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USA Today

Airlines, airports cater to international travel

Charisse Jones – December 2, 2012

“The airlines are focusing on where they can make money,” says Brett Snyder, founder of the travel-assistance website and blog The Cranky Flier, who has watched airlines target the international market in recent years.

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2022: Cheap flights, more rail and hands-free cars

Thom Patterson – November 27, 2012

Airline consumer expert Brett Snyder of crankyflier.com fears continued success of low-cost carriers could hurt consumers in the long run. Low-cost airlines are growing fast and raking in big profits by charging ultra-cheap fares while nickel-and-diming passengers to pay for even the most basic extras.

Snyder is a fan of extreme low-cost carriers like RyanAir, but in general, he doesn’t want to see the entire industry using that model. He believes passengers want choices and, to some degree, a la carte provides that. It’s a system that allows passengers to choose the services they want. Some fliers may not be able to get their heads around it because they’re stuck in the past.

“A lot of people who don’t like this trend have in their minds the way it used to be,” said Snyder. “They think that’s how it should be.”

If the low-cost model becomes the standard for success, Snyder warns, other airlines seeking profits will follow, triggering a “race to the bottom,” as every airline tries to “slash and burn costs and do everything they can to make more money by cutting back. I think that would be really unfortunate.”

Denver-based Frontier Airlines “is the hope for the future,” said Snyder. “They’re trying to become a low-cost carrier, but they have more amenities on board, although you do have to pay for them, such as live TV and extra legroom. They’re trying to offer a bit more to people.”

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Holiday travel and tighter planes raise likelihood of having larger seatmates

Janet Cho – November 19, 2012

In general, airline policies say “the responsibility is on the person buying the ticket to know if he or she can fit in a seat or not,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier LLC, via email.

“And if not, the only way to safely make sure you’ll get on a flight is to buy an extra seat (or buy a premium cabin ticket for a seat that’s wider.)”

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Air travelers scrambling to get home

Katia Hetter and Laura Smith-Spark – November 1, 2012

Informed travelers paid attention to the storm tracking reports and acted quickly when the opportunity came up to change their flights, said Brett Snyder, who operates the Cranky Flier website and concierge service.

“Some people drop the trip, and we saw a lot of that this week,” said Snyder. “If you haven’t started your trip, your meeting yesterday was probably canceled. With most airlines, you should sit and wait and see if the flight cancels or not because you can get a refund if it cancels. Or you can decide to take a credit.”

People in the middle of a trip to the potentially hard-hit areas can decide to leave before the storm arrives.

“The key there is to do it early because the planes will fill up,” he said. “Be decisive in those situations even though (the weather) might speed up or slow down. When they give you flexibility, take advantage of it.”

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Few flights leaving JFK, Newark; damaged LaGuardia closed

Agnes Pawlowski – NBCNews.com – October 31, 2012

“The more flights they can get in the air, the more people they can move in and out,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Concierge air travel assistance service. Airlines will use bigger planes and add more flights to speed things up if they can, he noted.

“It could have been a lot worse, but this is a lower demand travel time so there is more slack in the system to recover than you’d find around the holidays.”

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Sandy Shuts Down Nine Airports Along East Coast

Wade Goodwyn – October 29, 2012

GOODWYN: Nearly everyone in the industry no matter the mode of transportation is allowing passengers to change their tickets without change fees to the same destination through November 4th. But Brett Snyder who writes the Cranky Traveler column for Conde Nast gives high marks in particular to United Airlines.

BRETT SNYDER: United will let you change anything. You can change your destination. You can use it, you know, within the next year and they’ll waive the change fee.

GOODWYN: Snyder says United’s policy not only will win customer loyalty, but it gets United passengers back on United’s planes faster. Wade Goodwyn, NPR News.

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‘Eye of the storm’ for traveler help firm

Tracy Johnke – October 29, 2012
I did an interview about how we were helping people through Hurricane Sandy.

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How do you get upgraded at the gate on a flight?

Karan Smith – October 5, 2012

“Getting upgraded at the gate is far more difficult than it used to be,” says Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Flier, an award-winning blog. “Flights are a lot more full and most upgrades have been processed in advance. But if upgrades are available at the gate, they will usually go to the elite members in the airline program. … It’s rare that flirting or just being kind will get you anywhere these days.”

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Airline to offer baby-free ‘quiet zone’

Overhead Bin on NBCNews.com – September 25, 2012

“It’s already hard enough for families to find seating together so this would take another chunk out where they have fewer seats to choose from,” said Brett Snyder, who writes The Cranky Flier blog.

“I think you would see some family groups up in arms and would probably see lawsuits … it would be ugly.”

As a frequent flier and the father of an 8-month old boy, Snyder knows both sides of the issue well. Last week, he and his wife flew from Hawaii to California with their infant son after a vacation and could not get the baby to stop being fussy. Snyder was so worried about bothering the passengers sitting near the family that he offered to buy them drinks. But he said most people were sympathetic — consistent with his observation that passengers get most angry when parents don’t even attempt to quiet their screaming child.

“As long as the parent is trying to do something and soothe him and rock (the baby), then I think generally there’s a fair bit of tolerance,” Snyder said. “Don’t ignore your kid. It’s amazing to me that people do that.”

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When Children Fly Alone

The Kojo Nnamdi Show Radio Appearance – August 20, 2012

I talked about the fiasco where United failed to get an unaccompanied minor to her connecting flight.

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Questions linger in Delta’s purchase of Trainer refinery

Linda Loyd – July 15, 2012

CrankyFlier.com author Brett Snyder, who formerly worked for America West and United Airlines, says the deal seems good if Delta does not have to spend more than $100 million to get the refinery running, and there are no unforeseen big expenses, such as a safety problem.

“The swap is crucial as part of this because gas and diesel are just terrible to sell, especially the gas,” Snyder said. “With the swap in place, it seems like it sets this up to work at least for a few years. By then, Delta has made its money back. Maybe it doesn’t work a few years down the line, maybe it does,” Snyder said. “They’ll know more at that point. Then they can make that judgment. And they still should have made money.”

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United says more job cuts possible

Kiah Collier – June 6, 2012

“The reality here is that these are things United probably needed to do anyway. But it was in the middle of a political game, and it figured that it had found a way to deflect the fallout,” Brett Snyder, author of The Cranky Flier, a travel blog, wrote in a post Monday.

Snyder said in an email the wording in the employee bulletin released on the day of the Hobby vote was “vague” in reference to the exact implementation of the 1,300 job cuts.

“Will there be some job loss? Sure, if the airline does in fact reduce its schedule by 10 percent,” Snyder said. “There may also be job loss as they are relocated to Chicago, for all I know. But the timing makes it sound like it will be very drawn out. I’m skeptical that we’ll actually see 1,300 jobs disappear.”

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Get the Best Deals with Frequent Flier Miles

Sibila Vargas – June 5, 2012

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Delta tests ‘basic economy’ fares on some flights

Kelly Yamanouchi – May 26, 2012

With Spirit, “you’re buying the right to sit on an airplane on a flight, and everything else will cost extra,” said Brett Snyder, author of the blog crankyflier.com and a former airline manager.

“The basic idea is to get people to pay for what they want, instead of the previous one-size-fits-all type of fare,” Snyder said. “Before, there was always this assumption that if you were flying, you wanted to check bags and you wanted to eat on the airplane and you wanted a seat assignment. What the airlines have done is they’ve started peeling that back.”

Snyder compared the tiers to cable packages, such as those that include cable, extra channels, phone or Internet service.

And carriers like Delta will be “dipping their toes into it to see if it’s a model that works for them,” Snyder said, “and I think it’s going to be something that people should expect to see more of.”

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United Airlines ends coach preboarding for children

Thom Patterson – May 23, 2012

“I have to wonder if it will end up slowing things down because of the extra time it takes for families to board,” said Brett Snyder of the blog crankyflier.com.

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Outrage over $100 carry-on bag fee

Mary Snow – May 10, 2012

Cleveland Plain Dealer Logo

Airlines charging extra for everything is good for consumers, report says (poll)

Janet Cho – May 1, 2012

Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier LLC, isn’t surprised by the report’s findings.

“A la carte pricing lets travelers pick and choose exactly what they want when they fly, and that’s a good thing,” he said.

“If someone without a bag to check flies Southwest, they are still paying the same amount as someone who does check a bag even though the latter person is getting more for the money. With other airlines, you get what you pay for, and that’s a good thing.”

Cleveland Plain Dealer Logo

Continental’s Airline Quality Rating dropped out of Top 10 in 2011 (take our poll)

Janet Cho – April 5, 2012

Brett Snyder, author of the CrankyFlier blog, doesn’t put much stock in the AQR rankings because he said it’s based on incomplete data.

The mishandled bag rate, for example, is measured per 1,000 passengers instead of against the total number of bags, even though fewer people check bags now because of the higher fees.

He said the complaint rate is based on the number of people who complain to the Department of Transportation when most people now complain to the airlines themselves or via social media.

“The DOT is sort of a last resort,” he said.

Continental, for example, got 821 complaints in 2011, out of 45 million passengers flown. Problems related to merging Continental and United are also likely to skew results, he said.

“Since they did the switchover in March, they have done a terrible job of getting their (on-phone) hold times down,” he said. “There’s no question there’s going to be more complaints” that will throw off United’s data for this year.

Houston Chronicle Logo

United merger’s OK despite problems, experts say

Kiah Collier – March 23, 2012

Brett Snyder, writer for The Cranky Flier, an air travel blog, said that the long phone waits have been the big problem in a transition that otherwise has gone smoothly.

“Contrary to what many have suggested, the technological switch actually went well,” Snyder said in an email. “There were some issues when it first happened but they weren’t grave problems. Since that time, however, United has fallen down. The airline didn’t anticipate that different levels of functionality after the switch would cause travelers to clog phone lines.

“Here we are about three weeks later and the phone lines are still way too long. That has been the biggest issue with this transition and it needed to get fixed yesterday. Some of that has been hindered by weather issues in places like Houston, but even on good days the hold times are still very long.”

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YOUR MONEY: New route maps at New York-area airports

Mitch Lipka – March 12, 2012

“This is a very significant change. It is a massive number of slots changing hands, and it does remake the landscape,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the air passenger site Crankyflier.com. “You lose one player in US Airways but you gain a stronger Delta that’s more competitive with United (owned by United Continental Holdings Inc ).”

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Bob Hope Airport faces tough times

Mark Kellam – March 12, 2012

Brett Snyder, who runs the airline industry website www.crankyflier.com, said that whenever an airport undertakes a major project, it should be designed to enhance the experience of the majority of patrons and generate more passengers. But he also had concerns that making the airport more accessible via public transportation could further erode parking revenues.

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Finding Your Seat On the Go

March 9, 2011

USA Today

Many cities lose out in Southwest-AirTran merger

Nancy Trejos – February 29, 2012

“Southwest has already changed dramatically from its early days as a scrappy challenger,” says Brett Snyder, founder of the travel assistance website The Cranky Flier. “As its costs have risen — it has incredibly high labor costs compared to other airlines — it has been forced to get more revenue out of its operation, and fares have risen a lot.”

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Airline Fee Changes Require Full Disclosure

Lolita Lopez – January 23, 2012

An interview with NBC4 LA on new DOT regulation:

View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.

2 comments on “Cranky in the News Archive – 2012

  1. El Toro Info Site http://www.eltoroairport.org picked up your comment re Ontario staffing.

    At the same time, we posted an article about John Wayne Airport losing its service to JFK and facing a shrinking waiting list of air carriers wanting to fly from the OC airport. Not exactly the news we want as JWA adds a 278,000 square foot third terminal.

  2. “It’s an airline based in Vegas, so people are in a gambling mood I guess,”

    That’s funny! :) But seriously… do you know how this is working out for them? Honestly, I wasn’t familiar with these guys but in looking for a cheap flight to Montana from Arizona, they were mentioned a number of times. If they are able to deliver decent service and good flights to (my) niche destination, I have to give them a thumbs up. Just wondering what, if anything, others’ experiences have been with them.

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