Cranky Weekly Review Presented by San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport: JetBlue Looks Across the Pond, Spirit’s DCA Surprise

Cranky Weekly Review

New Relationship Could Leave BA Feeling Blue

If at first you don’t succeed, try again with your ex’s JV partner, the old saying goes. JetBlue and British Airways applied to begin a code-sharing agreement that would cover 17 European destinations and 75 in the United States — 39 from New York and 36 from Boston — if approved. This would give BA the feed in Boston and New York that it isn’t getting from American.

The potential agreement would give BA a minty fresh new partner for customers to book one ticket on for transatlantic travel, and comes about a year to the day after JetBlue’s Northeast Alliance with American was shot down in federal court. Other customer-friendly additions, including loyalty program reciprocity do not appear to be part of the deal at this time but could be added in the future.

This deal would be in addition to the already in place codeshare between JetBlue and BA’s corporate cousin Aer Lingus.

A Spirited Attempt to Get Into DCA

As the push for one of the five new slot pairs at Washington/National rolls on, a surprise entrant in the competition has emerged — Spirit. The airline does not currently fly from DCA, having most recently flown there from 2008 to 2012 with service to Fort Lauderdale, but it now wants to get back in since it has figured out the way to San Jose.

The beyond-perimeter slots are currently restricted to incumbent carriers at the airport, with one of the pairs made available for a “limited” incumbent. An original reading of the limited incumbent part left most to believe that included just Alaska, making the airline’s proposed service to San Diego a foregone conclusion. But as a former operator at the airport who sold its slots (to Southwest), Spirit is technically considered a limited incumbent and is eligible to potentially earn the new slot pair.

Spirit is partnering with San Jose (CA) in its effort to begin DCA-SJC service. Spirit began flying to SJC last summer and currently operates from the airport to Dallas/Fort Worth, Las Vegas, and San Diego.

Considering Southwest? Google It.

Google Flights search function has long had one major carrier missing from its offerings — until now — as Southwest began appearing on the site earlier this week along with everyone else.

The carrier’s multitude of fare options from Wanna Get Away to Business Select all appear as choices on the site giving customers a full range of choice on the carrier. Southwest has traditionally told ticket aggregators and online travel agents to stick it and funnels its customers to its own website, but the carrier is slowly joining the ranks of everyone else in how it distributes its fares.

Customers who search Southwest fares on Google Flights can then click directly into to book their travel and be upsold on an Early Bird offering that will likely get them B11. While the option to search for travel on Southwest and other carriers being available on Google Flights is a step in the right direction, discerning travelers know the best way to secure air travel (and more) is to visit

AA Walks Back Bizarre Reaction to Bathroom Incident

Several young girls — amongst others — were illegally and immorally recorded using the restroom on an American Airlines last year by a rogue flight attendant who hid his cell phone with the camera on in the lavatory. Unsurprisingly, many of the victims sued American over the incident, but the plot twist came when the legal team representing AA curiously took the stance of blaming the children for not recognizing the cell phone was in the bathroom.

In its original response to the suit, American said it would dispute the claim by the 9-year old girl because the child’s “own fault and negligence, were proximately caused by (her) use of the compromised lavatory, which she knew or should have known contained a visible and illuminated recording device.” AA has since thrown its legal team — which was retained by an insurance company — under the bus, saying the filing was made in error.

The flight attendant has been charged with attempted sexual exploitation of children and possession of images of child sexual abuse.

Frontier’s Healing Powers

Frontier CEO Barry Biffle says his airline is going to crack down on passengers who abuse the offer of wheelchair assistance to board its aircraft as the rampant overuse is causing issues for the airline and other passengers alike.

Biffle likened it to when someone parks in a handicapped spot who isn’t supposed to — “they will tow your car and fine you.” he said. The generous use of wheelchairs costs the carrier time — it takes wheelchairs and staff away from those who really need it, which can slow down boarding, delay the flight, and others as staff to help with wheelchairs is limited — and money. It costs the carrier about $30 every time someone requests a wheelchair, but that doesn’t reflect the savings when someone is magically healed and no longer needs it on arrival.

It seems the best way to slow down improper wheelchair requests is simply to shame those who do it publicly as Biffle did this week. Many disabilities aren’t necessarily visible, and it’s legitimate to think someone might need a wheelchair to help navigate a large airport on one end of their travel and not necessarily upon arrival at a small, regional airport that’s easier to navigate… but also, there is plenty of abuse in the system just to get that coveted bin space (or better seating on an airline like Southwest). A thorny issue indeed….

  • Air Greenland is adding seasonal, weekly service to Iqaluit.
  • Air Vanuatu‘s only airplane has been repossessed.
  • Alaska is finally solving all of the world’s problems.
  • American is displaying its Basic Economy fares on the sly now.
  • Avianca has a new codeshare agreement with Emirates.
  • Azul scored a codeshare agreement with GOL.
  • BermudAir tasted poutine for the first time earlier this week.
  • Bonza‘s carcass is down to one plane.
  • Breeze escaped the terrible twos.
  • Cathay Pacific flew a lot of people in April.
  • Delta would prefer you play tennis.
  • Finnair is increasing access to Santa Claus. Lufthansa too.
  • Iberia was named as the launch operator of the new A321XLR.
  • IndiGo is introducing business class.
  • Kenya Airways is in the midst of a nightmare with two of its B787-8 aircraft.
  • Korean is confident it will receive U.S. regulatory approval for its merger with Asiana, according to its CEO, the person most responsible for ensuring it receives U.S. regulatory approval for its merger with Asiana.
  • Qantas is still sorting out in court how much compensation is owed employees fired early on during the pandemic.
  • Ryanair finished FY24 up 34% from a year ago to a profit of €1.92 billion.
  • SAS will remain Apollo’s major charter operator in Scandinavia through at least 2027.
  • Saudia is going with Airbus.
  • SmartLynx has the first A321 freighter operation in Latin America.
  • T’way began its first service to Europe this week with flights to Z’agreb.
  • United is offering limited Wrexham AFC-branded amerinity kits and pajamas in Polaris next month. Presumably it got FAA permission to produce them.
  • Virgin Australia is offering Qantas customers a status match.
  • WestJet‘s integration of Sunwing hit a snag.
  • Wizz Air UK is adding wet-leased A321s.

I know we joke a lot in this space normally, but on a serious note, I’d appreciate any good vibes anyone would send my way. I am headed to the bank later today and if everything goes well, I will finally be out of debt and own everything I have in my possession outright.

I’m so nervous and excited I can barely get my ski mask on my face.

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16 comments on “Cranky Weekly Review Presented by San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport: JetBlue Looks Across the Pond, Spirit’s DCA Surprise

  1. If they fly it as a red eye, then I would strongly consider booking SJC-DCA on Spirit for occasional work trips, just for the Big Front Seat. My company’s flight caps aren’t enough to cover first/business class on domestic flights, but would probably be enough to cover a Spirit ticket + Big Front Seat + other fees. If I’m trying to sleep anyway, I’d rather have the Big Front Seat than an economy seat on UA or AS.

    1. Speaking of SJC… How long until they go with “San Francisco Bay Silicon Valley San Jose Mineta International Airport”?

  2. Re: Bank visit. Hoping things go your way. If not, then perhaps the ski mask would be a good fit for the branch manager.

  3. FWIW Southwest *has* been on Google Flights for awhile, but their flights have been buried due to pricing not being available, and itineraries listed haven’t included all of the ones available on Southwest’s own site.

    So this is a massive improvement, but it wasn’t from zero.

  4. Many years ago I got talking to a passenger agent at Montreal’s airport. He had been asked to help a disabled passenger who had arrived from the U.S. The guy was already in the wheelchair with a nice blanket to ward off the Montreal winter. My man wheeled him through Canada Customs and out to the street whereupon the passenger threw off the blanket, yelled out a cheery “Thanks, mate” and took off with a bottle of vodka clutched in each hand.

    1. On the other hand, on occasions when I’ve needed a wheelchair I looked fine, although old. I could handle a small regional airport, and I could certainly get up and walk away, but I couldn’t handle the long treks at places like LHR. My regional airport is planning an expansion, I’ll likely need a wheelchair there in the future.

      Guys like the one in your story just ruin it for others – just like the service animal debacle.

  5. Just wanted to go off-topic with a quick rant.

    Does anyone else hate

    I don’t know whose worse, the userbase or the moderators. The fact that I’ve gone back and forth numerous times trying to decide whose worse says a lot.

    From the heavily biased users who won’t budge on their views, the ones who keep spreading misinformation even after dozens of corrections, to the gatekeeping, to those stupid megathreads, to the removal and banning of certain topics without telling anyone, that email they never respond to, I can keep going on but you get the point.

    That forum is horrible. I’ll happily take Tim Dunn over the average a.netter anyday

      1. They have a million Tim Dunns (but worse) for everything, it’s so damn insufferable.

        At least he was able to concede that SEA was Deltas least profitable hub- several a.netters refused to even entertain the possibility of there being one! (which of course doesn’t make sense because one hub had to be the least profitable)

        1. Another random thought … people love to hate on Tim Dunn around here, but if you actually read his comments, he’s clearly smart and knowledgeable about commercial aviation. Do his biases shine through? Sure, but we all have biases to some degree and at least his aren’t inflammatory.

    1. Many years ago, I used to be a regular over there, but it just really started to deteriorate. To give people an idea, some of the European posters threw gigantic tantrums about the A380 being referred to as the “WhaleJet”, to the point where posts were getting deleted and users suspended. It was ridiculous. In many ways, the moderators were worse, anytime they felt someone was deviating from a thread’s main topic, they’d start deleting posts.

      I haven’t been there in well over a year – I should drop in to check out the trip reports, there are (or at least used to be) some pretty good trip report authors on that site.

      1. The whole deleting posts thing annoys me significantly. You know how many niche questions I have asked only for the replies to be removed?

        Recently the New UA hub speculation thread got locked because the mods felt like the quality of discussion wasn’t high enough- which was/is such a ridiculous excuse.

  6. I am going to be so pissed if Spirit screws up another frequency to SFO.

    That they are considered a “limited incumbent” is ludicrous on its face since it not only does not serve the airport currently but, given the chance to serve the airport, they instead leased their slots.

    Please, for God’s sake, don’t waste one of these new printer exemptions on an airline that has shown no inclination whatsoever to serve DCA.

  7. It’ll be interesting to see what reaction, if any, AA has about the B6/BA codeshare. I think they’ll be quiet about this initial act, since they can’t really provide BA with the feed they want at JFK or BOS, but I can see them pushing back if BA and B6 try to get B6 into OneWorld.

    It also suggests that, at least for international connections, PHL isn’t getting the job done for BA.

    I wonder if this’ll put pressure on B6 to expand Mint to destinations that could have a lot of First/Business connections?

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