3 Links I Love: WestJet’s 767 Problems, Ontario’s Bad Plan, Delta’s Spying is Normal

Delta, Links I Love, ONT - Ontario, Westjet

This Week’s Featured Link:
WestJet’s London Expansion Has Been A Bumpy FlightWestJet
I’ve been hearing people talk about WestJet’s 767 operational problems for awhile, but once more traditional outlets pick it up, it becomes bigger news. WestJet picked up some two dozen year old 767s from Qantas to do Hawai’i and Europe flying. This summer was supposed to be the big splash with London flights beginning, but the operation hasn’t been able to keep up. Since June 1, I show that fewer than 40 percent of departures from London have arrived within 15 minutes of schedule. Ouch.

It is normal to have teething problems with new fleets, but the people sitting in the airport watching their flight cancel couldn’t care less. Does this mean the service is doomed? Not necessarily. But it does mean WestJet will be relying on people looking for the cheapest fares more than it might like. Because those who care about reliability aren’t going to look at WestJet until this problem is fixed. Get ready for some bargains.

Links I Love

Two for the Road:
CASSIE MACDUFF: Thumbs down for L.A. in airport nameThe Press-Enterprise
Ontario’s move toward independence continues, but there are some bad moves being made. Instead of properly evaluating what name would best help to let people know where the airport was, Ontario has become too focused on the evils of everything LA. So the airport will not have LA in the name, and the marketing campaign will focus on the ONT three letter code. That is a huge mistake. The people in charge need to get over the ego factor here and realize that nobody outside of California knows or cares about Ontario. But they DO care about LA. Go where the recognition is.

Delta Is (Not So Secretly) Spying On Qatar Airways In AtlantaOne Mile at a Time
I’ve seen several bloggers write about the horrors of Delta placing someone outside the Qatar Airways gate in Atlanta and counting passengers. That is downright laughable. This is a time-honored tradition. Airlines have posted people up outside competitor gates for years to get accurate counts. This isn’t being petty. This is just the practice of knowing your enemy as best you can. I’d be surprised if Delta hadn’t done this.

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29 comments on “3 Links I Love: WestJet’s 767 Problems, Ontario’s Bad Plan, Delta’s Spying is Normal

  1. “I’ve seen several bloggers write about the horrors of Delta placing someone outside the Qatar Airways gate in Atlanta and counting passengers. That is downright laughable.”

    Sorry, Brett, context matters.

    What makes Delta stationing one of their employees at the gate in their home market counting passengers creepy is how vindictive they’ve been about the flight.

    Given how they’ve monitored who has done business with Qatar and attempted to punish where possible, if you’re based in Atlanta and have any connection to the airline at all you’d better not be seen getting on that flight.

    Delta has taken time-honored tactics and turn them into intimidation. Merely counting passengers isn’t creepy. Watching who gets on the Qatar flight, when they go after anyone they have a relationship with doing business with Qatar is a different matter.

    1. Is that what’s happening?

      I’m not denying it, but the linked stories don’t talk about the “counter” taking names or intimidating people.

    2. That’s a pretty strong accusation. Do you have any evidence of Delta intimidating some passengers who travel on the Qatar flights?

      I don’t know how one counts passengers without seeing “who” those passengers are…look only at their feet or something?

      1. Delta is placing an employee by the gate, watching who goes on.

        That is subtle intimidation whether they do anything with the information or not, considering that they pay close attention to companies doing business in any way with Qatar (cf. Fox Theater).

        If you’re in the Atlanta market, this IS intimidating.

        1. How would they even know the identities of passengers, aside from perhaps a rare A-list celebrity? Do you think the DL clerk counting pax has a watch list with photographs of individuals working for companies/organizations that they want to be sure don’t sleep with the enemy? Or is photographing people to later find out who they are? Otherwise how would clicking a counter provide DL with any actionable data on the specific people flying Qatar?

          What *is* out of line is people who are recording video of and harassing the DL employee who was simply sitting their doing their job.

          1. Merely taking notes on what people are doing at a polling place is considered voter intimidation. So is hovering over voting tables, and following buses of vehicles transporting voters.

            There’s nothing illegal about it, and it’s also not necessary since Qatar reports its traffic data to the DOT.

            My own take is that it IS creepy, especially in this context where Delta plays hardball with anyone doing business with Qatar. It’s not creepy for every passenger in this context of course.

            1. You still haven’t answered the questions about how they identify who the passengers are. Anyone can stand at a gate and count passengers. I assume there is nothing illegal about it. It’s pretty much impractical to determine the identity of passengers that way. So do they take pictures/ video and run them through face recognition software? Or what is your accusation here?

            2. And is this a polling place? No, case closed. People who actually work in the industry know this is business as usual. Are you just upset DL doesn’t have credit cards that are as lucrative to hawk to your blog readers to redeem for cushy A380 suite flights to concrete jungles in the Middle East?

    3. Gary – Context does matter. And that’s why it’s important to realize that airlines do this all the time with competitors. If this was solely being done to Qatar and nobody else, then it would look vindictive. But it’s just out of the regular playbook and there is nothing special happening here.

      And having a gate agent passively sit at the gate? How is that intimidation? I imagine there are Delta gate agents all over that airport on their breaks, taking phone calls, resting at an empty seat. If someone sees that as intimidation while they board an airplane, then that sounds like paranoia to me.

      Delta does a lot of crazy stuff, but this is just normal operating procedure to get good data. DOT numbers do not come out for a long time. Real time data is far more helpful.

      1. Brett,
        He has NEVER worked in the industry yet acts like the know it all on everything-labor relations, network planning, fleet planning, alliances, etc. Thanks for setting him straight and just shows what a real lie his “thought leader[ship]” is.

  2. “This isn’t being petty.”

    I completely agree. This is someone with a phone recording the “drama”. When did using your eyes to see and count become click-bait?

  3. Ontario could learn from San Francisco and Oakland airports. OAK has been the long time airport for international charters to use and seeing ads in our newspapers those carriers would put ‘Using San Francisco’s Oakland International Airport’ or ‘San Francisco/Oakland International Airport’. It gets the message across into the area you are going to San Francisco, and the airport people will be using. People around the world will know Los Angeles, but only locals will know where Ontario is.

    1. This hits the nail on the head – London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London City, London Stansted. Same with Paris, and for that matter half the airports Ryanair flies to!

      It’s a major missed opportunity for ONT to not be LA/Ontario.

  4. This is a little of apples and oranges, however, LAWA needed to support ONT with Fly Away Bus (Motorcoach) service from the LA/OC areas. Like the new airports at NRT, ICN, and HKG all are supported by high speed rail, ONT needs to be supported with a link to the LA Area.

    I realize any type of rail is cost prohibitive, bus/motorcoach service supporting ONT is certainly viable. Like BUR, ONT should develop an ‘Intermodal’ center to connect LA and other business and tourist attractions. It’s also a shame the people now running ONT won’t recognize “LA-Ontario!” Hopefully, the airlines will!

      1. KLM actually had Ontario, Oregon instead of Ontario, CA on their route map/in-flight Holland Herald magazine a few years ago (US map, Alaska code-share).

  5. Is it two dozen year-old 767s (quite an operation and a very young fleet), or two dozen-year-old 767s, or perhaps an unspecified number of two-dozen-year old 767s?

      1. Thanks for the clarification. Was wondering why another airline would buy 24 aircraft and then lease them out a year later.

  6. After all these years, they still resort to a person sitting at the gate with a counter instead of anything more high tech.

    Also, it ATL seems like an interesting route choice for any non-Sky Team airline. While ATL is the busiest airport in the country, I don’t think it’s in the top 10 for O/D traffic. ATL seems to be the city that DL built.

  7. On the Ontario Airport name issue, Alaska Airlines said they will start service in March between San Jose, Ca and Newark. The body of the story in the newspaper said “…..San Jose to the New York City gateway of Newark, New Jersey”

    While you wouldn’t want that on a sign out front, but in print media the ….Los Angeles gateway of Ontario, California could work nicely. It gets the point across that you are flying to the large city known around the world and which of the airports that serve the area you will be using.

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