Cranky in the News

To see the archives, go to crankyflier.com/media


How Buy Now, Pay Later is changing how consumers think about travel
May 6, 2022 – David Landsel

“There’s no risk to the airlines, the third-party services are the ones taking on all the risk,” says Brett Snyder, founder of Cranky Flier, a popular industry blog. “It certainly has the ability to open up more travel opportunity for those who don’t have the cash to pay outright for travel.  This is particularly good news for low cost operators who tend to appeal more to those on a tighter budget.”

“It’s that land grab—get the customers,” says Cranky Flier’s Snyder.


The Cranky Flier: Ditching mask mandates won’t affect air travel’s COVID recovery
April 21, 2022 – Lauren Gilger

A federal judge effectively ended the Biden administration’s mask mandate on public transport, including airplanes, this week. And almost immediately, major airlines and airports around the country told travelers they can shed their masks.

On the April 20 episode of The Show, a public health expert shared her concerns that this move will contribute to the spread of COVID-19, especially for vulnerable populations.

Now, let’s take a look at how this major shift in pandemic travel guidelines might affect the airline industry.

For that, The Show spoke with Brett Snyder, also known as the Cranky Flier, a blog where he tracks the latest news in the airline industry.


TSA won’t enforce mask mandate after judge rules against CDC
April 18, 2022 – Lauren Ohnesorge

Brett Snyder, president of airline industry blog Cranky Flier, doesn’t think lifting the mandate will really make a difference to airports.

“Travel is booming right now,” he said. “The mask mandate just doesn’t matter in that regard.”


Why Are So Many Flights Getting Canceled Lately?
April 15, 2022 – Jessica Puckett

“The problem is that [airlines] still have a shortage of employees, most notably pilots who take longer to train up and can only fly one type of aircraft at a time,” says Brett Snyder, airline expert and founder of Cranky Concierge. “So there is this logjam that they are still working to clear, and it means when things go wrong, there is less ability to recover easily.”

“When there’s a normal summer weather event—say a line of storms rolling through New York—it will be harder for the airlines to recover and more people will be impacted by cancellations,” says Snyder. “I expect that to continue to happen through the summer. Something that seems fairly normal can have an outsized impact these days.”

Other than that, the best thing you can do is to “bring your patience,” Snyder says. If you do get delayed or canceled, “you can always try to better your situation by using all available channels. If you’re at the airport, stand in line to talk to an agent. At the same time, call reservations, use Twitter, and look in the airline’s app to see if they have other options,” he says. “You might as well try everything you can.”


KNX In Depth: More airline delays and cancellations–Russia hopes new general can end war quickly–New rules aim to stop ghost guns–Clean your dog’s bowl and stay healthyKNX InDepth
Listen in as I talk with KNX about recent airline cancellations, what’s behind them, and whether they will continue.


JetBlue is willing to spend $3.6 billion on Spirit to compete against giant airlines
April 6, 2022 – Leslie Josephs

“This looks like an airline that’s just run out of ideas on growth,” Brett Snyder, a founder of the Cranky Flier travel website, said about JetBlue.

Wrapping Spirit into JetBlue could help Frontier, especially in Florida, since Spirit would no longer be following such a similar model, said Snyder.

“Blue skies in Florida for Frontier,” he said. “They don’t have a serious competitor anymore.”


Why So Many Flights Were Canceled or Delayed This Weekend
April 5, 2022 – Nik Popli

Brett Snyder, author of the Cranky Flier airline industry site, says airports haven’t been this busy since before the pandemic began two years ago, when airlines saw record-low passengers and deep financial losses. But with 65% of the nation now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, combined with pent-up demand amid the busy spring break season, airlines are left scrambling to rebuild their networks and employee ranks, as some 400,000 airline workers were fired or furloughed in the last two years. “That means they may have less slack than they’d like, and something like the bad weather Florida experienced this weekend can create havoc more easily,” Snyder says

“If you’re at the airport, get in line to speak with an agent,” Snyder says. Passengers will typically be given a few options, such as a seat on the next available flight, their money back or travel credits that expire in one year. Passengers can also call their airline directly, but given the long wait times and potential challenges with dialing international phone numbers, Snyder recommends also sending a Tweet to the airline. Some airlines will also post updates on social media with a list of alternate options available.

Experts warn the staffing shortages at Alaska Airlines and across the industry are most likely a lingering problem that could lead to continued delays and cancellations in the coming months. But extreme weather events are less predictable. “A flight cancellation is always a possibility for travelers at any time,” Snyder says. “Airlines can never predict the weather well enough to be able to schedule everything perfectly, so things can be derailed.”


Two RDU carriers now bidding for Spirit Airlines
April 5, 2022 – Lauren Ohnesorge

It’s unclear how either deal would impact the Triangle. In February, Brett Snyder, president of airline industry blog Cranky Flyer [sic], told Triangle Business Journal that Frontier’s offer was “unlikely to be bad” for the region.

In the short term, a deal could be good for RDU’s other budget carriers, Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) and Allegiant (Nasdaq: ALGT), Snyder said at the time, as the combined airline will initially “be focused on integration as opposed to growing further.”


Bloomberg Wealth: Travel Is Back, and There Are New Rules
March 31, 2022 – Charlie Wells

Just buy that ticket. I’ve been in this boat: I know I want to go somewhere, I know when. But I keep going back to that travel website, wondering when to click “buy.” Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, an air travel assistance service, says to go for it. 

“Now that most airlines in the U.S. have removed change fees, there is better flexibility than there’s ever been, and worst case if you have change or cancel, you get the full credit for future use,” he says. (Just always read the fine print.)


Could Breeze Airways become a disrupter?
March 29, 2022 – Robert Silk

The real measure of Breeze’s progress, said Brett Snyder, an airline industry analyst who authors the Cranky Flier blog, will come as it builds up service using the A220. With 80 of those planes on order and eventual plans to use some of those aircraft for international service, the carrier’s route network eventually will be planned mostly around that plane.  

“It seems like it doesn’t matter if it’s going well or not. They’re just pushing ahead,” Snyder said. “With David Neeleman, it’s all about fast growth. All of his airlines, he goes crazy: He just keeps going until it works or fails.” 

And thus far, Snyder added, Neeleman hasn’t failed. 


Rising Fares, Low-Cost Airlines: Navigating the New Reality in the Sky
March 26, 2022 – Elaine Glusac

“If you’re going to Iceland or looking for a cheap way to get to Europe, and you don’t care about service, that’s the way to do it,” said Brett Snyder, the founder of Cranky Flier, an aviation blog, and Cranky Concierge, a travel planning service.

“Flair is the first ultra-low-cost carrier from Canada that’s been able to build momentum,” Mr. Snyder said.


Southwest is about to add a new fare class. Here’s why and what perks it might include (for more money)
March 22, 2022 – Dawn Gilbertson

Inflight Wi-Fi and/or a drink, each worth about $8 and already included in the business select tickets, are also possibilities, said Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Concierge travel service and writes the Cranky Flier blog.

“I think they’re just going to bundle the stuff that people might find useful,” Snyder said, adding that he expects the new fare lineup to be underwhelming.


When Is the Best Time to Buy Airfare This Year?
March 22, 2022 – Billie Cohen

“For summer, buy now,” says Brett Snyder, founder of Cranky Concierge, a service that not only helps people find and book the best flight options, but also monitors those flights for schedule changes. “Things are starting to get tight, and it might already be too late for the best availability.”

Snyder is seeing that too. “You are starting to see higher fares, especially in premium cabins,” he says. “The lowest fares are long gone—especially to Europe.”

And as Snyder explains, airfare pricing is tied to demand. “Loosely, 100 days before travel is when airlines start to play close attention to demand and set pricing to match.” That means that if you buy a ticket, say, a year in advance, that fare is just a rack rate—and most likely high. “There may be exceptions like on Christmas or Thanksgiving. But for normal travel periods, they just put in high fares.”

So when is the right time? “The answer is always ‘whenever you’re ready’,” says Snyder. “If travelers want the comfort of having it locked in, great for them. Others want to wait to see if it comes down. We just always tell people, if you see a ticket at a price you think is fair, get it. You’re going to spend so much time and energy trying to game the system and get the best deal that it’s often not going to be worth it.”

Contrary to what you might think, the red flag is not the increase in fuel prices. It’s the decrease in airlines’ capacity. “Fares don’t move just because gas gets pricey,” Snyder explains. “What changes is the number of seats the airlines put out there. They’ll look at their plan and say, ‘This made sense back when fuel was cheap, but now we need higher fares. We can’t just raise fares, so we’re going to cut back on flights and reduce the number of seats we’re putting out on the market because more people are fighting for fewer seats.’ So if you see them cutting capacity, you can expect higher fares.”

Where will you see it? Right in the news. Alaska and JetBlue both made mainstream headlines when they recently trimmed their flights and routes (and Cranky Concierge’s newsletter also covers those updates).

Snyder also wonders about this. “They can raise the price, but if people won’t pay it, it doesn’t matter. Now people are paying more for their gas in cars and more for other goods, so they have less to pay for airfare.”

As both Syth and Snyder point out, fare trends depend on the destination, as well as factors such as how many flights go there, how big those planes are, how many travelers want to travel to go there, and global politics.

That said, both experts say Europe is going to be expensive because everyone wants to travel there. “You have two things going on: You have general demand of everyone wanting to travel, and you also have Asia off limits, so everyone is focusing on Europe,” Snyder says.


As airlines pull back capacity, specter of higher prices looms
March 21, 2022 – Robert Silk

“If they are going to be pulling back capacity, prices are going to go up,” said industry analyst Brett Snyder, who pens the Cranky Flier blog


How rising fuel and strong demand could affect airfares
March 18, 2022 – Rebecca Tobin


US mask mandates are going away … what’s next?
March 12, 2022 – Caroline Tanner

“This does make airplane transport stand out as a very different situation, which could cause more friction,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance and author of the “Cranky Flier” blog. Additionally, Snyder said that mask-wearing should be more of an individual choice at this point, as there’s no scientific evidence showing that airplane passengers are more at risk of COVID-19.

Harteveldt, the airline and travel industry analyst, echoed Snyder’s sentiment and expressed surprise at the CDC’s decision to extend the mask requirement.


RDU carriers add routes despite rising fuel costs. Here’s what’s coming.
March 9, 2022 – Lauren Ohnesorge

Those moves come as fuel prices globally have surged to near 14-year highs. Brett Snyder, president of airline industry blog Cranky Flier, said “there’s just no way to know at this point what the airlines are thinking.”

There’s no question that the rise in the cost of jet fuel will make airlines reconsider some of their more marginal growth plans going in the mid-term,” he said. “Whether that will impact RDU or not remains to be seen.”


Russia’s largest airline yanked from global reservation systems
March 3, 2022 – Pete Muntean and Marnie Hunter

Suspending automation services would have a dire impact on domestic operations, says Brett Snyder, aviation blogger and president of Cranky Flier.

“Aeroflot would be forced to try to find an alternate vendor, but that is not something you can switch overnight. It would be highly disruptive, and if Sabre was serious about punishing Russia, it would be looking at ways to sever those contracts,” Snyder said via email.


Sabre Ends Distribution of Aeroflot Flights in Travel Tech Retreat From Russia
March 3, 2022 – Sean O’Neill

Another analyst said it would be easier to cut off one type of product than another.

“It’s reasonable for GDSs to decide not to sell Russian flights if they so choose,” said Brett Snyder of Cranky Flier. “But it’s a lot harder to make the decision to turn off the airline reservation system. That effectively shuts the company down.”

“I suppose Boeing is doing that to some extent by not supporting Russian airlines right now, but this seems like a step even further,” Snyder said. “Then again, I would certainly understand Sabre making the decision to take a moral stand. It’s really something that each company needs to decide.”


Travel’s Theme for 2022? ‘Go Big’

Fortunately, most airlines are continuing to waive flight change fees on all but basic economy flights, said Brett Snyder, the founder of Cranky Flier, an airline industry site.


Experts weigh in on what Spirit-Frontier merger could mean for Birmingham
February 11, 2022 – A.J. O’Leary

“It wouldn’t surprise me to see Birmingham on the list, but I couldn’t tell you how far down it is,” said Brett Snyder, founder and author of airline industry blog Cranky Flier.

Snyder said decisions about whether to locate in smaller cities like Birmingham are generally driven by demand.

“These airlines operate big planes with dense seating configurations, so a lot of people need to buy tickets to make a route work, even if it isn’t daily,” he said.

The airlines also intend to add 350 planes to its combined fleet, expand frequent flyer and membership offerings and become more reliable through operational efficiencies. Snyder said he does not anticipate significant changes in fare prices as a result of the merger.


What the Frontier-Spirit deal means for RDU, other mid-sized airports
February 7, 2022 – Lauren Ohnesorge

Brett Snyder, president of airline industry blog Cranky Flier, said a lot is up in the air, including the deal’s impact to mid-sized markets such as RDU, where both carriers had lofty ambitions before the pandemic disrupted the airline industry at a scale never seen before.

“It’s hard to know exactly how this might come out … but it’s unlikely to be bad,” he said. “This is not a merger that’s about shrinking and consolidating … the idea would be growth and a better presence in all of its locations.”

In the short term, the deal could be good for RDU’s other budget carriers, Southwest Airlines, Snyder said, as the combined airline will initially “be focused on integration as opposed to growing further.”

While Frontier and Spirit have a lot of similarities – they’re both ultra-low-cost and primarily focused on leisure – there are differences. Frontier, Snyder notes, tends to service airports with weekly routes, while Spirit focuses on routes with more frequency. And with a lot yet to be decided, it’s hard to predict what the resulting airline, projected to be the fifth largest in the country, will look like.


What does Spirit-Frontier merger mean for South Florida?
February 7, 2022 – Andrew Perez

Airline analyst Brett Snyder says Spirit and Denver-based Frontier have been struggling with losses the past two years as air travel plunged during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“‘Finally,’ was my initial reaction,” Snyder said. “They’re both ultra-low-cost carriers, which means their goal is to drive down their costs as low as possible.”

“Something that’s been top of mind for a lot of travelers is what happens when something goes wrong,” Snyder said. “The combined heft of these two means that there will be more options if a flight is canceled or delayed.”

Snyder said that with both airlines already having a presence in South Florida that “I don’t think we’re going to see any reductions” at Miami International Airport or Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.


Bob Jordan is now Southwest Airlines’ new CEO. Here’s what’s on his plate
February 2, 2022 – Leslie Josephs

“Just do the basics right,” said Brett Snyder, a former airline manager who runs the Cranky Flier travel service and website. “Run a good operation. For me, that’s all that matters.”


Business travel’s comeback was gaining steam. Then Omicron hit.
January 24, 2022 – Ty West

Brett Snyder, president of air travel assistance firm Cranky Flier LLC, said many airlines have invested more heavily in leisure routes and have held off on bringing back some business-centric routes from focus cities that weren’t hubs, such as Raleigh, North Carolina, and Cincinnati.

He said many airlines continue to push back return dates for business-focused routes and additional capacity until business travel rebounds.


The perils of air travel right now — and a silver lining
January 6, 2022 – Marnie Hunter

“I expect January is going to be a tough month for not just air travel but the entire country,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge travel assistance and a former airline employee. “Even if the cases are mostly mild, especially for the vaccinated, that still requires people to stay away from work for a period of time, and that will disrupt flights if enough crewmembers get sick at any given time.”

Snyder encourages travelers to book longer connections to give themselves a buffer in the event of delays, but he said there’s “no silver bullet” because illness and weather are unpredictable.

“Otherwise, it’s important to keep perspective here,” Snyder said. “Even with all these cancellations, 9 out of 10 flights operated, so the vast majority of people will be fine.”


When will flyers get relief from omicron-driven flight cancellations?
January 3, 2022 – Robert Silk

“Though I have no way of knowing for sure, my guess is that January is going to be tough, punctuated by various shortages, depending upon which workgroups in what locations are most impacted at any given time,” analyst Brett Snyder predicted in his Cranky Flier blog

Snyder said shortened quarantines should relieve some pressure, but not all of it. 

“The key metric is still how many people end up testing positive,” he said. “If they’re out for five days, that’s better, but they’re still out for five days.”


Travel in the omicron surge: What airlines owe you if they cancel your flight
December 31, 2021 – Leslie Josephs

“You can always get your money back if they can’t accommodate you, but it doesn’t get you home,” said Brett Snyder, who runs a travel concierge service and the Cranky Flier travel website.

Snyder recommends trying all available channels when there are backups.


Canceled flights overshadow reduced delays at American Airlines, other carriers
December 29, 2021 – Kyle Arnold

Brett Snyder, a blogger with Crankyflier.com, said the problems can be frustrating for travelers, but airlines did everything they could for the holidays with extra staffing and lighter flying schedules.

“You are working on a knife’s edge because you don’t have the same crew reserves that you are used to having,” Snyder said. “It puts you closer to a meltdown.”

Still, the vast majority of flights land on time, he said.

More than 81% of flights during the first nine months of 2021 landed on time, according to Bureau of Transportation Statistics data. Overall, fewer than 2% of flights were canceled over that same period.

“If people are traveling, I try to tell them that we’ll get you there one way or another,” Snyder said. “Try to have some buffer, have some patience and be kind to people. They are just trying to get you on your way and home.”


When will flight cancellation chaos end? CDC’s new quarantine guidance may help, but it’s no ‘silver bullet’
December 29, 2021 – Kyle Dunphey

“What is likely is that it will mitigate the impact of all the COVID illnesses with crews,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, a travel planning agency. Snyder also started the Cranky Flier, an airline industry blog.

“The thing is, you just don’t know what it’s going to look like,” he said.

“Airlines should be able to have a lighter schedule. It should give them more slack over the next couple of months until the spring break,” said Snyder. “The problem is, you may have more slack, but what if half your workforce gets COVID? It doesn’t matter how much slack you have. So there’s no way to predict that.”


What to do if your flight is canceled due to omicron-related crew shortages
December 27, 2021 – Ivan Pereira

“It’s frustrating for travelers but that is not a lot they can do to avoid it,” Brett Snyder, the president of the travel planning service Cranky Concierge, told ABC News.

Snyder said the most important thing for passengers to do is to be on top of their airline and flight status. The affected airlines have been updating their information to customers and airport agents as soon as they know a cancellation is coming, but if one is on top of their flight early, they have more time to figure out their next steps, Snyder said.

“Speed is your friend,” he said. “If you could avoid waiting at the airport and making your arrangements sooner, you’ll be better off.”

Snyder said that the major airlines have agreements with each other and can offer passengers flights to destinations with another carrier.

“You can always get your money back and buy another ticket with that money,” he said. “Just know what your airline’s refund policies are, because some may not give you your money back until a few hours after the cancellation.”

“We’ve seen airlines do this when they have abnormal meltdowns,” he said.MORE: What are your rights if your flight is canceled or changed?

Snyder and Keyes both said that there will likely be more cancellations because of omicron-related staffing shortages as the recent surge continues, and passengers who are preparing to fly for the next month need to be prepared for it to happen.


COVID-related flight cancellations continue after Christmas at Cleveland Hopkins airport, across U.S.
December 27, 2021 – Susan Glaser

Brett Snyder, who follows the airline industry at crankyflier.com, advises travelers to keep a close eye on their flights and be flexible. “If your flight cancels, jump on the phone, the internet, in line at the airport, to try to get a new option booked ASAP,” he said.

On a typical day, airline cancellations in the U.S. run about 1% of flights; in recent days, that percentage has been above 5% — although some cancellations are weather-related, and not due to staffing, Snyder said.

The move may help airlines’ staffing issues in the coming weeks, said Snyder.

“COVID can’t be predicted, but as long as the 10-day isolation rule remains in effect for positive cases, we are likely in for a bumpy month or two,” he said. “If the government changes its guidance down to five days as Delta, JetBlue, and Airlines for America have lobbied for, then that could help somewhat. But ultimately there’s no way of knowing exactly.”


As Omicron Overshadows Christmas, Thousands of Flights Are Canceled
December 24, 2021 – Karen Weise and Glenn Thrush

Brett Snyder, a self-described “aviation dork” who worked in the industry and now blogs at the website Cranky Flier, noted that such stopgap measures were no real match for the disruptions caused by the virus.

“You can only be so prepared when Omicron starts racing through your pilot corps,” Mr. Snyder said. “If your pilot has a cold, they can still fly. If a pilot gets Covid, they have to stay away for 10 days. That can easily snarl an operation.”

“This is going to be a problem for some time, certainly through the holidays,” Mr. Snyder said.

“You have this choppiness in trying to get back toward whatever a new normal may be,” Mr. Snyder said.


What to do when an airline changes your flight: Coping with carriers’ increasing schedule changes
December 16, 2021 – Susan Glaser

Brett Snyder, aka the Cranky Flier, said things could be worse. In fact, they were, up until recently.

“The reality currently is that it’s much better than it was toward the beginning of the pandemic,” said Snyder, who writes about the airline industry at crankyflier.com. “During that time, it was insane. They were changing things really quickly and really close to departure.”

He added, “There weren’t that many people traveling so it wasn’t as disruptive as it could have been. But it certainly wasn’t good.”

More people are traveling now, and airlines’ schedules are more static, he said. “But they’re still elevated from 2019 levels,” he said, hampered by issues including fast-changing government rules and restrictions related to the pandemic.

Snyder said it’s probably unrealistic to expect that the government could somehow limit airline schedule changes. The likely outcome of any increased government involvement, he said, is that airlines wouldn’t release schedules until much closer to departure, an inconvenience to both travelers and carriers. “The reality is the airlines don’t know what demand is going to be like,” he said. “It would be really hard to regulate.”

According to Snyder, airlines typically finalize their schedules roughly 100 days in advance. If you book prior to that 100-day period, you’re increasing the likelihood of a schedule change.

Not all airlines are equal, however. Snyder singled out Frontier Airlines as one carrier that is less concerned about blowback from travelers and makes frequent changes. “Frontier is more than happy to carve out the days that work and the days that don’t,” he said. “If it’s not working, they just get rid of it.”


American Airlines chooses leadership continuity despite underperformance
December 8, 2021 – Robert Silk

Brett Snyder, who writes the Cranky Flier blog, offered a more cautious appraisal of the move. American, he said, telegraphed the succession plan in 2016, when the company pushed out president Scott Kirby, who is now the United Airlines CEO, and replaced him with Isom. 

“We need to see if there’s a stamp that Robert wants to put on the company that he hasn’t been able to do up to now. But he’s been president for some time,” Snyder said. 

He noted that Isom will have to deal with a variety of difficulties, ranging from high costs to labor discontent. 

“The idea that new blood could be beneficial for a company in a position like that is something that some people have suggested,” Snyder said.  


The New Covid-19 Variant Is Already Disrupting Travel Around the World
November 26, 2021 – Claire Ballentine and Alice Kantor

Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, an air travel assistance service, says consumers stuck in tricky situations because of policy changes shouldn’t panic. Variants of concern have arisen before — often followed by swift action from governments. Fortunately, travelers may have a few avenues if they want to get their money back. 

“If your flight is cancelled, there’s a decent chance you will be eligible for a refund, given there isn’t a flight an hour later,” he said. “But if you just don’t want to go, it may not be an option to get money back.”


Thanksgiving revelers get head start before hectic traveling begins
November 22, 2021 – Dan Rivoli

Airports will also be busy, though Brett Snyder, a blogger at Cranky Flier, said the spike in oil prices came too late for people to switch their travel plans and leave their cars at home.

“For this year, it’ll probably be pretty similar to what we’ve seen in the pre-pandemic years, when it comes to number of people traveling,” Snyder said. “It’s gonna be crowded, flights will be full — all of that will be the same.”


Getting Answers
November 19, 2021

A TV appearance talking about holiday travel. Skip to the 20 minute mark for that segment.


Airlines and travelers brace for possible upcoming holiday chaos
November 18, 2021 – Ask an Expert

Radio interview with Holly Quan and Eric Thomas about holiday travel.


Four years after Massport spent millions to accommodate A380s, the gigantic planes don’t fly here — and might not ever again
November 12, 2021 – Taylor Dolven

But even as Massport was preparing for the A380 as part of a $160 million refresh of Terminal E, there were industry watchers warning that the plane was on its way out, said Brett Snyder, founder and author of the airline industry site CrankyFlier.com. Lufthansa and Air France canceled some orders.

“You saw that initial flurry in the beginning from a handful of operators, but by 2017 it was pretty clear where this was going and it wasn’t good,” Snyder said.


Icelandair of the Pacific? That’s the hope of Northern Pacific Airways
November 9, 2021 – Robert Silk

“I struggle to understand how it works,” said Brett Snyder, a travel advisor who authors the airline industry blog Cranky Flier.

Snyder noted a few issues that he thinks will be a challenge for Northern Pacific to overcome. 

One, he said, is that many significant Asian destinations are not reachable from Anchorage using narrowbody aircraft, including the whole of southern Asia. Another, Snyder said, is that the large Chinese carriers, assuming they eventually resume pre-pandemic U.S. frequencies, already offer lots of cheap Asia flying. 

Finally, Snyder said that Icelandair has been helped substantially with its stopover strategy by the nation of Iceland’s efforts to promote tourism. Northern Pacific can’t expect as much assistance.


New Nonstop Flights To Make Your Travels Easier in 2022
November 9, 2021 – Brett Snyder

An article looking at new routes starting next year


Spate of US flight cancellations prompts fears of holiday meltdown
November 2, 2021 – Claire Bushey and Caitlin Gilbert

Carriers’ well-publicised difficulties have made travellers more conscious than normal about the potential for delays and cancellations as they prepare to fly this holiday season, said industry analyst Brett Snyder, who runs the website the Cranky Flier.

But airline consolidation over the past two decades has limited customers’ options, and pricing, timing and length of the journey remain more important factors than reliability when it comes to booking leisure travel, he said.

No one is saying, “This is my only nonstop option; I’m not going to take it now. I’d rather connect through Charlotte,” Snyder noted.


KNX In Depth: Navigating a messy holiday travel season ahead
November 2, 2021 – KNX In Depth

An interview about the upcoming holiday travel season. This begins at the 36:30 mark.


American Airlines: We’re Staffing Up for the Holidays
November 1, 2021 – Kimberly Johnson

“The reason that happens is because the airline is not adequately staffed to be able to handle everything,” said Brett Snyder of Crankyflier.com.

“I think what we’ve seen this year is absolutely made worse by these growing pains of airlines trying to return to where they were pre-pandemic, or close to it, and not being adequately prepared to operate the schedules that they are putting into the market,” he said.

What this means for the holiday travel season, however, remains to be seen.

“[The airlines] understand the importance of the holidays,” Snyder said. “But if I were a traveler, I would absolutely be wary, because we just keep seeing this.”


Up, up and up some more: Regional airport’s reach
November 1, 2021 – Paul Hughes

But it has also struggled, said Southern California-based airline industry watcher Brett Snyder, trying a number of different routes, occasionally cutting frequency or routes.

Olson said as a new airline, “you want to be trying and testing” and some markets that didn’t get service, in part due to the emergence of the Delta variant of COVID-19 or rental-car shortages, could get a second look.

Snyder echoed Olson’s “small-town” comments, which Levy had also been discussing for several years as Avelo prepared to launch.

“Burbank is an alternate [choice] airport but already has service to big cities,” Snyder said. “So the focus here is getting to small cities where there is no service.”


‘Deja vu all over again’: American Airlines cancels over 2,000 flights in weekend chaos
October 31, 2021 – Kyle Arnold and Kelli Smith

Brett Snyder, a travel blogger with Crankyflier.com, said customers are fed up. He blamed American and other airlines for overscheduling flights in recent months, leading to cancellation-filled weekends.

“They’ve failed so many times it’s easy to imagine them failing again when the holidays come,” Snyder said.


Book your holiday travel now — Airfares expected to jump 18% over next 2 months
October 28, 2021 – Caroline Tanner

“Fares are most definitely going to rise as demand returns,” said Brett Snyder, a travel analyst and author of the Cranky Flier aviation and travel site. “The operational issues will force airlines to keep supply lower than they might want, and with demand increasing as the delta variant impact falls away, fares will go up.”


There is no evidence that Southwest Airlines cancellations were caused by workers protesting COVID-19 vaccine mandate
October 12, 2021 – Nate Hanson, Brandon Lewis

Brett Snyder, an industry analyst and president of the air travel service Cranky Concierge, described the weather and air traffic control challenges as a “routine issue.”

“It’s the type of stuff that airlines encounter all the time,” Snyder said. “And in fact, every airline ran into the same weather issues in Florida and they had to deal with the Jacksonville delays. And they had a few cancels or delays. And that was the extent of it. How this spiraled into whatever happened to Southwest is the real question.”

Snyder said the meltdown coincided with what was supposed to be Southwest’s biggest day of flying since the pandemic began.

“Everything I’ve seen suggests there’s no nefarious plot by labor to disrupt operations or anything like that,” he said. “The simplest explanation is that they messed up, something went very wrong, it broke, and now they’re trying to put it back together.”


Ontario airport may get direct flights to Europe by summer 2022
October 1, 2021 – Steve Scauzillo

Southern California is home to 1.5 million Salvadorans, while the San Gabriel Valley, Orange County and parts of the Inland Empire already have large pockets of Asian-Americans. This makes for a ready-made passenger base boarding flights to see relatives or conduct business in other countries. Not so for Norway, said Brett Snyder, editor of the travel blog crankyflier.com based in Torrance.

“Oslo is not a big market from the United States,” Snyder said on Friday. “With Norwegians, you don’t have that connection to the culture, so I do not think this will do well.”

More likely, this will be of greater interest to Norwegians wanting to fly to California on a low-cost ticket, Snyder said. “This is a cheaper way to get people to Los Angeles,” he said.

Opening up more cities will be key to the success of Norse Atlantic, he said.

“So in a sense, Norse Atlantic is a reincarnation of parts of Norwegian Airlines,” Snyder said.

Snyder predicts the airline will receive approval of its applications and begin service in summer 2022.


KNX In Depth: Horrific tragedy at San Diego’s Petco Park — Biden’s really big week — An airline no fly list, but for jerks — Tesla offers driver a “Full Self-Driving” button, but should you use it?
September 27, 2021 – KNX In Depth

You can listen to my segment starting at the 19 minute mark here.


The U.S. Justice Department sues two major airlines for their recently formed alliance
September 22, 2021


Now Arriving: 300 Airplane Enthusiasts at an In-N-Out Burger Near LAX
September 19, 2021 – Alison Sider

On Saturday, aviation geeks from around the country flocked to a strip of trampled grass
outside the In-N-Out Burger near Los Angeles International Airport. Some 300 showed up
for this year’s Cranky Dorkfest, according to Brett Snyder, the author of the Cranky Flier
blog and the event’s organizer.

Mr. Snyder first put out the call for others to join him for a burger and some planespotting
in 2011. He wasn’t sure then whether anyone would show up, but attendance has surged
over the years. Members of NYC Aviation make the pilgrimage, a trip that includes a block
of rooms at a hotel with runway views and extra spotting opportunities around town.


Traveling Made Easier
September 9, 2021 – Penelope Wang

Because of worker shortages and COVID-19 restrictions, many establishments have cut back services such as hot breakfast buffets and daily room cleaning. So for these, or amenities such as gyms and restaurants, call and ask whether they’ll be available. Too few perks? Consider a bed-and-breakfast or a vacation rental. “If your [hotel] breakfast is a wrapped-up muffin, how is that better than staying in an Airbnb?” says Brett Snyder, president of the Cranky Concierge air travel assistance service.

It depends on the specifics. But you’ll need to be polite and persistent, and you might need to try multiple channels. Flight delay? Call the airline or use its app, even if you’re in line for the gate agent—this may enable you to schedule a flight change or connect with help faster, Snyder says. You can also tag the travel provider on social media and request assistance.


No, airlines in the US didn’t introduce checked baggage fees as a result of 9/11
September 8, 2021 – Nate Hanson, Brandon Lewis, Emery Winter

In 2001, most airlines allowed customers to check two bags for free. Brett Snyder, president of the travel service Cranky Concierge and a former pricing analyst at America West Airlines, said baggage fees “weren’t really something that was discussed in 2001.”

“It wasn’t until much later,” he said.

Snyder said there were a couple of financial factors that played into the decision by airlines to begin charging for first and second checked bags in 2008. One, he said, is that the carriers were facing the Great Recession. Another was a spike in fuel prices.

“And so [the airlines] were trying to scramble to figure out, how do they get there? How do they increase their revenues?” Snyder said.

In 2008, Delta and United began charging passengers for their second checked bag. Months later, American Airlines began charging passengers $15 for their first checked bag and many other carriers followed suit, according to Snyder.

“It was really helpful for them at the time and it’s a huge gravy train that they’re very hesitant to walk away from,” Snyder said of baggage fees.

While it’s been a revenue boost for airlines, Snyder said the implementation of baggage fees is not tied to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“This had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11 at all, but it certainly had something to do with the Great Recession,” he said.


As The Delta Variant Soars, The Airline Industry Descends Into Another Slump
September 2, 2021 – David Schaper


JetBlue Puts Transatlantic Ambitions To The Test
August 20, 2021

Brett Snyder, founder of the popular Cranky Flier blog, says he expects JetBlue to have
a “tough time” competing in the crowded New York-London market. Despite the
attractive operating economics of the A321LR, he says competing against efficient
widebody aircraft with much lower seat costs will likely be “an uphill battle.”

“This isn’t an airline stuffing a bunch of seats in and trying to really lower seat costs
versus existing competitors,” Snyder tells Aviation Week. “This is an airline using an
admittedly efficient airplane but one that has very few seats and isn’t going to get the
same type of seat cost advantage you might hope to get, since it’s going up against new
and efficient widebodies.”

Brett Snyder, founder of the popular Cranky Flier blog, says he expects JetBlue to have
a “tough time” competing in the crowded New York-London market. Despite the
attractive operating economics of the A321LR, he says competing against efficient
widebody aircraft with much lower seat costs will likely be “an uphill battle.”

“This isn’t an airline stuffing a bunch of seats in and trying to really lower seat costs
versus existing competitors,” Snyder tells Aviation Week. “This is an airline using an
admittedly efficient airplane but one that has very few seats and isn’t going to get the
same type of seat cost advantage you might hope to get, since it’s going up against new
and efficient widebodies.”


Flying in a pandemic: Travel experts share top tips for troubleshooting airline mishaps
August 19, 2021 – Harriet Baskas

Brett Snyder, president of the Cranky Flier aviation site and Cranky Concierge travel service, agrees.

“In the morning you do generally have a better chance of being on time. Unless of course, you’re going to San Francisco, because of all the morning fog.”

“Things have been choppy in the recovery,” says Snyder at Cranky Flier. “Sometimes you’ll find long lines, sometimes you won’t. It’s just really tough to predict as schedules and systems come back in fits and starts.”

Smaller airports have always offered some time-saving benefits, such as shorter lines and cheaper or more close-in parking, “but airlines are coming back in different ways in different airports so your flight options may be limited,” he added.

“My best advice is to use every channel you have available to avoid being delayed or missing a connection,” says Snyder. He suggests getting on the phone to call your airline reservations center, getting online at the gate or customer service center, and checking alternate flight schedules at the airline’s website so you know what your options are.

“Attack it in all those ways,” says Snyder. “And if you’ve booked through a travel agent, they can often help by tracking your journey and rebooking you in their system.” If you have access to an airline lounge through a program like Priority Pass, or can access a lounge on a day rate, the staff there can often help rebook your flights too — with the added benefit of snacks and drinks nearby.


Ontario airport approaches 500,000 passengers in July, nearing pre-pandemic level
August 18, 2021 – Steve Scauzillo

Ontario airport enjoys an advantage because it focuses on domestic flights, where the growth is occurring, and it partners with leisure, discount airlines that attract budget-minded travelers taking vacations or visiting family and friends, said Brett Snyder, an airline industry watcher based in the South Bay and author of the blog Cranky Flier.


Demand for air travel flatlines amid delta variant surge
August 11, 2021 – Mina Kaji

“I think there’s a lot going on here that’s making people think twice about traveling,” Founder of crankyflier.com Brett Snyder told ABC News. “One of the big concerns for people going internationally is the chances of even if you’re vaccinated of getting an infection seem to be going up. It may not be severe, but it does mean that you might not be able to come back into the U.S. for some time just because of the testing requirement. So with that I think you’re scaring some people off. And then, of course, we have the just general concern about getting sick, going to places where there is more virus.”


As the Delta Variant Spreads, the Best Travel Advice Is Having a Plan B Vacation
August 11, 2021 – Allison Pohle and Omar Abdel-Baqui

Travel agents say more clients are re-evaluating their plans, but noted that people have different risk tolerances. Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Flier website and travel-concierge service, says a few clients canceled their coming trips to international destinations last week.

“I think there’s a lot of anxiety,” Mr. Snyder says. But he doesn’t think travelers have anything to lose by waiting to see how the Delta variant plays out before adjusting trips that are months away.


Spirit Airlines cancels hundreds of more flights on Friday and vows ‘reductions in cancellations’
August 6, 2021 – Pete Muntean

Industry analyst Brett Snyder of Cranky Traveler told CNN on Thursday that while issues might damage Spirit’s reputation in the short-term, there will be no long-term business impact.”

Eventually, people will forget if the ticket price is right,” said Snyder.


Allegiant passengers endure 16-hour flight delay to California city
July 14, 2021 – Richard N. Velotta

“It sounds like Allegiant did what it was required to do, but that doesn’t mean it’s what the airline should have done,” said Brett Snyder, who writes an aviation blog called “The Cranky Flier.”

“In extreme circumstances like these, you’d hope the company would recognize the inconvenience and go above and beyond with a future credit or even a refund,” he said. “But this is Allegiant, and it is an ultra-low-cost carrier. That’s likely what drives these decisions.”


Choice of incoming Southwest Airlines CEO surprises some experts
June 24, 2021 – Catherine Leffert

Brett Snyder, an industry expert who runs the Cranky Flier blog, thought Jordan was the “heir apparent” until 2017 when Kelly relinquished the role of president to Tom Nealon, and Jordan moved to his role in corporate services. Though Kelly said in 2017 the promotion didn’t imply a definite succession plan, Snyder said Nealon was the likely next-in-line.

“It looked to me like he just either wasn’t interested or Southwest decided he wasn’t the right person for it,” Snyder said. “Bringing Bob in now suggests that he’s either changed his mind or something has changed. And it’s certainly not not good news for Tom Nealon.

“He’s probably there to help to continue the company’s transition without rocking the boat too much,” Snyder said. “And it probably is not going to be a 17-year reign. I would assume this will be shorter. Maybe it’s about developing that next level of talent and providing a bridge to who the next longterm CEO might be.”

In his Thursday blog, Snyder added he could see Jordan taking on the role for a few years followed by Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Watterson.


Airbus Isolation Tent
June 23, 2021 – KNX 1070 In Depth


Construction Commences On $898 Million Station Connecting Metro Lines To LAX
June 23, 2021 – Larry Mantle on AirTalk

I joined Larry Mantle to talk abut the ground-breaking of the Metro Rail station that will connect Metro to the LAX people mover.


AAA Expects 2.4 Million Floridians Will Hit Road For July 4th Holiday Weekend
June 22, 2021 – CBS4 Miami


American Airlines Cuts Some Flights to Avoid Potential Strains
June 20, 2021 – Alison Sider

“I think they’re afraid they’re not going to be able to run the operation as they’ve scheduled it, so they’re pulling back,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Flier website and travel-concierge service. “That’s good for the traveler.”


The 9-hour wait: Here’s why airline hold times are so bad
June 18, 2021 – David Slotnick

“The hold times are awful, but it’s not completely clear why,” said Brett Snyder, author of The Cranky Flier website that’s devoted to aviation news. “I think it’s a mix of things.”

American Airlines, on the other hand, has been hit and miss in recent weeks, according to customers who spoke with TPG, and tests by the TPG team. TPG has received few complaints about Southwest, though Snyder says long call times were an issue this week following two computer glitches in 24 hours.

“Delta is the one that really stands out,” Snyder said about the airline that seems to be having the most trouble.

Snyder, who also runs the Cranky Concierge travel service, said he had one client who said he called Delta and was initially quoted a callback time of 34 hours. He hung up and called again later, this time getting a nine-hour callback window.

“It’s bad for some,” Snyder said, “and not for others.”

“Use an alternate channel,” said Snyder, singling out social media as one such option. “Getting through to reservations is going to be a challenge. I always suggest going to Twitter.”


Impact of American-JetBlue alliance not yet clear
May 31, 2021 – Robert Silk

Brett Snyder, author of the popular airline industry blog Cranky Flier, says the answer to the first question is yes, at least in New York. 

“Bringing these two together, you now have an offering that can be more attractive to corporate travelers, or anyone that is looking to consolidate their flying with one airline, so that does make it more competitive,” Snyder said. He noted that on their own, neither carrier has a broad enough New York offering to compete favorably with Delta’s combined LaGuardia/JFK network or with United’s Newark-based network
….

Snyder said those slot swaps will allow the alliance to make more efficient use of LaGuardia departure rights than American has been making with its existing network. As a result, the alliance can become a more serious competitor to Delta, which controls 511 LaGuardia slot pairs.

As an example, Snyder pointed out American’s LaGuardia-Charlottesville, Va., service, which the carrier operated twice daily prior to the pandemic using 50-seat aircraft. Routes like that allowed American to comply with use-it-or-lose-it rules on slots. But they aren’t an efficient use of LaGuardia’s limited capacity.

Conversely, JetBlue, with its strength in leisure flying to Florida and the Caribbean, can make better use of a Saturday afternoon slot. Similarly, said Snyder, American needs prime Saturday slots at JFK for new routes such as Athens and New Delhi. JetBlue, with its 334 JFK slots, has them. 

But while Snyder thinks the Northeast Alliance will boost competition in New York, he isn’t as sure about Boston. There, JetBlue is already the largest carrier without the American tie-up. Combined, JetBlue and American accounted for 50.6% of Boston departures in 2019, Cirium flight schedule data shows, compared with 21.5% for Delta, their largest competitor.


What You’re Owed If Your Flight Is Rescheduled This Summer
May 28, 2021 – Jessica Puckett

For domestic flights, schedules are more locked in at this point, according to Brett Snyder, an airline expert and president of Cranky Concierge. “Flight times may shift and things like that, but it shouldn’t be the same kind of upheaval that we’ve seen in the last year,” he says.

But for most international flights, which are still subject to a complex web of travel restrictions, it’s a different story. “There is still so much uncertainty, and the airlines are doing their best to put [international] schedules out there they think they can fly, but the reality is that they just don’t know,” Snyder says. “They know they can fly to like four or five countries in Europe. The rest, they’re not sure.”

Travelers with flights abroad booked for later this summer might start to see those flights shift over the next few days. “At this point airlines are beginning to pull down flights for July in countries that haven’t opened up yet,” Snyder says. “They need to have some more advance notice to fill up those airplanes with people. Some of the places are opening up or talking about opening up and haven’t done it yet, those are the places where the biggest risk is.”

Also important? Acting fast. “The goal is going to be to get it taken care of relatively quickly once you’re notified of the schedule change,” Snyder says. “You don’t want to sit on it for too long because other flights that you might like as good options, they might disappear, they might sell out. If you do get a schedule change, get on it, talk to the airlines or your travel agent, whoever it is who you booked through, and try and understand what your options are.”


Memorial Day travel by Southern Californians will increase 64%, most going by car
May 24, 2021 – Steve Scauzillo

“Yeah, people are going to a lot of outdoorsy destinations, such as Colorado, Jackson Hole, Wyoming and mountain west locations such as Yosemite,” said Brett Snyder, a South Bay resident who runs a concierge service for travelers and writes a blog called crankyflier.com.

“I am not surprised. People are seeking wide open spaces, fresh air. It is a matter of what makes you feel comfortable,” Snyder said.

Burbank Airport will benefit from Frontier Airlines adding flights and a new addition, Avelo Airlines, that started service April 28, Snyder said.


Airlines adapt to surging demand for summer travel
May 3, 2021


Airlines beef up domestic summer schedules with big jets as international trips remain uncertain
April 18, 2021 – Leslie Josephs

“American’s current strategy seems to be to fly as much as they can and worry about yields later,” said Brett Snyder, a former airline manager who runs an air travel assistance company, Cranky Concierge, and writes the Cranky Flier blog.


American and United Extend Deadlines On Unused Flight Credits
March 26, 2021 – Mary Schlangenstein and Justin Bachman

“There’s a good chance that carriers will extend expiration dates again if the recent uptick in domestic flight demand wanes,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, a travel planning firm.

Airlines also could start to distinguish between expiration dates for domestic and international credits given the broader uncertainty of travel outside the U.S.

“This summer is very up in the air right now,” said Snyder, who is also founder of the Crankyflier.com blog.

“We don’t know where you’ll be able to go, what countries will let us in. What I think ultimately will be the fair thing to do will be to extend it another six months. Then you’ll have next summer to be able to go somewhere. Give people the ability to actually use them.”


The Planedemic: Why Hundreds Of Airplanes Are Still Grounded In The Arizona Desert
March 25, 2021 – Phil Latzman

Brett Snyder has also been noticing. He runs the blog, The Cranky Flier, which tracks the airline industry.

“Oh yeah, that’s a really important indicator. When you see something like this that happens, there are airports all around the world in dry and warm climates where airplanes tend to rest best when they’re not being used,” Snyder said. 



“Because there’s so little demand for international long haul flying and those flights have been cut back so much that you see more of those wide body, big airlines on domestic routes,” Snyder said. 


But Snyder says less certain are the permanent changes to how we fly.

“The airlines with their change fees. When the airlines came out with that, we saw some airlines like United say this is permanent. To me, that says I don’t know — maybe they’ll be around for three years I don’t know (laughs)? The time horizon for permanence in this industry is pretty short. But they are hoping that this flexibility is something they will keep.”

But Snyder knows there’s one luxury that will soon become a thing of the past.

“I think there are some long-term benefits that I can think we can expect to stick around. But for people hoping that middle seats will be blocked off forever, that’s not gonna happen.” 


Could ‘Revenge Travel’ Help Airlines Recover From Pandemic?
March 16, 2021 – Mark Brodie, The Show

As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19, there’s some thought that could lead to an increase in travel — specifically air travel. There’s even a name for it: revenge travel.

For more about this, and against whom we may be looking to exact revenge, The Show spoke with Brett Snyder, president and founder of Cranky Concierge Air Travel Assistance and Cranky Flier Airline Industry Blog.


Disjointed restrictions are tripping up a travel recovery — and it may be getting worse
Feburary 5, 2021 – Kyle Arnold

Brett Snyder, a blogger for Crankyflier.com and a travel consultant, said the testing requirements are “insanely confusing.”

It’s “hard to keep track of what the rules are and they change frequently,” he said.


Experts say vaccine rollout, cheap fares may lead to more rapid air travel rebound
January 12, 2021 – Mina Kaji and Amanda Maile

Airline analyst Brett Snyder, who writes the Cranky Flier blog, believes airlines will have to keep fares low to fill their planes.

“They want to get people going again and get people comfortable, make things move,” he said. “You know, if they can raise fares, they will, they’re airlines. But you know whether they’ll actually be able to do that or not is unclear.”

Snyder referenced U.S. airlines eliminating change fees as things airlines have been willing to do to generate business that would never have happened pre-pandemic.

“For people that are looking to plan travel this summer, there are some deals to be had,” Snyder said, “But more of what we’ve been seeing is more short-term deals.”


Chasing pandemic revenue, low-cost airlines expand in major cities
January 8, 2021 – Robert Silk

“I think what happens here is you revisit the previous assumption of whether it was a good idea to serve Miami or not,” said analyst Brett Snyder, who pens the Cranky Flier blog. Airlines, he said, are thinking, “Now that we’re desperate to have any leisure anything, let’s take a swing at it and see if it will work.”

Both Mann and Snyder expect that having gained entry after years of trying, Southwest will seek to remain in O’Hare long-term, and Spirit will want to keep a presence in Orange County.

Houston Bush presents a less certain long-term option for Southwest, said Snyder, noting the carrier could have entered there prior to the pandemic had it wished to. The airport, he said, might simply be low-hanging fruit for the carrier right now.

Cranky Flier