In other airline, hotel and travel industry news this week…
- EVA Airways has come out and acknowledged they are “in aggressive talks” to join either the oneworld or Star Alliance by 2013. Here in the U.S. they fly to Anchorage, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York’s JFK. To me, Star seems more fitting with United Airlines’ stellar connection opportunities from LAX, SFO and SEA. American would have a slight advantage at JFK, but I feel the West coast presence would be the biggest draw. They also have a huge presence in China with service to 25 cities via their Taipei hub. It’s gotta be Star.
- The U.S. Department of Transportation is keeping a close eye on airlines and their social media outreach on Twitter. Current rules requiring tax and fee disclosures must be adhered to even with the 140-character limit. Airlines must link any tweets with airfare advertisements to “a place on a separate screen where the nature and amount of taxes and fees are prominently and immediately displayed.” Come January 24, 2012, all-in fares inclusive of all taxes and mandatory fees will be required on all advertising, no matter the medium.
- The DOT also this week granted antitrust immunity to American Airlines and Qantas. Both carriers can now set prices, schedule flights and provide enhanced benefits, connections and other services to travelers between the U.S. and Australia. An interesting tidbit from the article reveals that Qantas holds a 40% share of the U.S.-Australia market, followed by United Airlines & Air New Zealand holding 27% and Delta Air Lines and V Australia with 22%.
- AAdvantage geek was first to report that American Airlines introduced new Flagship Check-in at Los Angeles International Airport with a rather hilarious “illustration” of the new layout at LAX. It’s available to Concierge Key, paid First Class and those who buy American’s Five-Star Service travel assistance. I have a feeling I’ll try it out for a couple of reasons. One, I love the elitist experience (yes, I’m that shallow) and two, just to review it for my blog.
- American also expanded their agreement with the Transportation Security Administration and the trusted traveler program with the inclusion of additional airports. Las Vegas McCarran, Los Angeles International and Minneapolis-Saint Paul airports will be included next month in the test program to expedite “vetted” travelers through security. I received an invitation, but will pass since I’m gung-ho on achieving United million-miler status next year and won’t be flying American with any regularity.
- American also launched an aggressive new television campaign with online contests and more, but I came across a neat non-contest ad featuring one of my favorite actors, Kevin Spacey. There are three new ads starring Mr. Spacey that highlight the “philosophy of understanding the individual flyer.” Here’s one of them:
- Global Distribution Systems are a hot topic in the airline industry this year with American being the forefront challenger of their traditional booking methodology. Those issues aside, GDSs are making bank and two of them this week reported stellar third quarter results. Amadeus posted a net income of €136.8 million, or approximately $186.4 million, and Travelport (Apollo, Worldspan & Galileo) enjoyed a $51 million net income this past quarter. Not too shabby.
- Finally, Asiana Airlines is reporting it will expand its long-haul routes and desires to become a world top-10 carrier in revenue and profit by 2015. A Star Alliance carrier, Asiana will take delivery of its first Airbus A380 in 2014 that will be used on Seoul to U.S.A. routes. I’m certainly saving some of my miles for an opportunity to ride on an OZ A380 and hope they don’t restrict award space on that bird in premium cabins as so many other carriers do. Separately, I’m flying Asiana in First and Business Class later this month, so look for a trip report soon.