3 Links I Love: Frontier Melts Down, airberlin Prepares for Death, It’s Cold Out There

Air Berlin, Frontier

Frontier still sorting through problems after weekend ‘meltdown’ at DIAKDVR
If you were flying Frontier last weekend, my condolences. The airline’s operation melted down when a lot more snow came in than expected. Flights were canceled or at best, delayed. And bags were scattered all over the place. It was a true mess, and a lot of vacations were ruined. What’s worse is that it’s still bad, though improving slightly. According to masflight, Wednesday saw a mere 8 percent of flights canceled (which is still terrible) and almost a third of all flights actually running on time. Ouch.

So what’s happening? Well, it’s true. The forecast for snow in the Denver area was relatively minor. Even United, which had a big weather waiver for Chicago and points east, hadn’t bothered to include its hub in Denver. But snow came down hard and fast, and that snarled operations for everyone. Frontier had a much worse operation than others, however. According to the airline, some of the problem is that it has more crews based in Denver than other airlines and they couldn’t get to the airport. The pilot union blames the airline for not doing a good job. And now, Frontier is still scrambling to catch back up.

Ultimately, Frontier should have just pre-canceled more flights, but it didn’t think the weather would be that bad. You can bet that next time, it’s going to be more conservative.

Links I Love

Lufthansa ‘to absorb Air Berlin’DW
airberlin Board appoints new CEOairberlin
It looks like airberlin’s days are numbered, as if that’s a surprise. The airline has been bleeding cash, and Etihad isn’t able to put much more in. (Etihad may be changing its strategy anyway, possibly under a new CEO, but that’s a topic for another day.) The leisure business has been spun off into a joint venture with TUI and another few dozen airplanes are being leased to Lufthansa Group, but what about the remains?

A new CEO has been brought in, and he just happens to come from Lufthansa. The expectation is that this is an attempt to nudge the airline into being absorbed by Lufthansa. Presumably if it were to happen, Lufthansa would just fold it into its lowish-cost provide Eurowings to give a stronger presence in Berlin and Dusseldorf. But with airberlin being such a financial mess, it remains to be seen if there’s anything left to salvage. I’d say probably not, but that doesn’t mean government forces won’t find a way to make it happen anyway.

Thank you to those who work at 1:00 a.m. in snowstorms so people can travelreddit
And now for something lighter. A great shout out from a reddit user to those who brave the elements to get you where you need to go. It’s just a photo, but it sure says a lot. I’ll add my thanks as well.

Happy holidays to all who celebrate.

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11 comments on “3 Links I Love: Frontier Melts Down, airberlin Prepares for Death, It’s Cold Out There

  1. Liked you thoughts on F9 but I would note this is the next time! Same thing happened in March when we had a big storm. Storm last weekend was forecast from 4 to 7 inches and we got 9 so not the big shock they make it out to be.

  2. Would airberlin have had a better chance if it had just stuck with on hub operation in either TXL or DUS instead of trying to do both?

    It they do get sucked into the LH family, someone else will just take it’s place one day.

  3. Two big snowstorms hit MSP last couple of weeks, the ramp was bad last Sat/Sun -20 (-35 with wind chills). Most of the new ramppers are doing it for the flight benefits not the min wage.

    Also, Hope AB does not cancel some of the flights I have booked with them via AA.

  4. I go through Denver all the time and half the time the airport is not prepared and neither are the de-icing contractors. In mid November Denver had a few inches of snow and it was a total mess with United as the de-icing was so limited. That said, Frontier screwed up again big time, and I am thankful i don’t fly them

    1. Andrew – Well, I’m more of a lurker than anything, but I have had others suggest I do an AMA. I’m just not convinced it’ll be all that interesting. If you guys think people would like to talk about airlines, I’d certainly think about doing one. Though I’d have to do a little more prep work to make sure I don’t screw it up.

  5. News flash folks it snows in the upper Midwest and mountain west especially in December and January. Yes the airlines should be prepared for storms but so should people traveling, If it looks like it’s going to be bad start earlier or make other arrangements.

  6. I don’t know if it was related, but there were still problems on Thursday in DTW while I was waiting on my delayed AA flight to PHL. Frontier was next door, delayed because a flight attendant had been “deemed unfit to fly”. Since DTW is just a spoke for them, I have no idea how they replaced the crewmember,

  7. F9 was so desperate for pilots they were offering 50 hours of pay above guarantee to come in on their day off. They had pilots timing out 30/7 left and right. It is what happens when an airline is run on a shoestring budget and something like a storm shows up, they do not have the capacity to recover in a timely manner. Airlines always look like they run fat when times are good but when the weather turns bad it exposes the mismanagement of an airline and the shortage they truly run everyday.

  8. This past week, F9 did indeed pre-cancel a bunch of flights. And then it didn’t snow too badly, though I had to bump myself to the next nonstop flight (on Southwest) because the (in)famous A Line took me an hour longer to get to the airport than expected on Thursday. My flight was apparently the first of the day to make it out on time (at least for Southwest), at 4:05pm.

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