Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: AA and JetBlue Try AAgain, DCA’s Perimeter Might Expand, More…

Cranky Weekly Review

American and JetBlue: If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try, Again

American Airlines and JetBlue Airways are looking to salvage pieces of their Northeast Alliance after taking a beating in court last month.  The two are supposed to be winding down the alliance per a directive from the court but are trying to keep as much of the agreement in place as possible, at least for the near term.

Their current proposal is to keep codesharing out of New York and Boston, also recognizing loyalty status for customers of both airlines while ending the joint coordination of scheduling and sales.  The pair also asked the court to assign a neutral monitor (there’s no confimation to the rumor that Ed Bastian volunteered) to oversee the detangling of the NEA.

The option also remains to file a full-throated appeal of the ruling, something American says it intends to do.  JetBlue hasn’t taken a stance on whether or not to appeal, as it’s been distracted by the more important business of debuting a new livery, along with its other small matter before the DOJ… a nearly $4 billion acquisition of Spirit which is currently being reviewed. 

In the tiniest of tiny victories, the judge in the case is giving more time to end their alliance. U.S. District Court Judge Leo Sorokin is now giving 21 days after his final judgement is issued, as opposed to the 30 days he originally gave from the May 19 ruling. 

Tentative Deal Reached on DCA Perimeter Rule

The Senate Commerce Committee leadership came to a tentative agreement to allow four new flights beyond the current perimeter rule in place at Washington/National airport, marking a minor victory for Delta which was seeking a greater loosening of restrictions at DCA.

The perimeter rule protects Washington/Dulles as the DC region’s primary long-haul airport, with all four senators from Maryland and Virginia opposing the proposed expansion of longer flights. The four lawmakers – two Republicans and two Democrats – said Dulles is better positioned to handle long-haul flights in a joint statement. While Delta is looking to expand DCA’s long-distance service, a group comprised of Alaska, American, and United opposed the potential operational changes at the airport.

Southwest had no comment when asked its stance, as it was too busy lining up bachelorette parties in the correct boarding order at DCA for another flight to Nashville, while Spirit said it would only comment on the bill if we paid the $599 fee it requires to take announce a stance on anything.

The perimeter discussion is part of a larger aviation bill that Congress needs to pass before September 30 when the FAA’s authorization to operate expires.  Among other things, the bill also includes a provision to raise the retirement age for pilots from 65 to 67 based on the idea that if “70 is the new 50,” there shouldn’t be an issue with flying through age 67.  

United Offers its Pilots Large Raise, Says United

United CEO Scott Kirby said his carrier offered its pilots the richest labor deal in aviation history, worth about $8 billion. Yet despite the potentially historic offer, the two sides are not particularly close to a deal at this point as negotiations continue.

The offer would increase the highest salaries – widebody aircraft captains with top seniority – up to $440 per hour over three years. Kirby says the deal is greater than the one Delta and its plots agreed to earlier this year – which set the current standard. A deal in excess of the Delta agreement would be a boon for Delta pilots, who have a clause in their deal requiring it to match any agreement between a rival carrier and its pilots that exceeds Delta’s deal.

In addition to cash and other benefits, the proposal includes a love seat made of Polaris seats sent to the home of each pilot and a set of Air Wisconsin model jets someone found in a back closet at United’s corporate headquarters.

JetBlue Secures Permanent AMS Slots – For Now

JetBlue Airways finally received a set of non-temporary takeoff and landing slots at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, at least for the winter.

The carrier is currently operating to Amsterdam using temporary, summer-only slots which expire this fall, but its new winter slots are valid if it continues to use them. Things are not set for the airline yet, as it still needs to find permanent slots for the summer next year and beyond.  Despite this, JetBlue requested permission from the DOT to withdraw its formal complaint against Schiphol and desire for the federal government to step in.

The carrier says it will renew its objections via the DOT or diplomatic means if its unable to scoop up permanent summer slots before next year. In the meantime, JetBlue is changing its livery to be all blue so that it can trick the Dutch into thinking it’s actually KLM.

FAA Doubles Door Requirements

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced this week it will require new aircraft built after mid-2025 to have a second cockpit door to further secure the flight deck from potential intruders and passengers who insist “anyone could fly this thing with autopilot engaged.”

The new rule will only apply to new aircraft, with carriers not having to retrofit current airplanes. It will also only be required for scheduled airlines — charter carriers will not be required to add the second door — with AA’s compliance being optional since it so rarely sticks to its schedule anyway. Pilots have been in favor of this new rule, citing potential safety concerns when the cockpit door is opened for a pilot to step out of the cockpit for any reason.  Many airlines use the drink cart to block cockpit access during this time, a makeshift barrier that generally works but slows down the almighty beverage service.

The second barrier would provide for an extra layer of protection while ensuring the passenger in 33C is less likely to go without a refill of their lukewarm ginger ale. Acting FAA Administrator Polly Trottenberg believes many airlines will begin installing the second door sooner than the mid-2025 requirement as it stands to benefit everyone with little additional cost.

  • Aerolineas Argentinas flight attendant Daniela Carbone was unfairly fired and is facing trumped-up charges by Argentinian authorities for the small mishap of calling in a false bomb threat to stop her ex-boyfriend from going on a flight for vacation with his new girlfriend.
  • Air Canada will begin new 4x weekly service between Vancouver and Singapore, beginning April 3.
  • Air India suspended two pilots who let a lady friend into the cockpit while operating AI445 to Leh. Though the flight landed safely at Leh (IXL), there are no confirmed reports at press time if either pilot turned their destination into a verb while en route.
  • Air New Zealand flight attendant Ron Twine will retire after his final flight Monday from Vancouver back to Auckland. Twine has been a flight attendant for Air New Zealand since 1970. As a retirement gift, the airline plans to supply him with a lifetime stash of salty snacks and ginger ale.
  • airBaltic will open a seasonal base in the Canary Islands this winter, keeping two A220 aircraft in Las Palmas.
  • Alaska is adding three new routes — 1x daily flights between Portland (OR) and Miami beginning November 17, and seasonal flights beginning December 14 between Palm Springs and New York/JFK. It will also add Las Vegas – San Luis Obispo.
  • American plans to launch Saturday-only flights between both Cincinnati and Nashville to Cancun, beginning December 9.
  • ANA will resume flying between Tokyo/Narita and Perth for the first time since the pandemic. The 3x weekly service will resume October 29.
  • Breeze is ascending to have its own Barclays-branded credit card.
  • British Airways was forced to cancel to flights between London/Heathrow and New York/JFK this week due to “funny smells” on-board. And sometimes there’s just so many jokes to choose from, you can’t pick.
  • Condor‘s A330s will earn their stripes in Anchorage, Baltimore, Edmonton, Halifax, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Phoenix next May.
  • easyJet secured 88 slots at Dublin, which it could use to take on Ryanair.
  • Finnair is expected to have a good year financially, according to Finnair.
  • Go Airlines hopes to go again by the end of this month.
  • Hawaiian plans to begin A330 cargo ops late this year.
  • Icelandair will wet-lease an A321 from Fly2Sky for use this month.
  • JetBlue unveiled the first aircraft in its minty-fresh new livery earlier this week. This should fix all of its problems.
  • Kenya Airways agreed to a new interline partnership with Emirates.
  • Malaysia will begin offering from WiFi for premium class passengers and elite members of its loyalty program.
  • Qantas is establishing an A$400 million climate fund, with another A$400 million appropriated for it to tell people about its A$400 million climate fund.
  • Ryanair‘s chief pilot was fired a “repeated pattern of inappropriate behavior,” which we assume to mean he skipped out on paying fees.
  • Singapore named Jo-Ann Tan its new CFO, effective September 10. She beat out other worthy candidates including Mary Ellen Felon, Billy Ray Hay, and Sarah Jane Pain.
  • Turkish plans to begin flying to Australia for the first time before the end of the year. 3x weekly service to Melbourne with a technical stop in Singapore is expected to begin in December.
  • Wizz Air will swap all of its aircraft based at London/Luton for A321neos by the 2025.

As I was checking out at the library this morning, the librarian was beaming and told me she was pregnant.

“Congrats!” I said to her, “When is it due?”

She replied: “Oh no, I get to keep her.”

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6 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: AA and JetBlue Try AAgain, DCA’s Perimeter Might Expand, More…

    1. grichard – They aren’t that far down the line. This is just in the Senate and I’ll believe it when I see it actually happen.

  1. The cockpit door thing is going to be fun with the 737s, there isn’t alot of space on those. Maybe the door is open most of the time to allow access to the forward lav, then when pilots need to leave it’s closed?

    Also I’m pretty sure Maylasia isn’t given from WiFi… maybe free WiFi though.

    1. And getting a FA into the cockpit to replace the lav-pilot will also be a bit tricky.

      Does this also apply to regional jets?

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