Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Continental plans service from IAH to Auckland, New Zealand

An odd route addition - and quite honestly WAY to early of a route announcement. United used to fly a 777 from LAX-AKL - but this was canceled after Air NZ started to code-share with UA on all West Coast - AKL flights. Obviously - by the time this route is started it will be United Airlines:

From Continental Airlines:

Continental Airlines Inc. on Wednesday unveiled its revamped Terminal C at its Houston hub and announced plans for new nonstop service from Houston to Auckland, New Zealand starting in 2011.

Pending government approval, Houston-based Continental (NYSE: CAL) said it will begin offering nonstop Boeing 787 flights to Auckland on Nov. 16, 2011, making it just one of three carriers offering nonstop flights between North America and New Zealand.

Auckland will be added to the 63 international destinations that Continental currently serves nonstop from Houston, and will become the 26th destination in Continental’s Pacific network. Continental claims to serve more destinations in the Pacific region than any other U.S. carrier.

Continental also said it's the world’s first airline to formally announce specific, initial route plans for its Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet. The airline has firm orders for 25 Dreamliners.

The 787 is a new-technology composite aircraft which touts lower operating costs, better environmental performance and an improved cabin environment for customer comfort. Deliveries to Continental are expected to begin in August 2011.

The airline also on Wednesday revealed what it describes as a more modern and expanded customer check-in facility in Terminal C at its Houston hub at Bush Intercontinental Airport, also known as IAH.

Holden Shannon, Continental’s senior vice president of system operations and real estate, said the firm expanded the ticketing and check-in lobby by more than 15,000 square feet to more than 57,000 square feet and added 56 self-service kiosks, more than double what it did offer, to make the check-in process more efficient for customers.

The $65-million redevelopment project was a partnership between the city of Houston and Continental-- the renovations were funded by the city while the construction was managed by the airline. The infrastructure remodeling was the first major overhaul to Terminal C since the facility opened in 1981.

Continental announced on May 3 plans to merge with Chicago-based United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAUA). The deal, pending shareholder and regulatory approval, is slated to close in the fourth quarter.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

$10 Airfare on Jet Blue: Everyone Must GO! All Remaining Seats on All JetBlue Airways Flights Tuesday and Wednesday on Sale Now for $10 Each Way

Brilliant Marketing and Promotion:

This week, as part of JetBlue Airways' year-long celebration of 10 years of service, the airline is telling customers to pack their bags, because everyone must go! All remaining non-stop seats on all JetBlue flights operating on Tuesday, May 11 or Wednesday, May 12, 2010 (a) to 59 destinations across the U.S., Caribbean and Central America are available for $10 (a) each way when purchased online at through 11:59 p.m. ET tonight.

Not too sure how many seats are available - but the gimmick is a fabulous idea.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Free Checked Bags?

Who says nothing in life is free?

Delta Airlines has announced that as of June 1, 2010, anyone with a Gold, Platinum or Reserve Delta SkyMiles credit card from American Express will automatically get their first bag checked for FREE upon check-in for all Delta and Delta Connection flights.

What’s more, this free bag waiver also applies to up to eight travel companions within the reservation.

Continental Airlines has a similar offer with their Chase Preferred debit card.

Learn more here for Delta or here for Continental.

While American Express typically charges an annual fee of anywhere from $95 to $450 (usually waived the first year), the new savings on checked luggage may help offset these fees, depending on how much one checks bags during travel.

Offering free checked luggage for certain card members is an excellent move on Delta's part, considering the recent moves by some airlines to charge for not only checked but also carry-on luggage. It’s reasonable to speculate that one of the reasons Delta did this was to free up overhead space. More and more carry-on luggage is becoming the norm for domestic travel.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

What Airline has the best mileage program?

A comparison of Mileage Programs from Erik Skoog:

In many cases - I see people immediately assuming their hometown carrier is whom they should align themselves with - they'll join and work hard to attain elite status.

Oh, how very far from the truth this is. Today's example involves Sytemwide Upgrades. Systemwide upgrades are the "holy grail" for elite travelers - reserved exclusively for the top tiers of all airline programs. I have clients that will take a weekend trip to London for the sole sake of keeping their top tier status for the next year and with that earning their "systemwide upgrades" as well.

But not all "upgrades" are created equal. All three "majors" (Delta, United and American) give their top tired flyers 6 one-way systemwide upgrades per year…but take a look at the fare required to upgrade below. I did a test search of weekday July flights departing from a Midwest city.

Delta’s Upgradeable fare to China: $3710.00

United’s Upgradeable fare to China: $1931.90

Delta’s Upgradeable fare to London: $2666.80

American’s Upgradeable fare to London: $1426.80

Delta’s Upgradeable fare to Buenos Aires: $2322.20

American’s Upgradeable fare to Buenos Aires: $1313.20

Delta’s Upgradeable fare to Sydney: $3771.30

United’s Upgradeable fare to Sydney: $1888.30

Notice a trend? In every case Delta’s “systemwide upgrades” require over $1000 – in some cases almost $2000 more than American or United. Amazing is it not? Now with Continental and United merging - it might be the time to reconsider your loyalty alligence.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Introducing the World's Largest Airline:

United and Continental merged: what does this mean?
Our thoughts:

1. Higher Prices
2. Lower Customer service.

It is a fact - anytime you eliminate competition from the market - you'll end up with higher prices. At this point -US Airways will have no choice but to combine with American - this will leave the USA with 3 major network carriers...this is dangerous.
Sounds like the automobile industry. The "Big 3" American automobile companies got lazy, fat and guess what: Americans simply bought more imports and we know who now owns both GM and Chrysler (FYI: Obama)!

Well - foreign carriers cannot fly domestic USA route - so how is this going to happen?
Replace "Import Automobiles" with Low Cost Carriers.

Southwest and other Low Cost Carriers will flourish. Network carriers are designed for one purpose: To ferry customers to their international hubs and fly them across the world. LCC's focus on simple, highly trafficked point to point routes. If you live in a major city you are safe: prices to other major cities should stay cheap. If you live in Fargo and you need to fly to Louisville: this will get more expensive.

What does this mean for AFCNET?
We are optimistic. United is a big believer in specialty fares, nets and such. Continental is not. If the merge truly mean than United is the legacy, and Chicago remains its headquarters - its safe to say many of the pricing and revenue functions of the "New United" will remain with the old United formats. United does know how to run a profitable Pacific network, as well as a profitable joint venture on the Atlantic with its alliance partners. Continental was always the odd-man-out and therefore it did things its own way. It remains to be seen - but our belief is the Continental way of revenue and pricing will simply disappear under the new merger.

The new United Airlines International Network:
(very impressive indeed!)