It’s tax day here in the US, and even though we got two extra days this year, there is no such thing as a “happy” tax day. If you got a refund, that means you gave the government a no interest loan. Booooo. If you owed tax, well, you had to shell out the cash. So, let’s forget about that and delve into the world of airlines instead.
- Delta Cans the Dress Code – No, don’t worry. There never was a dress code for people who pay for tickets. But you may have noticed the nicely dressed passengers sitting in the worst middle seat on the plane. Yeah, those are the faithful airline employees trying to use their benefits to fly somewhere fun, even if it requires sitting in the middle of the section of five seats. Every airline has a dress code for these people. Generally it requires at least a collared shirt and khakis for guys up front and jeans and closed-toed shoes in the back. Well, Delta has decided that in a world where paying customers have no problem showing up in flip flops and t-shirts, having a dress code for employees makes them stand out like a sore thumb. At least, I’m guessing that was their rationale. Now, nonrevs (that’s non-revenue passengers) can wear anything paying passengers can wear so they can blend in better. Now if we could just get those non-revs to stop wearing their badges when they fly . . . .
- Don’t Like Your Seat? Pay up – American has made the decision to charge customers $15 to change their seat assignment over the phone if they didn’t book the ticket directly through American. They say this brings them in line with other airlines, but I can’t remember hearing of this before. Who else does this? Basically if you don’t book directly, you can only change your seat for free if you do it online or via a touch tone system. If you need to speak to a human, you’ll have to pay. Add this to the growing list of things you can’t do over the phone without paying. Maybe they’ll just get a 900 number to make it easier for billing purposes.
- Delta Goes Heathrow – Delta certainly didn’t waste any time here. Even though European open skies is still a year away, Delta has already gone ahead and secured the slots at London/Heathrow in anticipation. It sounds like they were able to get the slots from Air France/KLM, and I’m sure it cost them a pretty penny. But now they’ll be able to fly twice a day to New York/JFK and once a day to Atlanta. I would imagine the Atlanta flights would do well, but JFK, not so much. Virgin already has four a day, American six a day, and British Airways seven daily. Throw in Air India and Kuwait and you have a pretty full market. Two daily flights from Delta may serve connections to smaller cities in the Northeast US better than anyone else at JFK, but those people could easily go over other airports as well.
- Regular or Lite? – Last week India’s Jet Airways picked up Air Sahara in a takeover deal. Instead of merging them into the Jet operation though, they’re going to keep them separate as a mix between low cost and full service. What’s the name? Jetlite. Now first I thought it was the name of some weird new supermodel like StrangÃ©, but then I realized it was supposed to be pronounced “Jet-light” and not “Jet-leet.” Ah, makes much more sense now.