Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: JetBlue Stands Down, ALPA Not a Fan of JSX, and More…

Cranky Weekly Review

JetBlue Moves on from Northeast Alliance

JetBlue Airways announced this week it is bowing out of the controversial Northeast Alliance, shifting focus to another clash with the DOJ, its merger with Spirit.

American is continuing to appeal the decision ending the NEA, but it’ll be going at it alone, with JetBlue tapping out and initiating the process to terminate the agreement. The carrier informed American on June 29 of its decision and will make the termination official on July 29.

American apparently is rejecting the breakup, with the carrier saying in a statement on, “JetBlue has been a great partner, and we will continue to work with them to ensure our mutual customers can travel seamlessly without disruption to their travel plans.” This was chosen after the original statement saying, “We are absolutely screwed in New York without JetBlue” was deemed too transparent for the airline industry.

Those who are on Team Chaos should root for American to win the appeal to see what happens now that JetBlue has terminated the deal. In the meantime, JetBlue is moving on from its brief fling with American and focusing on settling down with Spirit. JetBlue would not confirm at press time whether or not it was also pursuing a Northwest Alliance in Boise, Portland, Seattle, and Spokane with Alaska just to spite the government, but we will continue to pursue the story.

For more on this story, please visit Thursday’s post on

ALPA Files JSX Objection

The Air Line Pilots Association — the country’s largest pilot union — filed a petition to the DOT stating that it really, really doesn’t like JSX and its business model.

ALPA’s argument seemingly boils down to its belief that JSX is a scheduled, commercial carrier and should be forced to play by the rules that apply to other Part 121 airlines. That means JSX should not be permitted to use the exception permitted for Part 135 carriers that it enjoys today. ALPA says that JSX flew 110,000 flights last year, more than both Piedmont or Commutair, both of which operate as standard Part 121 airlines.

Of course what ALPA doesn’t mention is that JSX provides competition, offering another option for pilots without adhering to the 1,500 hour rule or the retirement age of 65. The union is also concerned that JSX’s model could be expanding, as SkyWest has since applied to operate under Part 135 rules for EAS routes.

The government is expected to rule on this filing just as soon as it fixes everything else first.

Norwegian Acquires Regional Competitor

Norwegian Air Shuttle purchased Widerøe, Norway’s largest regional carrier — consolidating two of Norway’s largest airlines run by people not named Bjorn.

The price tag for the regional was $106 million and is expected to close by the end of this year. The brands will remain separate, with no plans to merge the two — for now. This comes after another Norwegian competitor – Flyr – filed for bkrptcy earlier this yr.

Widerøe operates 40 Dash 8 and three E190-E2s, and almost exclusively flies short-haul routes in Norway. The two airlines overlap on very few routes, with Norwegian’s network connecting Europe through Oslo, and Widerøe flying between cities that may or may not be actual places. Of the 107 routes the two operate within Norway, they overlap on just five, and two of those are by accident.

Delta, Southwest Say Ta Ta to Tik Tok

Delta and Southwest issued an edict that all employees delete the app Tik Tok from their work phones, and Delta also said to delete the app from personal phones if the staff member uses their personal phone to access any of Delta’s internal software — including email.

The ban is due to a federal government ban on the app — the carriers are taking this action to protect their travel agreements with the federal government. This creates a dilemma for Delta’s social media team, as the carrier has a popular account on the platform with more than 500,000 followers, but now needs a burner phone to operate the account. Delta’s account hasn’t posted since June 18, so it might be giving up on the platform, or it’s possible its social media team simply forgot the password.

United is far more active on the app, having posted as recently as Thursday. The carrier appears to have no intention of slowing down either, as it looks for anything to distract passengers forced to connect through its Newark hub.

JAL Has the Solution Desperately Seeking a Problem

Japan Airlines has found the thing that will save us all — renting clothes to travelers visiting Japan.

The carrier says this is part of an effort to operate a more green airline, and apparently it’s the weight of the passengers clothes that needs fixing. And JAL is here for us — all customers visiting Japan need to bring anymore are underwear and socks while the airline will provide the rest through its partnership with Sumitomo Corporation.

The clothing sharing service, called “Salvation Army Style” “Any Wear, Anywhere,” will exist from excess stock of apparel and pre-owned clothing, which sounds delightful. JAL says it’s on the case and it will “monitor changes in passengers’ checked-in baggage weight and verify the reduction effect of carbon dioxide emissions by reduced airplane weight due to use of the Service.”

You can even order a bundle to save some yen — surely making U.S. airlines proud.

  • Aeroflot is resuming service to Cuba for the first time since the war in Ukraine began. The airline will operate 2x weekly service from Moscow/SVO to Varadero.
  • Air Canada celebrated the Canada Day holiday weekend by canceling or delaying more than half its flights. Oh Canada.
  • Air Inuit is adding three B737-800s.
  • American issued Sabre a $139 million debit memo for legal fees.
  • British Airways is bringing back sparkling wine as a pre-departure drink in premium economy. Finally. That should fix everything.
  • Dash Air Shuttle still plans to actually fly airplanes for paying customers, and expects it to happen sometime this fall. Definitely. Maybe.
  • easyJet pushed the easy button and received a loan of $1.75 billion.
  • El Als government stake is being reduced to less than 5%.
  • Hawaiian took delivery of its first A330-200 freighter. As expected for the Honolulu-based airline, the plane will be based in its natural home of Cincinnati.
  • Kenya Airways is getting out of the Embraer and Bombardier business. The airline also expected to reach pre-pandemic profit by next year, according to Kenya Airways.
  • KLM might let front-facing staff show their tattoos. It also might not.
  • LOT finished its fiscal year $27 million in the black.
  • Lynx is in the market for both government funding and a new CEO.
  • Qantas added an extra 60 flights to Melbourne and Sydney next February to fill a Blank Space in its schedule. Speak Now if you know why.
  • Qatar employees will be given a bonus of five weeks pay after the carrier turned a nifty $1.2 billion profit for its fiscal year which ended March 31.
  • Ryanair set a new passenger record for a month, with 17.4 million smiling, fee-paying customers in June.
  • Silver is no longer primed to fly on behalf of Amazon’s Prime Air.
  • Southwest was awarded two additional slots at Long Beach.
  • SpiceJet repaid a $12.2 million loan it first took out in 2012 last week, getting the debt paid off just in thyme.
  • Spirit passenger Edward Hariston really didn’t want to pay all the fees he owed.
  • United flight 19 from Newark to Milan was delayed two hours earlier this week because Newark’s caterer loaded expired meals. This, despite knowing the passengers wouldn’t notice if the food was expired based on travel blogger reviews of United’s on-board catering.
  • Viva is going to buy 90 new A321s.
  • Western Global‘s CEO Jim Neff bought much of the carrier’s debt in an effort to keep it in business.
  • Xiamen Air will begin new service between Xiamen and Doha.

“Damn, we’re not even close.”

-Romans building Rome, at the end of day one.

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21 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: JetBlue Stands Down, ALPA Not a Fan of JSX, and More…

  1. Understandably, ALPA pilots are concerned that the proliferation of carriers such as JSX could stagnate their bargaining position, and leave them stuck with a contracts that have their salaries merely in the top 3% of income earners in the country.

    1. Cranky’s snarky Part 135 JSX bit and your comment above miss the mark.

      “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grants the authority to operate on-demand, unscheduled air service in the form of Part 135 certificate.”

      JSX is starting to offer scheduled are service and if so it’s now a 121 carrier that required greater regulation & compliance. If Cranky and you, Kenneth, wish to say that you both don’t like ALPA’s motivations, that’s fine. But the argument ALPA is making has standing.

      1. It’s not entirely accurate to say that scheduled means it must be 121. The loophole being used is that a part 380 public charter operator may schedule flights and hire a 135 airline to operate them. The DOT considers this to be a broker setting a schedule, not an airline, therefore the scheduled flight limitations of 135 (prop only & 9 seats) do not apply. ALPA might have an argument if they’re saying that having the 380 broker and 135 airline be operated by and for the benefit of the same people violates the spirit of the law, but it’s hard to say they violate the letter. In practice I would think that a 135 program run by SkyWest would likely be the safest in the nation.

  2. I looked at the sample clothing available from JAL’s website. Honestly, I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing any of the items on rental there. This is where the thrift shop went to die. It’s a perfect illustration of why Milan, New York, and Paris have Fashion Week and Tokyo doesn’t.

  3. Of course, Hawaiian’s freight planes would be based out of Cincinnati. The last time they ran a full-cargo operation that was not just centered on Hawaii, they flew Lockheed L188 Electra’s out of Georgia.

    So form follows function, follows practice.

  4. You barely mention THE most important story of the week – Southwest’s new slots at Long Beach. LOL.

      1. Ah, that’s the joke, thanks.

        I wondered what I was missing. Some of us (i.e., those of us who aren’t into pop music and who rarely deal with pre-teen/teenage girls) wouldn’t recognize Taylor Swift if she quickly chased us down to measure a suit for us, all while humming a tune..

        1. Kilroy – You are not alone. Here was my Twitter exchange with Andrew…

          8:25 AM brett I don’t get the Qantas blank space thing

          8:25 AM andrewb It’s Taylor swift 8:25 AM They’re adding flights for her concerts 8:26 AM Blank space and speak now are two of her most popular songs

          8:26 AM brett And those are her songs, I assume.

          8:26 AM andrewb Yes

          8:26 AM brett Oh ok, well, the kids’ll totally get it

          1. Hahaha, thanks, glad it wasn’t just me. I thought your kids might be into Taylor Swift (can I call her “T-Swift”, or would that mark me as totally ‘sus’?).

            I would like a swift tailor, though I’m not sure how skilled birds are at sewing fabric.

            1. Kilroy – My daughter is into Taylor Swift, but that doesn’t mean I’ve learned a damn thing!

  5. Hi Cranky !
    Some airline analysts see LCC Norwegians takeover of high cost regional Wideroe as a smart move.
    I fail to see the logic. What’s your take ?

  6. I am starting to believe that ALPA is determined to help destroy rural America/small city America. Hard to believe ALPA is so anti-small community.

    There was a time I was much more empathetic with them but no longer.
    Basing pay raises, scope fights, service design ( like Contour) on the hopes that $1500 RT airfares are here to stay is shortsighted.

    Especially when you know the fuel will burn out on those high airfares and the airline will either claw back gains or be forced into laying off the junior staff.

  7. Off topic, but… Cranky, when will we get the next update on Cranky DorkFest 2023?

    After being deterred by $500+ RT fares in the past, I checked fares on a whim last week and managed to book a $198 RT from the Northeast for this year’s event,

    That $198 fare involves a nearly “just in time” arrival in LAX and a redeye on the way back, so (even if all goes to plan) I’ll be in a plane for longer than I am scheduled to be on the ground at LA, but nonetheless, I’m very excited for the trip and the event.

    1. Kilroy – I’m working with the airport to try and get some morning shenanigans, so once they can set their plan I’ll have an update. But it’s still Sep 9 from 11a to 1p for the main event, as always!

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