Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Alaska Goes to the Bahamas, Delta Says Shalom, and More…

Cranky Weekly Review

Alaska Goes to the Beach

Alaska Airlines announced four new routes this week, all to sunny, beach destinations, including the addition of a new dot on Alaska’s route map – Nassau, Bahamas.

The carrier will fly to the Bahamas for the first time, beginning this December, with flights from both Los Angeles and Seattle. The LAX flights will operate 4x weekly with SEA operating 3x weekly. It’ll operate the cross-country (and then some) routes with its B737 MAX 9 aircraft, with seasonal service continuing through April 9.

In addition to the Bahamas, Alaska is adding two new beach destinations from Las Vegas. Travelers feeling lucky can fly from LAS to both Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. These two flights represent Alaska’s first international service from Las Vegas and will operate 4x weekly on an E175 between December 14 and April 10.

Delta, El Al Team Up

Delta Air Lines will launch a partnership with El Al, to eventually include codesharing and mileage earn and burn opportunities on both carriers.

To begin, customers traveling on both carriers on one itinerary will be able to check-in for the their entire trip once, with boarding passes and checked bags issued for the full journey regardless of which airline the customer is traveling on first. Later on, the two will codeshare on U.S.-Israel service including Delta’s flights from Atlanta, Boston and New York/JFK to Tel Aviv, and El Al’s TLV flights from Boston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York/JFK, and Newark.

Delta says it offers up to 200 same-day connections from Tel Aviv via its ATL, BOS, and JFK hubs, which may or may not be true because no one is going to actually take the time to count them up one-by-one.

Once reciprocal mileage earning will also be available, El Al customers will receive the privilege of learning just how valuable one SkyMile is, while Delta customers will decline anything to do with El Al mileage earning, because they’ve been brainwashed to actually believe Delta SkyMiles is a best-in-class loyalty program.

United Spars with FAA Over Rough Week

United Airlines has had a challenging time dating back to last weekend as the ruthless combination of thunderstorms and a stressed ATC system led to extensive delays in the northeast, and especially at United’s Newark hub.

The airline canceled thousands of flights over the last seven days, including nearly 800 on Tuesday alone. United CEO Scott Kirby in a memo to staff, blamed the FAA and its ATC staff shortages for the meltdown, stating that the weather-related woes were made worse due to staffing issues. DOT Secretary Pete Buttigieg tossed the blame right back to United, saying on CNN that the carrier has its own internal issues to work through — starting with its choosing of Newark as a hub.

The secretary said that ATC issues are not the number one issue causing cancellations and delays — nor are they the number two issue. He didn’t say anything about it being the number three issue, so we’re gonna go ahead and give the delay-causing bronze medal to the FAA.

BA Brings Back Pre-Pandemic Pay Levels

British Airways will restore pay levels for thousands of employees who had their salaries dramatically cut during the pandemic.

Front-facing employees for the carrier will receive 12.5% (that equates to about 11% in dollars with the exchange rate) raises over the next two years, while staff who have been with the carrier since at least 2010 will see BA work their compensation levels back to where it was before salaries were cut during the pandemic. Many veteran employees took pay cuts between 10% and 30%, while others agreed to be fired and rehired at even lower wages to ensure they at least kept their job.

This pay bump is expected to give BA labor peace with its frontline staff through at least the end of next year, although no one actually believes that.

Thomas Woldbye Appointed New Heathrow CEO

London/Heathrow announced that Thomas Woldbye would be fed to the wolves the next CEO of the airport. Woldbye currently serves as the CEO of Copenhagen Airport, a role he has maintained for the last 12 years.

Woldbye will be going from a well-run, mid-size Scandinavian Airport to the most unhinged airport experience in Europe.* Constant labor actions threaten the day-to-day operations at Heathrow on a regular basis, although the airport was able to stave off a potential strike from more than 2,000 security workers last week after the two sides came to an agreement on higher pay.

The airport is on the road to recovery since the pandemic, returning to the top spot as the busiest airport in western Europe for the first time since 2019. As he transitions into the role, the airport has arranged for Woldbye to meet with leading mall CEOs around the world, because when you get down to it, Heathrow is really just a duty-free mall that also has a few airplanes coming and going.

* – Brexit, we know. Go with it.

  • Air Algérie knows you’ll sleep better knowing it added capacity for the summer via wet-leasing a B737.
  • Air Canada turned over a new leaf in San Francisco.
  • Air India‘s merger with Vistara will be reviewed by India’s antitrust regulators.
  • Croatia Airlines is expecting its first A220-300 delivery in Q2 of 2024.
  • Cubana is bringing its Il-96s and Tu-204s back into service. Seriously.
  • Dan Air wants to fly to Lebanon, damn it.
  • Delta Flight 1092 landed safely in Charlotte Wednesday morning. It also was told to pound sand by the DOT on its proposed changes to the slot rules at Tokyo/Haneda.
  • Global Airlines, which may or may not be an airline, keeps acquiring A380s.
  • Greater Bay Airlines will begin serving Vietnam for the first time when it begins 2x weekly service on July 18 from Hong Kong to Ho Chi Minh City.
  • JetBlue completed a seasonal lease of London/Gatwick slots to Qatar Airways.
  • KLM revealed its new business class seat.
  • Pakistan International Airlines was granted another $14 million from the Pakistani government. The carrier is supposed to pay interest on its debt with the money, but it’s expected to light it on fire instead.
  • Qantas expects to announce record profits when the results of its fiscal year — which ends today — are released, supply chains be damned.
  • Qatar ended its sponsorship of Bayern Munich after club officials made the carrier’s executive team watch a match, and they realized they didn’t find soccer to be all that interesting.
  • Rex says supply chains are the reason it won’t turn a profit this year.
  • Ryanair canceled 130 flights due to French air controller strikes.
  • Siberia Airways, the official airline of polar bears everywhere, is being merged with Globus Airlines. Both carriers, which are subsidiaries of S7 Airlines, will operate under the Siberia brand.
  • South African Airways will resume service to Sao Paulo/GRU, the carrier’s first service to South America since March 2020.
  • TAP‘s potential sale to IAG currently hinges on how much of the airline the Portuguese government wants to hang on to.
  • Uzbekistan Airways plans to spin off Uzbekistan Express.
  • Virgin Australia took delivery of its first B737 MAX 8 aircraft Tuesday afternoon in Seattle.
  • Wizz Air fancies slots at Milan/Linate that used to belong to ITA before its courtship by Lufthansa.
  • Wizz Air Malta added a wet-leased A320 for its Bucharest base.

I made a playlist for when I go hiking of the Fourth of July. It has music from Peanuts, The Cranberries, and Eminem.

I call it my Trail Mix.

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7 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Alaska Goes to the Bahamas, Delta Says Shalom, and More…

  1. This was my first read of a Cranky Weekly Review and it kinda made my day. I appreciate the humor coupled with a really comprehensive rouondup of what’s going on out there. Loved the comment about Woldbye meeting with mall CEOs as he preps for CEO of Heathrow. Keep up the great work!

  2. “By this Order, the U.S. Department of Transportation denies the motion of Delta Air Lines, Inc. to confer onto all U.S.-Haneda slot holders the flexibility to use up to two of their currently allocated U.S.-Haneda slot pairs to serve Haneda from any U.S. gateway of their choosing.”

    Bwahahaha! I guess it never hurts to try.

  3. I know your commentary is in gest, but the Bayern Munich – Qatar break up is actually driven by a company stepping away from a nation state supporting entity with a pretty dismal human rights record. For once, one group of billionaires doing the right thing by stepping away from a group of trillionaires…

  4. I dont see the demand from LAX/SEA to NAS. Wish AK would fly JFK-SNA to compete with the one flight daily offered by AA. The JFK-SNA route would seem to have more demand in the Orange County basin vs Nassau.

  5. Oh man, if you haven’t yet, read up on Global Airlines. I’d hate for Cranky to waste his time but an interview with that founder would be a riot.

    1. The fact that a UK-based airline’s marketing materials prominently feature a map entitled “Perspective Routes by 2023” (as opposed to “Prospective Routes by 2023”) tells us most of what we need to know about that airline, methinks.

      And yes, I agree, I’d love to see a Cranky interview with the management of that “airline”; it would almost certainly be entertaining, even if it would be a waste of time.

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