News roundup: Pan Am returning, American fined, Allegiant’s fluctuating fares, United rebrands, and MilePoint launches today

Several articles caught my eye yesterday and this morning, so here’s a news roundup of the top stories hitting the blogosphere:

  • No, Pan Am definitely isn’t returning to the skies as an airline, but ABC Television has ordered a pilot episode for a new show that will follow the fictional lives of flight attendants during the 1960s heyday of Pan Am. Depending on the cast (Christina Ricci is mentioned) and style of the show (sorta like Mad Men?), we’ll see how well it presents on the small screen, perhaps as soon as this Fall.
  • American Airlines was fined $90,000 for failing to reveal upfront that a $30 airport ticketing fee would be deducted when redeeming voluntary denied boarding vouchers at the airport. Since the vouchers received for giving up your seat on an oversold flight can’t be redeemed online, you either mail them in or take them to an airport to get your tickets issued. Taking them in, then, effectively reduces the value of those bump vouchers by $30, so the DOT slapped American with the fine. They’ll only really pay $45,000, though, as half is “forgiven” if they don’t keep the practice in place. I wish speeding & parking violations carried the same half-off concept!
  • Oil prices are skyrocketing again, bringing higher airfares, increased fuel surcharges, and one carrier is proposing “flexible” airfares that will change with the price of fuel. Allegiant Air told the US Department of Transportation that it is considering offering the option to book a cheaper ticket now, and then have the fuel surcharge (or rebate) applied the day before travel based on the going oil rates at that time. Read more about it here, including some well-thought out pros & cons in the comments. I wouldn’t buy a ticket with this feature… would you?
  • The tulips are continuing to wilt over at United Airlines, and today they’ve rebranded the website with the new globe logo and font. Ben over at One Mile at a Time caught a pretty funny error on their initial release. United claimed to serve “all seven continents,” but it has been corrected as of this posting to read, “spanning six continents.” Antarctica would have been an interesting addition, I’d have to say! The website currently shows the new logo if viewed in Firefox, but Safari still shows the old tulip logo. Not sure about Internet Explorer.
  • FlyerTalk has long been the premier site for frequent flyer enthusiasts, with forums and topics surrounding airlines, hotels, car rentals, travel news, and just about anything to do with mileage or point accrual loyalty programs in the travel industry. Its founder, Randy Petersen, sold FlyerTalk several years ago and now he’s launched MilePoint. It operates on the latest Facebook-like, aesthetically enhanced technology and looks to be much the same as FlyerTalk in terms of content and membership. I’ve joined and will keep an eye on things there, but FlyerTalk still has its strength in total numbers. [Edited to add:] Also, there is something to be said for a clean, avatar-free setting like FlyerTalk. Do you think it’s easier to read?

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