Spring break! I’m off next week, and while I usually try and pre-write posts when I’m gone, I’ve decided to stop trying to kill myself in that effort and instead just go dark.
After today’s Cranky Weekly Review, there will be no post until next Friday’s Cranky Weekly Review. I’ll be back either the following Monday or Tuesday depending upon how much time I have to write after travel.
Water, Water Everywhere: London/City Drowning in Excitement
London/City Airport (LCY) announced the end of the ban on liquids in carry-on luggage greater than 3.3 ounces for passengers at the airport. The new policy will up the allowance per passenger from 100 mL (about 3.3 ounces) to two liters (about 68 ounces).
The news was welcomed by beverage aficionados and makeup hounds across London, as those two liter bottles of Sprite will now be welcome through security checkpoints at LCY as will family-sized bags of makeup and hair products. The new policy went into effect on Tuesday and passengers celebrated by bringing drinks through security, pouring them on each other like they won a championship and going back through the process over and over again until boarding was called for their flight.
This new policy is possible due to new CT (computed tomography) scanners which provide a 3D image of what’s in luggage as it goes through. The new technology also can also identify where passengers bought the item going through – down to the exact store or website – and whether or not it was packed neatly or just thrown in at the last minute like most everything else.
The UK plans to roll this technology and new policy out nationwide by the end of next year – provided it doesn’t run out of two-liter bottles of soft drinks sooner. Meanwhile, the US continues to pretend it will someday do something.
#1, Again – Atlanta Maintains Position as World’s Busiest
Nearly 94 million passengers flew through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport last year, enough for the airport to maintain its status as the world’s busiest by a wide margin. Dallas/Fort Worth came in a distant second with 73.4 million passengers, followed by Denver, Chicago/O’Hare, and Dubai to round out the top five, followed closely by Lincoln, Nebraska.
This is the second consecutive year Atlanta has been the world’s busiest, a title it’s held every year this century except for the pandemic year of 2020 when Guangzhou (CAN) clipped it by about 750,000 passengers. The 93.7 million passengers who flew through Atlanta represent a 24% increase from a year ago, but still doesn’t meet the pre-pandemic total of 110 million from 2019. Denver, which came in third at 73.3 million, was the only airport in the top ten to eclipse its pre-pandemic totals, as it surpassed its 69 million passengers from 2019.
Los Angeles was the 6th busiest last year and the final U.S. airport in the top ten. London/Heathrow saw the biggest jump amongst the top ten, with a 218% increase in passengers from 2021 – most of whom are still stuck in the airport wandering from one duty free shop to another.
Plaintiff’s Table at the JetBlue/Spirit Lawsuit Gets More Crowded
Four new states have joined the federal government in its suit to block the potential merger of JetBlue and Spirit with California, Maryland, New Jersey, and North Carolina jumping into the pool this week. The attorneys general of these four states join the US Department of Justice (DOJ), Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, D.C. in the suit to halt the merger of the two carriers.
As we know by now, the combined airline would become the fifth-largest in the United States and claims the merger is the only way to realistically take on the big four carriers and disrupt the status quo. Those suing the carriers claim the merger will hamper competition as it takes a ULCC in Spirit out of the market and combines a yellow and blue airline — two colors that are often known to clash with each other.
JetBlue commented on the news this week that “it’s unfortunate that these states have decided to join the DOJ’s effort to protect the dominant position of the four largest airlines in the US,” and said that in retaliation, it would end most service to the states in the suit, forcing Spirit flights on them once the merger was complete.
Daytime is the Best Time: Schiphol Aims to Ban Night Flights and Private Aircraft
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport’s quixotic quest to cut noise, pollution, and carbon emissions continues, with the airport now proposing to ban takeoffs between midnight and 6 a.m. and landings between midnight and 5 a.m. At this point, industry insiders expect the airport to begin a campaign to end all aircraft movements at the airport by 2040, turning the place into an airplane museum and mall.
AMS also wants to limit the number of aircraft movements between 9 p.m. and midnight, and then before 9 a.m. each morning while also ending its plans to build an additional runway and announcing that private jets would soon “no longer be welcome” at the airport. Up to as much as half of the traffic at the airport is on private aircraft, and that’s before taking into account aircraft used for stroopwaffel exports. Delta supports the potential private aircraft ban, which makes sense but it’s only a matter of time until the airport comes for the commercial carriers – so it better be careful about what it asks for, because it just might get it.
The airport hopes the private jet ban can be implemented by 2025 or 2026, or when the final passenger who joined the security queue for their flight at AMS last summer finally passes through the checkpoint — whichever comes first.
Spirit Offers Chance to Avoid Fees – For a Fee
Spirit Airlines is offering to match to both the silver and gold elite tiers of its Free Spirit frequent flyer program – something it rarely, if ever does – offering potential customers the ability to avoid most of Spirit’s fees for an entire year.
We all knew Spirit couldn’t do this without a fee within the process itself – adding a $49 charge to match to silver and $99 to gold. Unlike many status match programs, this one is a straight match – it doesn’t come with any challenge or flying requirements. It’s open to elite members of 16 airline loyalty programs –- basically every airline in North America — plus British Airways, and 16 hotel elite programs.
Generally, if you have the lowest tier elite status with your current airline or hotel program, that’ll match to silver, with higher tiers matching to gold. Spirit’s new Free Spirit program, which launched two years ago, actually offers decent value if you’re a Spirit flier already. Gold members in the program are exempt from all of Spirit’s fees (carry-on, first checked bag, seat assignments, changes) with the exception of upgrading to the Big Front Seat.
- AirAsia X is resuming flights to Australia’s Gold Coast (OOL) for the first time in three years.
- Antigua Airways is a virtual carrier that is virtually defunct according to Antigua & Barbuda’s virtual prime minister Gaston Browne.
- Avelo is finally starting service on the criminally underserved route between New Haven and Daytona Beach.
- Avianca accepted the Colombian governments conditions for its potential merger with Viva Air. Sorta.
- Azerbaijan Airlines placed an order for 12 A320neo aircraft.
- Canada Jetlines finished 2022 with C$3.3 million in gross revenue on nearly C$16 million in expenses. Even with the exchange rate, it wasn’t a great year for the company.
- Delta is opening its newest SkyClub at MSP’s Concourse G on April 19. The line to enter began last week and at this point the is only open to four-million milers with Delta or passengers who ever bought something with an American Express card.
- Emirates is increasing its A380 service to Toronto from 5x weekly to 1x daily beginning April 20.
- Finnair‘s new strategy designed by its CEO Topi Manner is showing positive improvements, according to CEO Topi Manner.
- HK Express quickly named Jeanette Mao as its new CEO.
- Icelandair secured the purchase of 13 A321XLR’s today with the rights for up to 12 more.
- ITA is ready to connect passengers to rail travel via Rome/FCO.
- Lufthansa spun off its catering business because if there’s anything Lufthansa doesn’t want, it’s too many brands muddying up the message.
- Niceair is being mean to customers as the carrier made the not-so-nice decision to cancel flights and suspend its operation.
- Norse Atlantic no longer requires passengers to go through customs or immigration when arriving in the United States, a decision that could potentially speed up the construction of a pre-clearance facility in Paris.
- Philippine Airlines had a profitable year.
- Pivot Aviation pivoted away from its lone CRJ200.
- Qantas is fully prepared for the surge in traffic its expecting over the Easter holiday according to Qantas.
- Ryanair is recruiting for new employees in Portugal.
- SAS says not to worry, it expects to make a nice profit in 2026.
- Southern Airways Express is taking delivery of three additional Saab 340Bs, with one lucky plane being sent to Hawai’i with the other two being used for Southern’s mainland-based operations,
- Saudia expects to begin operating its fleet of A321neos in the next several weeks.
- TUI Airlines Netherlands is wet-leasing two planes from Global Crossing for the next three years.
- T’way Air confirmed its relocating its HQ to D’aegu.
I’m not a fan of spring cleaning. Let’s be honest, I’m not into summer, fall, or winter cleaning either.
Happy Passover and/or Easter to those who are celebrating.
Wow, Canada Jetlines is bleeding maple-scented red ink at an impressive rate. Between Air Canada and Westjet (and their baby-Lufthansa multiple brand efforts), an expanding Porter, and ULCC Flair, I’m not sure how the most recent start-ups in Canada survive.
To go along with Andrew’s Moment Of Levity, I leave you with a saying that I saw recently on a sign in a gift shop in Dry Ridge, Kentucky (near the Ark Encounter, south of CVG): “I dusted once. It all came back. I’m not falling for that again!”