Cranky in the News

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


Brett Snyder – Founder, Cranky Flier LLC, Season 2, Episode 9
May 21, 2024 – Courtney Miller and Gueric Dechavanne

A long podcast discussion about my history but also the current state of the industry.


U.S. travelers are hungry for international travel. These stocks will likely benefit.
May 20, 2024 – Claudia Assis

This summer, U.S. airlines are also well staffed, said Brett Snyder, president of the Cranky Flier website.

A pilot shortage, which had been a continuing problem exacerbated by the pandemic, is not a big issue for the airlines anymore, Snyder said.

Airlines are staffed well, and “in terms of operations there’s a good chance airlines will have a good summer,” he said.

That’s barring technical issues, severe weather, and air-traffic control issues, he said.

For consumers, even though domestic fares have come down, fares will still be “pretty high” this summer, Snyder said.

“Airlines are still trying to find that optimal place to be,” and fly as many people as possible for a good profitable fare, but not so high that they may scare off potential travelers.


What Happens If You Miss Your Connecting Flight?
April 23, 2024 – Jessica Puckett

“Airlines will try to rebook travelers automatically, but it doesn’t always work,” says Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, an airline assistance firm. “If there are no obvious flights available, or if the travel involves multiple airlines, it can be much harder for the airlines to auto-rebook people. And even if they do auto-rebook, it may not be an option that’s acceptable to the traveler.”

“Try everything,” Snyder says. “Get on the phone with reservations, stand in line at a desk to see an agent, send a tweet, try chat. Whatever options the airline gives, the traveler should take advantage and use the first one that comes available.”

“If a travel agent has made the booking in their system, they can often just put the travelers on the next connecting flight if they miss it,” Snyder says. “It saves a great deal of hassle. Even if that can’t be done in the system, agents can be watching and helping while the traveler is stuck in the air or in an airport. It helps take the pressure off, and it can end up getting the problem solved earlier.”

“There is no fixed answer,” says Snyder. “It depends on the airport and terminal configuration. If someone is flying in the morning via a smaller airport, they might not need more than half an hour. But if it’s an inbound international flight landing at JFK that requires changing terminals, then two hours might make sense.”

“There are more people traveling and especially during the summer, there is a higher chance of thunderstorms that can disrupt travel more,” Snyder says. “But it really is up to individual preference.”


Frontier Airlines cancels new Cleveland to Jamaica route — just one month after it started
April 16, 2024 – Susan Glaser

Industry observer Brett Snyder said Frontier and other low-cost airlines don’t have a business model that allows new routes to develop over time.

“They have to earn their keep or they’re gone,” said Snyder, who follows the industry at CrankyFlier.com. “They don’t give them time to develop. They either work or they don’t.”


Some American Airlines Flyers Won’t Earn Miles for Flights Starting Next Month
April 15, 2024 – Scott Laird

Brett Snyder, author of the popular travel industry blog Crankyflier, and CEO of the travel assistance service Cranky Concierge—a travel agency that could be affected by American’s changes if it is not designated as “preferred” by the end of April—is frustrated by the moves. 

“This move just adds more confusion for travelers who continue to try to and navigate American’s frequent changes. The biggest impact will likely be on business travelers who may not have a choice of where to book depending upon company policy. The fact that American still hasn’t told everyone who is or is not preferred adds more to the confusion.”

Leisure travelers who do have a choice of booking channel will also be affected, say Snyder, particularly because American hasn’t yet released the list of preferred agencies, and agencies that are not preferred may not disclose that to travelers during the booking process. 


The award for ‘sexiest new route’ of the year goes to …
April 4, 2024 – Ben Mutzabaugh

A write-up about the 2024 Cranky Network Awards.


This Airline is Now Charging Peak and Off-Peak Checked Luggage Fees. Will Others Follow?
April 3, 2024 – Jessica Puckett

Some airlines use a sliding scale of fees for extra charges like seat selection and pricing for award trips using frequent flier miles—the more in-demand the route or travel window, the higher the cost for these services. “Some of the ultra low-cost carriers vary their bag fees as well, but it’s not rigidly spelled out in the same way,” says Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, a firm that provides travel planning and airline assistance.

“I would never be surprised to see an airline adopt a new method of charging fees that would allow it to increase revenues,” says Snyder. “This plan allows JetBlue to keep bag fees at the same low level as other airlines during off-peak times. But during peak times, it can charge more and make more money since it knows people are more likely to have to travel anyway.”

If travelers want to avoid the sliding scale of fees, there are a few key points to pay attention to in JetBlue’s new policy. “There is a discount for booking checked bags in advance instead of waiting to do it until the last minute,” Snyder says. Under the new rules, passengers can save up to $10 if they pay for a checked bag more than 24 hours before departure (essentially, before check-in opens). “If someone has to check a bag, they should do it in advance. Otherwise, the only way to avoid this is by not checking a bag. That might mean stuffing everything into a carry-on, or looking into shipping services that send you baggage ahead of you,” Snyder says.


United’s Latest Move Probably Means Higher Airfares
April 3, 2024 – Scott Laird

This could ultimately translate into higher fares if travel demand remains steady. Brett Snyder, author of the popular airline industry business blog Crankyflier, notes, “With fewer airplanes coming, airlines will have fewer seats to sell and that usually means higher fares.” Snyder, who is also CEO of the travel planning service Cranky Concierge, further explains that while the environment is good for higher fares, he hasn’t seen a marked increase—yet. 


I will fight for overhead space on a plane, but I shouldn’t have to | Cruising Altitude
March 27, 2024 – Zach Wichter

“Sometimes you’ll hear an agent blame the FAA, but that’s not true,” said Brett Snyder, author of the blog Cranky Flier and owner of the travel agency Cranky Concierge.

“We initially got there when checked bags were still free, but people were primarily concerned that their checked bag would be lost,” Snyder said. “When (airlines) started charging for checked bags, then it became even more important for people, because people don’t want to pay for it.” 

Snyder said airlines can encourage or require passengers to gate-check their bags but acknowledged that sometimes backfires, especially if they start forcing checks before the overhead bins are full.

And, of course, airlines can charge for overhead bin access, which is unpopular with passengers, but it does smooth things along at the boarding door.

“You have airlines like Spirit and Frontier, they charge you more to carry-on than to check a bag,” Snyder said. “You don’t see the same kind of mad dash that you see on other airlines to get on board just so you can claim your bin space.”

For Snyder, the best way to avoid the stress is to just determine not to rely on the bins at all.

“When you travel without a carry-on bag, it is remarkably freeing. You, all of a sudden, don’t care when you board if you have an assigned seat,” he said.


With so many flights, customers find low fares to Orlando, Las Vegas. Will it last?
March 13, 2024 – Sean Cudahy

The thing is, adding more and more flights to the likes of Orlando and Vegas has traditionally worked, according to Brett Snyder, analyst and president of the Cranky Flier aviation site and the Cranky Concierge travel service.

“Demand is strong, historically, to Orlando. And they figure, ‘Let’s put more in here and see what happens,'” Snyder explained.

But, more recently?

“It did not go well,” he said. “Effectively, they put too much capacity in and they were scrambling to try to figure out how to fill those seats.”

In a recent analysis, Snyder noted just how much base fares to Orlando dropped in late 2023 — as much as 20% on some carriers like Frontier Airlines.

“Fares going down — that’s good news for consumers,” Snyder said. “But it’s not sustainable for the airlines, so now they’re pulling it all back.”


DOT criticized for approach to policing U.S.-Mexico airline joint ventures
March 11, 2024 – Robby Silk

Ozores, along with Brett Snyder, author of the Cranky Flier blog, agreed that the Allegiant-Viva Aerobus joint venture would have clear consumer benefits: Allegiant doesn’t fly to Mexico, so the partnership wouldn’t eliminate them as competitors on any route. And by combining service, the carriers could deploy their combined fleet to provide low-cost alternatives to larger competitors. 

Still, there would be some impact. Snyder cited Aeromexico’s service between Boston and Mexico City, set to launch March 21, as an example of a route that could be hurt if the DOT ends the Delta-Aeromexico joint venture. The Mexican carrier would rely heavily on Delta, which has a Boston hub, to sell that flight. Absent the venture’s profit-sharing, Delta would have less incentive to do so, even if it continues codesharing on the route. 

“I think they’re really just trying to push Mexico to live up to their promises,” Snyder said of the DOT. “But I don’t think Mexico will give in.”


Spirit Airlines on retreat at Cleveland Hopkins, cutting three nonstops including Las Vegas
March 7, 2024 – Susan Glaser

In the wake of the failed merger, industry observer Brett Snyder said Spirit needs to get back to basics.

“They have to show they can make money again,” said Snyder, who follows the industry at crankyflier.com. He noted that Spirit hasn’t posted a profit since before the pandemic.


JetBlue resets with new CEO, industry veterans to run airline on time, and profitably
February 12, 2024 – Leslie Josephs

“We’ve been given the appetizer but the main course isn’t until investor day,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge travel assistance company and the Cranky Flier site. “They’re hiring the right people. I am cautiously optimistic for the first time in years.”

Snyder said that JetBlue will need to take a long, hard look at its network to cut what isn’t working, and to make hard decisions, like putting more slack in the system to improve the operation.


Lower fares, fewer flights: How the closure of United’s hub in Cleveland has altered air travel over 10 years
February 8, 2024 – Susan Glaser

“The beauty of a hub is that it brings demand in from other places,” said Brett Snyder, who follows the airline industry at crankyflier.com. “There are more destinations and more flights than a city could support on its own.”


How right-wing influencers turned airplanes and airports into culture war battlegrounds
January 28, 2024 – David Ingram

Brett Snyder, who has been writing about the airline business since 2006 and who runs the website Cranky Flier, said that he’s seen no connection between diversity efforts and safety.

“Even someone with basic knowledge of airline operations and safety would know that there’s no data to support this,” he said in a phone interview. “It’s an affront to the people who are being brought into this industry and making them feel like they don’t belong.”

Snyder said the industry is used to being under a harsh media spotlight, which creates an opportunity for anyone who’s pushing an agenda.

“Airlines are always in the news, and people love talking about airlines,” he said. “Anyone who is trying to seize on an anti-diversity message would probably do the same thing as anyone else and say, ‘Where are the eyeballs?’”


What’s the Difference Between Business Class and First Class?
January 25, 2024 – Hannah Towey

At the end of the day, travelers seeking an elevated flight experience can’t go wrong with either choice. According to airline industry expert Brett Snyder, “the real difference between business and first class these days is prestige and exclusivity.”

“Both cabins will almost certainly have flat beds, and even business class cabins are now starting to receive suites with doors on some airlines. First class will often come with things like special lounge access on the ground, transfers direct to the airplane, and upgraded meals and drinks,” he tells Traveler. “The vast majority of people will be exceedingly happy with business class, but some just want that higher level of exclusivity because they can.”


Will Travelers Suffer Because of the Ruling Against the Spirit-JetBlue Merger?
January 17, 2024 – Scott Laird

Brett Snyder, author of the popular aviation business blog The Cranky Flier and CEO of the air travel assistance service Cranky Concierge, says the outlook for both carriers is now uncertain. “It’s unclear what this means in the long run. If Spirit stays independent, it will provide lower fares than the combined entity would have, but the future is somewhat cloudy,” he said.

He went on to note that, “Spirit faces a real challenge just to continue operating. Its financial results have been terrible. It will now have to make serious changes to create a profitable airline before it runs out of money.” Snyder also says that “JetBlue can no longer rely on buying Spirit as a strategy—it has to create one that actually works based on what it has.” 


Running late for your flight? Don’t panic. Here’s what to do. | Cruising Altitude
January 3, 2024 – Zach Wichter

“The best thing to do is find your options and help feed these people that information,” Brett Snyder, author of the Cranky Flier blog and owner of the Cranky Concierge travel agency, told me. “If you know the rules and you know what has availability and you can spoon feed that to them, they love it.”

“Pick an airport that has another airport nearby. Say Austin – you’re going to Austin and they can get you to San Antonio,” Snyder said. “Generally, they’ll have a radius of how far they’re willing to reaccommodate you.”

According to Snyder, if you have any shot of making your flight, it’s usually best to act like you’re going to get there and deal with it at the airport if you don’t because airport employees are typically best positioned to help with close-in changes.

However, Snyder said, if your plans change or missing the flight makes the trip not worth taking, you should cancel so you’re not marked as a no-show, which will usually mean forfeiting the value of your ticket.

Snyder also said that as much as airlines may want to help, the options can be limited, especially during busy travel periods.

Exact policies vary by airline, but you shouldn’t necessarily expect to be rebooked for free. Snyder pointed out that being proactive and ponying up can help the situation get resolved more quickly.

“Most airlines, the big guys –domestic at least – you can try to do a same-day confirmed change or a same-day standby for a flat fee,” he said.

“If you know you’re going to miss a flight, don’t be cheap. If there’s an option available to you, take it because it may not be available to you when you get to the airport,” Snyder said. 

In that case, or any time an airline operational issue disrupts your travel, carriers will still be required to get you where you planned to go. Snyder warned thatif you miss a connection and then there’s no reasonable way to get to your final destination, you could wind up going home and getting a refund instead.


Fewer flights, crowded airports: How holiday travel is faring in 2023
December 27, 2023 – Joanne Drilling

“To fix this issue, they started increasing wages,” Snyder said.

But that only exacerbated challenges for regional service to smaller cities already struggling with demand and led to some strategic routing decisions for airlines.

“When (airlines) use these smaller airplanes … with really expensive pilots, it increases costs,” Snyder said. “If those pilots are only flying 50 seats versus 200, you get into this spiral where the costs keep going up on smaller airplanes. The revenue doesn’t, so a lot of those (routes) had to be sacrificed.”

An FAA change allowed airlines to reduce their number of flights by up to 10% without the risk of losing their slots in major metros like New York. That’s one reason many hub-to-hub routes have seen fewer flights in recent years.

“If you’re flying between your own hubs, it can be an easy place to get out of the schedule and not have a huge impact. Whereas, in some of these markets that have only one flight a day, you can’t get out unless you walk away from it completely,” Snyder said.

“If you’re flying between your own hubs, it can be an easy place to get out of the schedule and not have a huge impact. Whereas, in some of these markets that have only one flight a day, you can’t get out unless you walk away from it completely,” Snyder said.


No, Southwest Airlines’ ‘customer of size’ policy isn’t new
December 18, 2023 – Erin Jones

But Brett Snyder, president of airline industry blog Cranky Flier, says this type of seating policy is uncommon at most other airlines.

“Travelers who want extra room usually have to buy a second seat and won’t get refunded,” Snyder says.

In addition to alleging Southwest’s “customer of size” policy is new, some social media posts claim other passengers who have already purchased tickets will be kicked off their flights to make room for a traveler who needs an additional seat under Southwest’s policy. But Snyder believes that’s not how the policy would work.

“If a flight is full and a passenger of size hasn’t already bought the extra seat, they will either have to fit in one seat or take a different flight, as far as I understand it. If they’ve already bought another seat, then I don’t know why this would bump anyone off,” Snyder says.


Your One-Stop Guide to Navigating Airport Chaos This Holiday Season
December 15, 2023 – Jessica Puckett

And on the subject of connecting flights: you should avoid layovers whenever possible. “For the most part, the best thing you can do is pay for a nonstop flight when available so you can just get where you’re going with the least hassle,” says Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, which offers airline assistance to travelers.

In the case of inclement weather, many airlines will provide options in advance to reschedule your trip at no additional charge. “Most airlines have become very proactive at putting out weather waivers if a significant storm is coming,” Snyder says. “Make sure that you either book through a travel agent that monitors this or that the airline has your email address in your booking so that you’ll receive notifications if a waiver is in place.”

The security checkpoint is bound to be one of the more stressful stages of the airport journey. But there are a few ways to make the process simpler and bypass any long lines. “If you don’t have TSA Precheck, get on it,” Snyder says. “That makes security so much easier, especially during the holidays when there are more inexperienced travelers flying.”

Cancellations usually mean waiting hours for the attention of already-swamped ticketing agents to get on the next flight out. To avoid putting all your eggs in one basket, Snyder advises using every customer service avenue available. “If you’re at the airport when a flight cancels, get in line,” he says. “At the same time, get on the phone with the airline, try the Twitter/X team, go online to the airline website, and even try the airline app. Wherever you get help first, that’s the best.”

Remember that if the airline you booked with doesn’t have any desirable flights, you can try asking if they’ll book you with another carrier—but this doesn’t always work. “Some airlines will book you on other airlines while some won’t,” Snyder says. “It can also depend upon why the first flight is delayed or canceled. It can never hurt to ask.”


Is shipping luggage better than checking bags? We tried it 4 ways.
December 12, 2023 – Natalie Compton, Amanda Finnegan, Heidi Pérez-Moreno and Andrea Sachs

“All of a sudden you don’t care about boarding early, you don’t care about bin space,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the airline industry blog Cranky Flier and Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. “It’s a freedom that many people do not know.”

Depending on your turnaround time, you can expect to pay from around $50 to more than $100 to ship a bag — higher than the $30 to $35 many U.S. airlines charge to check one piece of luggage. Snyder says beyond the selling point of feeling fancy-free, many travelers turn to shipping despite the higher cost —particularly older travelers and those with disabilities.

“Lugging those bags to the airport — that’s a lot to deal with,” he said. “And so there’s huge value in [luggage shipping].”


9 ways to prepare for a holiday travel meltdown, from easy to extreme
December 7, 2023 – Natalie Compton

If you’re driving yourself to the airport “reserve parking in advance,” said Brett Snyder, who runsthe airline industry blog Cranky Flier. “You can do that at most airports now.” You’ll have a lot of competition, so keep sites like SpotHero in mind to find nearby buildings such as hotels thatsell parking spaces and offer shuttle services to the airport.

Snyder agrees. “Eliminating connection is a huge point of failure that you avoid,” he said.

“Morning flights tend to do better as a general rule,” Snyder said.

Not all experts are keen on travelers booking backup flights. “It just makes it more expensive and difficult for other people to actually buy tickets to see their families,” Snyder said. “There are only so many seats around, so that’s just not cool.”


If Alaska and Hawaiian merge, would interisland fares return to GDSs?
December 6, 2023 – Robert Silk

Brett Snyder, who pens the Cranky Flier blog and owns the Cranky Concierge travel agency, said he thinks Alaska will put Hawaiian’s interisland flights back in the GDSs. Hawaiian’s removal of that flight inventory in late spring 2022, he said, has handicapped the carrier against its primary interisland competitor, Southwest, which now embraces GDSs.

“I think Alaska sees the value in that channel and will be seeking to bolster itself,” Snyder said.


Proposed merger of Alaska and Hawaiian airlines a promising fit, observers say
December 5, 2023 – Alex DeMarban

Hawaii is a natural extension of Alaska Airlines’ focus on the West Coast market, where demand for travel to the Hawaiian islands is strong, said Brett Snyder, an airline industry analyst who runs the crankyflier.com blog. Snyder had called for a merger of the two airlines in recent years and said Monday on his blog that he loves the airlines’ decision to unite.

There are many things the two companies can do together that they can’t do alone, which is not always the case in an airline merger, he said. Hawaiian widebody aircraft that travel internationally will join Alaska’s narrow-body aircraft that travel domestically, opening up potential travel combinations for passengers, he said.

“Maybe Alaska starts flying to London or Tokyo using wide-bodies from Seattle, and that makes it a seamless easy connection for Alaska Air loyalists in Alaska get to those locations,” he said.


Alaska Airlines Says It Will Acquire Hawaiian Airlines. Is This Good News for You?
December 4, 2023 – Scott Laird

Brett Snyder, an airline industry analyst, and founder of the travel assistance service Cranky Concierge, agrees. “I love the combination. The networks fit well together, and the two airlines can help solve each other’s problems through the merger. It’s a great match.”


Could slot hoarding be the cause of your cancelled flight?
September 30, 2023 – Jennifer Leake

A half hour radio program talking about how slot coordination works.


Tarmac delays are all the (out)rage on social media. What you need to know
September 21, 2023 – Sasha Richie
(Syndicated with no subscription required)

Almost all airlines have similar contingency plans that meet the DOT’s standards, according to Brett Snyder, airline expert and founder of the blog Cranky Flier. That means that your experience in a tarmac delay shouldn’t vary much from airline to airline.


Delta changed its frequent flyer program — and customers are truly furious
September 18, 2023 – Edward Pizzarello

Brett Snyder, president of the Cranky Flier aviation site and Cranky Concierge travel service, wasn’t fazed by the announcement, saying: “Anyone who put value in SkyMiles and expected that to remain, what have you been watching the past few years?”

He adds the airline has had a number of instances in the past where it has promised one thing to SkyMiles elite members and delivered another.

“Delta believes it offers a premium product and a valuable slate of elite benefits that they can only offer to a set number of travelers,” Snyder says. “They have long subscribed to the belief that ‘if everyone is elite nobody is elite’. Upgrades, which are one of the holy grails of elite benefits, are more scarce today and the airline will likely continue to sell more premium seats.”


American Airlines dismantles its corporate sales division
September 13, 2023 – Robert Silk

Though American described the restructuring as a streamlining of its corporate and agency sales functions, airline industry analyst and travel advisor Brett Snyder has a different view. 

“They are taking the pieces of the sales team that they still want to keep and they are just divvying it up to different parts of the rest of the company. There is no centralized sales team anymore,” he said. “It just confirms what we all already know as agents, that American does not value its travel partners, its travel retailers as they call them, and effectively just tolerates them.”


For travelers who want to avoid babies and kids, one airline will test an adults-only section
August 29, 2023 – David Koenig

Brett Snyder, who runs a travel agency and writes the Cranky Flier blog, said Tuesday that there could be demand for adult seats.

“For a heavy leisure airline like Corendon, which is probably full of families with little kids, I can see the appeal for someone traveling without kids to pay extra to be away from them to have more peace and quiet,” Snyder said.

Then again, he added, people in the back of the adult zone might still hear crying, “so it’s like the old days when you were in the last row of the non-smoking section but could still taste that smoke.”


How to make that cheap Spirit or Frontier airfare even cheaper (hint: step away from your computer)
August 18, 2023 – Susan Glaser

One of the benefits to the airlines of all these optional fees is that they keep the carriers’ tax burden relatively low, said airline industry analyst Brett Snyder, who follows the industry at CrankyFlier.com.

Brett Snyder, the industry analyst, tried buying a cheaper ticket at the airport just once, to see how it works.

Snyder, who lives in Southern California, drove 10 minutes to the Long Beach Airport, where he got an hour of free parking. He bought a ticket on Allegiant and, as he recalls, “I saved a few bucks.”

He said he would never – ever – drive to Los Angeles International Airport to do the same. It’s too far away, too big and parking is expensive.

“You just have to think about it rationally,” he said. “If you can do it on your lunch break, great.”


How to Get Upgraded to First Class: Use Oversold Flights to Your Advantage
August 15, 2023 – Jessica Puckett

The best case for a free upgrade a traveler could make to a gate agent would be if no coach seats are available on the next flight but premium seats are open, according to Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, a firm that offers air travel assistance. “A traveler can say, ‘If you can get me on that next flight, I can go,’” Snyder says.

Getting upgraded in this manner is certainly not a straightforward process, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth giving it a shot. “A traveler can always try,” Snyder says. “There’s no harm in asking.”


Frequent-Flyer Miles Are Hotter Than Cash This Summer
July 27, 2023 – Mary Schlangenstein

Brett Snyder, president of the Cranky Concierge travel planning firm and a former airline pricing analyst. Airlines sell miles to credit card, hotel and other partners at a set rate, have fairly fixed costs to run the program and can set the price to redeem awards.

“This is not a loyalty program—this is just another line of business, and they are maximizing it the best they can,” he says. “In theory, it puts less pressure on fares because they have a very significant secondary source of revenue that is wildly profitable.”


Airlines crack down on a money-saving hack: Skip-lagging
July 21, 2023 – Nate Boyle

Interview where I talk about the dangers of hidden city ticketing


Thousands stuck at airports amid flight delays and cancellations
June 29, 2023 – Tom Costello

Interview for the NBC Nightly News on flight delays and cancellations


Cancelled flights upset US travellers promised a smoother summer
June 29, 2023 – Claire Bushey in and Philip Georgiadis

If forecast storms along the US east coast come to pass, “that could make life tough” for air travellers, said industry analyst Brett Snyder, who runs the website ‘the Cranky Flier’.

“That’s the problem with summer storms,” he said. “You just never know how, where and when they’ll actually form.”


Will U.S. Airlines Recover by This Weekend?
June 29, 2023 – Bailey Berg

Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, an air travel assistance service (including urgent help when flights are canceled or delayed), echoed that sentiment, saying that airlines have said they “hope to be well into the recovery by the weekend.” But he added that it really all depends on external factors.

“Sunday and Monday look like stormy days up and down the East Coast,” Snyder said. “If that materializes in ways that block air traffic, then it could get ugly once again. But with summer storms, you just never know how or when they will materialize.”


A Guide to Awards Travel for Brand-New Frequent Fliers
June 23, 2023 – Ethan Steinberg

“The reality is that unless you really travel a ton, you’re not going to get most of those things—at least not in the way that you expect that you would,” says Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, a travel agency based in Long Beach, Calif.


Delta pushes federal law change for more flights from Reagan National
June 9, 2023 – Kelly Yamanouchi

On political issues, Delta is “pretty proactive on advocating for themselves,” said Brett Snyder, a former airline manager and author of crankyflier.com. While other airlines may defer to a consensus opinion from an industry lobbying group, “Delta is more than happy to go it alone and make some waves,” he said.


Analysts: An AA-JetBlue breakup could be complex, costly
June 1, 2023 – Robert Silk

According to the court order, American and JetBlue are not required to pull down the schedules they’ve jointly developed to this point. But because the order requires that they stop sharing revenue, if the airlines lost the NEA appeal, they’d want to reposition their competitive posture, said Brett Snyder, a travel advisor and airline industry analyst who pens the Cranky Flier blog

“In the long run, the inability to share revenue and coordinate means they can’t keep the structure the way they have it,” Snyder said. “American doesn’t even fly from Boston to New York anymore. They let JetBlue have it.”

Snyder said American could continue its slot leases to JetBlue. But if American, absent the NEA, wants to make a run at the New York-area primacy of Delta and United, it would have to retake those slots and invest heavily.


Summer air travel: Another season of ‘airmageddon’?
Podcast appearance


752 Breeze Airways, plus Cranky
Podcast appearance


Now Boarding: Everything you need to know about frequent flyer miles and airline status
May 21, 2023 – Leslie Josephs and Erin Black
Videocast appearance


Is Tuesday Still the Best Day to Book a Flight?
May 15, 2023 – Billie Cohen

“I believe that this probably came out of the early days of the Internet when airlines started putting out web specials that were usually on Wednesdays,” says Brett Snyder, who worked for several airlines before founding Cranky Concierge, an air-travel booking and emergency-assistance service. “Maybe it was Tuesday night.”

“Sometimes you’ll hear people say that it’s cheaper to book on the weekends, but that’s a warping of statistics,” says Snyder. He explains that weekends appear cheaper because the average expenditure on tickets purchased during the week is higher than what’s spent on the weekends—but the reason for that difference is not the actual cost of the fares, it’s who’s doing the buying and how much they’re willing to spend. “You get a higher percentage of leisure bookings made on the weekends versus corporate bookings which are made during the week,” he says, and weekends look cheaper because companies are willing to spend more on a ticket than regular people are.

“Fares are determined entirely by expected demand,” says Snyder. “If flights are expected to be full, or during peak times, then prices are higher. If demand is lower, they’ll bring prices down to try to keep the planes full.”


Why your flight is early, even when it’s late
May 3, 2023 – Andrea Sachs

“It takes longer to complete a flight, especially in the Northeast,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier. “There’s more air and ground congestion.”

“So many things can impact just getting into the air or to your gate,” Snyder said.

“Some airlines will schedule more buffer,” Snyder said. “Others will go tighter on the schedule.”


Cleveland on short list for new Frontier Airlines crew base
May 3, 2023 – Susan Glaser

“When an airline opens a crew base – that shows staying power,” said industry consultant Brett Snyder, who operates travel site crankyflier.com. “It’s more of a longer-term commitment to a city and bodes well for future growth.”


US airlines plot a course away from another costly summer of chaos
April 24, 2023 – Claire Bushey

The latest aviation hiccup occurred on Tuesday, when a firewall failure at Southwest forced the airline to halt all departures nationwide. Though normal operations resumed quickly, industry analyst Brett Snyder, who runs the website Cranky Flier, said it would be harder to recover from a similar stumble during the summer, when flights are fuller and more travellers need to make connections.

The airlines “are certainly prepared to operate in a good weather environment”, he said. “Depending upon what Mother Nature throws at them, that’s when we’ll figure out how tested they are.”


Planning for summer travel? Expect full planes, high fares, long lines
April 21, 2023 – Susan Glaser

“If there are – when there are – summer thunderstorms, it will be even worse,” said industry consultant Brett Snyder, founder of crankyflier.com.

Despite some lingering concerns, consultant Brett Snyder said he doesn’t expect widespread flight cancellations in 2023 like what occurred in 2022.

“There was a very rapid ramp-up in 2022,” said Snyder, as demand surged following two years of pandemic restrictions. “This year they have a better blueprint to go on.”

While the long-term pilot shortage is still impacting airlines, Snyder said the airlines have largely solved their shorter-term, pandemic-related staffing problems.

The same cannot be said for the Federal Aviation Administration, which recently asked all major airlines to cut service in and out of the New York City area by as much as 10% this summer due to a shortage of air traffic controllers.

“That’s a red flag,” said Snyder. “They’re asking for a solution before anything has happened.”

Similar traffic control issues in Florida could lead to operational problems in the South, as well, said Snyder.

Despite the problems, Snyder believes the industry is in better shape than it was a year ago.

* Fly nonstop if you can. “That removes a lot of uncertainty,” said Snyder.

* Build in more time if you’re connecting. Airlines are selling itineraries with increasingly minimal connecting times – 35 minutes at Chicago O’Hare, for example, said Snyder. “That doesn’t give you much room for error,” he said. “That gives you no room for error.”

* Have an action plan in the event of trouble. If you see that weather might be a problem on your day of travel (or even if you don’t), research possible alternatives if your flight is delayed or canceled. What other carriers fly the route? Are there other airports nearby? If there is a problem, you want to be first out of the gate for any possible solution. “There may be a couple of seats on that alternative flight and the first two people to get them are the winners,” said Snyder.


Travel agencies say American Airlines’ support has plummeted
March 16, 2023 – Robert Silk

Snyder predicted that if this current strategy fails, American will attempt a rapprochement with the agency community. But if it succeeds, Delta and United will follow along.


Spirit, Southwest’s cheap flights to Florida, Las Vegas lead new RDU nonstops
February 27, 2023 – Lauren Ohnesorge

“The airlines are all monitoring to see what’s a new normal [versus] what just hasn’t come back yet,” Brett Snyder of Cranky Flier said in an email.


What to expect at Valley airports with the Super Bowl and Phoenix Open in town
February 9, 2023 – Lauren Gilger

I spoke with Lauren about this weekend’s Super Bowl and the impact on travel around Phoenix.


$112 for a carry-on bag? Airline fees are on the rise; here’s how you can save
January 19, 2023 – Susan Glaser

Brett Snyder, who follows the airline industry at CrankyFlier.com, said fees have skyrocketed in recent years, not just on Frontier, but on Spirit and other low-cost airlines.

“I think they’re just really testing the market,” said Snyder. “Can we get this much? Let’s find out.”


Air travel expected to return to pre-pandemic levels this summer
January 18, 2023 – Hannah McKinlay

Airline expert and blogger Brett Snyder believes increased flight demand won’t be a concern for U.S. airlines.

“It’s a much bigger deal for Chinese and other Asian carriers,” he said.


For new RDU airline, FAA issues are part of the growing pains
January 12, 2023 – Lauren Ohnesorge

Brett Snyder, founder of Cranky Flier, said it’s “hard to say what the ultimate effect will be” regarding the FAA outage. But flights were grounded for hours “and that has to have an impact on operations.”

“The chaos created by the FAA now puts the recovery back in the hands of the airlines, and they’ll do the best they can.”


Airport Chaos: A Look at the Computer Breakdown That Caused Widespread Flight Disruptions
January 11, 2023 – Tom Krisher and David Koenig

The government has no legal obligation to reimburse travelers, which is maddening, said Brett Snyder, a travel agent and author of the “Cranky Flier” travel blog.

“Secretary Buttigieg should set the right example here and reimburse people directly from the government coffers,” he said.


Southwest Airlines operation failures during blizzard to cost up to $825mn
January 6, 2023 – Steff Chávez and Claire Bushey

But industry analyst Brett Snyder, who runs the website the Cranky Flier, said he expected few customers to balk at choosing Southwest in the future.

Travellers who were stranded are “currently being showered with money and points, so that helps get you back on the plane again”.

Moreover, many US airports are dominated by a single carrier, and consumers tend to have short memories.

“People like to talk a big game, but they don’t actually do anything about it,” he said. “If I wanted to walk away and make a statement as a traveller, it means I would either have to pay more or go to a different airport. It’s a trade-off of convenience, and Southwest knows that. Every airline knows that.”


Mesa and American cutting ties as regional airline expands deal with United
December 17, 2022 – Leslie Josephs

“This is 100% about pilots,” said Brett Snyder, founder of Cranky Flier travel website and a former airline manager.


USA TODAY analysis: Here are the 10 airports with the most flight cancellations around the holidays
December 15, 2022 – Zach Wichter and Dian Zhang

Weather is typically the biggest factor when it comes to airline reliability, according to Brett Snyder, author of the Cranky Flier blog and owner of the Cranky Concierge travel agency. 

“It’s the wildcard that keeps on giving,” he said.

But, Snyder said, that’s no guarantee that the December-January rush will be the same. Travelers shouldarm themselves with as much knowledge as possible before their trips. 

“You should make sure that you’re aware of your airline’s policies,” he said. And in the event of a cancellation or a long delay, he added, “if you’re willing to do the work, try and find what your (alternative travel) options might be in advance.”


Why RDU’s next transatlantic flight could come from a budget carrier
December 13, 2022 – Lauren Ohnesorge

Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier, said ULCCs look for markets with short flights and high fares. RDU, which “hasn’t really built back as well as some other markets” post-pandemic, fits the bill.

The carriers’ model relies on their ability to grow quickly – “when they grow, they bring in younger, cheaper labor and it helps get the overall cost lower.”

“If you ever run out of the ability to grow quickly and easily, you may find yourself in trouble because then your cost will start rising and it can hurt your ability to keep your fares low,” Snyder said.

“There is no low cost fuel,” Snyder said. “When you’re flying long haul, you have to pay for the same fuel … it’s harder to get the cost advantage … so one way they do that is use smaller, efficient airplanes.”

Snyder said that brings RDU and other East Coast airlines a potential proximity advantage. In the case of Belfast-based Fly Atlantic, it’s planning to use narrow-body aircraft, which can only fly so far, he said.

“They’re drawing a circle, and they’re looking at what would fall under that circle,” he said, noting that other carriers looking to maximize savings through smaller aircraft may cast a wider net to mid-sized markets as a result. Aer Lingus, based in Ireland, has a nonstop flight to Cleveland – taking advantage of narrow-body aircraft, Snyder said.

Before the pandemic, Aer Lingus had been in talks with RDU about a possible flight to Dublin. While Dublin and Belfast may not be able to support a flight by themselves, that’s potentially where low cost connections to other parts of Europe could work in the math’s favor.

Snyder said incentives RDU offers could also help lure an ULCC across the Atlantic.

“If RDU has a rich incentives program, some of the airlines are more than happy to take that money and burn through it,” he said, though he added that it wouldn’t be surprising to see the airline leave when the money is gone.


A new ultralow-cost airline aims to test the transatlantic market
December 3, 2022 – Robert Silk

Brett Snyder, a travel advisor who is author of the Cranky Flier blog, argued that unlike Iceland, Northern Ireland isn’t a strong tourism market. As a result, Fly Atlantic wouldn’t be able to readily draw customers by offering free, multiday stopovers in Belfast, as Icelandair has successfully done in Reykjavik. 

Furthermore, the carrier will face competition on its European legs from discount carriers already operating at Belfast Airport, most notably EasyJet. 


Why air travel over Thanksgiving went so much better than over the summer
December 2, 2023 – Mark Brodie

I spoke with Mark on The Show to talk about what happened over Thanksgiving… or more like what didn’t happen.


Crowds at This Airport Are So Bad, Travelers Have Been Paying Up to $1,250 to Jump the Lines at Security
November 2, 2022 – Blane Bachelor

“You’ve seen all these other airports start lifting reductions, while Amsterdam is reducing the capacity for the fall months to even lower than what it was in the summer,” says Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, which provides air travel assistance, and airline industry blog Cranky Flier. “There has clearly been some issue that they aren’t capable of solving.”

Snyder, who lamented Schiphol’s “painful descent” in a recent Cranky Flier post, said he is also troubled by the long-term outlook at Schiphol in light of the Dutch government’s plans to cut the number of flights allowed from around 500,000 to 444,000 to reduce noise and air pollution. Schiphol management and airline industry groups have sharply criticized the move.

“This is a real issue, and you need to look no further than London to see that when governments refuse to try to meet the increasing demand over time, those airports lose their significance over time,” Snyder said. “The Dutch are following a similar playbook here right now.”


Lufthansa says AirTags are allowed in checked luggage after confusion over ban
October 12, 2022 – Kim Bellware

Brett Snyder, president of the air travel industry blog Cranky Flier, said regulators are responsible for keeping up with changing consumer technology that may pose safety concerns aboard planes.

“The airlines, until they have clarity, can interpret [regulations] however they see fit,” Snyder said. “And Lufthansa tends to be a very conservative company, so it’s not surprising they’d default to ‘you can’t use this.’”

And while AirTags are again cleared for takeoff in Lufthansa cargo holds, tracking lost bags only does so much good, Snyder said.

“I think the AirTags thing is funny. If my bags are lost, the airline isn’t going to listen to what I say,” Snyder said of the information supplied by his AirTags. “Maybe it’s peace of mind knowing my bags still exist … somewhere.”


Nonstop service between Cleveland Hopkins and Dublin launches May 19 on Aer Lingus
September 28, 2022 – Susan Glaser

Brett Snyder, who follows the airline industry at crankyflier.com, said Aer Lingus is a cross between a business-centric carrier like British Airways and more leisure-focused airlines that target price-conscious travelers. The carrier has flat-bed seats in business class but charges extra for seat assignments in economy class.

He noted that many connecting flights to the rest of Europe won’t have business-class seating. “It may not be quite the same experience.”

“Still, he said, “This is great for Cleveland. This is a really nice way to connect to Europe.”


The completely correct guide to the rules of baggage claim
September 22, 2022 – Natalie Compton

“The old black roller bag — everyone’s got one,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Flier consumer air travel blog and Cranky Concierge air travel assistance.

If you have one such bag, save yourself some anxiety by adding a personal touch, like an ornate luggage tag or a ribbon around the handle, “just something to make it distinguishable,” Snyder said.

“Think about people behind you and offer to help get their bags off or ask them what they’re looking for,” Snyder said. “But … once you have your bag get out of there.”

“Some people are just like, ‘It’s not here. It must be lost,’” Snyder said. Before you jump to that conclusion, Snyder says to see if you’re sharing a carousel with another flight — there’s a chance they haven’t offloaded your plane yet. Or your bag could have been on a cart that’s lagging behind.

“You are requesting help from the only person that’s likely to be able to help you, and if you’re yelling at them, they’re not going to feel very motivated to help you,” Snyder said.

There is no conspiracy to ruin your day, or interrupt your travel. “They want to get you out of there,” Snyder said. “The last thing they want is to have to deal with the issues.”


Plane-spotters from around the world flock to LAX In-N-Out
September 21, 2022 – Dave Stoelk

Here’s a video look at this year’s Cranky Dorkfest.


Hundreds of AvGeeks descend on LAX for annual ritual of burgers and planespotting
September 18, 2022 – Ethan Klapper

The event was started about 10 years as an informal gathering by Brett Snyder, who writes the eponymous Cranky Flier airline industry blog. It’s grown since, and in recent years has become an unofficial place for airline executives and other industry insiders to gather, along with casual AvGeeks and families. At the 2019 Dorkfest, then-United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz attended.

“It was fun when Oscar came that year,” Snyder, who was wearing a shirt with the logo of recently-defunct ultra-low-cost carrier aha! told TPG.


Holiday airfare will be most expensive in 5 years as pandemic fears wane
September 12, 2022 – Leslie Josephs

But Brett Snyder, founder of the Cranky Flier travel website and a former airline manager, warns cheap fares might be hard to find on any day this holiday season because airlines have improved their control over how many seats they sell.

“Airlines are so much better at this now,” Snyder said. “Now they just fly a lot fewer flights on Christmas Day. If it is cheaper, it’s not significantly cheaper.”


Your conspiracy theories about Southwest’s boarding policy are wrong
September 6, 2022 – James Bikales

“It’s surprisingly complicated,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Flier consumer air travel blog, noting some aspects of the boarding assignments on Southwest remain a “black box,” even to travel experts.

“You may even have A1, and you may not be the first person on that airplane,” Snyder said.

“If you have little kids, it’s probably not worth it to buy EarlyBird because you’ll really not have much trouble finding seats together,” Snyder said.

“As far as we know, when you’re doing regular check-in, it is strictly in order of when you click the button,” Snyder said. “It does matter to the second — you just have to be ahead of everyone else.”

Snyder said he generally doesn’t buy EarlyBird when he’s traveling alone because he can usually secure a non-middle seat with regular check-in.

“If I check in myself right at 24 hours, I’m probably going to get nothing above the low B area,” he said.

Though he recommends checking in as close to 24 hours out as possible, Snyder said passengers who can check in closer to the flight can occasionally take the boarding position of another passenger who canceled at the last minute.

On a full flight, however, every middle seat will be filled, so Leff said he goes straight for the “infinite legroom” seat, the window seat behind the exit row, which is missing a seat in front of it. Snyder called it Southwest’s “golden seat.”


Airlines promise the U.S. government they’ll feed and house stranded passengers
August 31, 2022

I joined this radio show to speak about the (limited) impact of new DOT rules.


Fall flight cuts reflect new normal for passengers
August 23, 2022 – Ivan Pereira

“These cuts are, right now, placeholders,” Brett Snyder, the president of Cranky Concierge travel assistance, told ABC News. “Typically, airlines plan out their flights about 100 days out, but those can change based on demand and other factors.”

Still, he said the situation should push the industry to rethink the way it plans out its future flights.

Snyder also noted that the fall typically sees a decrease in planned flights in October and November, even before the pandemic, and these new numbers reflect the fact that the industry is still recovering.

He added that passengers looking to book a flight during those two months shouldn’t worry because airlines have, in the past, added extra flights closer to departure based on demand and timing.

“I would bet we would see more flights added around Thanksgiving,” he said.

Snyder agreed that the airlines do not want to lose the revenue or their customers’ trust as they continue to rebound from the pandemic and will do everything they can to accommodate their request. He added that the situation should prompt the carriers to come up with a new system where they schedule their flights more accurately in advance to avoid any more problems that can occur from outside factors.

“They need to create a better placeholder, but that’s been hard because demand has been so variable since the pandemic,” he said.


Airlines delayed more than 8,000 flights in a stormy start to the week
August 23, 2022 – Natalie Compton

“Newark — that’s the seventh circle of hell,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Flier consumer air travel blog and Cranky Concierge air travel assistance. “That is an absolute worst-case, miserable performance.”


More than 2 years into pandemic, drastic airline schedule changes are still the norm
August 17, 2022 – Ethan Klapper

“They will start off and they will get rid of routes that they say, “Well, we know this isn’t gonna happen,’” Brett Snyder,  who writes the airline industry blog Cranky Flier and operates travel agency Cranky Concierge, said. “And then they just kind of go from there.”

Some of the cuts are still driven by COVID-19 restrictions, particularly in Asia, Snyder told TPG in an interview.

“This weekend, Delta just canceled much of Asia through the winter schedule,” he said. “If you were to look at Asia in March [2023], I’d say it’s probably pretty accurate as of now. Would they have known three months ago that Asia still wouldn’t be open? Probably not.”

“If you’re looking at a domestic schedule for March, well, that’s just not based in reality anyway,” Snyder said. “So you have different parts of the schedule that seem accurate at different times.”

There is nothing wrong with booking far in advance — especially if you find a good deal, Snyder said. However, you have to be flexible and expect multiple schedule changes — especially during the pandemic era.

“If you see a fare you like, go ahead, just make sure that you’re flexible because what you book today is not what you’re going to fly,” he said, acknowledging that many flyers booking far in advance are likely to see changes.

Snyder’s top tip for dealing with a schedule change is to know your carrier’s rules related to the issue. Those rules are published on each airline’s travel agency site (AmericanDeltaUnited) and can put you ahead of others in similar situations if you know what to ask for.

“If you know the rules, that’s already a step up, so then you can say, ‘All right, let’s see if I could find something on my own,’ which I always like to do because oftentimes if you’re just calling someone or looking at the automated options online, that’s not going to be the full subset of what you might be able to do,” Snyder said.

He also recommends being persistent when calling airlines about schedule changes — especially when they want to just offer a refund to make a problem go away. Accepting a refund might sound like a good idea, but it could end up costing you more money than the refund to rebook once you cancel the ticket.

“In that case, that doesn’t mean you can’t still keep pressuring and say, ‘Look, you know, you need to do something to fix this,’” Snyder said. “You may or may not get somewhere, but you don’t have to take no for your first answer.”

Sometimes — just sometimes — you might actually come out ahead due to a schedule change. Snyder shared a hypothetical of booking a flight for the Saturday after Thanksgiving with the hope of actually traveling that Sunday, which is historically the busiest travel day of the year. The Saturday flight might be cheaper than the Sunday flight, so you buy it even though it’s coming back a day earlier than you hoped. However, if the Saturday flight ends up being canceled and you’re re-accommodated on Sunday, you come out ahead after all.

“People who really want to save a buck — I mean, there’s a risk, this is a bet that you’re taking — but you can look and see what the rules are,” he said. “There is always the possibility to actually benefit from a schedule change if you’re willing to play the game.”


Smartest Airports for Making Connections
August 11, 2022 – Billie Cohen

Thanks to our go-to air-travel gurus for their input and first-hand experience recommending the best airports for connections: Brett Snyder of Cranky Concierge, and Gary Leff of View From the Wing. (Hear more from both of them in our Q&A travel talk on the best flights, fares, miles and seats.)


JetBlue triumphs in Spirit deal. Now, its real challenges begin
August 8, 2022 – Robert Silk

Analyst Brett Snyder, who pens the Cranky Flier blog, said he expects the DOJ to use its review of the proposed JetBlue/Spirit merger to extract a pound of flesh from the Northeast Alliance, which it opposes. A trial on the DOJ’s lawsuit to break up the alliance is scheduled to begin Sept. 26.

More broadly, Snyder questioned the overall utility for JetBlue of taking over Spirit’s network. He said that many routes Spirit operates aren’t likely to be successful when flown under JetBlue’s higher-cost model, citing as examples routes from Las Vegas to Boise, Idaho, and Albuquerque, N.M. 

“My assumption is that when this is all said and done, JetBlue isn’t going to fly the same routes as Spirit flies today,” he said. 

Snyder added that JetBlue seems unable to settle on a uniform approach to growth. On the one hand, the company has paired with network carrier American in the Northeast. On the other, it wants to merge with ultralow-cost carrier Spirit. 

“There does seem to be a rudderless strategy,” he said. 


RIP, Spirit — America’s most hated airline
August 5, 2022 – Hannah Sampson

Still, said Brett Snyder, founder and author of the airline industry site Cranky Flier, many carriers are dealing with disruption, and Spirit “has been running a fantastic operation.”

“Spirit has a legacy,” he said. “They fly for cheaper than many other airlines in a lot of markets and, you know, in some cases they provide a better alternative. In some cases, they’re the only one.”

Snyder said that if the deal to be acquired by JetBlue is approved, the customer reaction is likely to vary.

“There will be people that will be glad to spit on their grave if they go,” he said. “But there will be people that miss them.”

One group in particular, he said, has gotten a lot of mileage out of Spirit: “The late-night comedy hosts will miss it.”

Snyder believes others will seize the opportunity to fill whatever gaps Spirit leaves in the ultra-low-cost space — particularly competitors Allegiant Air and Frontier.


JetBlue-Spirit merger could put RDU terminal space up for grabs
July 28, 2022 – Lauren Ohnesorge

“JetBlue’s plan seems to be to just absorb Spirit into JetBlue and keep the JetBlue model going forward,” Brett Snyder, founder of travel blog Cranky Flier, said. “So, however JetBlue feels about RDU today will likely be how it feels after this is all done. And however Spirit feels about it will no longer matter.”


What Spirit-JetBlue merger could mean for flyers, South Florida
July 28, 2022 – Liane Morejon

“I don’t think there’s a reason to suspect that JetBlue would just pull everything out of South Florida,” industry expert Brett Snyder, with Cranky Concierge, said.

“Consumers can probably expect higher fares, potentially less service or service going to different places,” Snyder said. “We really just don’t know exactly how this will play out.”


With Frontier out, JetBlue likely to buy Spirit; higher airfares possible at Philly and Baltimore?
July 27, 2022 – Seth Kaplan

“It doesn’t mean anything for Harrisburg in the sense of Frontier being there,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier and an industry expert. “I think if they’re happy there now, they’ll continue to be happy there. And that wouldn’t change.”

“JetBlue brings definitely a higher level of service with more legroom and, you know, fancier in-seat TV — things like that,” Snyder said. “But it does come with higher fares than what Spirit will offer today. So if there is growth from the combined airline, it will be at a higher fare than what we see today.”


The Myth of Best Day to Buy Cheap Flights | Expert Interview with Brett Snyder
July 19, 2022


Another vote delay leaves Spirit’s merger with Frontier in question while JetBlue circles
July 8, 2022 – Leslie Josephs

“Spirit’s board is hell-bent on a Frontier deal. They’ve never wavered,” said Brett Snyder, a former airline manager who now runs the Cranky Flier travel site. “Their challenge is how do they get the votes?”

“With the Frontier deal, you’re putting faith in what happens after the merger to make your money. With JetBlue, it’s: Here’s the money, take the money, go away,” Snyder said.


KNX In Depth: Jan. 6th Committee looking for its “John Dean moment”– Boris Johnson will soon be out as UK Prime Minister–Where are the COVID-19 vaccine updates?–Brad Pitt says he can’t remember faces
July 7, 2022

Talking about how the 4th of July weekend went on this radio chat show. Starts at the 23:55 mark.


Why the skies have not always been so friendly to travelers this summer
July 6, 2022

Talking about how we got to this summer of misery with airline travel.


Millions Expected to Travel Fourth of July
July 2, 2022


Patience, preparation urged as Bay Area airports brace for July 4th travel rush
June 30, 2022 – Andria Borba

“It’s going to be tough. We’ve had pretty poor operations from the airlines this whole summer so far, but now you’re in a holiday weekend – so you have even more people trying to travel. Delta is already seeing the writing on the wall. Other airlines know it’s going to be a real challenge,” said Brett Snyder of Cranky Concierge.

“Be patient. Know that the people at the airlines that you’re interacting with – they have been dealing with this for weeks. They’re exhausted. They’re doing their best. They want to help you get where you’re going – so just be nice to them. They’ll get you where you need to go eventually,” said Snyder. 


‘It’s bad to fly right now:’ Travelers, airlines brace as summer hits busiest stretch
June 30, 2022 – Kyle Arnold

“It’s not overblown this year for once,” said Brett Snyder, a travel consultant who runs the CrankyFlier.com blog. “It’s bad to fly right now.”


Airlines, FAA spar over flight delays as crucial Fourth of July weekend approaches
June 24, 2022 – Leslie Josephs

Brett Snyder, founder of the Cranky Flier travel website, said: “It’s hard to assign fault because everyone’s at fault.”

“Because demand is so high, the airlines are trying to fly as much as they can,” Snyder said. “People think fares are high now, imagine if airlines flew less.”


Bay Area air travel soars with new routes but bottlenecks confront passengers
June 20, 2022 – George Avalos

A rebound is also underway for airports throughout the United States, according to Brett Snyder, founder and author of the Cranky Flier airline industry site, surging dramatically from last summer.

“Nationwide, things are absolutely booming,” Snyder said. “Demand is enormous for domestic travel and nearby international travel — Latin America and Europe especially.”

“San Jose is more of a business market and not as much of a leisure market, and business travel has recovered very slowly,” Snyder of Cranky Flier said. “San Jose has struggled more than other markets to recover. It’s tied to Silicon Valley, which is really a business market.”.

“Things are tougher for San Francisco airport because SFO is a gateway to the Pacific,” Snyder continued. “Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing are still constrained. Even South Korea and Japan are only slowly starting to open.”

“There is a huge amount of demand based on a limited supply of flights,” Snyder said. “Airlines know demand is really high, so prices are rising.”


The cost of hopping on a plane to get away from it all is skyrocketing

Brett Snyder, who writes the Cranky Flier, says demand is way up. The industry blogger also says new regulatory challenges make it harder to add planes to airline fleets. All this since problems surfaced with the Boeing 737 MAX.

BRETT SNYDER: What’s happened now is the FAA has really gotten much tougher. And because of that, there are airplanes that were supposed to be delivered that are still waiting in regulatory land.

SNYDER: The airlines received a lot of money from the federal government. And as part of that, they weren’t allowed to lay people off. However, they were allowed to offer early retirements, buyouts, all sorts of things. And so that’s what they did. And you see some airlines – Delta, for example, dropped nearly a third of its workforce.


US lifts COVID-19 test requirement for international travel
June 10, 2022 – Zeke Miller and David Koenig

Brett Snyder, a travel adviser who writes about the industry at CrankyFlier.com, said the requirement has caused some people to postpone international travel.

“It’s not that they are afraid of getting sick, they don’t want to get stuck,” Snyder said. He thinks there will now be a surge in booking those trips, “which, if anything, will lead to higher fares.”


United Airlines takes the lead in lift to Europe
June 1, 2022 – Robert Silk

Airline industry analyst Brett Snyder, who writes the Cranky Flier blog, said that the buildup is partially a manifestation of aircraft availability. As it was before the pandemic, United is by far the largest U.S. carrier in terms of service to Asia. But with travel recovery to Asia lagging well behind Europe, United has an especially large number of aircraft that would normally serve Asia to redeploy. 

Snyder said he expects the current dynamic, with United offering the most Europe lift and American a distant third, to be short-term. 

“Give American more aircraft and they’ll come back,” he said. 

Still, he expects United to remain in some of the experiential European markets it is launching this year. 

“I would be shocked if all these come back next year. Some will probably do better than others,” he said of routes like the Canary Islands, Mallorca and the Azores. “But United is going into this thinking that these can work.”


With Summer Travel Heating Up, Airlines Brace For Turbulence
May 27, 2022 – Nik Popli

Airports haven’t been this busy since the start of the pandemic two years ago, when airlines saw record-low passengers and deep financial losses, says Brett Snyder, author of the Cranky Flier airline industry site. That might be a good thing for the travel industry, but not as much for customers this summer.


These Two U.S. Airlines Have Plans to Make Flying in Coach Better
May 26, 2022 – Jessica Puckett

As airfares continue to climb and carriers look to tackle issues like ongoing staff and pilot shortages, airlines are looking for new ways to entice travelers to book with them. “Both of these airlines have come to the realization that they need to invest in their onboard products to appeal further to travelers,” says Brett Snyder, an airline expert and founder of Cranky Concierge.

Indeed, the changes address inconveniences that passengers and airline experts alike have bemoaned for some time. “For Southwest, slow Wi-Fi and no power was a glaring hole in the product offering that it has finally decided to rectify,” Snyder says.


The Worst-Case Scenario Guide to Summer Travel
May 25, 2022 – Dawn Gilbertson


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.”

Cranky Flier