Let’s get right to it, shall we?
- Last July, I flew to Chicago O’Hare to celebrate United Airlines passenger Tom Stuker flying his 10 millionth mile. My blog post on that event is here. During the event, United CEO Jeff Smisek presented Stuker with several gifts, including a Boeing 787 model. And in his remarks congratulating Stuker, Smisek made a not-so-subtle dig at Boeing over its delay in delivering the aircraft. And now it seems the gloves are off. The airline filed an SEC 10-K report that noted it was seeking damages for the aircraft’s delay, reports Aviation Week.
- Before filing for Chapter 11 in late November, American Airlines had been working hard to cut its labor costs. In mid-November, the carrier’s Allied Pilots Association rejected a contract, and less than two weeks later, the airline filed for bankruptcy protection in order to cut labor costs and slash debt. American has already announced it was cutting 13,000 jobs; now management is warning its labor groups that it “needs concessions from its labor groups in a matter of weeks, not months, in order to emerge from Chapter 11 in the near term,” reports Reuters.
- Back in late August 1997, I flew down to Memphis to do some articles on Express Airlines II, now known as Pinnacle Airlines. The company, which flew as Northwest Airlink, had been privately held, but was bought by Northwest Airlines. Its headquarters had just moved from Atlanta to Memphis, and then-CEO Phil Trenary, who had been brought in to take the airline to the next level, was optimistic about the future. Fast forward to now, where the airline is teetering on the edge of a Chapter 11 filing, reports the Commercial Appeal. “Unless we have long-term agreements in place, the best way for us to improve our financial performance and ensure a viable future for our company may still be the court-supervised Chapter 11 process I explained earlier,” wrote CEO Sean Menke in a letter to Pinnacle’s employees.
- I want to thank Huffington Post for this story on why we really need to keep our cell phones off in flight. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) wrote in a confidential report that was leaked to ABC News “that between 2003 and 2009 errant electronic signals caused 75 incidents of “possible electronic interference” on airplanes, 40 percent of which were attributed specifically cellphones.”
- I’m a big fan of KLM’s efforts to incorporate social media as a way to reach out to their customers. When I flew the carrier from Washington Dulles to Geneva in May 2010, I sent out a tweet about watching movies on the flight. The airline tweeted back a link to their movie selection and continued to check on me via Twitter until the end of my flight. But I’m not sure about this latest initiative, which allows passengers to use Facebook or LinkedIn profiles to help select their seatmate, reports the New York Times.
Last week I wrote two posts on Pinterest – one on how I’m using the boards to show off my love of travel and one on what travel-related Pinterest members you should be following. Since the second post, some of my favorite aviation/travel folks have joined up. They include:
- Rupa Haria-Wincell, my former Aviation Week colleague;
- Jennifer Michels, another former Aviation Week colleague;
- Mary Kirby, editor of APEX’s Airline Passenger Experience magazine;
- Jon Norris, executive director of APEX;
- Stephanie Gehman, marketing manager for Harrisburg International Airport;
- Debbie Swiatek, owner of the home in my next vacation spot; and
- Shelly Simi, one of my favorite aviation peeps;