Alaska, JetBlue Begin to Pick Off Medallions, One-by-One
Both Alaska and JetBlue launched very aggressive status match challenges for Delta elite fliers this week in the aftermath of Delta’s decision to blow up its Medallion program and instead give every customer a fundraiser-style thermometer that we watch rise as more money is
Alaska’s offer is, unsurprisingly, more aggressive than JetBlue’s as it looks to create a large group of recovering Delta elites in Seattle and down the west coast. Alaska’s offer is for Delta Silver and Gold Medallion to status match to the first and second tier of its program through the end of this calendar year, with an offer to extend it through 2024 with either a challenge or by signing for for AS’s credit card. But more notably, it’s offering Delta’s Platinum and Diamond Medallions the offer to match to its highest tier – MVP 100K, a status that’s 100,000 times better than just MVP. That status also comes with top tier oneworld status, making it useful on AA and other oneworld carriers. The same offer — free through 2023 — also comes with the flying or credit card options to extend through 2024.
JetBlue’s offer gives Delta’s four published elite tiers matching status in JetBlue’s four Mosaic tiers. Similar to Alaska, the match is valid through the end of the year, with an opportunity to extend it through 2024 through a flying challenge or signing up for JetBlue’s credit card.
For more on Alaska’s effort to poach Delta elites on the west coast, please visit Thursday’s post at crankyflier.com.
Delta’s Lost Can be United’s Gain
Delta finally gave up the fiction that was its Portland to Tokyo/Haneda flight last week, and United Airlines is eager to step in and grab that slot — and one other.
The slots had a “use ’em or lose ’em” provision that was suspended during the pandemic. With that waiver ending in a month, Delta tried an end-run, asking for permission to play musical chairs with its slots which was eventually denied. It finally
gave up on faking it accepted reality and offered the slot back to the government.
Enter United. The pride of Newark, United wants to begin new service to HND with daily flights from Houston/IAH and 5x weekly from Guam (using the days not operated by Hawaiian’s KOA-HND slot). United already operates from both airports to Tokyo/Narita, while its JV partner ANA currently flies HND-IAH. The process to bid for the new slots will be underway soon, and while United is first out of the gate with its proposal, American and Delta will get a shot to make a proposal for the pair, with other airlines less likely to even bid.
But as Travis Kelce taught us, always shoot your shot — this could be the change to finally get that HND – Plattsburgh flight on Breeze, or maybe Allegiant is eyeing flights to Tokyo from Flint.
Brady Audibles, Delta Reconsiders
Tom Brady was known as a quarterback who could get to the line of scrimmage, look at the defense and reevaluate his play call better than anyone else. Now, we assume Delta elites can thank the newest Delta executive for his latest audible, this time over the carrier’s changes to its Medallion program as Brady fanboy CEO Ed Bastian announced this week.
Bastian didn’t go into details on what part of the program could be scaled back, but only said that an announcement would be made in the “coming weeks” as the carrier presumably first wants to figure out how many elites are gone to Alaska and JetBlue. Bastian also revealed that the pandemic nearly doubled the number of Diamonds as people took advantage of two full years of rollover MQMs.
The CEO candidly admitted that Delta’s goal was to “rip the band aid off,” and kudos to them, because mission accomplished. The problem is that the new program seemingly takes a pound of flesh as said band aid is ripped off. The question is how successful this mea culpa will be — the most important factor will be what Delta does to roll back the changes, but the truth is, they’ve shown where the program is going — so even if it’s scaled back for a year or two, this is the direction we’re all headed.
Allegiant CEO John Redmond Resigns
Allegiant CEO John Redmond stepped down from his role Thursday, just 16 months after he began as CEO on June 1, 2022. Redmond will be succeeded by former CEO Maury Gallagher, who had been serving as the carrier’s executive chairman and will remain in that position while serving as CEO.
Redmond’s departure marks the second high-level executive to depart the airline this year, after then-president and CCO Scott Sheldon resigned in January. Both are confirmed to have resigned their role, and not just be lost somewhere in Allegiant’s network at an airport so random, no one ever heard from them again.
Redmond’s tenure was marked by a lack of growth for the carrier in the sky but explosive growth on the ground as it opens the Sunseeker resort next month, leaving some alligators and a few people hoping Allegiant continues to branch out in the future. Gallagher would not go on the record for his plans so early in his second tenure, but many believe he has an eye on opening Allegiant Grocery, where prices are cheap but it’s all off-brand items that no wants, and no matter how perishable the product, it’s only available once or twice a week, three times tops.
Turkish Foray into Australia Delayed
Turkish Airlines’s entry into Australia by the end of this year is not going to happen as the carrier says the Australian government has not answered its application to fly to the country.
Turkish says it submitted its application in early August to begin service from Istanbul to either Sydney or Melbourne, but it is still awaiting a reply. The carrier hoped to begin 3x weekly Dreamliner service via Singapore, but now says there’s not enough time to get the flight up and running before the end of the year.
Turkish eventually plans to increase from 3x weekly to 5x, and eventually daily, in addition to serving both Sydney and Melbourne. It says nonstop flights from Istanbul are in its plans but won’t start for several years until it begins receiving deliveries of the A350-1000ULR or the oft-delayed B777X.
- Air Canada‘s latest airplane order is a dream come true.
- Air France-KLM is purchasing an additional 50 A350 family aircraft with an option for up to 40 more.
- Air Serbia will begin 2x weekly flights to Porto in November.
- airBaltic is launching an IPO.
- Bamboo has a cash flow problem.
- Blue Air has left its largest shareholder feeling blue.
- Bonza was told that not only would it not be granted access to any slots in Sydney, it shouldn’t even think about.
- China Eastern ordered 100 C919’s.
- Delta says it’ll be carbon neutral by 2050. It plans to get there by increasing its medallion qualification requirements so high that literally no one flies the airline anymore, leaving it with no carbon emissions.
- JetBlue guarantees that kids 13 and younger can sit with their parent no matter how much the parent (or kid) wants a break from the other.
- Rex is blaming Qantas for its having to reduce service. When pressed, Rex also blamed Qantas for denying million of Australians quality healthcare, the hole in the ozone layer, and why hot dogs come in packs of six but buns in packs of eight.
- Ryanair is threatening to move its primary listing to the Brussels stock exchange because of something else the Irish government did or said or thought or considered that pissed off Michael O’Leary.
- SAS is mulling the final bids to bail it out of bankruptcy. It is taking longer than expected because the entire corporate team is sharing one 2018 Kindle Fire to read emails and two-thirds of the screen isn’t readable from when Sven in accounting dropped it back in 2021.
- SkyWest is short 1,200 pilots.
- Turkish is grounding as many as 12 A321s due to engine concerns.
- United is not launching Chicago – Johannesburg flights next year. It’s also not launching flights to hundreds of other cities next year.
- WestJet Cargo added a new route to Havana.
There’s a couple in my neighborhood that just celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. He’s 98 and she’s 96 years old. He exclusively calls her the sweetest names like “honey, sweetheart, my love, and beautiful.” One day I asked him why he always peppers her with such compliments and he said “for godssake, I forgot her name 10 years ago. This is how I survive the marriage.”