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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 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.
Boeing 737 Max Jet Returns to Skies With First Commercial Flight on American Airlines
December 29, 2020 – J.D. Durkin
‘Major Landmark In Airport’s History’: JetBlue Expands Service To Include Miami and Key West
December 17, 2020 – Ted Scout
Airline Analyst Brett Snyder from the Cranky Flier blog says airlines are going after leisure travelers.
“Florida’s hot right now,” he said. “Everybody wants to go to Florida,” he said. Airlines are finding in South Florida there’s room for growth at both airports.
“What the airlines have found is that Miami is really a separate market from Fort Lauderdale so they’re trying to tap into that,” he said.
Here’s when Ontario airport will add flights to Hawaii
December 9, 2020 – Steve Scauzillo
Hawaiian Airlines is returning to ONT after a 16-year absence and after undergoing several reorganizations, said Brett Snyder, founder and editor of CrankyFlier.com, an airlines blog based out of the South Bay.
Snyder flew to Hawaii on Oct. 22, soon after the state lifted the quarantine requirement. He said many other airlines are ramping up service to Hawaii. Only the island of Kauai has a quarantine mandate in place, regardless of testing, choosing not to participate in the state’s Safe Travels program, Snyder said.
He predicts the Hawaii flights will be successful at Ontario airport, which will serve a growing Inland Empire population. Also, the airline is using a smaller, more fuel-efficient airplane that lowers costs.
“It is a pretty good opportunity for them to succeed. There will be a lot of pent-up demand. People will want to go to Hawaii to escape and get away,” Snyder said on Wednesday, Dec. 9.
Uncovering the mystery of when airlines offer fare sales
December 8, 2020 – Zach Griff
Filing sales at specific times during the week is a strategic move, according to Brett Snyder, founder of the travel service Cranky Concierge and author of the Cranky Flier blog. Like Alaska’s late Friday sale, airlines are always looking to get ahead of their competitors. As Snyder describes in an email to TPG, “if an airline filed a sale on Sunday, by the time the others matched on Monday, it would be nearly noon on the East Coast before all the systems were up and running.”
What you need to know before you fly on a Boeing 737 MAX
November 21, 2020 – Brett Snyder
I wrote this article for CNN about what customers can expect when the MAX returns to service.
Rapid Response? (Airline Weekly Lounge)
November 2, 2020 – Madhu Unnikrishnan
How the US election might determine the future of travel
November 2, 2020 – Julia Buckley
Brett Snyder, founder and author of the airline industry blog Cranky Flier, agrees.
“The travel industry needs two things. First, it needs the Covid crisis to be controlled better, and then it needs borders to open. Those go hand in hand. So I think the prospects of borders reopening sooner are likely to be better with a President Biden,” he said.
Snyder says the European Union, followed by the United Kingdom, should be the priorities for opening borders.
“There’s a way to work on testing regimes, try and mitigate the crisis and working towards reopening borders so people can start traveling. We’ve put ourselves in a pretty bad place, but under a President Biden, I think the less adversarial approach would be better.”
“If a Biden administration had a more cooperative view, maybe we’d see the framework for an agreement created within four years,” Harteveldt reckons. Snyder isn’t so sure, however, citing Biden’s potential concern about human rights violations in China.
“When demand is back to normal, the real bottleneck will be airport infrastructure,” says Snyder. “Before Covid, the biggest airports were very congested, and airlines wanting to serve them couldn’t get in.
“Trump hasn’t released any plans for airports, and while Snyder says the President has “indicated he’s a fan of infrastructure, he hasn’t done anything about it.”
“If he followed the UK and introduced an APD [air passenger duty, a tax levied on passengers flying out of the UK] and tried to restrict things instead of encouraging the development of green technology, and investing in research and development, I think it would probably not succeed. But if the focus goes onto working with Boeing, Airbus and anyone else in creating green technology and providing funding if necessary, that could be a helpful path forward,” says Snyder.
Airlines experiment with new routes in ‘game of musical chairs’ to stem billions in pandemic losses
October 22, 2020 – Leslie Josephs
The airplane is “sitting on the ground otherwise,” said Brett Snyder, a former airline manager who runs an air travel assistance company, Cranky Concierge, and writes the Cranky Flier blog. “This is a great time to try new things,” he added. “Maybe it’s short term and maybe you find something that works.”
Airlines are burning a lot of cash — so what does that mean?
October 12, 2020 – Andy Uhler
“I figured cash burn, it’s ‘OK, we had this much cash, now we have this much cash.’ But no, there are all kinds of little carve-outs and differences between the airlines,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the airline industry blog, Cranky Flier.
Wanna fly somewhere in October, November, December? Beware of airline schedules
October 9, 2020 – Gordon Dickson
Brett Snyder, president of the air travel blog Cranky Flier, said the reduced flight schedules are unlikely to improve, regardless of whether Congress and President Donald Trump are able to agree on a stimulus plan to help the aviation industry.
He said travelers who don’t have flexible plans in December might want to wait a few more weeks before booking their flights. Southwest Airlines has released its December schedule but American Airlines and other carriers have only released schedules for October and November, as they continue to gauge the public’s interest in holiday travel.
“For people making December plans now, they should know that these schedules aren’t final,” Snyder said in an email. “If they have flexibility, that might work in their favor. Buy a cheap ticket and then when the final schedule cuts come in, they can switch to something better. There’s no guarantee that will happen, but there’s a decent chance since December cuts are likely to be pretty hefty.”
American Airlines cuts November schedule by nearly half ‘to match low demand’
October 5, 2020 – Kyle Arnold
Air travel blogger Brett Snyder of Crankyflier.com said the possibility of an uptick in travel before the holidays has disappeared and airlines will start looking to spring and summer of 2021, particularly to places such as Florida.
“It’s going to be a long, slow recovery until there is a vaccine,” Snyder said.
This week may be “Armageddon” for the airline industry
September 28, 2020 – Erika Beras
The hubs will still have planes flying in and out, moving cargo such as medical supplies. And because they had such good airline service before, those cities have other industries to cushion the loss. More affected by these job cuts, said Brett Snyder of the blog Cranky Flier, will be smaller places like Williamsport, Pennsylvania, which will lose a regular American Airlines flight, for example.
“It hurts some of the local businesses,” Snyder said. “It’s something that if it holds up in the long run that they don’t have service, then it could be a risk to the economies.”
Legacy airlines drop change fees on domestic economy tickets
September 5, 2020
American Airlines axes change fees on all but the cheapest tickets, following United and Delta
August 31, 2020 – Kyle Arnold
“It makes me feel a lot better as a consumer,” said Brett Snyder, a travel blogger and founder of CrankyFlier.com. “It makes me feel more willing to book something now.”
Need to fly somewhere? You may have to connect
August 18, 2020 – Kelly Yamanouchi
“What the airlines did is they said, okay, we’re going to retain service to all these cities but we’re going to start off by connecting them to their nearest hub,” said Brett Snyder, a former airline manager and author of a blog at crankyflier.com. “A lot of the point-to-point markets, those are going to be some of the last ones to end up getting service restored.”
“It’s just something people will have to get used to until there are more people traveling again,” Snyder said. “The impact will lessen over time. It’s already better than it was in May.”
He said the longest lasting impact may be on international travel, with airlines operating flights to only select global hubs and connecting passengers through there to other destinations around the world. For Delta service to Europe, that means connecting passengers through partner carrier hubs in Paris and Amsterdam, for example.
Smaller markets could be at risk, Snyder said, particularly ones that are not vacation destinations and mostly benefited from business travel.
“The underlying reality is some of these markets don’t make sense,” he said. “There’s just not going to be enough demand.”
American considering cutting flights to many smaller cities
August 13, 2020 – David Koenig
American is telling the federal government that if relief money is extended, it won’t drop cities, but if the money is not extended, it will, said Brett Snyder, a travel agent who writes about the industry at CrankyFlier.com.
“This isn’t an idle threat,” and it “is going to happen at all the network carriers,” Snyder said, referring to the biggest airlines.
Ontario airport adding flights to major US cities
August 8, 2020 – Steve Scauzillo
Mexico is one of the few countries open for business to U.S. air travelers, said Brett Snyder, creator and editor of crankyflier. Ontario airport has flights to Guadalajara, Mexico via Volaris Airlines.
Most of the passengers taking flights to Mexico are visiting friends and relatives, Snyder said. “That bodes well for Ontario,” he said. ONT seeing longer flights to major U.S. cities is also a good sign, he said.
“Houston, Chicago and Denver: Sure, that is significant,” Snyder said Friday, Aug. 7. “The fact that these flights are coming back, shows they are seeing some demand.”
Snyder surmised there is a more willingness for air travel by passengers from Inland areas of California than along the coast, because the inland regions were not experiencing the same frequency of coronavirus cases and deaths as coastal areas.
Cases and deaths have surged in Riverside and San Bernardino counties since early July, when the study was taken. Snyder says that fact, along with shutdowns ordered by Gov. Gavin Newsom in July, have softened flight bookings since then.
“It is not going well. Demand is down. The recovery they had seen in June has stalled and they are pulling back now,” Snyder said, citing cuts nationally in scheduled flights by Southwest, American, United and JetBlue for August and September.
The Future of Air Travel in the Age of COVID-19: Route Networks, Hubs, Scheduling, and Connectivity
July 26, 2020 – Chris Sloan
Cranky Flier blog founder Brett Snyder is more optimistic about less point-to-point flying and fewer frequencies, “I see that as a medium-term thing. In the long run, people will still want to go to all these places. In the shorter term, yes, there will be fewer point-to-point routes, and airlines will pull back to strengthen their hubs. However, if this is a long-term look, those trends that led the airlines to build their networks out the way they have aren’t going to change. It’s just a matter of how long it’ll take for demand to catch up once the threat is over.”
‘Important step’ or ‘gimmick’? No consensus on seat blocking
July 10, 2020 – Robert Silk
“It seems like Delta is willing to take a hit to be promoted as the most health-safe airline,” said Brett Snyder, a travel advisor who pens the Cranky Flier blog. “They are making some bet that they think that it is going to help them in the long run.”
That bet could backfire, Snyder added, if Delta ultimately drops the policy before the pandemic has ended.
Bye-bye Long Beach, hello LAX: JetBlue exiting longtime Southern California base
July 9, 2020 – Dawn Gilbertson
Snyder said Long Beach, which is about 20 miles south of Los Angeles, “is just kind of in the middle so it doesn’t pull (passengers) from a lot of places.”
“If JetBlue could have grown … maybe it would have had more gravitational pull,” he said.
Snyder was surprised JetBlue is shifting the Long Beach flights to LAX and isn’t a fan because of the intense competition there on the routes it will be adding, such as Los Angeles-Las Vegas.
“Trying to be like the No. 6 or No. 7 airline in an airport that doesn’t need more competition doesn’t really seem like a smart move,” he said.
JetBlue to open LAX base, end flights to Long Beach in West Coast realignment
July 9, 2020 – Edward Russell
The exit from Long Beach and build up at LAX seems an example of this, if one that many expected. In fact, if was anticipated even prior to the crisis with Cranky Flier writer Brett Snyder asking “Why bother keeping it as anything more than a spoke?” following the cuts JetBlue announced in January.
“This is stupid,” Snyder told TPG on Thursday. “It’s smart that they’re finally leaving Long Beach. However, instead they’ve decided to go into one of the most competitive airports in the world on routes where they’ll really add little value and I don’t see how this works.”
American Airlines will book flights to full capacity
June 26, 2020 – David Koenig
But another expert, travel agent Brett Snyder, who writes a blog called Cranky Flier, said American probably has data to back up its decision from a business perspective.
“If they are making this change to sell every seat, then they know that people talk a lot” about preferring empty middle seats, “but in the end they will still fly if the price is right,” Snyder said.
Since April, American offered to rebook people whose flights might be full, but only about 4% of passengers have taken that option, according to the airline.
Snyder said most people flying now are leisure travelers who have decided that it’s an acceptable risk. He said rules on face masks, extra cleaning measures, and high-efficiency air-filtration systems make planes “a relatively safe place.”
U.S. Airlines Seek Revenue From ‘Visiting Friends and Relatives’ Travel
June 24, 2020 – Brian Sumers
“VFR is the easiest thing to do, and that’s where the demand should be right now,” said Brett Snyder, an airline analyst. “You are not relying on a destination to open. You are not relying on social distancing. You just get on an airplane and go see someone you wanted to see for months.”
How JetBlue Just Flouted Airline Industry Norms by Launching New Routes
June 18, 2020 – Brian Sumers
“It is not like they are fighting for the loyalty of the Pittsburgh market,” said Brett Snyder, an industry analyst. “They are just looking for someone who wants a cheap flight to Florida.”
JetBlue may lose money short-term, Shabat said, but this may be more of a long-term play, with JetBlue trying to leverage a crisis to expand its New York presence. Now might be the right time, because Southwest Airlines recently pulled out of Newark, while Alaska Airlines is shrinking, Snyder said.
JetBlue is also invading American’s turf in Philadelphia, with five new routes — four to Florida and one to Puerto Rico. Both Snyder and Shabat said this is less of a long-term play than a short-term cash grab.
Also, if JetBlue is going to be New York’s top airline in the future, Snyder said, it probably needs these routes.
And if that happens, JetBlue may not want to fight for Newark.
“It’s easy enough for JetBlue to walk away if the heat gets too hot,” Snyder said.
Flights double at Southern California airports as summer travel season nears
June 12, 2020 – Steve Scauzillo
“This is true: They (airlines) are ramping up from the lowest point,” said Brett Snyder, a Long Beach resident who writes a blog on the airline industry called crankyflier.com. “It is choppy at this point but it is absolutely growing from where it was.”
American Airlines will move the needle slightly, going to 55% scheduling capacity in July, as compared to the same month last year, Snyder said. United Airlines will climb to a modest 30%.
Sometimes, mid-level airports are seeing more flight cancellations, he said.
Delta Airlines pulled all its flights from Hollywood Burbank Airport and Long Beach Airport until at least September, Snyder said.
Southwest Airlines is the most bullish and has become the air carrier to watch, Snyder said. By the middle of December the airline will be back even with last year, according to Southwest.
Masks or some kind of face-covering are required at all local airports. While most airlines do the same, there’s no enforcement mechanism without government oversight, Snyder said.
“Even for those airlines requiring masks, it is only airline policy,” Snyder said. “Let’s say someone takes their mask off and refuses to put it back on; there is nothing you can do about that.”
Air circulating inside the cabins passes through air-cleaning filters, according to airline websites and officials. Snyder said the air is constantly being filtered for viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the scientific name of the virus strain that causes COVID-19.
“The risk appears to be fairly low for people traveling by air. It is a measured risk,” Snyder said, adding he believes the risk is lower than going into a sit-down restaurant.
“The reality here is you will not be able to social distance if you are flying: You just never will have 6 feet distance between you and someone else,” Snyder concluded.
Snyder predicts a return to 2019 levels in three to five years. “No one knows for sure,” he said.
Flights double at Southern California airports as summer travel season nears
June 12, 2020 – Zach Wichter
“I think it’s actually quite effective,” he said. “Having masks, encouraging cleanliness, those are the things that will have a real measurable impact on an airplane.”
In comparison, he said, social distancing practices like blocking middle seats are probably less effective.
Snyder doesn’t expect cleaning supplies to be a regular fixture on planes forever, especially on short-haul flights. But, he said that he hopes some other parts of airlines’ COVID-19 responses will become a more permanent part of the travel landscape.
“Handing out individual kits, that’s pretty specific to a severe threat,” he said. “I hope that the stepped up cleaning procedures that airlines are using, I hope that that continues.”
While Snyder suggested that such clean kits could fade away on short-haul flights over time, he said he thinks it’s likely that hand sanitizer and other personal cleaning products could stick around longer as part of updated amenity kits on long-haul international routes.
To Mask or Not Mask?
May 26, 2020 – Madhu Unnikrishnan
Flying during the pandemic? Here’s what you need to know
May 24, 2020 – Leslie Josephs
Traveling now is an “intensely personal decision,” said Brett Snyder, a former airline manager, who runs an air travel assistance company, Cranky Concierge, and writes the Cranky Flier blog. “Ultimately, you’ll never be able to socially distance if you’re traveling by air.”
Major Airlines Expected to Shrink After Pandemic
May 22, 2020 – Natalie Fiorilli
Brett Snyder, editor of the Cranky Flier aviation blog, explained that airlines project it could take years to recover from the crisis, so it makes sense that they would retire parts of their fleets.
“All of the airlines have parked a certain number of airplanes, even if it’s not an entire fleet,” said Snyder. “They may have not announced a retirement yet, but for some, it’s for sure going to happen. The reality is that nobody is buying airplanes new right now, so you might as well get [some] out of your fleet. You can always pick up new airplanes down the line.”
So, what will happen when the CARES Act expires?
It’s all dependent on demand, Snyder said.
“No one knows, but hopefully capacity will be closer to 50 percent instead of 20 percent,” Snyder said. “It all depends on what happens with the virus. It’s absolutely going to be much lower than it was last October, and what that means, we just don’t know.”
Here’s What Summer Travel Might Actually Look Like, According to Experts (Video)
May 12, 2020 – Eric Rosen
That’s not to say travelers won’t eventually book trips closer in, according to Brett Snyder, founder of Cranky Flier and Cranky Concierge. “People likely won’t set their plans until closer to travel, so they can get a better picture of what the health situation will be.”
On the other hand, these strategies might not work for airlines in particular, according to Snyder. “Airlines are doing what they can, but ultimately, there is no way to properly social distance when flying, so it’s a tradeoff that each person will have to evaluate,” he said.
Silver lining in flight refund fight? A California law that may recover your money
May 6, 2020 – Catharine Hamm
Ditto, said Brett Snyder, formerly an airline employee and founder of the Cranky Flier website. “Air Canada has been refusing refunds. The Canadian government effectively gave them a free pass, but DOT has not, so they do need to give refunds for travel that touches the U.S. if there’s a significant change in schedule.”
Airlines had been raking in billions in fees. What will they do now?
May 6, 2020 – Zach Wichter
“They will likely have to stay suspended until there’s a vaccine, herd immunity, or treatment. But after that, I would expect them to return, possibly sooner at a lower level,” he said in an email.
Snyder seemed to agree that broader carry-on bag fees are a possibility.
“The airlines have shown in previous crises that they are willing to slap together a revenue-generating idea without thinking it through fully,” he said. “If they think that they have a fee that will raise money fast, they’d consider it. Then they’ll deal with the fall-out down the line.”
Q&A: Why some planes are crowded even with air travel down
May 5, 2020 – David Koenig
Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Flier website and a travel concierge business in California, said it was a great product for Frontier to sell during the downturn in travel.
“Why not make money on a seat that is going to be empty anyway?” he said.
Traffic “will be light, you will have to wear a mask, there will be social distancing on planes and reduced on-board service to limit contact,” Snyder said. ”If there really isn’t a vaccine until the first half of next year, you’re not going to see anything approaching a new normal until next summer at the earliest.”
May 3, 2020 – Courtney Miller
United Airlines may change route map post-coronavirus, says no hub is ‘sacred’
May 1, 2020 – Edward Russell
Brett Snyder, founder of the travel service Cranky Concierge, thinks United’s Los Angeles (LAX) hub is the “most up for grabs” on its map. The airport, while located in the second-most populous metropolitan area in the U.S., is a center of airline competition. American, Delta and United all consider it a hub, and Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines maintain significant bases there.
“They’re going to go back to their basics, and then grow back,” he said on how airlines may rebuild the maps after the crisis at the beginning of April.
After coronavirus: Your next flight may look like this
April 29, 2020 – Catharine Hamm
“There are so many different touchpoints in a travel experience, that you are bound to see social distancing rules violated,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the Crankyflier.com blog. “And even if the middle seat is empty, you are still surrounded by people.”
What will the future of travel look like? TPG asked 16 industry experts
April 28, 2020 – Laura Motta
Brett Snyder, founder of Cranky Flier: I don’t expect we’ll see the return of much international travel until summer at the earliest. It’s hard to know without knowing the ultimate trajectory of the pandemic, but restrictions and xenophobia will drag this out longer.
Snyder: Technically, I’m still supposed to be taking a Baltic cruise in Europe in July. If that somehow happens, I’ll be amazed and thrilled. But in my mind, I’ve resigned myself to that not likely happening. Domestically, I’d like it to be Hawaii. I was supposed to be taking my team there in early May to celebrate a great 2019. That is obviously now postponed. I mean, I’ll be happy to go anywhere.
Flight Deals Abound For Fall and Winter Travel, But Is It Smart to Buy Now?
April 17, 2020 – Billie Cohen
This is an interview I did talking about future travel, among other things.
Evaporation of travel sector threatens airlines’ very survival
April 16, 2020 – Paul Solman
These were relatively healthy companies that could withstand significant downturns, just not a complete destruction of all demand. I think that’s hard to say that a company should hold on to multibillions and billions of dollars of cash just in case this type of thing were to happen.
Crisis Spurs American Airlines Into Being More Customer Friendly: Will Anyone Remember It?
April 16, 2020 – Brian Sumers
“American is looking at this saying, ‘Yes, we are losing money on this but we are doing the right thing,”‘ said Brett Snyder, a high-end travel agent and blogger. “In contrast to United, it looks so different.”
On the back end, American built IT to handle refunds, so fewer customers would have to call the reservations department. It’s a small but notable improvement, Snyder said.
“They are devoting resources to doing this work, which means it has to be a proactive strategy,” Snyder said. “They are putting effort into it. I think that’s a pretty admirable thing to be doing. You are basically watching your ship sink but you are still making sure that everyone gets to take their personal belongs will them.”
Still, there’s some question whether customers will remember American’s actions during the crisis, Snyder said.
“I would like to think they will, but it may be difficult because United may have done enough damage to everyone with the stuff that they are doing,” travel agent Snyder said. “Everyone is focusing on what United has been doing to prevent refunds. Not as much attention will be paid to American doing the right thing.”
How to get a refund for coronavirus-canceled travel, from hotline help to ‘the nuclear option’
April 15, 2020 – Lori Rackl
The air travel assistance company Cranky Concierge recently launched a new offering called Refund Hunter to help airline customers figure out their options for postponing or getting a refund on a particular flight. Once the customer decides what to do, the company tells them how to handle that request with their airline or travel agent.
The service costs $30 per reservation, no matter how many flights or passengers. It’s been in high demand, said company President Brett Snyder.
“Airline policies are changing all the time, and it’s really hard for the layperson to keep up,” Snyder said. “We help them cut through the clutter.”
As infuriating as it can be for customers to languish on hold for hours on end, people should be prepared to make repeated phone calls if they’re getting the runaround, said Cranky Concierge’s Snyder.
I-Team: Customers Fighting To Get Money Back After Canceled Trips, Events
April 8, 2020 – Ginger Allen
“We’ve had a lot of people that are just frustrated,” says Brett Snyder, owner of the travel site Cranky Flier.
Snyder is a former airline employee who is focusing more on helping customers navigate refund and credit options than booking flights right now.
“There are different policies for different airlines and it can be tough for people to follow,” explains Snyder.
DOT tells airlines to refund canceled flights, but don’t count on cash just yet
April 6, 2020 – Catharine Hamm
Brett Snyder, a former airline employee who founded the CrankyFlier site that focuses on airline issues, said in an email that the statement “seems like guidance but it isn’t actually an enforcement action.”
Time to Look for a Vacation Deal? ‘Travel Addicts’ Are Planning Ahead
April 6, 2020 – Barbara Peterson
Brett Snyder, of the Cranky Flier website, said he’s noticed that airlines are quietly releasing more seats in the lowest fare bucket. And they’re easing up on award travel, making it easy to grab the lower-mile “Saver” tickets. “There is much greater availability at the lowest level of mileage redemption,” he said.
Meet Rocco. He Owns a Dairy Queen. The Government’s Flawed Coronavirus Plan Might Not Save It.
April 5, 2020 – Jordan Weissman
For businesses that spend the vast majority of their money on salary wages, it’s an excellent deal. “This is a perfect program for us,” Brett Snyder, president of the travel blog and concierge service Cranky Flier told me. The key is that his firm doesn’t have much of a rent burden, and other than staff pay, it just covers some things like server space. “If we get this, then salaries get restored and the people who had to cut back hours will be able to come back. That will handle everything.”
Airline cancel your flight due to coronavirus crisis? You’re still due a refund, DOT says
April 3, 2020 – Dawn Gilbertson
Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Concierge travel service and recently launched Refund Hunter to help travelers sort through the confusing flight change and cancellation options during the crisis for a fee, said United faces among the biggest changes.
“The use of the word prompt (refund) means United needs to get its act together,” Snyder said. “Because United is playing games.”
Snyder said the only thing unclear about the DOT”s enforcement notice is that it doesn’t define “signficantly delayed.” In addition to United, JetBlue has been criticized for its policies.
“There is a still a Texas-size loophole here,” he said.
How will airlines rebuild their route maps after the coronavirus?
March 27, 2020 – Edward Russell
“That’s where American has been growing and will probably grow there [again],” said Brett Snyder, founder of the travel service Cranky Concierge and author of the Cranky Flier blog, in an interview. “It’s the stuff around the edges that will go.”
Asked what American’s “edges” could be, Snyder pointed to Los Angeles (LAX) as a possibility. The hub has underperformed financially for the airline since its rapid build-up there after American’s merger with US Airways in 2013. Executives even acknowledged at the outset of the coronavirus crisis that the carrier could permanently end service to China from the airport, a move that would be a setback for the carrier’s long-held desire to build a gateway to Asia in Los Angeles.
Airline employees grapple with tough decision — take leave or stick it out?
March 27, 2020 – Evan Hoopfer
Brett Snyder, an industry expert who runs the Cranky Flier blog, said each employee’s decision depends on where the person stands financially and what their employers are offering. For those able to take the leave, this could be a good opportunity to take advantage of why they got into the industry in the first place.
“If you’re young and have a bit of savings, take that chance to travel the world and have a good time,” Snyder said. “You know, if there’s a flight that still exists.”
What does the airline aid package mean for travelers? Not much
March 26, 2020 – Zach Wichter
“This isn’t really about consumers, as funny as that sounds.”
“I’d expect more flights to operate than demand would normally indicate,” Snyder said in an email. “To me that’s the biggest potential consumer impact.”
Can you get an airline ticket refund due to postponed Olympics or coronavirus crisis?
March 24, 2020 – Catharine Hamm
And now? “At last check — and this may very well change again — United won’t allow refunds on international travel,” Brett Snyder, who runs CrankyFlier.com, a consumer advocacy site, said in an email Tuesday.
“If your flight changes by more than six hours, you can hold that in a credit. If you don’t use the credit within one year from the original date of ticket issue, then you can get a refund.”
You usually can cancel up to about the time of departure, but as the rules shift, Snyder said in an interview, you should give yourself a bit of a buffer — a day or two before your flight. If you don’t cancel and you don’t show up for the flight, you’ll be considered a no-show and you’ll get nothing back.
But, Snyder said, “I have seen Japanese airlines be pretty generous with refunds through this coronavirus mess. So it wouldn’t shock me if they added a policy themselves that would allow refunds for Olympic tickets.”
How Biscoff Cookies Became the Snack We Crave on Planes
March 23, 2020 – Kaitlin Menza
Because of its association with flying, the Biscoff cookie can also lock into the sensory memory. “We were on a flight to Hawaii when I was a kid, and my dad was like, ‘I need more of these.’ They gave him a whole bag,” remembers Brett Snyder, the president of the airline blog Cranky Flier. “It’s this treat you get when you fly, like ginger ale.”
And they tick a lot of boxes, when you consider the factors that make up for a perfect plane snack. “You want something that’s not a mess. I always think about those Nature Valley granola bars [where] the second you open them, there’s just crumbs everywhere. You generally want to avoid something like that,” Snyder says. “You want to avoid anything that requires a specific temperature. The default snack of choice used to be peanuts, but all the concerns about allergy really quashed that one.” The ideal bite, in Snyder’s estimation, is “something that’s either salty or sweet to really get people’s taste buds working—which they do differently at altitude than they do on the ground.”
14 Things to Do When Your Flight Is Canceled or Delayed
March 19, 2020 – Kyle McCarthy
Brett Snyder, president of the Cranky Concierge air travel assistance service, says, “In the event of a delay, the best thing to do is everything. Get in line to talk with an agent; while waiting, pick up your phone.” Call your travel advisor or travel insurance provider if you have those resources. If not, try to rebook yourself through the airline’s app, by phone or by using their Twitter or Facebook accounts to contact customer service.
Also know your airline’s partner carriers, especially if you’re traveling internationally. “Take American Airlines [as an example],” Snyder says. “If you are going to Europe and there’s a problem on one of their flights, you can say they should put you on British Airways.”
“If agents have an airplane leaving with an empty seat during IROPS (irregular operations),” Snyder says, “they will do everything they can to put you on that plane and reduce the number of stranded passengers later in the day.”
American Airlines jobs on the line, DFW Airport stores closing in coronavirus fallout
March 16, 2020 – Gordon Dickson
“The number of flights will be slashed, and it’s entirely possible we’ll see a full shutdown of the airline industry for a period of time,” said Brett Snyder, president of the popular air travel blog Cranky Flier.
“For airlines, this will be dire,” Snyder said in an email. “Even though they are in better shape financially than in past crises, this one looks to be more impactful than anything we’ve seen previously. Every airline will be in a world of hurt. The government will have to offer bail-outs or every airline will likely file for bankruptcy protection. Though it’s too early to say, the impact so far could easily surpass what we saw after 9/11.”
Q&A: What you need to know about Trump’s travel ban from Europe due to coronavirus
March 12, 2020 – Andrea Mandell, Chris Woodyard and Dawn Gilbertson
It doesn’t matter that Trump mentioned only flights from Europe to the USA, not flights in both directions, said Brett Snyder, a former airline employee who runs the Cranky Concierge travel service. Travelers will cancel flights en masse during the busy spring break travel season.
“If they can’t come home, they’re not going to Europe,” he said.
One small perk of the coronavirus outbreak: Faster airplane Wi-Fi
March 11, 2020 – Rob Pegoraro
“Airlines have already shown a willingness to put up new technology if it means a more functional system,” e-mailed Brett Snyder, an airline analyst who runs the Cranky Flier blog. “Delta and American have both replaced their old air-to-ground systems with satellite offerings.”
Delta trims capacity 15% as coronavirus cuts into travel
March 10, 2020 – Kelly Yamanouchi
Brett Snyder, president of air travel assistance firm Cranky Concierge, said: “It’s really going to be an individual decision for every person — is it right for me to travel or not?” For airlines, “the question is how long it will last. That’s the multi-million dollar question.”
Coronavirus airplane travel: How US airlines are cleaning planes
March 5, 2020 – Madeline Merinuk
According to Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, a site that provides air travel assistance, the basic sanitation process includes a cursory clean to get trash off the ground, but it’s usually not very in-depth since there’s typically not much time between flights. If it’s a long-haul flight, there’s usually a deeper clean that includes wiping down surfaces.
But as COVID-19 continues to spread, certain airlines are changing their policies and procedures to help prevent the spread of the virus. “There are already some procedures in place that are above and beyond normal cleaning,” said Snyder.
Coronavirus is upending air travel. Here’s how to navigate flight cancellations, changes during the outbreak
March 5, 2020 – Dan Catchpole
Airlines around the world are waiving change and cancellation fees. The specific terms and conditions vary from carrier to carrier and are changing day to day as the coronavirus outbreak unfolds, says Brett Snyder, who runs the travel blog Cranky Flier, as well as Cranky Concierge, a travel assistance company.
And since no one can say where coronavirus might pop up next, making travel plans right now might feel like rolling dice. For instance, Snyder says, imagine booking a summer trip to South Africa. Coronavirus is not there now, but what if it shows up by the planned trip?
“Will South African Airways put a waiver out?” he asks. “Hopefully, they would, but your guess is as good as mine.”
With that in mind, Snyder recommends American travelers book international flights through a U.S.-based airline, even if it is through a codeshare on a partner airlines’ aircraft. In general, airlines have restricted when they grant refunds, and they are more likely to offer vouchers or credit for future travel, Snyder says.
“If you have that credit on an American airline rather than (a foreign carrier), you’ll have lot more use for that credit,” he says.
Southwest Didn’t Have the 737 Max for Nine Months in 2019, but Still Boosted Its On-Time Rankings
March 5, 2020 – Kyle Arnold
Passengers only file complaints with federal regulators after they’ve exhausted their options with the airline, said Brett Snyder, an air travel blogger with CrankyFlier.com.
“Southwest’s reputation is better than statistics would show,” Snyder said. “Their customer relations team tends to be more flexible and more friendly and they do have certain policies that make it friendlier, such as no change fees and no fees for checked bags.”
But Southwest’s decentralized network also helps the airline recover from cancellations, Snyder said. Most large airlines operate a “hub and spoke” network so when there are weather problems or delays at a hub, it’s tough to put customers back on a path to their destination. Southwest can route customers through its “spiderweb” of airports, Snyder said.
Here’s looking at you, Blue: JetBlue looks to the next 20 years
March 2, 2020 – Chris Sloan
“When they were founded, it was brilliantly pitched as a better way to fly. It used live television, more legroom and those famous Terra blue chips to feed into the narrative that it was something better,” says Brett Snyder, analyst and founder of the Cranky Concierge air travel assistance site.
“But in reality, the root of JetBlue’s early success was based primarily on its ability to corner the market on slots at JFK where it was the only low-cost operator for years,” Snyder says.
“JetBlue certainly had missteps over the years including a never-fully-formed West Coast strategy. It tried to grow too fast, and that caused severe teething pains. It has matured into a well-liked, but under-performing carrier (both operationally and financially),” says Snyder.
The Frommers Travel Show
February 29, 2020 – Cranky Radio Interview with Pauline Frommer
What to Do If Your Flight Gets Canceled
February 25, 2020 – Amy Marturana Winderi
“The most important thing is to make sure that the airline or travel agent has your day-of-travel contact information on file,” says Brett Snyder, president at Cranky Concierge, an air travel assistance service that helps travelers deal with this exact situation. “If there are any problems, they will rely on that information to reach out to you. If they don’t have info, you won’t get a notification from them.”
Snyder suggests also checking the for airport-specific delays. “That doesn’t mean your flight will be delayed, but if there’s fog in San Francisco or thunderstorms over New York, then chances are higher that you’ll face a delay,” he says.
“The agents at the airline usually just want to get you out of their hair, and I don’t mean that in a bad way,” says Snyder. “That means both of yours goals are aligned. If you can help them find an option and get you moving, then everyone is happy.”
The airline will look up your reservation and book you on the next available option, says Snyder, but the automation process in their booking system won’t always get you the best flight. So, while you’re waiting in line to speak with the booking agent, use your phone to look up other options.
Some airlines cut back on inflight service to combat coronavirus. Will those changes stick?
February 25, 2020 – Zach Wichter
Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Flier blog and Cranky Concierge service, agreed.
“I’m sure some of this is a good and well-thought out precaution, but I imagine more of it is really about reassuring customers,” he said. Customers will probably respond well to the airlines’ measures overall, he added, “as long as they don’t go too far and scare the hell out of people.”
Both Snyder and Harteveldt agreed that the measures are likely to last only as long as the coronavirus threat is imminent for travelers. Snyder said such measures will likely be in place “until the threat is very clearly eliminated.”
Harteveldt and Snyder added that passengers will likely respond better to some of the precautionary service changes than others.
Flight solutions from Cranky Flier
February 24, 2020 – Jamie Biesiada
This article is a summary of a speech I gave at Wendy Perrin’s Global Travel Summit. Click the link to read details.
Inflight Movies: Does Anyone Really Want to Watch Them on a Phone?
February 14, 2020 – Barbara Peterson
“The airlines’ thinking is that ‘if we give you power and a bunch of stuff you can stream on your own, and you don’t have to pay for it, that should be enough’,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Flier website.
What the American-Alaska partnership means for Delta
February 14, 2020 – Zach Wichter and Edward Russell
“At this point, it’s certainly not good news for Delta,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Concierge travel service and writes the Cranky Flier blog about air travel.
The main issue for Delta is that Alaska has gained some footing with a big partner like American, something that allows it to pack a greater punch as a competitor, said Snyder. But, he added, it’s too early to tell exactly how much the partnership will affect Delta’s long-term outlook in Seattle.
“Whether it makes a dent or not, that what we don’t know,” Snyder said.
“When was the last time someone has really tried to challenge Delta where Delta had the upper hand? It’s not something we have really seen, and for that reason I think there is more uncertainty here than you otherwise might expect,” Snyder said.
Doctors Urge Travelers Not to Fly With Flu
February 6, 2020 – Chris Coffey
“Always check the fine print to see what’s covered, but travel insurance is something that would help get your money back if you get sick and aren’t able to travel,” said travel expert Brett Snyder with Cranky Concierge.
According to Snyder, booking through a travel agency may provide a benefit because agents may have connections with airlines that could improve a sick customer’s chances for a cancellation fee waiver
Due to the Coronavirus Outbreak, These Travel Brands Have Suspended or Altered Service to China
January 31, 2020 – Mónica Marie Zorrilla
Brett Snyder, founder and author of the popular airline industry blog Crankyflier.com, confirmed to Adweek that airlines have seen dramatic decreases in demand to China thanks to the concern around the coronavirus outbreak, and that many of these airlines have canceled all flights to mainland China for a month or more.
“It remains to be seen whether this will remain isolated to panic around China travel or if it will expand,” Snyder said.
JetBlue drops Oakland, shrinks Long Beach amid broader route shakeup
January 16, 2020 – Edward Russell
“This looks like a half-measure by JetBlue,” Brett Snyder, a former airline employee who runs the Cranky Concierge travel service and writes the Cranky Flier blog, told TPG. “It angers employees and makes the airline even less relevant than it already was in Long Beach. Why bother keeping it as anything more than a spoke?”
Is Delta Air Lines going to shake up those onerous airline change fees?
January 14, 2020 – Dawn Gilbertson
If Delta simply is more transparent about change fees and why it charges them, that’s no benefit to travelers, he said. But if it changes its policies or fees, say by waiving any fare difference or changing the fee, “That’s a big deal.”
“Can they find a way where they think it actually will not be revenue negative?” Snyder said.
Snyder said airline fees tend to go in only one direction: up. And that hefty change fees in particular force travelers who can’t afford refundable tickets to make “bad” decisions, like not changing a flight when a child gets sick.
“You’re like, ‘God, I want to, but I can’t pay that money.’ ”
When movies make airplane fanatics cringe
January 4, 2020 – Chris McGinnis
“Inevitably you see a 747 take off, a narrow body cabin, and then a DC-10 land. Few pay attention to what it should be,” said Brett Snyder, editor of the Cranky Flier aviation blog.