Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: FAA Looks at UA, Breeze Adds Five

Cranky Weekly Review

FAA Casts Eye Towards United

The FAA is putting United on its own version of a performance improvement plan, as it increases oversight of the airline to ensure it’s complying with safety regulations and mitigating risk.  This comes after the carrier has had several incidents that raised an eye at the FAA including a runway excursion in Houston, a B777 that lost a tire taking off from San Francisco, and others.  None of the reported issues caused any injuries to customers or those on the ground.

The FAA’s authority is broad in these cases, with the government in a position to potentially not approve allowing passengers on new planes or routes, though these extremes are considered unlikely.  It also has the chance to force United to stop serving the chicken pesto dish on transcon lunch flights and to ensure all soft drinks are cold when loaded onto the plane.

United’s pilots union is taking a “there’s nothing to see here” stance, stating this is an audit that the FAA undertakes with airlines every few years and United most recently had one in 2018. The carrier told its staff to expect to see a greater FAA presence in many facets of their operation in the coming weeks — which if played right — could greatly increase the depth on United’s company softball team just as spring arrives.

Breeze Blows Into Five

Breeze Airways added five new cities to its route map plus an additional nine new routes to existing cities. This brings the carrier’s footprint up to 56 cities.

The five new cities — and we use the word “city” broadly — for Breeze are Bangor, Dallas/Fort Worth, Lancaster (PA), Lansing, and Pensacola.  The new service will all operate 2x weekly, and begins the first week of October unless otherwise noted.

  • Bangor: Fort Myers, Orlando, Tampa
  • Dallas/Fort Worth: Provo (begins June 7)
  • Fort Myers: Lansing, New York/Stewart, Wilkes-Barre
  • Lancaster: Orlando
  • Lansing: Orlando
  • Norfolk: Phoenix
  • Pensacola: Tampa (begins June 28)

It also announced a co-branded credit card that likely no one will sign up for. The card comes with an $89 annual fee and includes 10x BreezePoints on some purchases. You have to know what BreezePoints are to qualify for the card.

Southwest Confirms its Red-Eyed Future

Southwest Airlines confirmed this week it has plans to eventually begin red-eye flights. The carrier will start off on its service from the Hawaiian Islands to the U.S. mainland, with Las Vegas expected to be the first destination to host the arrival of overnight flights on the carrier. The current timetable according to COO Ryan Green would be to launch red-eyes by 2026.

Southwest has famously never operated scheduled red-eyes in its nearly six-decade history — for the first 50 years because it couldn’t due to technological limitations — and for the last 10 because it has chosen not to. Those who are wondering what flying a red-eye on Southwest will be like can just book one of the airline’s 7pm departures from Las Vegas to the East Coast which will inevitably be delayed long enough to see the sun rise on arrival.

The carrier is currently working through issues both with its own technology and its labor groups as it moves closer to beginning overnight flights.

Lufthansa’s Takeover of ITA Hits Snag

The European Commission believes Lufthansa’s purchase of ITA would harm competition and increase prices — but it didn’t come with just problems, as the Commission says it will submit a list of suggested remedies to address the concerns. “Suggested” remedies… just like when your parents would “suggest” that you do the dishes after dinner.

Specifically, the concerns center around service between Italy and Central Europe; long-haul service between Italy and Canada, Japan, and the United States; and the combined airlines potential dominance at Milan/Linate. Lufthansa will review the list coming from the European government and weigh whether or not its worth capitulating to the government just to acquire the Worst Airline Ever.

For more on Lufthansa’s Italian cold plunge, please check out Thursday’s post on

Spirit Looks Forward

Spirit has taken things on the chin the last few years, but the carrier plans to dust itself off and move forward, with plans to increase connecting flights options while cutting back its flying to Florida.

Spirit CCO Matt Klein told those that paid the fee to hear him speak that the airline wants to grow its Fort Lauderdale hub to add connectivity to both the Caribbean and Latin America, along with growing its operation in Las Vegas. The carrier will reveal an updated summer schedule next week that will offer more options for those willing to pay Spirit’s Updated Schedule Access Fee.  Everyone else will be stuck flying the old schedule.

As for cuts, the carrier is focusing on Orlando as it’s currently in a dispute with Mickey and Minnie over an unpaid carry-on fee from 2021. All Florida air traffic has been constrained by the understaffed Jacksonville ATC center.  The government is working on the issue but still has a long way to go, and legacy carrier’s suggestion of forcing Basic Economy passengers to work at the ATC center to work off their fares has not been embraced by the government — yet.  

  • Air Astana came to an agreement on compensation from Pratt & Whitney.
  • Air Canada managed to find good things to say about its 2023, ignoring all the bad.
  • Air France is now the official airline of the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz.
  • Air New Zealand will debut its new suites on a singular Dreamliner this fall.
  • Air Serbia is adding E190 and E195 airplanes this summer.
  • Alaska is finally beginning the west coast flair we’ve been begging for to its premium food and beverage menu.
  • Bees Airlines is ready to, well, fly.
  • BermudAir is finally making it easier for residents of Bermuda to get their maple syrup and poutine fix.
  • Canada Jetlines is wet-leasing two A320s to Air Arabia Maroc this summer.
  • Delta‘s revenue management team missed on this one.
  • easyJet is interested in slots at Milan/LIN that ITA might be forced to give up as part of its takeover by Lufthansa.
  • Edelweiss is gambling on the debut of its A350 service with flights to both Las Vegas and Vancouver.
  • Etihad COO Mohammed al Bulooki resigned his role.
  • Flair is doing well, according to the guy who’s salary is directly correlated with Flair doing well. Just don’t ask him about its website.
  • flybe was officially dissolved and its about $865 million short.
  • Greater Bay named Lisa Ng its new CEO.
  • Jet2 will open an aircraft base in Bournemouth next year adding service from BOH to 16 cities.
  • Lufthansa looks like it’ll avoid a strike — a refreshing change from its normal MO.
  • New Pacific, Northern Pacific, whatever you call it in your heart — we hardly knew ye. On the other hand, it joined TSA PreCheck on Thursday, along with seven other airlines. Interesting timing.
  • Norse Atlantic is finally taking a gamble on Vegas.
  • Pakistan International Airlines is closer to having a privatization plan. What it doesn’t have? Interested buyers. Or qualified pilots, but that’s another story for another day.
  • Royal Jordanian added its first A321 freighter. Stay tuned for more on this breaking story.
  • Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said something nice about Boeing. Seriously.
  • SAS is breaking up with Turkish on September 1.
  • Southwind Airlines was denied access to Finland’s airspace. Southwest Airlines had no comment.
  • United is adding larger overhead bins to its E175 aircraft, taking its seating policy for Basic Economy passengers to a new low.
  • Virgin Atlantic completed a London/Heathrow slot swap with El Al.

We put round pizza in a square box and eat it in triangles.

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13 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: FAA Looks at UA, Breeze Adds Five

  1. is it “BANG-gore” or “Bang-er” maine?

    I still laugh when I hear “nor-fuq” on the PA system in Charlotte.

  2. I’d just posted this over on the LH/ITA story, but I was so late to that party I’ll post it here too: I wouldn’t be surprised if LH thinks they can try to get this through without giving up anything, or at most a few symbolic gestures. No one else is going to buy ITA, and the EC has been criticized for years for letting the Italian government get away with ignoring the EU state aid restrictions on Alitalia/ITA. The EU might be willing to just let it go with no changes or only a few symbolic ones just to get rid of ITA once and for all.

    Interesting move by Bermudair, suspect it may be a little preemptive to head off Porter eventually trying to come into this fairly upscale market. A lot of Canadians would rather be speed-taped to a cargo plane’s wings than fly Air Canada Rouge, the only direct flight on the Pearson route right now. Not sure about Halifax, but if the updated map on Wikipedia is accurate apparently it’s going to be seasonal, that could work.

    And I see Breeze is still throwing darts at a map.

    1. Let me tell you: due to bad weather, my boss and I ended up misconnecting on an ORD -> YQB (Quebec City) flight due to bad weather at YUL. So AC cancelled our nonstop in a Dash 8 and punted us to Rouge (a few hours later). What a miserable flight that was! Forty five minutes of hell. Old, worn seats with no padding, absolutely no legroom, no service. It sucked. So, yeah, I might rather spend a romantic evening with Joy Behar than fly Rouge to Bermuda. Then again, throwing myself off a tall bridge seems more appealing than either option……

      1. I had to fly Rouge twice, from YYZ to Moncton and to Thunder Bay (two separate trips, obviously). I can tell you that anyone who complains about United should be forced to transition from a United flight to an Air Canada Rouge one like I did on that Moncton flight. It was like stepping back in time forty years. The other was actually worse, since I flew AC on a comfortable and well-served YVR-YYZ flight (yes, on Air Canada, hard as that is to believe) before backtracking to Thunder Bay. “Avoid Air Canada Rouge” should be something that is never said but assumed.

  3. The FAA focus on UAL has to be related to their poor performance watching the Boeing store. Clearly, they are licking their wounds from that debacle, and now they have to be seen to be doing something – anything!
    I am not impressed by their ‘smoke and mirrors’ game.

  4. You may eat pizza in triangles, but we in Chicago, with the greatest pizza in the world, know that the only way to slice it is tavern-cut.

      1. Take a circular pizza. Cross the pizza both ways to make a + sign down the middle and across. Then parallel to each axis, and midway to each edge, run another cut. This leaves you with 4 slices in the middle with no crust, but all the rest have crusts. The little tiny slices on the “corners” are my favorites. We also do this type of cut in Minnesota.

        1. And the bigger the pizza, the more the cuts. When you get to an extra large, you’ve got five cuts per “side”, otherwise the slices would be too big. And, of course, the corners are the best. They’re the first ones I eat.

  5. “New” Pacific, of all the frauds running as airlines this is one of the best. A non stop source of laughter, except for the fact that actual humans are working there, who bought into the hype…

  6. Re: The Delta flight that was “oversold” by 42 seats. It was not oversold, it had a day of departure weight restriction, which the author of that article so kindly left out. Bad headwinds that day.
    I can’t stand PaddleYourOwnKanoo, it makes View From the Wing look objective.

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