This is the archive. For current news appearances, go to crankyflier.com/cranky-in-the-news.
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
“It’s been a bad market for years,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Concierge travel service and writes the Cranky Flier blog from Long Beach. “(JetBlue) tried a million things.”
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
Brett Snyder, who runs The Cranky Flier blog and Cranky Concierge service said providing these amenities to customers is a smart move for airlines.
“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
Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Flier blog and Cranky Concierge service, is less optimistic that these fees are going to be permanently relegated to the past.
“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
If social distancing is mandated, “it could have an enormous impact on pricing,” said Brett Snyder, a former airline employee and founder of Cranky Flier and Cranky Concierge.
Your Southwest Airlines flight might soon include face masks and health screenings. Is that enough to make flying feel safe again?
April 28, 2020 – Kyle Arnold
“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.”
That’s how Brett Snyder, who runs The Cranky Flier blog and separate Cranky Concierge service, summed it up.
“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.”
Aviation industry stands to lose up to $113 billion from coronavirus effect
March 8, 2020
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
“Who knows what it, in practice, actually means?” said Brett Snyder, a former airline employee who runs a travel service called Cranky Concierge and writes the Cranky Flier blog.
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.
Airlines Are Offering Passengers Plenty of Choices — but Does It Make a Difference?
December 29, 2019 – Alison Fox
Brett Snyder, the founder of airline industry blog Cranky Flier, said while he doesn’t necessarily think that’s true anymore, explaining a strong economy has started to dictate a more discerning market, the idea of having control over what you pay for is an intriguing one. In fact, he said it’s the “a la carte model,” or unbundled fares, that has been a huge financial help for airlines (which also happens to work both for price-conscious customers and those who want to add on services like lounge access or Wi-Fi).
“The ability to let people pick and choose also encourages airlines to offer more products if there’s a revenue stream that’s there for them,” he said. “In the last decade especially… the airlines have been doing well and they’ve said ‘we’re going to try to invest in this and see what we can do.’”
LATAM and British Airways, Iberia-parent IAG drop partnership plans
December 10, 2019 – Edward Russell
Brett Snyder, founder of the travel service Cranky Concierge and author of the Cranky Flier blog, recently called IAG’s Air Europa deal a “second act” in the surprising saga that was LATAM’s pivot to Delta.
Asked by TPG about LATAM and IAG’s decision to drop their planned partnership, Snyder said regulatory hurdles to the LATAM-IAG tie up likely trumped the Air Europa deal.
“It would be a mistake if this were in any way related to the IAG acquisition of Air Europa since it is far from certain that will be approved,” he said. “Certainly regulatory problems, along with the realignment away from Oneworld, made it more challenging to push this through.”
United’s Scott Kirby Finally Gets a CEO Job: Now What?
December 5, 2019 – Brian Sumers
“He was an imposing figure,” said Brett Snyder, an airline analyst who worked for Kirby from 1999–2002 at America West Airlines. “He certainly cast a long shadow, and he was very blunt. He was not going to play games. You would know where you stood pretty clearly when you were interacting with him.”
“For Scott, revenue management and pricing, these are his babies,” Snyder said. “When you hear him talk about it, he has incredible ability to grasp the situation and understand the right way to go with something. I think it is because his brain is actually a computer.”
Is Southwest Airlines considering a no-frills ticket? (Just don’t call it basic economy)
December 5, 2019 – Dawn Gilbertson
Brett Snyder, a former airline employee who runs a travel service called Cranky Concierge and writes the Cranky Flier blog, said he can’t see Southwest introducing anything like a traditional basic economy fare or doing away with its free bag policy, at least while Kelly is in charge.
He said Southwest frequently studies new initiatives but is slow to make any changes.
If the airline ends up changing up its fare categories, Snyder said it’s certainly possible travelers who buy the lowest fare would see reduced benefits. That could include fewer frequent flyer points earned and maybe one free checked bag instead of two. He called the latter a “no brainer” for Southwest.
“You can still say bags fly free,” he said. “You can still maintain that moral superiority that Southwest likes to have, yet you can find another revenue stream.”
Yes, you are being asked if you want travel insurance more often
November 28, 2019
“These travel insurance policies can be quite lucrative for whoever sells them,” said Brett Snyder of the airline industry blog Cranky Flier.
Make the Most of an Overbooked Flight
November 25, 2019 – Brett Snyder
AARP asked me write an article about strategies for getting bumped.
If Southwest wanted to acquire another airline, which would it target?
November 4, 2019
“It’s almost cult-like, and I don’t mean that necessarily in a negative way,” Brett Snyder, an industry expert who runs the Cranky Flier blog, said about Southwest’s culture. “It’s an important attribute for the airline. You’ll hear Gary Kelly say that over and over again. Maybe future management would stray further away a little bit and take more risks. But, they seem to put culture toward the top of what matters when they’re doing things.”
Some of United’s regional flights just got a lot cushier with new plane
November 1, 2019
Brett Snyder, who operates airline industry blog Cranky Flier, got to see one of the planes during a recent media day and called it a “beautiful plane.” But passenger amenities are not the only reason for introducing this type of plane, Snyder said.
United, American and Delta all have agreements with pilots for how much flying the airline can outsource to regional partners. United has a restriction on the number of 70- to 76-seat airplanes it can operate but no restrictions on 50-seat planes, Snyder said.
“United is trying to catch up to the competition by doing this,” Snyder said. “They have rolled out what is by nature an incredibly generous product: a big airplane with a lot of extra room. It benefits every flyer that goes on this airplane, no question.”
Snyder said another perk is fewer people on board, which provides a better experience for travelers.
“It’s an easy on and off, even if you’re in the back on coach,” he said. “Generally it’s a nicer experience.”
Boeing Takes Out Full-Page Ads Before CEO Testifies
October 29, 2019
“It doesn’t sit well with me. This is anything but an apology,” said Brett Snyder, an aviation expert. “It’s unlikely that any of the friends or families of the victims care about The Wall Street Journal. And if they do read it, they don’t care that Boeing took out an ad.”
“This [message] isn’t targeted at families; it’s targeted at the people who buy airplanes or working for the airlines,” said Snyder.
How Will Airlines Handle the Return of Boeing’s 737 Max 8?
October 17, 2019
“Boeing has put the airlines in a difficult position,” said Brett Snyder, an aviation expert and founder of the blog Cranky Flier. “No consumer is buying a Boeing product; they’re buying the airline product. On the one hand, you want to reassure people that it’s safe and your pilots are qualified, trained and tested. But on the other hand, the more visibility you bring to this, the more it sticks in people’s minds.”
United has a new tool to help you make tight connections. They say it’s saved 50,000 missed flights.
October 16, 2019
Brett Snyder, founder and author of CrankyFlier.com, an airline-industry blog, said United and other airlines have already looked at data to decide whether to hold flights for tight connections. But those decisions have been made by humans looking at a variety of factors rather than technology that makes the call automatically.
“This is just putting more rigor behind it,” says Snyder, who wrote about the new tool in June. And, he said, it’s a great marketing ploy to contrast United with other airlines.
“It’s helping people, it’s great,” Snyder says. But he wonders whether the travelers who are making their flights only because of the new tool even know it. His suggestion? The airline should send a notification in those cases: “ConnectionSaver to the rescue — you just got saved.”
After Icelandair leaves Kansas City, can KCI land another nonstop flight to Europe?
October 6, 2019
Brett Snyder, an airline observer who authors the Cranky Flier blog, said the airline’s departure is not a huge surprise.
Kansas City is a longer — thus more expensive to fly — flight than many of Icelandair’s U.S. destinations.
“It seemed like a stretch,” Snyder said. “And Kansas City had no other long-haul international flying at all, which made this definitely more of an experiment.”
Icelandair rapidly expanded into underserved U.S. markets. But a price war with Icelandic competitor WOW Air drove ticket prices down. WOW went bankrupt earlier this year, though new owners have announced plans to relaunch service soon.
With its rival out of the way, the market has become more “rational,” Snyder said.
“And Icelandair is probably rethinking it’s risky markets like Kansas City,” he said.
During Inconvenient SFO Construction, Airlines Offer Waivers
September 16, 2019
Sabre says DOJ suit mischaracterizes Farelogix acquisition
August 22, 2019
Brett Snyder, who runs the aviation blog Cranky Flier, characterized the acquisition as one that would help Sabre better its offerings for airlines and, in turn, travel agencies.
“It feels like Sabre has finally, after years of neglecting the trends of the airline industry — of how they want to sell tickets — new management has finally come in and said, ‘We need to compete in this space, or we’re going to be left behind,'” Snyder said. “This acquisition helps them do that. In my mind, it doesn’t seem like an effort to simply kill a competitor. It seems like an effort for Sabre to catch up to what it fought against for so many years.”
American Airlines Will Make First Class Classier on Some Jets
August 20, 2019
Brett Snyder, an airline industry analyst who also runs a high-end travel concierge business, said he has heard from clients that the seats are “poorly thought out” and “desperately in need of help.” Given the importance of premium customers, Snyder said he’s not surprised American is changing course.
“For American, the people who sit in first class are the people they care about the most,” Snyder said. “They have to make sure those people are happy.”
Snyder said he’s not surprised American is leaving economy class alone.
“I hadn’t heard many complaints about coach,” he said. “People seem to like whining about the number of seats on the airplane but it doesn’t actually seem like it is that uncomfortable.”
The New Airport Congestion: Plane Spotters Crowd Fancy Hotel Bars
August 2, 2019
Brett Snyder, who writes the aviation blog Cranky Flier, says creature comforts aren’t what matters most about plane-spotting.
He organizes an annual event called Dorkfest where spotters gather at an In-N-Out Burger outside LAX.
“When a plane comes, it looks like prairie dogs — everyone stops talking and looks in the same direction,” he says.
‘We kind of couldn’t believe it:’ American passenger recounts 21-hour delay as airline struggles
July 12, 2019
Brett Snyder, whose Cranky Concierge travel service includes help rebooking canceled and delayed flights, has heard an earful about American recently.
“People are just mad,” he said.
Passengers don’t care whether their flight is canceled for a mechanical issue, weather or other reasons, Snyder said.
“All they really know is that American is not running a good operation,” he said.
Snyder has a flight to Hawaii coming up on American and, like many passengers, is worried. He’s not going so far as to booking a pricey back up ticket, as one of his clients did, but said he is “mentally preparing” for a delay.
Tiny German airline a big player, thanks to interline deals
July 8, 2019
“If you are an agent, you should love this,” said Brett Snyder, an aviation analyst and owner of the air travel service Cranky Concierge. “It allows you to find and book places that are halfway around the world really easily.”
American Airlines says mechanics are causing delays. Now, a judge could force the union to pay for it
June 30, 2019 – Kyle Arnold
It comes on top of a particularly challenging period for American where travelers have been complaining about delays and cancellations, said Brett Snyder, a travel and aviation blogger with CrankyFlier.com.
“Blaming this on the mechanics issues is a little complicated because American hasn’t been running a great operation even before this,” Snyder said.
Typical fliers probably haven’t connected delays to labor issues, but frequent travelers are aware, Snyder said.
“If anyone is really noticing, it’s the road warriors,” he said.
Have We Reached Peak Airline Complexity?
June 13, 2019 – David Kaplan
This is a wide-ranging interview with me, so there are too many quotes to copy here.
BHM confident in airport traffic growth despite losing Via Airlines
May 30, 2019 – Angel Coker
Brett Snyder of Cranky Flier LLC said the airline will face issues if it decides to offer commercial flights again in the future.
“As for going back to scheduled operations, the only real hurdle they’ll face (other than pilots, apparently) is the complete and total loss of consumer confidence that they can deliver a product,” he said.
Why American Airlines is adding nonstop flights from DFW to these cities in Europe
May 17, 2019 – Gordon Dickson
“This should help pull travelers from Texas, the Southwest, California and even parts of Latin America,” Brett Snyder, president of the popular Cranky Flier air travel blog, said in an email. “The markets are already well-served from the east coast, but they are big summer leisure markets and American thinks it can fill those flights. Part of American’s big push at DFW is adding service from … places like Flagstaff, Monterrey, etc. These summer routes can help fill those airplanes by offering good connections via DFW since there are no one-stop options to these cities via other hubs.”
An American Airlines passenger says she was ‘assaulted’ by a gate agent. Now, she wants an apology
May 3, 2019 – Dom DiFurio
People generally tend to be anxious about air travel, setting up a scenario that can sometimes turn volatile when problems arise, said industry blogger and travel consultant Brett Snyder, who runs the CrankyFlier blog.
“One little thing goes wrong and it just sets them off and it just creates these really ugly situations that don’t have to escalate as far as they do,” he said. “It’s usually on both sides that something happens that pushes it to that next level. Then somebody goes over the line.”
The 737 Max is out until August, so how will Southwest Airlines handle it?
April 12, 2019 – Mitchell Schnurman
American picked up corporate customers during that time, especially in Chicago, said Brett Snyder, who writes the aviation blog Cranky Flier. But most cities don’t have a similar level of competition.
“In most places, Southwest is still the most convenient option,” he said.
And Southwest still has a great reputation. Last year, Southwest had the fewest complaints to federal regulators among the large airlines — and far fewer than the average for all carriers.
That doesn’t mean travelers have fewer problems on Southwest; but it probably means that Southwest does a better job of resolving them, Snyder said.
“The difference with Southwest is it usually takes care of those complaints itself,” Snyder said. “They just make their customers happy.”
If you’re going to miss your flight, call the airline. Immediately. And be nice
March 11, 2019 – Catharine Hamm
“If someone simply opts not to take a flight in the itinerary and it’s not due to an airline-related issue, then they are generally out of luck,” Brett Snyder, formerly an airline employee and now president of CrankyFlier.com, which deals with airline questions, and CrankyConcierge.com, which offers air travel assistance, said in an email.
Even if it’s not your fault (you miss a connecting flight because your first flight was late), you should call. “If the traveler misses a flight due to an airline-related issue, then it is always best to talk to someone at the airline to make sure that the return isn’t canceled,” Snyder said.
“The systems are automated so that if that flight is missed, the rest of the itinerary cancels. Usually in a situation where the airline knows it’s a missed connection, there are other automated systems that will rebook the passenger on the next flight.”
Call. Don’t leave it to chance. I asked Snyder if my return ticket would have been OK because it wasn’t my fault. “If someone decides to drive the last leg, then that would still cause problems down the line,” he said.
Why American Airlines’ DFW fortress hub isn’t so scary anymore
February 24, 2019 – Mitchell Schnurman
“DFW isn’t really a fortress hub anymore,” said Brett Snyder, who writes the aviation blog Cranky Flier. “Some people will always complain, but with the breadth of options and the affordability, most [travelers] are in a good place these days.”
Southwest Airlines Cancels More Flights Because Of Unspecified Mechanical Issues
February 20, 2019 – David Schaper
SCHAPER: Brett Snyder writes about the airline industry on his Cranky Flier blog.
SNYDER: From their perspective, this is something they think is necessary to make sure that the fleet is fixed and flying, but it certainly would be taken by the union as a shot across the bow. It’s going to ratchet up tension, I would think.
SNYDER: That’s just labor negotiations (laughter). This is almost a standard pattern. You know, one side will claim safety issues, then the other side will push back. It’s part of the tug of war.
50 Years On, Boeing’s 747 Is Fighting for Survival
February 11, 2019 – Sam Blum
Brett Snyder, another industry analyst, echoes what Boeing executives have admitted in recent years: “There isn’t a long-term future for the 747 as a passenger carrier,” he says. “But for the airplane to have served for 50 years as successfully as it has is quite the testament to an incredible design.”
A Hacker Exposed the Ancient Flaw That Makes Airlines So Hackable
January 17, 2019 – Sam Blum
Another airline industry analyst, Brett Snyder points out that airlines rely on a multitude of services to manage their business, many of which are separate from GDS. Writing to PM in an email, he explains that IT is stronger than it used to be:
“Overall, the airlines have started to put a bunch of money into IT and that’s going to pay dividends, but there have been years of under-investment due to chronic financial problems. So there’s a lot of catching up that needs to be done overall, but this doesn’t seem like as big of a security issue as it’s made out to be in my mind. Without knowing the full story, however, that’s just speculation.”
Why issues that delayed flights at BWI are an industry-wide problem
January 15, 2019 – Pete Muntean
Airline seat selection fees: It’s pay to play
January 5, 2019 – Matt Villano
Brett Snyder, a former airline employee who now writes the Cranky Flier blog, described the phenomenon as “effectively a money grab” on the part of the carriers.
Skyrocketing seat selection fees enrage flyers, enrich airlines
December 18, 2018 – Dawn Gilbertson
Brett Snyder, a former airline employee who writes the Cranky Flier blog and runs a travel service called Cranky Concierge, calls that a “completely ridiculous comparison.”
“It’s not like you need a view of the pilot here,” he said.
Snyder calls preferred seat fees a form of bait and switch. Airlines like Delta, United and American created no frills Basic Economy fares for budget sensitive travelers in the past few years, with restrictions including no free advance seat assignments. During booking, they try to get travelers to pay more for a regular economy by touting the perks you get over a basic economy ticket.
Except one of the biggest perks, a seat assignment, now carries a caveat: Fees may apply
From Layover to Stayover
Eric Moya – October 5, 2018
“Portugal is sort of having its moment in the sun as this great destination,” said aviation analyst and blogger Brett Snyder of CrankyFlier.com. He added that even if passengers might prefer a nonstop flight to their final destination, low fares “will change people’s minds, if it’s going to save a lot of money to go through Lisbon. But then, also, if they can tag on two or three days in Lisbon, then that’s the kind of thing that can help sway someone to say, ‘This is cool. I’d like to go there, I might as well do it.’”
For Snyder, that mindset is key to boosting a stopover destination’s popularity. “You get these up-and-coming places that maybe people think are interesting, but they don’t view it as a destination for an entire trip,” he said. “And so Iceland maybe had that. Now, increasingly, Iceland is a destination. But Portugal may be at that point now where people say ‘I’m going to Italy’ or ‘I’m going to Spain,’ [but] if they can go to Portugal in addition and get a couple of days, then that’s great. And that may actually turn into a future trip once people know more about what it’s like to be there.”
Gulf carriers’ routes have been a game-changer particularly for East Coast passengers who are bound for Southeast Asia and other destinations where they might have traditionally taken a westbound flight, Snyder said.
“The problem previously had been there just weren’t a lot of ways that you could go east; you could go through Europe, but you didn’t have as many options as if you went west,” he said. “But now that you have these Gulf carriers, which have huge connecting banks and just massive numbers of flights … it becomes even easier sometimes” than taking traditional westerly routes.
Add to that the Gulf carriers’ competitive fares, and “it’s opened up a lot of new opportunities,” he said.
And according to Snyder, at one time, flag carrier Singapore Airlines “was the threat that the Gulf carriers are today. This is what airlines were nervous about: ‘This low-cost operator with really high levels of service is going to dominate the world.’”
Snyder said Gulf carriers’ relationships with their countries of origin epitomize that sort of commitment.
“The governments and the airlines [are] so closely connected to each other that the decisions that get made by the airline are often more about what’s best for the destination, as opposed to what’s best for the airline as a profit-making entity,” he said.
Looking elsewhere around the globe, Snyder said that Panama has attributes that could make it a successful stopover spot for Latin America-bound passengers.
Flag carrier Copa “can fly 737s, similar to what Icelandair does, over a shorter range to pretty much everywhere” in South America, he said. “So you can fly from Boston to Panama on a 737 and then Panama to Buenos Aires on a 737. And normally to get between those places you need a big aircraft … but because of Copa’s location, they can penetrate into all these places with smaller airplanes.
“And as a stopover point, I know I’m still curious” about Panama, he said. “A lot of people want to see the Panama Canal.”
Airlines’ $57 billion question: Is there anything left to charge passengers for?
Leslie Josephs – September 7, 2018
“There’s obviously the idea of charging for a carry-on,” said Brett Snyder, who writes the Cranky Flier airline blog. “It seems like the third rail.”
Frontier Airlines adds another city in Alabama, but what will it mean for BHM?
Angel Coker – July 11, 2018
“This may impact airport traffic in Birmingham, but it won’t be by all that much. We’re only talking about three flights a week, at most, in these markets, so it’s not a huge number of seats,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier LLC. “But to the extent that price-sensitive travelers are driving down to Birmingham from Huntsville today, this would enable them to have a much easier journey from their home airport.”
Snyder said the addition of Frontier will drive fares down from Huntsville to Orlando, Denver and beyond where connections are available, which will also aid in attracting and keeping customers local to Huntsville.
“But again, we’re talking about a small number of seats, so I wouldn’t think it would have a huge impact on Birmingham at this point,” he said. “If Huntsville performs well – something that didn’t happen when AirTran entered the market years ago – then it could grow at the expense of Birmingham. I think that’s a longshot, however.”
‘American’s response was lacking, to be kind’
Erik Spanberg – June 20, 2018
Brett Snyder, who writes self-described snarky consumer air travel blog The Cranky Flier, criticized the response by American and PSA in several Twitter messages this week.
In a telephone interview Wednesday, Snyder told me American should have issued blanket waivers for passengers flying in or out of Charlotte or connecting here to help customers by allowing changes to tickets without penalties. The airline may have suffered from a few fliers taking advantage of the opportunity even if they weren’t affected, but it would have been worth the risk and cost, Snyder said.
“American’s response was lacking, to be kind,” he said. “Every single person that flies on PSA is an American customer. American should have been out there (updating) customers (more often).”
Landing the Best Airfare Is a Matter of Timing
Kimberly Palmer – May 30, 2018
“In general, you want to book in advance, but not too far in advance,” says Brett Snyder, president of CrankyConcierge.com, which assists travelers with flights. When flights initially go on sale, they are typically not listed at the lowest fares, he says. Prices for domestic travel tend to dip around one month before you fly and for international travel around two months before you fly, he says. Monitoring prices around that time frame can help you snag the best deal.
In general, Snyder says, prices depend on demand, so if you want to travel when everyone else does — such as at Thanksgiving and the December holidays — you probably can’t avoid paying a higher price. “You may as well book earlier in advance because those flights are likely to book up sooner than normal,” he says.
Long-Awaited KC Airport Rebuild Moving Ahead
Julius Karash – April 30, 2018
“This is an airport that was built before there was a need for any security,” said Brett Snyder, writer of the Cranky Flier airline industry blog. “Even if you wanted to keep the facility that you have in place, you would still need to put a ton of money into rehabbing the existing terminals.”
Snyder also noted that the new single terminal configuration won the support of Southwest Airlines and other carriers that serve KCI. “If you’re an airline at Kansas City and you want to add service, you can’t really add it today,” he said.
Snyder, the Cranky Flier blogger, said another incentive to invest in the project is the prospect of higher concession revenues in a terminal that offers travelers more opportunities to spend money. “Anything that increases revenue is good news,” he said. “You should see an immediate jump just by having an adequate level of concessions. That’s undoubtedly one of the things that they’re looking for.”
JetBlue Tweaks Its West Coast Route Map as It Focuses on Profit Margins
Brian Sumers – April 25, 2018
“The only thing that’s surprising is that they are not pulling out,” said Brett Snyder, a Long Beach resident and airline industry blogger. “They have been greeted with nothing but hostility at pretty much every move. I am personally pleased to see them making a go of it here with a reduced schedule.”
Officially, Long Beach will remain a focus city for JetBlue, with flights to most larger West Coast cities, but it’s clear the airline is no longer as interested in it as several years ago, Snyder said.
“They went to his business schedule to utilize the slots because if the didn’t, Southwest would use them, which was their biggest issue,” Snyder said. “It killed profitability.”
“JetBlue had a great plans for international flying to Mexico and nearby Latin America,” Snyder said. “They had this vision of creating a nice focus city and having some good yields. When they got shot down, that whole plan feel apart.
Window seat or aisle? After Southwest incident, some fliers think twice
Julia Horowitz – April 19, 2018
Brett Snyder, a former airline manager and editor of the travel site Crankyflier.com, agreed. People shouldn’t take the Southwest event into consideration when choosing where to sit, he said.
“It’s important to stress just how incredibly rare something like this is,” Snyder said.
Fly Now, Pay Later: Are Travel Loans a Good Deal?
Amrita Jayakumar – April 12, 2018
Some experts advise against going into debt for travel at all, whether you use travel loans or credit cards. “Taking out debt (to travel) is risky and can be harder to pay off in the long run,” says Brett Snyder, president and founder of airline industry blog Cranky Flier.
Even when a travel loan might make sense, know how you’ll pay it back, such as by carving money out of your budget or using a tax refund, Snyder says.
Still dreaming of that beach? Find an affordable version of it, says Snyder.
“You don’t have to go to Bali. Go to Florida without putting yourself into debt,” he says.
Boarding an airplane is such a pain in the neck. Can the process be fixed?
Catharine Hamm – April 9, 2018
Brett Snyder, formerly an airline employee and now president of CrankyFlier.com, which deals with airline questions, and CrankyConcierge.com, which offers air travel assistance, referred to the status issues as “carve-outs.”
“While there have been studies that tried to prove the more efficient way to board, the airlines ended up having so many ‘carve-outs’ that it destroyed any efficiencies,” he said in an email.
“It’s not just first class, but it’s also elite members, credit card holders, people who have paid for priority boarding.”
Sun Country flies Anchorage-Seattle now. Here’s what that means for your summer travel plans.
Scott McMurren – March 18, 2018
According to travel blogger Brett Snyder of Cranky Flier (crankyflier.com) that means turning into a “low fare/high fee” airline.
“This move by Sun Country fits perfectly into the professed strategy to go into markets where demand is high,” writes Snyder. “It can then bring lower fares and go under the radar of the big guys who are full during that season anyway. Anchorage to Seattle during the summer is exactly that kind of market at exactly the right time of year.”
Frontier Airlines to start service from BHM
Angel Coker – February 8, 2018
Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier LLC, said it’s unlikely the addition of a low-cost carrier will have a significant impact on other carriers’ airfares or flight schedules – although he noted it could result in some lower fares far in advance.
“Of course, it could bring more traffic,” he said. “It would bring more people into the airport, but it still would have a fairly limited effect.”
Your airline overhead bins may now be reserved
Alessandra Malito – January 26, 2018
“One of the biggest frustrations for travelers is the boarding process,” said Brett Snyder, founder and author of airline industry blog Cranky Flier. “There’s this need to get on board quickly solely because of the desire to make sure there’s room in the overhead bins for carry-on bags. American Airlines is taking the pressure off those passengers, he said.
Why You Should Fly First Class at Least Once, and How to Afford It
Gregory Karp – January 16, 2018
“It’s a pretty different experience for people who have only flown coach,” says Brett Snyder, founder of the airline industry blog Crankyflier.com and owner of an air travel concierge service. “It’ll definitely change the way you feel about getting to the destination.”
“Everyone is going to have something different that matters to them,” Snyder says. “For some people, it’s going to be all about the seat. The ability to extend into a flat bed is not something you’re going to get every day and is definitely very different than coach.”
The food and drinks, including free alcohol, will usually be far better quality and more abundant in the premium cabin than in economy. “It’s not like in coach where they slap a tray down on the table — chicken or beef,” Snyder says.
You can earn points from your normal spending on a credit card and then transfer those points to an airline frequent flyer program to book a premium fare. “If you’re looking to rack up miles quickly, credit cards are the way to do that,” Snyder says. “But, of course, don’t run up a bunch of debt just to get points.”Alternatively, if you’re the type who can sleep anywhere, you might decide you want to be awake to enjoy your upscale service. If so, sleep in coach and make the daytime flight your premium cabin experience, Snyder says.
Paying cash might be more doable than you think. It won’t be cheap, but a business-class fare to China might be more like $2,000 instead of the $10,000 you might guess, Snyder says. The more flexible your travel dates, the better chances you have of finding a deal.
You may or may not be able to use miles for premium economy, but it can be a cheaper upgrade option than first or business class, Snyder says.
“If you’re looking to do this as a bucket-list trip, you should be looking to do a longer international flight so you can really get the full experience,” Snyder says.
Decide what experience you want on which airline and work backward in figuring out how to do that, Snyder says. Such planning might determine which travel credit card you apply for. For example, if you’re looking to fly first class on Korean Air, you might want a Chase card that allows Ultimate Rewards® point transfers into Korean Air’s frequent flyer program. “If you’re getting a card for this one big trip — to try to save up for it — you should really plot it out as best you can,” Snyder says.
Don’t Be a Victim of Airline Doublespeak
Bottom Line Staff – January 15, 2018
I spoke with Bottom Line and gave tips on some airline terms that may be misleading to average consumers.
Those four-digit flight designations? Their days may be numbered
Catharine Hamm – January 15, 2018
Assigning flight numbers “used to be an art, believe it or not,” said Brett Snyder, president of CrankyFlier.com, which deals with all manner of airline questions, and CrankyConcierge.com, which offers air travel assistance.
On a whimsical note, airlines sometimes do the numeric version of wordplay, Snyder said. Besides Philly and Columbus, you’ll sometimes find flights to Vegas with a 711 flight number (Spirit has had one). You may find a 415 (JetBlue and Southwest) for flights to San Francisco (its area code) or a 66 for a JetBlue flight from JFK to Albuquerque (presumably for Route 66, never mind St. Louis, Joplin, Mo., Oklahoma City….)
Easy for us to say, not so easy for airlines to do, Snyder said. Airline computer systems are hard-coded for no more than four digits. And that means the number of available numbers is finite.
When you tell people there are 10,000 flights a day, “most people think…10,000 is a lot for any given day,” Snyder said. “It’s not.”
Eventually, the numbers will be expanded, but it will be difficult and hugely expensive, Snyder said, and we know who will end up paying for that, don’t we?
Travel Weekly’s Preview 2018 – Airlines
Robert Silk – December 26, 2017
“They’re all still pretty bullish on their options and think there is a ton of opportunities for them,” Brett Snyder, who writes the aviation blog Cranky Flier, said of the ULCCs.
“Southwest doesn’t like to go into a market in a small way,” said Snyder, who expects the carrier to service several Hawaiian islands from California and other places on the West Coast.
A major open question about Southwest’s foray into Hawaii is whether it will fly interisland routes, a domain that is now almost the exclusive provenance of Hawaiian Airlines. In October, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly hinted that such service could be in the offing.
“They clearly have an interest there,” Snyder said.
Your boarding pass does contain information about you, but whether it can be used for evil is another question
Catharine Hamm – December 18, 2017
Thanks to help from Brett Snyder, president of CrankyFlier.com, which deals with all manner of airline questions, and CrankyConcierge.com, which offers air travel assistance, emergency or preventive, here’s what I’ve learned about an old boarding pass that was curled up on my desk unattended and ripe for prying eyes.
You read from time to time that paper boarding passes contain lots of secret information. There is information, but, Snyder said, not top-secret stuff.
“Most of this information on its own is not something that will do damage,” said Snyder, whose résumé includes stints working for various airlines, including United.
–My confirmation number; maybe a problem. If someone had my boarding pass with my confirmation number and my name it could have opened the way for some tampering with my reservation, Snyder said.
Who flashes around such stuff? Many people do, Snyder said — on social media. It is never a good idea to post your boarding pass online, he said, just for your safety and security.
This also isn’t a problem, for the most part, because you would need a password to get into that account. If you have a weak password, such as 12345, someone could get to your account and perhaps help himself or herself, Snyder said.
But, he noted, United has recently toughened its password requirements. Other airlines, he said, may not be quite as stringent and that could be a problem if the passenger or the airline is lax.
Fliers paid a record $1.2 billion in baggage fees last quarter
Julia Horowitz – December 11, 2017
The growing popularity of basic economy fares is one reason for the spike, according to Brett Snyder, a former airline manager and editor of the travel blog Crankyflier.com.
Passengers who buy basic economy tickets typically can’t use a plane’s overhead bins to store luggage — so if a flier arrives at the airport and finds out his or her bag is too big to fit under the seat, they’re asked to check it, Snyder said. Then they get socked with a fee.
Both American Airlines (AAL) and United Airlines (UAL) rolled out basic economy class tickets in the past year. They’re cheaper than standard economy tickets, but only let fliers carry one small personal item on board.
Even procrastinators can find deals on holiday travel
David Koenig – November 30, 2017
But even traveling on Christmas Day, when most airports are relatively quiet, isn’t the automatic money-saver that it used to be, says Brett Snyder, who writes the Cranky Flier travel blog and runs a travel-help business.
“The airlines have gotten better at canceling non-peak flights,” Snyder says. “They used to say, ‘Fly on Christmas Day,’ but now there are a lot fewer flights that day.” The airlines have reduced the supply to meet the lower demand on days when few people want to fly.
American Airlines updates worried travelers after glitch left thousands of holiday flights without pilots
Conor Shine – November 29, 2017
“Everyone’s already freaking out,” said Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog Cranky Flier and president of air travel assistance company Cranky Concierge. “There are a lot of things to worry about and stress you out over the holidays. I wouldn’t let this be one of them.”
Snyder said American will be motivated to prevent the scheduling issues from disrupting any flights, especially after stating publicly Wednesday that it expects to avoid cancellations.
“This kind of thing can happen. They caught it and they’ve stopped it. Now they just have to fill in the blanks” in the schedule, he said. “We’ll be watching closely, but at this point I’m just not that concerned.”
The future of in-flight entertainment may include gyms
Kari Paul – November 8, 2017
Brett Snyder, founder and author of airline industry blog The Cranky Flier, called it “a PR gimmick.” He recommends the kind of entertainment you can put on mute. “Most of what I see is still focused around personal entertainment and giving people the ability to choose, so you don’t have to bother everyone with a concert not everyone is going to like,” he said, adding that customized content through partnerships like Amazon is becoming more common.
One of United’s last 747s comes to Houston once more before retirement
Andrea Rumbaugh – October 19, 2017
Notable, too, were luxurious extras like the piano bar, even though airlines quickly realized that wouldn’t add profits like additional seating.
“People remember that,” said Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, “but it hasn’t been that way in ages.”
Airline Data Powerhouse Needs to Evolve as Fast as Airfares Have
Sean O’Neill – October 10, 2017
Brett Snyder of the airline industry blog Cranky Flier and a former pricing analyst for now-merged US Airways, said: “It sounds like a place that is searching for a way to remain relevant in a world where fare distribution won’t be as tightly controlled as in the past.”
Snyder said: “[The organization] needs to change, and it knows that. The problem is finding out exactly where it belongs in the new world.”
The Best Age for Your Child to Get a Smartphone and Experience 11 Other Milestones
Stacey Feintuch – October 10, 2017
“I know this sounds bad, but as soon as your child is old enough to watch an iPad, then the flight itself is probably fine,” says Brett Snyder, founder and author of the airline industry blog Crankyflier.com. “Before that point, not so much. But every child is different.” He says you should also consider what country you’re visiting. “If you’re an American, then you can probably go to the United Kingdom without much trouble finding food your child will eat. But going to Japan, that’s going to be tougher. Still, it’s at the parents’ discretion.”
Max 8 a jumbo upgrade for Southwest Airlines
Andrea Rumbaugh – September 29, 2017
Southwest hasn’t added television monitors or power outlets, which could be a drawback as competitors offer such amenities on their long flights. The airline could also use faster internet, said Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com.
“What they have today doesn’t work as well for longer-distance flights without faster internet or power outlets,” Snyder said.
With the Boeing 737-300s’ retirement, Southwest’s entire fleet will have Wi-Fi. Snyder said that will provide a more consistent experience for travelers.
Snyder and Harteveldt said the Max 8 could also provide travelers with new routes, especially international ones.
As Ryanair tightens its carry-on policy, will other airlines follow?
Alessandra Malito – September 6, 2017
It’s unlikely U.S. airlines will follow Ryanair’s example in baggage policies, said Brett Snyder, founder and author of airline industry blog The Cranky Flier, instead focusing more on offering basic economy seats, which restricts carry-on bags. “That seems to be their tool of choice to reduce clutter on an aircraft,” he said. Encouraging people to pay a few dollars more for priority boarding is a bargain, and a softer approach than legacy airlines in the U.S., he added.
Allegiant gone, now what
Kalea Hall – August 27, 2017
“There’s no question they have grown. Allegiant doesn’t have loyalty,” Snyder said. “If the market doesn’t work, they just walk away. [If] they don’t make money they walk away.”
Smaller airports, Snyder explained, have struggled for years for several reasons.
“You just have a lot of things that make smaller, shorter air service less attractive,” Snyder said.
“It all kind of adds together,” Snyder said. “People have just accustomed themselves to driving to the bigger airports.”
“Before you may have people driving from Cleveland because it was so much cheaper,” Snyder said. But now they can fly Allegiant from Cleveland and Pittsburgh, he noted.
“There are a ton of airports that don’t have commercial service,” Snyder said. “They can thrive on being local private airports.”
United considers a new system to resell your seat for a higher price
Julia Horowitz and Jon Ostrower – July 13, 2017
The strategy is, “‘We’re going to buy this seat from you, and we’re betting we can resell it,'” said Brett Snyder, a former airline manager and editor of the travel blog Crankyflier.com.
United slapped with fine for taking plane ‘not in airworthy condition’ on 23 flights
Kari Paul – May 31, 2017
The FAA also announced in 2016 that it would require airlines to implement safety management systems by 2018. Brett Snyder, author of the airline-industry blog CrankyFlier.com, said it is important to note that “not airworthy” doesn’t necessarily mean unsafe.
Had United done the correct inspection, “it most likely would have found that the work was done correctly and it would have been able to fly just as it did even without the inspection,” he said. “But inspections are mandated for a reason: to ensure that the work is done properly every time.”
FOX 11 News In Depth: Big changes coming to LAX
Hal Eisner – May 7, 2017
Appeared on a Sunday morning newsmagazine show about the big Delta terminal moves at LAX.
Bumped off an airline flight? Here are your rights
Teresa Mcusic – April 20, 2017
Brett Snyder, editor of Crankyflier.com, said involuntary bumping has actually become less frequent in the last decade.
On his website, Snyder shows that the level of denied boarding has dropped by around 50 percent since 2003. At the same time, airline load factors have grown from an average of 74 percent in 2003 to almost 84 percent today.
“We have much more full aircraft while the deny-boarding rate has gone down,” he said, adding that overbooking is necessary for airlines to keep fares low.
Will airline service ever be great again?
Warren Olney – April 14, 2017
This public radio program had 3 guests bashing airlines… and me. It’s fun to spar, but it always bugs me that there’s never enough time to answer everything.
Story on United 3411 and Dr David Dao
Zohreen Adamjee – April 13, 2017
Appeared on an evening news story about the United/Dr David Dao saga.
United Fiasco: How Do Airlines Select Who to Remove From Overbooked Flights?
Nikita Biryukov – April 13, 2017
The airline will look to a passenger’s enrollment in their frequent flier programs and to the fare class of their ticket, said Brett Snyder, author and founder of the Cranky Flier travel blog. If it comes down to it, the airlines may compare check-in times.
“It’s almost like a musical chairs sort of thing,” Snyder said. “You have a certain number of seats on the plane. And so they start filling up those seats, and then whoever’s left standing at the end, in most cases, is the one who’s left out. Different story when people are already on the airplane.”
“They’ve made it public how they make the determination, and they have a right to do that, I suppose,” Snyder said. “It’s up to them, if they think this is really the right way to do it. But I don’t think there’s anything random about it if they’re following their guidelines.”
The carefully calculated process airlines use to strategically overbook flights
Courtney Linder – April 12, 2017
“They also consider big conferences and conventions that you wouldn’t normally think about, as well as big sporting events or anything else that impacts demand,” according to airline industry expert Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier, LLC, an airline travel blog out of Long Beach, Calif.
Mr. Snyder says small airlines order “revenue management systems” off the shelf from Sabre or PROS. Larger firms, including American Airlines, may design their own to better leverage commerce data and attempt to perfect the booking process.
The goal in all of this is to never have to touch that list, said Crankyflier.com’s Snyder.
“You can see that Delta really stands out because it has the most denied bookings by far, but they’re mostly voluntary,” Mr. Snyder said. “The rate of overselling has gone up but the rate of bumping has gone down.”
Airlines tend to get the equations right, Mr. Snyder said. “As recently as 10 years ago, the airlines still sold 72 percent of seats. They’ve gotten really good at it to the point that they now fill 80 percent of seats.”
Budget airlines that are less sophisticated tend to be less aggressive in overselling, he said. Since many use generic revenue management systems, they may not be experts at prediction.
Mr. Snyder, who has worked in the past as a senior analyst for America West Airlines, among other positions with American Airlines and United, said that overbooking is a sophisticated, as well as legal, process.
But even the process used to create a “bump-at-will” list is compiled by programs with discriminating data, Mr. Snyder said. Although dependent on seemingly objective computer algorithms, the list is not actually randomized, he said.
“United says their bump list is random, but it’s not random according to their policy,” Mr. Snyder explained. “They even say they have criteria for who gets bumped. They use an algorithm, but there are set decision points for that list.”
To ensure the best chance of holding onto a seat on the plane, Mr. Snyder suggests showing up to the gate early.
“If you have a seat assignment, you’re in a better spot on the algorithm than others, and if you check in early, you’ll probably have a better chance.”
United Airlines debacle: Was a ‘random’ computer search really to blame?
Elizabeth Weise – April 12, 2017
Once a flight is set, an airline’s customer service software kicks into action. These complex software packages, generally outsourced from either Hewlett Packard Enterprise or IBM, combine all major passenger service functions, including pricing, shopping, reservations, ticketing, check-in and seat assignment, said Brett Snyder, founder of the airline industry blog Crankyflier.com.
“The gate agents don’t do anything” and don’t create the list, said Snyder.
The goal in all of this is to never have to touch that list, said Crankyflier.com’s Snyder.
Finally, it isn’t simply a matter of who checked in last. “It’s kind of like musical chairs, whoever’s left standing is out of luck,” said Snyder.
“This was an abnormal situation because usually the computer’s making the decision before everybody’s on the plane,” said Snyder.
So in the end, said Snyder, “it’s never truly random, it’s what they put into the algorithm.”
United finally apologises as image takes beating
April 12, 2017I spoke to a reporter about the United bumping issue with Dr Dao.
Passenger Rights And The United Scandal
Jane Clayson – April 12, 2017I was a guest on this forty-five minute show discussing the United bumping of Dr Dao. I came on about 20 minutes in.
Here’s how much airlines will pay you to give up your seat
Chris Isidore – April 11, 2017
Brett Snyder, a former airline executive and editor of the travel blog Crankyflier.com, said it’s rare for airlines to offer more than $1,350 for a voluntary seat surrender, but he’s heard of it happening.
“Sometimes you’re just desperate to find the passengers who agree to be bumped, like United should have been,” Snyder said. “It would have saved them a lot of money if they had offered more.”
Interview on United Airlines Denied Boarding
Annalisa Burgos – April 11, 2017
United and Other Airlines Overbook Flights Because It (Usually) Pays Off
Aarian Marshall – April 10, 2017
“It’s all about trying to maximize the revenue they bring in, and part of that is making sure there’s a butt in every seat,” says Brett Snyder, who runs the air travel assistance business Cranky Concierge. Overbooking is good for everybody, in a sense. “When you have fewer butts in seats, the fares need to be higher to cover all the costs that involved.”
Report card: Which airlines are top flight in punctuality, reliability?
Laurie Joseph and Conor Shine – March 5, 2017
“You see them putting a priority on that stuff. Part of it is they have more money and more resources to devote to it. Part of it is the recognition that in a consolidated world, you can’t just compete on price and schedule. You have to provide a better overall product, and part of that is running a good operation.”
— Brett Snyder, president, Cranky Flier LLC
American Airlines redesignates boarding process
Linda Loyd – February 28, 2017
Travelers vie to board because of limited space in the overhead bins for carry-on bags. “It’s the fight for the overhead bin space,” said Brett Snyder, author of CrankyFlier.com, an airline-industry blog.
American contends the new boarding groups will simplify the process.
Snyder said it doesn’t simplify anything. “It’s just renumbering what they already do. Nothing is easier. It’s just now you have a better idea of where you stand.”
Snyder, of CrankyFlier, said, “My initial reaction when I saw this was that I liked it.” Under the old system, even if a boarding pass said Group 1, “most of the plane was already boarded by the time they got to me because of all the elites,” he said. “This just kind of sets the expectations better.”
Airlines Phasing Out Screens Because You Are All on Your Devices
Christopher Mele – February 16, 2017
Another financial incentive: Without the screens, carriers can install slimmer seats, which means they can accommodate more passengers and earn more money, Brett Snyder, the author of the airline industry blog “Cranky Flier,” said in an interview.
Mr. Snyder said he had seesawed in his feelings about streaming but had come down on the side of the screens.
“It is awesome to be able to watch television or a movie in the background while working on my laptop,” he wrote in a blog post. “This is indeed a first-world problem. Can I be content without the screen? Sure. But I kind of want it to feel like it is when I’m at home. That makes me greedy, but hey, why not?”
American Airlines is shrinking in Phoenix
Dawn Gilbertson – December 27, 2016
Brett Snyder, who worked for America West for a few years and now runs the popular Cranky Flier blog and Cranky Concierge flight-planning and assistance service, said he used to take US Airways from Los Angeles or Long Beach, with a stop in Phoenix, to visit his in-laws in Indianapolis. Now, American offers non-stop service from Los Angeles so he opts for that. That is just one example, he said, of new non-stops from Los Angeles on American.
“These are people who used to go over Phoenix and now they’re skipping Phoenix entirely,” he said.
Blogger Snyder said the addition of those flights in Phoenix is encouraging. He said that didn’t occur in Memphis and Cincinnati before those cities losing their hubs after airline mergers.
“There is still an important place for Phoenix and you can see that by some of the routes they’ve added,” he said. “Even though they’re not the biggest new destinations, it still shows that they’re important for American to serve and Phoenix is the way to serve them.”
United Airlines’ new Basic Economy fares: no carry-on, no seat assignment, no problem?
Susan Glaser – December 15, 2016
American Airlines is expected to unveil its own Basic Economy fare sometime next year. Look for both American and Delta to copy United’s overhead-bin policy if United’s plan is successful, said Brett Snyder, who operates the CrankyFlier.com website.
“The reality is that a lot of people are responding to this cheap model, this a la carte model,” said Snyder. U.S. legacy carriers are feeling pressure from low-cost competition not just in the United States, but also in Europe. “Look at Ryanair, easyJet – they’ve taken over the continent,” he said.
Snyder said that the success of United’s Basic Economy will depend a lot on how well it’s implemented.
Consumers, he said, have to be told very clearly what the different price points will get them. No one should arrive at the airport with a carry-on bag and be surprised that it’s not included with their fare, he said. (And if they are, they’ll be socked with a fee – not yet determined – to allow them to carry it on board, according to United.)
Doyle Owens, Founder of the Unclaimed Baggage Center, Dies at 850
Richard Sandomir – December 7, 2016
“This is just American ingenuity,” Brett Snyder, the president of Cranky Flier, an airline industry blog, said of the store. “Finding a niche opportunity and putting it to use.”
Regulators taking harder look at air-service consolidation
Robert Silk – November 29, 2016
“They’re clearly trying to make some noise before going away,” Brett Snyder, who runs the aviation blog Cranky Flier, said of the two agencies.
Still, Snyder said he expects that regulators will reach a deal with Alaska-Virgin before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
“My assumption is they would have abandoned it by now if it wasn’t going to be resolvable,” he said of Alaska.
Frequent Flier Miles Are Kaput—The Game’s About Credit Cards Now
Aarian Marshall – November 23, 2016
“The tweaks that [the airlines] are making are not about loyalty, but about revenue optimization,” says Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Concierge, an air travel assistance business.
The first rule: Collect whatever you can. “I’m a general believer that if you’re flying somewhere, you might as well earn miles,” says Snyder. “If over time you collect enough of them, great. If not, oh well.” So go ahead—sign up for that awards program and make sure you’re scoring ’em.
Hub-and-spoke method leads to earlier on-time recovery
Robert Silk – September 26, 2016
Brett Snyder, who runs the aviation blog Cranky Flier, said the shorter ground times that point-to-point planes usually see are a likely reason that an airline like Southwest doesn’t recover with on-time performance as well during the evening as hub-and-spoke carriers.
“In general, they are just using very different strategies for running the airline,” Snyder said.
Airlines plan new regulations for service animals in-flight
Larry Mantle – September 26, 2016
Radio appearance talking about service and emotional support animals
Loyalty only goes so far as American Airlines, others revamp rewards programs
Conor Shine – September 16, 2016
“Frequent flier programs have become tremendous cash cows,” said Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog Cranky Flier and president of air travel assistance company Cranky Concierge. “They’ve looked at ‘How do we craft a program that’s going to help us make more money?’ “
“First class pricing has come down significantly so you get a lot more people buying tickets. Not only are more people competing for upgrades, they’re selling it as a smaller upsell,” Snyder said. “It definitely takes away a ton of the value.”
United upgrades target high-end corporate fliers
Ileana Najarro – September 7, 2016
Yet Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, said carriers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as U.S. carriers like Delta Air Lines, have already boosted onboard sleep quality for fliers.
“In terms of customer offerings, this is United catching up,” Snyder said.
Snyder mentioned Delta’s plan for suite-like spaces in business class.
Snyder expressed concern that future budget cuts could reduce the availability of some amenities, such as snacks and drinks or redesigned dishware and utensils.
Delta Introduces Chip Tags, Tracking App So You Know Exactly Where Your Luggage Is
Alyssa Newcomb – August 22, 2016
Brett Snyder, who runs the blog Cranky Flier, told NBC News the technology could help put an end to lost luggage crankiness.
“The airlines have been doing better in general when it comes to mishandled bags, but this is going to help significantly,” Snyder said.
“Things really go off the rails when you have storms and you have bags scattered everywhere,” Snyder said. “Over the past few years, you’ve seen airlines going behind the scenes to focus on better operating and handling.”
United makes good on pledge to improve on-time performance
Robert Silk – August 21, 2016
Brett Snyder, who runs the aviation blog Cranky Flier, said airlines that want to bring on-time stats up quickly also sometimes pad their schedules by increasing “block times,” the average time an airline expects routes to take, gate to gate.
Longer block times on the same route can improve on-time stats while a carrier does the harder work of making operations more efficient, he said. Once better efficiency is achieved, a carrier can then lower block times, which are often used as a metric for paying crews, as a way to reduce overhead.
Blogger flies to 8 [ed note: actually 9] airports in one day
Anthony Clark Carpio – August 12, 2016
This article chronicled my day of flying Southwest on 8 flights between 9 California airports, never touching the same one twice.
Questions Abound as Delta Power Outage Should Have Been Preventable
Tony Owusu – August 11, 2016
“I tend to doubt that these issues will have long-lasting impacts,” Brett Snyder of airline industry blog CrankyFlier.com said in a phone interview. “You will start to see an impact if a single airline starts experiencing multiple issues. A single issue like what happened on Monday will cause minimal impact in terms of flier sentiment.”
4 Tips for Handling a Tight Flight Connection
Sebastian Modak – August 11, 2016
The best strategy for a tight connection is making sure you have the most accurate gate information, says Brett Snyder, travel specialist and president of Cranky Concierge. For that, go to the source: the airline’s app, he says. Many let you set flight status alerts, too, which keep you updated on changes.
How do airline computer systems work?
Thom Patterson – August 8, 2016
“If you call Southwest, and they say, ‘Do you have a domestic itinerary or an international one?’ they actually need to know that, because they have two different systems,” said airline travel expert and former airline senior analyst Brett Snyder of crankyflier.com.
“Delta said, ‘This is ours and we’re going to do all the development in-house that we need.’ Now they’re pitching it to other airlines,” said Snyder.
Southwest still delaying, canceling flights after technology outage
Andrea Rumbaugh – July 22, 2016
“For an airline, which is highly dependent on technology, that is pretty poor,” Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, said about the system-wide technology outage.
The technical outage occurred during the height of summer travel, when families have planned vacations and don’t have the flexibility to change flights. Planes are fuller, too, which means fewer displaced travelers can be reassigned to them, Snyder said.
Bereavement Fares Have Disappeared on Most US Airlines
David Koenig – July 13, 2016
“As low-fare carriers came into more markets, those bereavement fares ended up being higher than you could get elsewhere. It just angered people,” said Brett Snyder, who runs a concierge booking service and writes the crankyflier.com blog.
Bereavement tickets aren’t dead yet, though. Snyder said one of his customers recently used one on Delta.
Scheduled charters a growing air service
Robert Silk – July 13, 2016
Brett Snyder, who writes the popular aviation blog Cranky Flyer [sic], said another factor that plays to the advantage of scheduled charters is the weakening of loyalty programs. For example, since 2014, American, Delta and United have all made it more difficult to obtain elite status by adding minimum annual spending thresholds on top of the previously existing minimum mileage thresholds. In addition, airlines have become more loath to offer upgrades to business class and first class.
Such policies can reduce brand loyalty among business flyers, Snyder said.
“The harder airlines make it to access benefits in their loyalty programs, the easier it is for a traveler to choose the flight that’s best for them, regardless of airline,” he said.
United’s international business class gets an upgrade
Andrea Rumbaugh – June 2, 2016
Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, said United has lagged Delta and American in offering seats with aisle access.
“The seat is catchup,” Snyder said. “United has had a subpar experience.”
As for United’s other Polaris amenities, Snyder said its competitors offer similar perks. Delta, for instance, advertises “plush Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding on 180-degree flat-bed seats” and hypoallergenic pillows.
“This looks like it should be a very good international business-class product. No doubt about it,” Snyder said. “But is it revolutionary? No.”
He said United could be the only domestic airline offering lounges dedicated for business-class travelers, however.
JetBlue Defends Decision to Ask Passenger to Replace Booty Shorts Before Boarding Flight. Will the Incident Affect Its Brand?
Kim Lachance Shandrow – May 31, 2016
From a branding and customer retention standpoint, the incident won’t make so much as a dent in JetBlue’s reputation, nor its bottom line, says veteran airline industry expert Brett Snyder. “This won’t matter, there will be no impact,” the founder and president of Cranky Concierge, a Long Beach, Calif.-based air travel assistance company, tells Entrepreneur.
Passenger attire hiccups like these don’t happen often because, as Snyder says, most airlines don’t have a “cut and dry” dress code. “This is usually covered on the ‘Refusal to Transport’ section of the airline’s contract of carriage, and JetBlue has nothing specific. Kudos to Hawaiian [Airlines] for actually having one, but most airlines do not.”
Such might’ve been the case with McMuffin. Snyder suspects there’s a bit more to the story than the length of her short-shorts. “The person who is denied boarding always ends up initially coming off as a completely innocent participant, but it can sometimes later come out that he or she was belligerent or drunk or something else.” No matter: “The reality is that any airline has the right to refuse service, so JetBlue certainly has the right to do it.”
Get the Best Deals with Frequent Flier Miles
Paul Magers – May 19, 2016
Delta’s new CEO wants you to cut the TSA line
Thom Patterson – May 6, 2016
“Delta has a problem,” said airline analyst Brett Snyder of CrankyFlier.com. “And the problem is that it doesn’t have a lot of problems.”
“It’s hard not to get cocky when people are fawning all over you and telling you what a great job you’re doing,” Snyder said.
“To me, that is the biggest issue that Ed faces in this job, is preventing Delta from getting too cocky and getting over confident.”
“They’re addressing their slow Wi-Fi problems,” Snyder said. “They’re entering into an agreement with Gogo to bring in faster 2Ku Wi-Fi service. It’ll take time but they’re working on it.”
Nope, not according to Snyder. “As long as you maintain your fleet and it’s a nice experience on the inside, then it shouldn’t matter what it is on the outside.”
Look for Delta to try new ideas aimed at getting customers to open their wallets. Snyder calls it “flexing their revenue muscles.”
We’ll know Delta is crossing the line of cockiness, said Snyder, if it continues to flex its revenue muscles even when it’s clear the strategy isn’t paying off.
“So we’ll see,” Snyder said. “I’ll be really curious to see how that turns out.”
Taking advantage of airline schedule changes to save money
Scott Mayerowitz – April 28, 2016
“The fact that you can change is generally made clear. They don’t make it clear what you can change to,” says Brett Snyder, who runs an air travel assistance company called Cranky Concierge. “The rules are crazy and complex.”
“They tend to be pretty flexible as long as it is a legitimate change,” Snyder says.
Consumers push back on new airline rules, higher fares
Linda Loyd – April 21, 2016
When airlines announced the change, the fares generated on booking computers for a multi-city reservation became “fully refundable fares, which were insanely expensive. You saw $2,000 differences on some of these,” said Brett Snyder, author of CrankyFlier.com, an airline industry blog.
In the last two weeks, after public outcry, airlines have been backtracking and tweaking their fares, said Snyder, who recommends that passengers compare the cost of purchasing each flight separately with the price for a single ticket with multiple stops.
“Just because you never know how something is going to price,” he said. “Airlines have made this so opaque and so confusing.”
American, Delta, and United changed the pricing on multi-city trips “to try to solve a different problem,” CrankyFlier’s Snyder said. Low-cost rivals Spirit and Frontier have been rapidly expanding, offering cut-rate fares.
The major airlines “have been struggling to find a way to control how many people have access to those really cheap ultra low-cost carrier matching fares,” Snyder said.
Under the new policies, a traveler flying from Washington to Dallas, staying awhile, and then flying to San Francisco, staying for a while, and flying back to Washington on American would pay $1,837.20 on a single ticket. It would cost $412.80 if the flights were bought separately, Snyder wrote in a March 31 blog post.
“To fix the problem, airlines dropped the hammer,” he said. “They made it so that fares could not be combined with other fares on a single ticket, except for simple out-and-back round trips (from Point A to Point B and back to Point A).”
Three Big Airlines Just Trashed Your Cheap Fares
Justin Bachman – April 15, 2016
“The airlines just really screwed this whole thing up,” said Brett Snyder, a former airline pricing analyst who first wrote about the multicity fare changes on March 31 on his blog. “They had a problem, and they just didn’t think it through on how to solve it.”
Alaska Air seeks California edge with Virgin America acquisition
Jamie Biesiada – April 10, 2016
Brett Snyder, president of CrankyFlier.com, said, “Alaska has a heritage as a traditional mainline carrier, but Alaska has also invested a lot in technology, has focused a lot on the operation. They have a fanatical following in the Pacific Northwest for sure, and so they are well-loved.”
As for Virgin America, Snyder said, “They’re the cool kids, right?”
Time will tell if Alaska will adopt any part of Virgin’s onboard experience.
“Ultimately, I’m not convinced that you need to have all of the things they have,” Snyder said of Virgin America’s accoutrements. “Does it really matter if you have mood lighting? And, by the way, Alaska’s new planes can do mood lighting, too, but does that matter? Does in-seat video matter? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. … Ultimately, what really matters is an airline with a good operation that treats people well, has decent fares and can get you where you need to go.”
Snyder agreed: “They have little overlap with each other, so it doesn’t really remove much in the way of direct competition. … And there are plenty of competitors on the routes that they do overlap.”
Growth in flights at YNG bucks US trends
Kalea Hall – April 10, 2016
“Smaller airports have really struggled,” said Brett Snyder, author and founder of the airline industry blog, CrankyFlier.
With ADI only having one flight on some days, local business travelers may see an inconvenience.
“If you are a business traveler you generally are going to need that flexibility,” Snyder said.
“Most cities think they have demand and they don’t,” Snyder said.
Fliers beware: New airfare rule could lead to costly mistake
Scott Mayerowitz – April 6, 2016
Brett Snyder, who runs an air travel assistance company called Cranky Concierge, put it differently: “They haven’t found a way to solve it eloquently so they solved it with a sledgehammer.”
“They’re making you overpay,” Snyder added. “Airlines for years have made it clear that when you book a roundtrip it would be cheaper or the same price as a one way. Now they are flipping that, penalizing you and not even telling you.”
Airline complaints rise even as more planes arrive on time
David Koenig – April 5, 2016
There are serious students of the airline industry who dismiss reports like the one from Wichita State and Embry-Riddle. Brett Snyder, who writes the Cranky Flier blog, said the rankings don’t tell travelers whether an airline is good or bad at what matters to them.
“It lumps everything together in a way that doesn’t make sense for most travelers,” Snyder says. “You should research what matters to you. If you’re flying a specific route, you can look at on-time performance on that route.”
Virgin fans may fret, but Alaska Airlines deal will benefit many on West Coast
Dominic Gates – April 4, 2016
Brett Snyder, founder of the airline-industry blog Cranky Flier and a resident of the Los Angeles area where Alaska’s reach will be greatly extended, welcomes the increased opportunity to redeem the miles earned on his Alaska Airlines Visa card.
“I’m excited about having more ability to use Alaska to go different places,” said Snyder. “From a passenger perspective, I’m really OK with it.”
Of course, said Snyder, the Cranky Flier, “I’m sure he’s not going to cry over it that much longer.” Branson’s stake in an airline that financially was never hugely successful will be sold for a stratospheric price.
It may be a blow to Virgin America loyalists to lose that experience, Snyder said, but most travelers are more concerned about a comfortable, affordable, on-time ride to wherever they want to go.
“This aura around Virgin America of just being cool, for some people is really appealing,” said Snyder. “For others, it doesn’t matter as much.”
And as for fares, both Snyder and Harteveldt said that because Virgin has a relatively light schedule on routes that are also flown by multiple other carriers, there’d still be plenty of competition if it were eliminated.
For example, Delta, United and Southwest as well as Alaska all fly on Virgin America’s routes from Seattle and Portland to the Bay Area.
“It’s not like this is a route going to no competition, said Snyder. “I doubt there’ll be a huge impact on fares.”
Alaska Air buys Virgin America, and may keep a hint of its bling
Liz Ruskin – April 4, 2016
Also radio interview to accompany written article:
“There will be the added benefit, of course, for people that are loyal to the frequent flier program,” says Brett Snyder, who blogs about the airline industry on CrankyFlier.com. “They’ll have more options, be able to do more through San Francisco, LA and head east … but I don’t really expect to see a ton of changes for people who are in Alaska itself.”
Snyder says whenever there’s a merger, consumers want to know the practical effects, like how the two airlines will merge their frequent flier programs and whether the seat amenities will change.
“And the reality is these guys don’t know,” Snyder said, referring to airline executives. “They know that the numbers make sense. They’ve created a story from their perspective where the combined networks are going to work. And this is going to help them grow and achieve their goals. But the specifics we just don’t know, and so these will be revealed over time.”
It will be a meeting of two very different brand personas. Alaska, at more than 75-years-old, is all traditional and buttoned up. Snyder says young Virgin, with mood lighting and rock music, is far cooler.
“You know, Virgin –you feel like you’re going to the club,” Snyder said. “Anytime I walk on a Virgin airplane, I kind of look like there should be a bouncer who’s telling me I’m not allowed on.”
5 years later, Continental-United merger still stirs strong feelings
Andrea Rumbaugh – April 1, 2016
Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, said on-time performance has to be the “No. 1” priority.
“If you get me somewhere late, no matter what else you do, I’m not happy,” he said.
Snyder said it might be misleading to compare the pre-merger Continental data with post-merger United because they flew from different airports with different levels of congestion.
But in passenger satisfaction, United placed last among traditional carriers in the J.D. Power 2015 North America Airline Satisfaction Study. Since the survey began in 2005, United has always ranked below average for its category. By comparison, Continental ranked No. 1 – or tied for first – among traditional airlines in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
“I think there’s definitely some truth in what you’re seeing there with Continental being at the top and United not being at the top,” Snyder said.
While these sweeping reports have a kernel of truth, he said, results often aren’t insightful enough for airlines to take specific actions toward improving.
Alaska Airlines Wants To Buy Virgin America, But Is It A Good Fit?
Interview with Spencer Raymond – March 31, 2016
Hawaii senators want an end to shrinking airplane seat sizes
Cathy Bussewitz – March 31, 2016
“My general opinion on this is that it’s ridiculous, because people say they want more room on planes, but what they really want are cheap fares,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge and author of the travel blog The Cranky Flier. “The airlines respond to that and have effectively tried to provide a variety of options for a lot of things.”
United seeks Cuba service from IAH
Andrea Rumbaugh – March 2, 2016
Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, said United will not get all of the flights it’s requesting.
“There’s no way that everybody is going to get what they want,” he said.
If United is awarded service, Snyder said, Newark seems most likely, though it’s hard to tell how the Transportation Department will divide the routes.
U.S.-Japan deal a defeat for Delta
Kelly Yamanouchi – February 18, 2016
Although Delta is concerned that the deal could cause its Narita hub to unravel, “whether that happens, who knows?” said Brett Snyder, a former airline manager who runs a consumer airline blog at crankyflier.com.
Snyder was doubtful, though, that the deal will scuttle Atlanta-Tokyo flights.
“This is a big route between two major world business centers,” Snyder said. “If you’re the only game in town between Atlanta and Tokyo, you’re probably still going to be flying.”
Snyder said Delta’s problem was that its position “happens to be against the interest of all the other airlines,” Snyder said.
Delta was arguing against gradual liberalization, while in U.S. aviation policy, “all trends have been toward liberalization,” he added.
‘Air taxi’ business sees promise at Westchester County Airport
Matt Coyne – February 12, 2016
Brett Snyder, who covers the airline industry on The Cranky Flier blog, believes the market for an air taxi-style service is generally confined to places where people can pay.
“The convenience factor is huge. If you live in Westchester and you want to go to Martha’s Vineyard, do you really want to sit in traffic or go to JFK (airport)? It’s a pain, right?” Snyder said. “The problem is, the cost factor is still there.”
“It’s a niche… but it’s a niche that can work,” he added.
Air taxi services can also help solve the problem of ensuring smaller markets retain air travel links, Snyder said.
U.S. congressman proposes law to limit shrinking airline seats
Thom Patterson – February 10, 2016
But Brett Snyder of the consumer airline blog CrankyFlier isn’t so supportive.
“This is absurd,” Snyder said. “Without question, the FAA should ensure that passengers can quickly and safely get out of an airplane in an emergency, but that should be the only requirement on seat size and pitch.”
If passengers choose, they can pay for extra leg room, Snyder said.
“But by requiring minimum seat size and pitch, Congress would effectively be pushing the cost of plane tickets out of reach for the most price-sensitive travelers.”
The Secret Of Cheap, One-Way Airfare
Alexandra Talty – February 2, 2016
“ If there are low-cost carriers in that market, you are likely to have one-way fares on all airlines ,” explains Brett Snyder, founder of airline industry blog, The Cranky Flier.
However, one-way tickets can be more expensive to and from smaller markets, where low-cost airlines do not fly . If you live near a smaller airport, Snyder advises to drive to a bigger a city or expand your search beyond non-stop flights. This allows a route through a popular hub, which adds more competition and potentially cheaper one-way flights.
“It is often better to book on the airline directly than an agent,” says Snyder.
“It started with Southwest Airlines,” explains Snyder. ”Legacy airlines had to become more competitive as low-cost airlines moved into more markets”
Free snacks coming back on American and United
Linda Loyd – February 2, 2016
“The airlines are now competing beyond price,” said Brett Snyder, author of CrankyFlier.com, an airline-industry blog. “They are all now trying to compete with each other, and make sure they are offering products that people are willing to choose.”
Hawaiian Airlines, based in Honolulu, is the only U.S. carrier to still offer a free meal in coach, Snyder said. “Hawaiian says it’s a cultural thing, that when people come into your home, you offer them food,” he said. “Hawaiian views food as an important symbol of their welcoming people.
“So the other airlines are seeing that there is some value in doing that as well, I guess.”
SeaPort Airlines abruptly cancels service in several states
Harriet Baskas – January 19, 2016
“Finding airplanes is easy, but getting enough pilots to keep them in the air is hard thanks to stepped up federal regulations on pilot qualification and rest,” said Brett Snyder of The Cranky Flier.
The Opening Bell (Brett Snyder, Cranky Flier Interview)
Steve Grzanich – January 15, 2016
What to do if your flight is grounded: Advice for airline travelers facing weather and other delays
Susan Glaser – January 13, 2016
“Try every tool you have,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier, an aviation blog, and Cranky Concierge, a travel agency. That means: work with gate agents, call customer service, enlist the help of a travel agent (Snyder’s company offers “urgent assistance” for $150).
It may come as a surprise to some passengers, but gate agents really do want to help you, said Snyder. “People think that gate agents are sitting there with some nefarious plot. But what they really want is to get you on your way so they don’t have to deal with you anymore,” said Snyder. “Your interests are aligned.”
“They [Frontier] will not put you on another airline – that’s something you need to know,” said Snyder. “The trade-off for your cheap fare is that you’re not going to have as many options when something goes wrong.”
Hey Cranky, What do you think about Delta’s annoucement re: adding more flights at LAX — transcons to BOS, intra-Cal, intra-Southwest, etc. Didn’t they try most of these before? I know they have attempted BOS at least twice in the past only to eliminate it. Since you know the L.A. area pretty well, I wondered what you thought. Is it a desperate case of wanting to be the biggest? Will it cause overcapacity? Maybe this would make for a good post one day?
To me it looks like a lot of random route adds that are trying to be pitched as a single strategy. I think it’s just opportunistic moving things around.