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Phone jam-ups stymie fliers

Katie Johnston Chase and Alexa McMahon – December 29, 2010

Passengers on Continental Airlines and American Airlines were also being hung up on, said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, which has been helping travelers reschedule their trips.

“There’s just tremendous volume that needs to be dealt with,’’ he said. “It’s brutal.’’

New York Times Logo

Google Deal Divides Travel Industry

Mickey Meece – December 27, 2010

The same is true for many business travelers, said Brett Snyder of the CrankyFlier blog. “Most don’t realize ITA powers the sites they use,” he said, including Bing Travel, TripAdvisor, Orbitz, Kayak, Hotwire and CheapTickets. “Travelers don’t really care. They don’t know anything will be different.”

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Aggrieved Fliers Ask, ‘What Now?’

Jad Mouawad – November 23, 2010

““We haven’t gone through a big winter yet,” said Brett Snyder, the author of the Cranky Flyer blog and the president of Cranky Concierge, an air travel assistance Web site. “We need those long snowstorms that mess things up to know the impact of the rule. I think we need to wait.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer Logo

Deal to retain United-Continental flights at Cleveland Hopkins not airtight

Alison Grant – November 6, 2010

“I don’t doubt that they will try and make it work in some fashion,” said Brett Snyder, who runs The Cranky Flier website. “But if it doesn’t work, I don’t see this as a deterrent to walking away.”

. . .

But the Hopkins deal also may have a consequence Ohio didn’t intend. It gives the merged airline something to point to — contractual guidelines, in fact — for dismantling the Cleveland hub if it so chooses, said Snyder, of the Cranky Flier.
“If United wants to leave, it knows what the costs will be. There shouldn’t be any other legal fight because they’ve reached this agreement,” Snyder said.

Financial Times Logo

Executive guide: From delays to fold-out trays – sites that let you vent your spleen

David Turner – November 5, 2010

Crankyflier.com is the website of choice for business travellers focused on airports and airlines. If you read crankyflier.com every week – and if you are a frequent flyer twiddling your thumbs in airport lounges a few times a month – you will not only have time to do so, but you will soon learn which airlines have the most comfortable and most painful seats, as well as the minutiae of which airports have the most delays.

A perfect example of the penetrating, chart-heavy analysis of “Cranky”, an US ex-airline employee named Brett Snyder, can be found in his October magnum opus on delays at San Francisco airport.

. . .

The San Francisco posting generated 32 comments, mostly of business travellers swapping views on the merits, demerits and how-tos of using the airport.

USA Today

More airlines ditch first-class seats as fliers get stingy

Roger Yu – October 18, 2010

“Business class is better than first class ever was 20 years ago. You didn’t have flat beds 20 years ago,” says Brett Snyder of The Cranky Flier blog.

. . .

Meanwhile, fliers who can no longer afford business class are trading down to “premium economy,” a new cabin type that offers economy seats with more legroom. “A huge gap has opened up between business and coach. (Premium economy) is the growing class,” Snyder says.

San Bernardino Sun Logo

Drop in ONT flights bodes ill

Rebecca Cho – October 13, 2010

If Ontario fails to lower costs to airlines, low-priced airlines will continue to shun ONT as a secondary airport to LAX, said Brett Snyder, former business director of travel at PriceGrabber.com. Snyder, based in Long Beach, writes an air travel blog at crankyflier.com.

“Why would an airline fly out of Ontario if it can fly out of LAX, Orange County or Burbank?” Snyder said. “The reason in other cities would be the cost. We’re less convenient, but we can save you a lot of money and people will drive to get there.”

Ft Worth Star-Telegram Logo

Combining airlines may be challenging for Southwest, AirTran

Andrea Ahles – October 1, 2010

“There still is such a mix of different people coming in and out of AirTran that the culture hasn’t really developed,” said Brett Snyder, a columnist for BNet.com who also runs The Cranky Flier website. Adopting the Southwest culture is a “tall task,” he said.

. . .

What may help AirTran pilots accept the Southwest attitude is the substantial pay increase they may receive. Snyder said an eight-year captain at Southwest makes around $200 an hour, while a similar captain at AirTran makes about $145 an hour.

“One way to get people to adopt your culture is give them a fat raise,” Snyder said.

. . .

“Southwest is not really good at IT,” said Snyder, adding that AirTran executives may help the combined carrier move faster on technology upgrades. “[Southwest] can’t even figure out how to get their IT together for themselves. Now they have to join with another airline.”

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Lambert cautious over Southwest-AirTran deal

Tim Barker – September 28, 2010

“There are definitely some opportunities,” said Brett Snyder, an airline consultant in Long Beach, Calif., who writes the consumer-focused Cranky Flier blog. “But I wouldn’t expect anyone to come in and open up a mini-hub.”

Bloomberg Logo

United Air Kiosks, Logos Will Signal Merger’s Progress

Mary Jane Credeur and Mary Schlangenstein – September 17, 2010

“As soon as your capability to operate as a single airline in the customer’s eye is there, then I would start using the single name, the single brand,” Brett Snyder, an aviation consultant in Long Beach, California, who writes the blog CrankyFlier.com, said in a telephone interview.

Boston Herald Logo

Passengers shocked by new touchy-feely TSA screening

Donna Goodison – August 24, 2010

The new, more aggressive body searches make Brett Snyder wonder what triggered the TSA to make the change.

“I’d at least like to know if there’s a rationale for it,” said Snyder, who writes the consumer-focused Crankyflier.com blog about the airline industry.

“They change stuff, and they can’t tell you why, and they just say, ‘Trust us that it’s important’,” he said. “Was there some secret, super terrorist action that they found, and was that somewhere the back of the hands don’t give you enough feeling to catch this mysterious object?”

Chicago Tribune Logo

Some feel blue as United, Continental wedding mixes old, new

Julie Johnsson – August 22, 2010

“I’m a huge fan of making a clean break, unless you’re planning on replicating the service” from one carrier, said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance who writes the “Cranky Flier” blog. “I don’t know how you meet expectations from both sides when you’re not really making a clear brand statement.”


Stressed JetBlue attendant not flying solo

Hilary Potkewitz – August 10, 2010

“It’s the kind of thing you dream about doing,” said Brett Snyder, founder of the travel blog CrankyFlier.com. “It wasn’t professional behavior at all, but flight attendants are people too. He was obviously having a really, really bad day.”

Mr. Snyder is a frequent JetBlue flyer, and said he doesn’t think passengers will be deterred by the incident.

“It was an anomaly. I don’t think you’re going to see flight attendants popping emergency chutes all over the country.”

Bloomberg Logo

Delta Woos N.Y. Fliers as Chicago Shuttle Targets UAL, AMR

Mary Jane Credeur and Mary Schlangenstein – July 26, 2010

“Chicago is one of the most important routes from New York, and Delta’s primary target is to steal people from American,” said Brett Snyder, a former United and America West Airlines manager who runs the CrankyFlier blog and works as a consultant. “American responded with the triple points because they don’t want even one single flier to switch to Delta.”

Adding O’Hare to Delta’s shuttle operation is a “smart move” because travel demand is reviving, said CrankyFlier’s Snyder, who is based in Long Beach, California.

“The shuttle service is at the whims of the economy and business travelers,” Snyder said. “It can be a real moneymaker when things are looking up.”

Kansas City Star Logo

Subsidy reservations: Kansas taxpayers support airlines in Wichita, but KCI complains of turbulence

Randolph Heaster – June 28, 2010

“It would shock me if the impact is as big as they say it is,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge, an air-travel assistance company. “To be subsidizing an airline for that length of time seems fairly absurd, and it certainly has created a lot of bad blood with Delta.”
. . .
Snyder, who also writes an airline industry blog called “the Cranky Flier,” said it was possible that Southwest was considering Wichita service to blanket the geographic area. Besides Kansas City, Southwest is the dominant carrier in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

“Wichita would corner the market, but is it a market worth cornering?” he said. “The population density is just not there to justify it. It’s not the same as Southwest being at Chicago-Midway and up the road in Milwaukee.”

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Tips to minimize the impact of a flight cancellation

Brian J O’Connor – June 28, 2010

Besides the cost of buying a new ticket, getting on a new flight can mean a long wait, too. Airlines have cut the number of flights during the recession, and most planes fly about 80 percent full, notes Brett Snyder, president of CrankyConcierge.com, which plans trips and helps fliers cope with delays and cancellations.
“Flights are already so full that you might not get out for a few days,” Snyder says. “And it isn’t just you — it’s the 150 other people on that flight, too.”

Bloomberg Logo

Virgin Atlantic Says U.S. Authorities Held Passengers on Diverted Plane

John Hughes – June 24, 2010

A rule that applied to international flights would need government support to ensure U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials were available or on-call at every airport in the U.S. where a flight might get diverted, and that could be costly, said Brett Snyder, a former analyst and manager at UAL Corp.’s United Airlines and America West Airlines.

“People love to view things like this as airlines holding passengers hostage,” said Snyder, now president of the CrankyFlier.com travel blog. “That wasn’t the case here at all. By law, they couldn’t let those people off the plane and just wandering around the airport without Customs.”

Bloomberg Logo

Airline Passenger Bumping in U.S. May Be Highest Since 2001

Mary Schlangenstein and Mary Jane Credeur – June 22, 2010

The extra tickets often are sold to walk-up business travelers willing to pay the highest fares, said Brett Snyder, a former analyst and manager at UAL Corp.’s United and America West Airlines who is now president of the CrankyFlier travel blog.

“Airlines are deciding whether it’s worth taking on one more person paying a much higher fare versus the cost of a bump,” Snyder said. “The higher fare usually wins.”

American Public Media Marketplace Logo

Airline satisfaction at three-year high

Jeff Horwich – June 8, 2010 (Click above to listen)

Brett Snyder of CrankyFlier.com says the flip side to crowded flights is that there are fewer of them. “The flights that are still there are going to be running more on time. Also fewer people in the airports for that matter as well.”

And about those bag fees: Snyder says the survey results suggest we haven’t entirely given in. The airlines passengers like most, JetBlue and Southwest, are two of the few that still let you check that first bag for free.

CNN.com Logo

Can you charm your way into upgrade?

A. Pawlowski – June 4, 2010

For one thing, airlines have gotten more aggressive with upgrading their elite fliers, so the first class cabin is often full before you even get to the airport, said Brett Snyder, who runs the blog The Cranky Flier.

Many airlines have also clamped down on the freedom that gate agents have to make upgrading decisions, he added.

Still, being friendly can get you noticed.

“The life of a gate agent can be a very difficult one, in particular when the weather is bad and there are a lot of delays and cancellations and a lot of craziness,” Snyder said.

“So certainly a reason that a gate agent would want to upgrade you is maybe you’re just being nice and you’d be amazed at how rare that might be.”

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Summer air travel’s up, and so are fares

Jeff Horwich – June 1, 2010 (Click above to listen)

Brett Snyder blogs as The Cranky Flier. He says the usual early summer sales have been scarce.

BRETT SNYDER: Bookings are strong, demand seems to be coming back, so they really haven’t had to put that many discounts out there.

Smaller fleets mean domestic flights average 80 percent full. Flights on popular routes are packed. But Snyder says there’s an upside to the industry’s diminished capacity.

SNYDER: When you have fewer airplanes in the air that are trying to get in and out of an airport, then it gives you a little more room to wiggle.

Cleveland Plain Dealer Logo

How will the new United-Continental treat customers?

Alison Grant – May 17, 2010

“United tends to pay very little attention to the experience of their economy customers,” said Brett Snyder, author of the CrankyFlier.com blog. “For them, the economy decision is totally based on fares, looking to give the best price they can.”

Continental has historically shown that some level of service should be paid to everyone, Snyder said.

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How to Get Home When Disaster Strikes

Paul Eisenberg – May 10, 2010

Rerouting is one thing, but crazy convoluted rerouting is another. Still, it’s a viable option that many passengers seem reluctant to pursue, says Brett Snyder, head of Cranky Concierge, which provides assistance to air travelers. “We helped several people throughout the [volcano] crisis, sending some along some incredibly strange routings,” he says. “For example, one client had to be in Toulouse to compete in the Theatre on Ice World Championships. We sent her through Tel Aviv and back to Madrid. She then took a train to Barcelona and drove to Toulouse.”

New York Times Logo

Who Benefits When Airlines Merge?

Brett Snyder – May 5, 2010
I was asked to write a piece for the Times on whether the United/Continental merger would be good for consumers.

Wall Street Journal Logo

For Fliers, Mixed Impact Seen

Mike Esterl – May 2, 2010

“Integration is always difficult. In the short run, there will likely be pain,” said Brett Snyder, who is the head of Cranky Concierge, an air-travel assistance company.

Boston Globe Logo

Flights from Boston to Europe nearing normal levels

Katie Johnston Chase – April 21, 2010

One family of four flew from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv to Madrid, took an overnight train to Barcelona, then rented a car to drive to Toulouse, France, to attend a theater-on-ice competition, said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier, an air travel assistance business. Snyder has been helping people find “crazy ways to go” during the major travel disruption

Washington Post Logo

Don’t let bag fees make you nostalgic. Airlines’ golden age wasn’t so golden.

Brett Snyder – April 18, 2010
I was given the opportunity to write an opinion piece for the on the so-called “glory” days of air travel and why they weren’t exactly so glorious.

Chicago Tribune Logo

United’s new Boeing 777 to have video-on-demand

Julie Johnsson – April 1, 2010

Brett Snyder, who blogs as the Cranky Flier and who first reported the United 777 upgrades, said that some United regulars will miss the old configuration’s window seats, “but there’s nothing worse than being in the ‘double excuse me’ seat in the middle of five [seats],” he told the Tribune via email.

“For the UA faithful, it may be a minor annoyance, but considering everyone will have full audio/video on demand and 110 volt power, it’s still a better product that what was there before,” Snyder added.


Delta tries to land new JFK terminal

Hilary Potkewitz – March 7, 2010

“It’s a shame because they’ve [Delta] done a lot to improve their on-board experience,” says Brett Snyder, founder of the Cranky Flier industry blog. “But it is incredibly hard to win in New York when you have a miserable facility. And they know that.”

“Leisure travelers only care about price,” says Mr. Snyder. “You can fly them out of a tin shed. But when you’re trying to get business travelers, they’re not going to put up with crowded grungy areas—especially when they have the option of American or Continental, which have great facilities.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer Logo

Continental Airlines to charge extra for exit rows seats

Alison Grant – March 3, 2010

“This doesn’t bother me because you really are getting a better product, something more than the people in the rest of the plane,” said Brett Snyder, aka “The Cranky Flier” blogger.

Snyder said Continental’s move is the latest adjustment that it and United have made to align their amenities since they became Star Alliance partners in October.

ABC News Logo

ABC News

Will a New Bill to Boost U.S. Tourism Help or Hurt? – March 1, 2010

“You already have very strong chambers of commerces and tourism groups for destinations, and those, I think, do a very good job… in general, of promoting their destination,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge air travel services. “In a way, this is going to be duplicating some efforts on things that are already happening at the local and regional level.”

“This is an easy thing to sell to your constituents because it costs you nothing. It costs foreigners something,” Snyder said.



Lie down all the way to LA: Air NZ – January 26, 2010

TVNZ asked me what I thought of the new NZ seats. You can read or watch the video on what I said.

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NPR Morning Edition

NPR Talks JAL with Cranky – January 20, 2010

A sub-two minute piece on JAL’s bankruptcy.

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