Notable Airline, Hotel and Travel Industry News: August 28, 2012

  • United Airlines had a major SHARES outage late this afternoon, bringing their website down and halting operations at some airports. United is apparently offering a travel waiver for impacted customers, but as of this posting, no link has been posted online. [Edited (thanks Kris): The waiver is now posted.]
  • In other not-so-good United news, a Boeing 767 bound for Chicago returned to London’s Heathrow Airport after pilots reported an engine surge. Firefighters had to spray the smoking engine down upon landing.
  • A gay couple is suing United Airlines for “severe emotional trauma” and “intentional harassment” after their bag made the rounds on the carousel with a rather large sex toy prominently displayed taped to the outside after the bag allegedly broke. My take on the lawsuit: really? First maybe consider leaving it at home and second, will the article with your picture prominently displayed on it not cause even more trauma? Get over it and move on. [Edited to add: Yes, I agree the baggage handlers were very wrong in their actions… more in the comments below.]
  • Southwest Airlines is adding new routes. Beginning March 9, 2012, Southwest will add flights from Newark to Nashville, New Orleans and Austin. Also new will be Dayton to Orlando and Key West to New Orleans.
  • Spirit Airlines also announced new routes. Service from Houston Intercontinental to Chicago O’Hare and Las Vegas begins in October. Service from Denver to Phoenix-Mesa Airport also begins in October, and flights between Portland and San Diego commence in November.
  • JetBlue launched fixed-price “Go Packs,” where by September 6, you can buy blocks of 10 one-way tickets for a single price. Rates start at $899 plus $7 per flight for a “Pittsburgh to Boston and New York” pack to $2,499 plus $7 per flight for a “Boston or New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco” pack.
  • Vienna’s first Ritz-Carlton hotel opened. The 202-room hotel includes 43 suites and a rooftop bar. And Malaysia’s first Grand Hyatt hotel opened in Kuala Lumpur, offering 412 rooms and 42 suites.
  • The TSA fired six “officers” and suspended 14 others at Boston’s Logan Airport for inattention on the job. These agents all happened to work in the same checked bag screening room. Guess they missed the gay couple’s sex toy and can’t be blamed.
  • Lufthansa flight attendants could strike beginning tomorrow after refusing the latest offer of a 3.5% pay raise from the airline. Flight attendants were looking for 5% after a three-year pay freeze.
  • With business travel picking up and successful growth in overall market share, Virgin Australia enjoyed a AU$22.8 million net income for its recent fiscal year. Business travelers now make up 20% of the airline’s domestic revenue.

Previous news:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012



  1. The website does have the waiver notice. I’m on my phone so I don’t have the link, but I did look at it, waiver applies to all cities and all fees/fare changes are waived for travel commencing before sept 8th, other travel just has change fee waived.

  2. Your comment about the gay couple is insensitive. Saying, “they should have left it at home,” is ridiculous and really none of your business. Those airline employees knew exactly what they were doing and were too lazy or were too cruel in their humor to actually do their job well and ensure the privacy of their customers.

    • @Josh: Point taken, but that’s my standing opinion about “leaving it at home.” And yes, I’d have to agree those employees knew exactly what they were doing and were in the wrong.

  3. @Darren I aggree with Josh – who are you to tell me or anyone else what to pack? Am I allowed to pack condoms, or must I not put such disgusting items in my PRIVATE CHECKED LUGGAGE! Those handlers new EXACTLY what they were doing and their actions were completely insensitive and hateful – much like your post.

    • @Ari: Condoms are hardly in the same category, in my opinion. Anything you check, unfortunately, isn’t private as the TSA has the right to go through it. The baggage handlers were very much in the wrong, I agree. I just think the couple got horribly embarrassed, overreacted by filing a lawsuit and said lawsuit won’t go anywhere. As immature as many people are, you sort of risk actions like the baggage handlers took if you check things like that. The couple should have known it (and probably do), too, as wrong as what happened was.

  4. Darren, the fact that it was a gay couple and not a heterosexual couple is completely immaterial to the story. It’s disappointing that you would choose to focus on this while, as Josh points out, rather insensitively calling out the couple for what you perceive as their misplaced reaction to events.

    This reads as not-too-subtle homophobia.

  5. @Darren I also agree with Josh. Your insensitive comments about the gay couple is as bad as the airport employees going through their bag.

  6. @Darren: Doesn’t change the analysis. Just like the fact of the couple’s being gay shouldn’t change the analysis of who (re)acted rightly or wrongly.

  7. If you people read the actual story, you would know that the bag broke, that doesn’t mean that the handlers should’ve “fixed” the issue as they did, but it’s not like they saw it on the X-ray machine, unzipped the bag, and adjusted the contents.

  8. @Darren The fact that you’re gay doesnt mean you have the right to be insensitive to your own “family”. I am also gay and I find your negative comment of the gay couple offensive.

  9. According to an employee, apparently the outage was caused by issues at the SHARES servers in Charlotte instead of SHARES itself. I don’t think that that has been confirmed by United, but it does make sense.
    I don’t understand why they don’t have a backup server farm somewhere else so that if one goes down the other kicks in in a few minutes, and instead of losing millions in revenue, you lose basically nothing.

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