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THE BRIEFING FOR FEBRUARY 6 TO 20, 2014
By Joe Brancatelli
· Southwest Starts Spreading Flights From Love
· Korean Air Adds Houston-Seoul Flights in May
· United Airlines Drops the Hammer on Cleveland
· Marriott Autograph Collection Adds Three Hotels
· Let AA-US Code-Sharing, Route Shearing Begin
· Hawaiian Airlines Launches Premium Economy
· Delta Revives The 1980s In-Flight. But Why?
Southwest Airlines Starts Spreading the Flights From Love
American Airlines and Dallas/Fort Worth Airport lobbied for a generation to close Dallas/Love Field and force Southwest Airlines to move to the huge airport between Dallas and Forth Worth. Now that they have finally failed, however, they claim they have no fear of a Southwest free to fly anywhere it wants from Love Field. And after 30 years of trying to free itself from the restrictions imposed by the Wright Amendment, Southwest is set to go big--nationwide big--out of its Love Field home. Effective October 13, Southwest will launch nonstops from Love to Baltimore/Washington, Denver, Las Vegas, Orlando and Chicago/Midway. All of those airports are also large Southwest flight bases. On November 2, Southwest goes farther afield and launches flights to another 10 destinations: Atlanta; Nashville; Washington/National; Fort Lauderdale; Los Angeles; New York/LaGuardia; Phoenix; San Diego; John Wayne/Orange County; and Tampa. "Goodbye, Wright Amendment. Hello, America," crowed Southwest chief executive Gary Kelly. Watch this one carefully, folks. With Southwest competing on so many important routes from a closer Dallas airport than American, the new bosses at AA manage a genuine, hometown challenge as they try to complete the US Airways merger.
Korean Air Adds Flights to Houston/Intercontinental in May
Korean Air already flies to a baker's dozen of American airports, but the SkyTeam carrier clearly feels there's room for more. On May 2, it'll launch five weekly flights between Houston/Bush Intercontinental and Seoul using Boeing 777-200s. ... Speaking of Korea, Marriott has opened its second JW Marriott in Seoul. The new, 170-room JW Marriott is on Dongdaemun Square in the heart of town. The existing JW Marriott is in the Gangnam District. ... The Federal Aviation Administration has downgraded the aviation-safety rating of India and that means there can be less cooperation between Indian and U.S. airlines. First casualty: the code-share agreement between Jet Airways and United and American airlines. It also means neither Jet nor Air India can expand beyond their current service in the United States. ... Delta Air Lines says the TSA has temporarily banned liquids in the carry-on bags of travelers headed to Russia. Delta is the only U.S. carrier with direct flights to Russia.
United Airlines Drops the Hammer on Cleveland
The 2010 deal United Airlines cut with the Department of Justice to secure its merger with Continental Airlines called for United to retain its hubs for at least two years. Now that it is clear of the stricture, United is de-hubbing Cleveland. Over the next few months, it'll drop virtually all regional-jet flights to the Ohio city. Only one of the carrier's 26 mainline flights will be dropped, however. That means a 60 percent reduction in flights, but a loss of only 36 percent of Cleveland's seats. In a letter to employees, United chief executive Jeff Smisek claims Cleveland hadn't been profitable for a decade. ... Great Lakes Airlines, a Wyoming-based commuter carrier that primarily serves the Upper Midwest and Plains states, is dropping service at six airports: two in Iowa (Fort Dodge and Mason City) and North Dakota (Devils Lake and Jamestown); Ironwood, Michigan; and Thief River Falls, Minnesota. ... The TSA says it has opened PreCheck application stations at 150 off-airport sites and at eight airports. Besides Kennedy and LaGuardia in New York, there are airport PreCheck stations in Cincinnati; Atlanta; Nashville; Washington/Dulles; Los Angeles; and Indianapolis.
Marriott Autograph Collection Adds Three Hotels. Guess Which?
The Marriott Autograph Collection is a loose group of about five dozen independent properties that uses the hotel giant's reservation service and allows us to earn and burn Marriott Rewards points. Three new properties are joining, but exactly which ones require a little explanation. In Chicago's River North district, it's the Hotel Chicago. Don't recognize the name? That's because the 353-room property opened in 1998 as the Loews House of Blues and most recently has traded as the Hotel Sax. In Sydney, Australia, the Pier One Sydney Harbor is joining. Don't recognize that name? Maybe it's because the 189-room property is a former Accor hotel that more recently traded as the Sebel. Finally, in San Diego, a newly opened oceanfront property called the Pier South Resort has become part of Autograph. It's okay if you haven't heard of that one, but you should know that it's built on the site of the former Seacoast Inn, which was demolished in 2010. ... A 330-room Crowne Plaza has opened at New York/Kennedy Airport. The nine-story building underwent a multi-million-dollar renovation after spending several years as a homeless shelter. Before that, it was a Best Western and was once called the Carlton House.
Let The Code-Sharing and Route Shearing Begin
After launching some limited code-sharing last month, American Airlines and US Airways this week announced that cross-selling began today (February 6) on more than 6,500 daily flights and 275 destinations. That's virtually all of the two airlines' flights. ... Meanwhile, the airlines are pruning some routes. American's daily Newark-Los Angeles flight is being dropped. So are US Airways' flights between its Charlotte hub and Rio de Janeiro.
Business-Travel News You Need to Know
Hawaiian Airlines flyers take note: The Honolulu-based carrier is adding premium-economy service on Airbus A330 international routes and flights to the mainland. The so-called Extra Comfort option offers five additional inches of legroom; priority boarding; and at-seat power outlet. Prices range from $60-$100 a flight and the service should be rolled out by August. ... Delta Air Lines flyers take note: American Express is dropping foreign-exchange fees on all Delta SkyMiles credit cards effective on May 1. You will also be able to request a new card with an EMV chip to make it easier to use overseas. ... United Airlines is dropping flights between its Chicago/O'Hare hub and Thunder Bay in northwest Ontario after less than a year of operation. ... If you never got enough of Alf, Devo, Teddy Ruxpin and other icons of the 1980s, Delta Air Lines has decided you'd love to relive the decade in its latest in-flight safety video. The logic escapes me, but, hey, your mileage may vary. You can screen it here.
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ABOUT JOE BRANCATELLI Joe Brancatelli is a publication consultant, which means that he helps media companies start, fix and reposition newspapers, magazines and Web sites. He's also the former executive editor of Frequent Flyer and has been a consultant to or columnist for more business-travel and leisure-travel publishing operations than he can remember. He started his career as a business journalist and created JoeSentMe in the dark days after 9/11 while he was stranded in a hotel room in San Francisco. He lives on the Hudson River in the tourist town of Cold Spring.
THE FINE PRINT All of the opinions and material in this column are the sole property and responsibility of Joe Brancatelli. This material may not be reproduced in any form without his express written permission.
This column is Copyright © 2014 by Joe Brancatelli. JoeSentMe.com is Copyright © 2014 by Joe Brancatelli. All rights reserved.