It would figure that an extremely busy week for me would also be a busy news week in the airline world. Though I’ve tried to avoid these short summaries lately, there’s just too much going on for me to do it any other way today. Unfortunately, most of these stories involve angry passengers, long delays, wastes of money, and other things that just make you want to avoid traveling. *sigh*
Delta Airlines, Hypocrite of the Week – PlaneBuzz notes that Delta really had some balls this week by putting out two conflicting press releases on the same day. The first whined about all the air traffic control delays and called for reform. Right afterwards, they announced they were adding MORE flights out of JFK. I’m planning on doing a more in-depth piece on JFK next week. The airport is melting down in the midst of Delta’s insane flight buildup. On beautifully clear days, you’re still looking at long delays. It’s so bad, I would recommend avoiding the airport, yet Delta thinks there’s room for more. Nice work.
Anger Over Apple Juice – As bad as the delays are getting, passengers still need to find a way to control their anger. This flight actually was in the air when someone freaked out about not getting a drink quickly enough and they diverted. As far as I’m concerned, the airline should be charging that guy for the extra costs involved. Now some reports say it was a little kid which makes me wonder if it was Pearl, from Will Ferrell’s epic sketch, The Landlord, embedded below. (Click here if you can’t see it.)
Aloha Means Hello AND Goodbye – One place where we aren’t seeing any delays right now is in Hawai’i, but there are other problems there. The addition of go! to the state’s skies continues to cause huge problems for everyone. Really, nobody is making money out there right now, and nobody is doing worse than Aloha. In its first quarter, the airline lost just over $24m on revenue of only $88m. This is an airline that just came OUT of bankruptcy. This explains why they’ve recently tied up with United. They make United’s financials look good.
NIMBYs First, Safety Second – In yet another step forward for people who moved into the area long after the airport was there, a bill was introduced in Congress to prohibit LAX from separating its two runways on the north side. What do I think? Boooooooo!!!! This is a case where trying to improve the safety of the airport (as they’ve done on the south runways already) is considered to be unimportant compared to the needs of a handful of residents who moved there long after the airport existed. That’s what you get when you move in near an airport. Deal with it.
Gimme My Balls Back – Apparently, eBay gave away some stress balls during its conference, but since the balls contained liquid they weren’t allowed to go through security. I have two thoughts on this. 1) Our security policy is dumb and 2) eBay is dumb for not thinking about that before handing them out. Oh well.
Rockford Airport Gets the Waste of Money Award – As a taxpayer, I’m pissed. Rockford Airport has been subsidizing United Airlines flights to Denver from the city. The agreement is that every flight is guaranteed $7,000. If it makes less, the airport will make up the difference. So far this year, they’ve spent $2.3m on it! The subsidies are apparently so successful that they’re going to extend them. What?!? How is that successful? Yeah, the flights are full, but they’re clearly not making money if you have to drop that much cash. Now if these were local funds, I wouldn’t care, but $1m of that is coming from the feds and that comes out of all our pockets. And this for an airport that’s only 70 miles away from Chicago/O’Hare. These subsidies can’t go on forever. Just give up now and let airlines serve the airport that can make it work on their own (like Allegiant, which serves three cities from Rockford and gets no subsidies). Just think what kind of air traffic control system we could build if the feds stopped funding flights like these.