Why is this the NFL playoffs edition? Well, because I want to watch the games this afternoon and I have a lot to talk about, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. (Go Bears and Colts)
- United Joins US Airways in Mileage Cutoff – Following US Airways’ lead, United has reduced its mileage expiration date from 3 years to 18 months. In other words, if there is no activity in your account over 18 months, your miles are gone. Remember, even buying flowers counts as activity, so you don’t need to fly.
- Delta Kicks Off Jockeying for 2008 China Routes – The ink is barely dry on the award to United for 2007’s China routes but the competition for 2008 is now underway. Though 2007 was only for airlines already flying to China, 2008 is for anyone. That’s why it’s no surprise that Delta kicked off the competition with a bid for its first China service – Atlanta to Shanghai. Though it’s too early to handicap this race, I’d say Delta has a decent shot here. if they handle it right.
- Continental Heads to Athens – Ramping up for the summer season, Continental announced daily flights between Newark and Athens starting June 7. This is going to be an interesting year in Athens as US Airways also announced Philly – Athens service. I’ll be surprised if all these flights do well.
- Frontier Announces First Embraer Flights – You may remember that Frontier announced they’d be contracting with a regional airline to fly the new comfortable Embraer 170 jets to smaller cities from Denver. Well, soon after announcing Republic had won the bid, Frontier announced that the first flights will be from Denver to Louisville twice daily beginning April 1. This is all part of Frontier’s strategy to find places where they can avoid Southwest. Though Southwest does fly to Louisville, I’d be surprised to see a nonstop flight between the two cities.
- United Beefs Up Denver As Well – Just 30 minutes after Frontier’s release, United came out with their own Denver expansion. Flights to Dayton on United Express begin April 24, flights to Raleigh/Durham also begin that day, and Express flights to Kalispell (Montana) begin June 7.
- A New Way from the West Coast to Germany – Germany’s LTU will begin scheduled flights between both Los Angeles and Las Vegas and Dusseldorf in Germany. Flights begin May 3 and operate 5 times a week to LAX and twice a week to Las Vegas.
- Merger Mania Begins – People have been talking about industry consolidation for a long time, but it now looks like it’s actually happening. Well, sort of. Caribbean Star and LIAT are well on their way to merging in the Caribbean. All flights will be sold under the LIAT code. All the other action involves Northwest. The airline has agreed to buy Mesaba, one of its regional airlines which has been knocking on death’s door. Also, Pinnacle, a Northwest regional, will buy Colgan Air, a small turboprop operator, for $20 million.
- Odd PR Firm of the Year Award – I’m guessing most people don’t see China Southern’s press releases, but they really are a sight to be seen. The headline on the latest release is “BOFFO! BOFFO! BOFFO! China Southern Airlines Close to 50 Mill PAX Mark in ’06.” I’m not sure what kind of press the three “Boffo” mentions are going to get them, but it certainly got them a place in this