Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Earnings for United and Alaska, JetBlue Shakes Things Up

Cranky Weekly Review

United Looks Forward, Not Back in Earnings Report

United posted a net loss of $124 million during Q1, but a positive outlook for Q2 buoyed its stock price and the spirits of its senior leadership. The carrier had a gross revenue figure of $12.5 billion for the quarter, a nearly 10% jump from last year on a 9% increase in capacity. The airline says if it weren’t for the $200 million it lost due to the MAX 9 shutdown in January it would have turned a small profit, which, sure, but it also would have turned a profit it made another $200 million selling leftover stroopwafels.

UA is forecasting a strong start to summer, with an expected profit between $3.75 and $4.25 per share keeping it on track to earn as much as $11 per share for the full year. It paid $2.88 per gallon at the pump for the year’s first three months, while carrying more than 500,000 passengers in a day 16 different times. Most of those 500,000 were customers escaping Newark, but some of them flew to other cities in United’s network.

The airline finished the quarter with about $1.5 billion of cash on hand, but in order to spend more than $19 on anything — including lunch — it must first ask and be granted permission from the FAA.

Alaska’s Q1 Ends Slightly in the Red

The recurring theme that each airline with a name other than “Delta” will end Q1 with a small loss continued with Alaska Airlines as the carrier reported a net loss of $116 million for the first three months of 2024, compared to a loss of $79 million a year ago.

Similar to United, Alaska’s Q2 forecast is robust, with the carrier expecting to turn a strong profit as summer approaches, with its stock expected to grow between $2.20 and $2.40 per share, ahead of industry guesstimates of $2.12 per share. Alaska’s Q1 revenue was $2.2 billion, a figure that includes $162 million in compensation from Boeing from the incident on January 5 when Boeing and Alaska were thrust into the national spotlight despite nine of the aircraft’s 10 doors staying fully attached during flight.

Alaska posted an 81.4% load factor, a 1.5% jump from a year ago, while it enjoy small 3-4% increases in both PRASM and RASM. The airline paid $3.08 per gallon in fuel — $0.20 more than United but a 10% drop from 2023. Alaska finished the quarter with $913 million in cash and cash equivalents, including a bunch of Hawaiian Airlines stock it doesn’t yet know what to do with and a first shipment of POG juice.

JetBlue Shakes Up Leadership Team

Just over two months into the Joanna Geraghty era at JetBlue and the airline announced senior leadership team changes, highlighted by Daniel Shurz being brought on as the carrier’s new head of revenue, network, and enterprise planning. Blue is the third color of Shurz’s career, as he joins the carrier after previous stops at red and green airlines.

Shurz will report to president Marty St. George while overseeing network planning, airline partnerships, sales and revenue management, and enterprise planning teams. Among his first tasks on the job will be to figure out where the blue chips that used to be served on board are being stored and why the old occupant of his office left so many summer 2023 American Airlines schedules lying around.

Other changes for JetBlue include Dave Clark being named head of finance and strategy, Sherry Griessel being promoted to vice president for customer support, Melinda Meher as vice president, treasurer and infrastructure, and Katherine Celli with a fancy title that means she’s the new vp for human resources.

American AAnnounces Premium Cabin Refresh

American Airlines unveiled planned upgrades for many of its premium cabin customers, with new amenity kits, bedding, meals, and suites on the way eventually.

The not-clumsy-at-all-named Flagship Suite Preferred seat (say that five times fast) will be the bulkhead seats on the carrier’s new Dreamliners and retrofitted B777-300ER fleet. The new Flagship Suite experience will feature reverse herringbone seats, but the carrier will put more room where the footwell would be in the bulkhead and make them an elevated option. Similar to JetBlue’s Mint product that has the Mint Studio in the front row, compared to the Mint Suites in the rest of the cabin, this will come with enhanced bedding, a lumbar pillow, fancier amenity kits, and the ability to kill one passenger in Basic Economy — Purge style, with no consequences — on all flights nine hours or longer.

For more information on the rollout of these new premium features, feel free to visit any number of bloggers who are falling over themselves to offer you a credit card that will start you on your journey to earn the points to experience it yourself.

Rocky Times Ahead After United Pilot Allows Cockpit Guest

As if the FAA didn’t already have its hands full with United, the government is now investigating an incident that took place on United flight 3779 from Denver to Toronto last Monday, April 10. The flight was a charter for the Colorado Rockies flying to Toronto for a three-game series against the Blue Jays, and video has emerged of Rockies hitting coach Hensley Meulens getting a tour of the flight deck while the airplane was at its cruising altitude.

In a statement, United said that both pilots have been removed from service while the FAA conducts its investigation of this violation of both United and the FAA’s safety and operational policies. The most egregious part of this isn’t that the pilots let him into the flight deck, but that they took video of it, almost guaranteeing that this would be exposed to the airline, the FAA, and the public.

We’re not sure who’s in for a more unpleasant summer, these two pilots who are potentially going to lose their job or the hitting coach of a team that’s started 4-15 and has 143 games to go, few of which are likely to go his way.

  • Aegean is buying four A321LRs to fly to new, non-EU destinations.
  • Aer Lingus expects to delay aircraft deliveries due to the current state of its pilot negotiations.
  • Air Astana signed the strategic partnership we didn’t know we needed with Neos.
  • Air Canada is adding service to Charleston, Tulum, and others.
  • Air France has begun its marketing campaign for this summer’s Paris Olympics.
  • Air New Zealand is is buying SAF from Finland.
  • ANA is offering the wedding photo experience you never knew you needed.
  • Avelo was granted permission to begin flying to both Mexico and the Dominican Republic.
  • Delta‘s renovated SkyClub in Miami is up and running.
  • easyJet is suspending service to Tel Aviv for the next six months.
  • Emirates‘s operation worldwide is still underwater at the moment.
  • flybe could be back…again?
  • Jin Air installed mirrors in its overhead bins.
  • Gol scored about $450 million.
  • LATAM might refinance two sets of dollar bonds this fall. Stay with us for more on this breaking story.
  • LIAT 2020 is closer to earning its certification.
  • Lufthansa cut its earning forecast for the year amidst its growing labor issues.
  • Lynx customers owed refunds from the now-defunct carrier won’t be seeing those anytime soon with the airline saying Sabre is holding up the process.
  • Norse Atlantic will begin seasonal, 3x weekly service between London/Gatwick and Cape Town this October.
  • Porter added Fiji and Delta as interline partners.
  • Qatar resumed flying to Iran this week.
  • Ryanair is bickering with a European government again.
  • SkyUp signed a ACMI contract with US-Bangla Airlines. Finally.
  • SkyWest is opening an E175 crew base in Austin starting in June.
  • Southwest is flexing.
  • Vietnam Airlines will add its fifth Dreamliner next month.
  • WestJet Encore pilots came back out for a bonus performance after announcing a tentative agreement with the airline.

I’m really into this new version of tennis called quiet tennis. It’s like regular tennis but without the racket.

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10 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by Oakland International Airport: Earnings for United and Alaska, JetBlue Shakes Things Up

  1. If you think “Flagship Suite Preferred seat” is hard to pronounce five times fast wait till you try saying “LaGuardia Slot Swap” five times fast

  2. BeRegional – if you’re reading, this, PLEASE don’t try to start Flybe v3. PLEASE. If you’ve got some money to blow, please just host a really big barbecue and invite lots of people. That way, at least you’ll achieve something in return for the money going up in smoke.

  3. Dear Austin,

    We are sincerely looking forward to introducing all of our new service to you!

    Delta (Operated by Skywest DBA Delta Connection)

    PS – we hope you like E175s!

          1. Lol exactly. Even though the 175s are still about 63 seats too large for those exciting new destinations!

            1. However, if these flights are timed such that UT coaches and staff can check out the Permian Panthers and other Midland-Odessa Friday night lights HS football games, then it might be a genius move. But only if you forget that (a) the service is daily and (b) UT athletics owns their own planes. I tried to make it work though!

    1. I mean…I *do* like E175s. Flown AA/Envoy ones to/from ABQ and from STL, AS/OO ones to/from SAN, and UA/OO ones to IAH and DEN. I’ll take ’em over a 172-passenger Oasis 737-800 any day of the week.

      Sure, I’d take an A220 over an E75, but if swapping AA-branded E75s to DL-branded E75s keeps the competition for WN up, I’ll take it.

  4. If Alaska doesn’t know what do with Hawaiian’s POG juice, I’ll take it off their hands. That stuff is amazingly good.

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