit smacking their little brother a bit,” said Brett Snyder, author of the Cranky Flier blog, who sees emotion mixing with cool business logic in the airlines’ rivalry.

Frontier’s new owner knows Spirit’s playbook, which has to sit uncomfortably with Spirit, Snyder said. The two airlines also have swapped several top executives.

“There’s definitely this element of the early days of the gold rush,” Snyder said.

Snyder and other industry watchers say they expect Spirit, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest and the “legacy” carriers at Hopkins – United, Delta, American – to continue tweaking schedules.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Logo

Cleveland Hopkins fares in wake of United dehubbing: A tale of two airports

Alison Grant – January 27, 2015

“Airplanes today are way more full than they were 10 years ago and insanely more full than they were 20 years ago,” said Brett Snyder, author of the Cranky Flier, an industry blog.

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Logo

Winter storm Juno impacts Southern California travel

Liset Marquez – January 26, 2015

Aviation blogger Brett Snyder, who also runs the air travel assistance site Cranky Concierge, began getting cancellations Sunday night. One of those was a flight from Tel Aviv into Newark on Wednesday but other clients were able to fly into New York early Monday morning, he said.

“The majority of the cancellations starting pouring in on us (Sunday),” he said. “A lot of (Monday) is wait and see how long it will take for airports to be fully operational.”

The longer the blizzard conditions take to pass through the East Coast, the more impacts on air travel there’s most likely to be, Snyder said.

Bloomberg logo

SkyMall Lands in Bankruptcy as Air Travelers Shun Catalog

Tiffany Kary – January 23, 2015

“Now, even if you’re not connected, you can at least have your phone in front of you for the entire flight,” Brett Snyder, an aviation consultant and founder of, said in a phone interview. “There’s just not that same draw that there used to be to go pull some reading material out of the seatback pocket.”

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin Logo

Ontario-LA feud over ONT airport reveals limits to regional planning

Liset Marquez – January 10, 2015

No such authority was ever formed however, and despite its apparent independence from the city, management of LAWA is still heavily tied to local politics, said Brett Snyder, an aviation expert and former airline executive.

“In Los Angeles, city politics is involved,” Snyder said. “Anytime you have a politically charged airport – and LAWA is not alone – it basically becomes very difficult to run, especially when you have competing noses trying to run the agency.”

Snyder noted that Los Angeles mayors are heavily involved in issues related to the airports.

Snyder concurs, but notes that real regionalization, if it ever occurs, will not come easy.

“The only way people would use Palmdale would be that you force them. If you give them no other option,” he said.

The purpose of regional airports like Ontario, John Wayne and Burbank is to offer regional routes to nearby locations such as San Francisco, Vegas and Phoenix, but as fuel prices have spiked during the recession, traffic has fallen, Snyder said.

“Short-haul has become less economical, and it becomes a tight market,” he said, adding that it makes sense for carriers to pull back to the major hubs.

Snyder believes LAWA could have and should do more to lower operating costs at ONT.

Any efforts to boost a marketing plan or offer time-sensitive incentives are not sustainable, he said. The agency should be focusing it efforts to support the service it already has.

“You need to get these costs as low as humanly possible. That can make a huge difference for short-haul carriers,” he said. “Ontario is saddled with high employee costs and a management fee.”

While current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has said he would be willing to let go of ONT if the price was right, Snyder is skeptical of claims by the Inland delegation pushing for local control that they can do better.

“It’s not going to become a major international airport overnight,” he said.

Chicago Tribune Logo

Southwest’s on-time rates: Better but not best

Gregory Karp – January 9, 2015

“It’s definitely not nearly as horrible as it was before August,” said Brett Snyder, a blogger at and operator of a travel concierge service.

“Southwest has built an incredible following after years of providing low fares, frequent on-time flights and excellent service,” Snyder said. “While the excellent service remains, fares have skyrocketed while on-time performance has fallen.

“It’s a different airline than it used to be, but the reputation is so strong that it will take time for it to reflect reality again.”

Bloomberg logo

Passengers stranded on tarmac for a day bemoan rules

Katherine Chiglinsky and Kari Lundgren – January 8, 2015

“They were acting in response to some very high-profile incidents,” said Brett Snyder, founder of the blog. “People were clamoring for something to be done.”