Airline slot swaps, GDS scrutiny, Chicago flying high, Singapore on the cheap & a respectable angry flight attendant

It’s time again for a quick wrap up of noteworthy news items from the airline and travel industry this week, summarized below:

  • Delta Air Lines and US Airways have re-engaged each other for a potential slot swap at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and Washington D.C.’s Reagan National Airport aimed to align each carrier better with their desired presence and route offerings in each market. The deal needs a blessing by the U.S. Department of Transportation and it is expected to clear given the recent merger by Continental and United that gave Southwest entry in the congested slot controlled New York market.
  • The U.S. government also has their eye on global distribution systems (GDSs), with both airlines and GDS companies confirming they’ve received inquiries from the Justice Department to cooperate in an antitrust investigation. Stemming in part from awareness of American Airlines’ push for Direct Connect technology and the various lawsuits between carriers and GDS companies in the news lately, it will be interesting to monitor this in the coming months.
  • New service, bonus miles & special offers are a plenty for Chicago-bound flyers from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Virgin America launched service into O’Hare Airport yesterday from both cities, and both American and United have targeted bonus mile offers to dissuade people from abandoning them. Additionally, American announced five days of giveaways this week to a lucky few flyers on flights from Chicago to Los Angeles and San Francisco. One person on each flight in each direction will win bonus AAdvantage miles, a couple of vouchers for future travel, and a day pass to the Admirals Club along with a $50 membership discount certificate.
  • Singapore Airlines will launch a wide-bodied low-fare subsidiary in the near future aimed at gaining a share of the budget conscious medium- to long-haul markets in the Asia-Pacific region. The yet to be named carrier will look to steal some business away from existing carriers serving the area including Air Asia, JetStar (Qantas) and Tiger Airways. Oddly, Singapore Airlines holds nearly a 33% stake in Tiger, but has no managerial input as to how the carrier is run.
  • Steven Slater is the former JetBlue flight attendant who will certainly be remembered for his less than professional (but wildly entertaining) exit from a flight he worked at New York’s Kennedy Airport last year. He’s penning a memoir and if his writing is as poignant and polished as this interview, he’s already sold his first book to yours truly. Very well spoken and realistic about an industry he loved, he comes across honest and comfortable with his predicament. I wish him nothing but success with upcoming book and all his future endeavors.

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