Author Topic: Travel  (Read 14523 times)

Crafty_Dog

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Travel
« on: January 09, 2011, 09:17:02 AM »
Navigating the Airfare Maze Online Gets Tougher
By MICHELLE HIGGINS
Published: January 7, 2011
 
With online travel sites battling with some airlines, where does that leave travelers shopping for flights online? The simple answer is that they’re going to have to do more digging.  Airlines are pulling their fares from travel Web sites amid a standoff over the fees that carriers pay to list their flights.

American Airlines removed its flight listings from Orbitz.com last month, when the companies could not agree on a new contract, and Delta withdrew its fares from CheapoAir.com, OneTravel.com and Bookit.com. More recently, Expedia.com dropped American flight listings. Delta has also notified Airfare.com, CheapAir.com, Vegas.com, AirGorilla.com and Globester.com that it will no longer allow its fares to be included on their Web sites in the United States and Canada after Friday.

The moves represent a standoff over the fees that airlines must pay to list their flights with online travel agencies. And at least one major fare distributor, Sabre, which runs a computer system that allows travel agents to see flight and fare information, joined the fray on Wednesday, announcing that it would end its distribution deal with American in August — a month before the end of its contract — and, in the meantime, would make American fares harder to see in its displays.

But American and Delta are not the only airlines becoming more selective about where their fares appear online. JetBlue, Virgin America and Spirit have increasingly been offering special fare sales only through their own Web sites. And some low-cost carriers, including Southwest and Allegiant Air, have long refused to list fares at online agencies or fare aggregators like Kayak.com, requiring travelers to visit the airlines’ own Web sites to see their flights.

So what’s the best way to search for fares now? Currently, there is no one-stop shopping site that includes all fares, but it is possible to cover your bases using only a few sites.

Start with ITA Software, which provides the technological backbone for many air fare shopping sites. It offers an easy way to narrow down the cheapest days to fly by allowing anyone to scan an entire month’s worth of fares for the cheapest rate. Click on “search airfares now” in the middle of the home page, then enter your departure date and destination and select “see calendar of lowest fares” to see which travel days yield the lowest rates. Travelers can also narrow searches by the number of stops and length of trip. But to book the actual ticket, users must go to another site, like the airline’s.

Cover your bases by adding a so-called meta-search site like Kayak.com, Fly.com or Farecompare.com, which don’t sell plane tickets but search hundreds of travel sites at once. Doing this will give you an idea of the best rates available from various sites. Each meta-search site configures its technology and accesses fares slightly differently, which can affect results. The sites also tend to differentiate themselves through special partnerships. Kayak.com, for example, receives fares from ITA Software; Amadeus, a global distribution system; and some airlines directly, including American and Delta. FareCompare licenses air fare data from more than 500 airlines via the Airline Tariff Publishing Company, which consolidates and distributes airline fares worldwide.

Before you hit the buy button, check out Airfarewatchdog.com, a site with actual people who manually search for fares and will sometimes uncover cheaper fares than the other sites. It often captures sales from Allegiant and Southwest, as well as special, last-minute fares that airlines often save for their own Web sites, like “JetBlue Cheeps” which are put on sale on Tuesdays via Twitter and listed only at jetblue.com/cheeps.

For trips to Europe, consider Momondo.com, a Danish travel search site that scours the airlines’ own Web sites as well as online agencies that focus on low-cost carriers, like LyddAir, which operates flights from Lydd Airport in Southeast Kent in Britain to Le Touquet in France. It also compares rates with more than 4,000 high-speed train routes across Europe — a valuable service, as trains are often more convenient in Europe than planes. One caveat: Because of the way Momondo pulls fares, it may show expired fares in its results.

To help evaluate prices, consider Bing.com, which offers a Price Predictor that uses algorithms to determine whether a fare is likely to rise or fall in the next seven days; this can help when trying to decide whether to buy now or wait for a better rate. Students can also consult STATravel.com or StudentUniverse.com, which offer special deals for anyone enrolled in college or graduate school.

And for those who care most about the quality of the flight experience, there are a couple of notable mentions. Rather than a long list of fares, Hipmunk.com sorts fares according to an “agony” index that factors in price, length of flight and number of connections. In a similar vein, InsideTrip.com, evaluates flights by 11 criteria, including legroom, aircraft age and on-time performance.

Crafty_Dog

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Cooties on planes and elsewhere
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2011, 07:05:14 PM »
Airlines are deploying state-of-the-art filtration systems to contain flu and cold viruses from spreading. Scott McCartney joins Lunch Break to discuss how to avoid getting sick while flying. Photo: AP.

Air travelers suffer higher rates of disease infection, research has shown. One study pegged the increased risk for catching a cold as high as 20%. And the holidays are a particularly infectious time of year, with planes packed full of families with all their presents—and all those germs.

Air that is recirculated throughout the cabin is most often blamed. But studies have shown that high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters on most jets today can capture 99.97% of bacterial and virus-carrying particles. That said, when air circulation is shut down, which sometimes happens during long waits on the ground or for short periods when passengers are boarding or exiting, infections can spread like wildfire.


One well-known study in 1979 found that when a plane sat three hours with its engines off and no air circulating, 72% of the 54 people on board got sick within two days. The flu strain they had was traced to one passenger. For that reason, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an advisory in 2003 to airlines saying that passengers should be removed from planes within 30 minutes if there's no air circulation, but compliance isn't mandatory.

Much of the danger comes from the mouths, noses and hands of passengers sitting nearby. The hot zone for exposure is generally two seats beside, in front of and behind you, according to a study in July in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A number of factors increase the odds of bringing home a souvenir cough and runny nose. For one, the environment at 30,000 feet enables easier spread of disease. Air in airplanes is extremely dry, and viruses tend to thrive in low-humidity conditions. When mucous membranes dry out, they are far less effective at blocking infection. High altitudes can tire the body, and fatigue plays a role in making people more susceptible to catching colds, too.

Also, viruses and bacteria can live for hours on some surfaces—some viral particles have been found to be active up to a day in certain places. Tray tables can be contaminated, and seat-back pockets, which get stuffed with used tissues, soiled napkins and trash, can be particularly skuzzy. It's also difficult to know what germs are lurking in an airline's pillows and blankets.

Research has shown how easily disease can spread. Tracing influenza transmission on long-haul flights in 2009 with passengers infected with the H1N1 flu strain, Australian researchers found that 2% passengers had the disease during the flight and 5% came down within a week after landing. Coach-cabin passengers were at a 3.6% increased risk of contracting H1N1 if they sat within two rows of someone who had symptoms in-flight. That increased risk for post-flight disease doubled to 7.7% for passengers seated in a two-seat hot zone.

The epidemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in 2002-03 suggested a wider exposure zone, however. On one flight studied, one passenger spread a particular strain to someone seated seven rows away, while people seated next to the ill passenger didn't contract the disease.

That said, most people sitting near someone who is ill probably won't get sick. "When you get aboard an aircraft, most of us don't have a say on who we sit next to. But that doesn't doom you to catching the flu," said Mark Gendreau of Boston's Lahey Clinic Medical Center.

In 2005, he was part of a team that published a paper in the Lancet that concluded the perceived risk for travelers was higher than the actual risk, and that's still the case today, he said.
Even so, there are some basic precautions passengers can take to keep coughs away.

Hydrate. Drinking water and keeping nasal passages moist with a saline spray can reduce your risk of infection.
Clean your hands frequently with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. We often infect ourselves, touching mouth, nose or eyes with our own hands that have picked up something.
Use a disinfecting wipe to clean off tray tables before using.
Avoid seat-back pockets.
Open your air vent, and aim it so it passes just in front of your face. Filtered airplane air can help direct airborne contagions away from you.
Change seats if you end up near a cougher, sneezer or someone who looks feverish. That may not be possible on very full flights, but worth a try. One sneeze can produce up to 30,000 droplets that can be propelled as far as six feet.
Raise concerns with the crew if air circulation is shut off for an extended period.
Avoid airline pillows and blankets (if you find them).
"If you take the proper precautions, you should do quite well," said Dr. Gendreau. "In most of us, our immune system does what it was designed to do—protect us from infectious insults."
Hidden Dangers in Security
You think the plane is bad? Security checkpoints harbor a host of hazards as well, researchers say.
 Jason Schneider
Airport security areas can make it easy to get sick. People are crowded together, and plastic storage bins that hold personal effects are not cleaned after each screening.

People get bunched up in lines, where there is plenty of coughing and sneezing. Shoes are removed and placed with other belongings into plastic security bins, which typically don't get cleaned after they go through the scanner.

A National Academy of Sciences panel is six months into a two-year study that is taking samples at airport areas to try to pinpoint opportunities for infection.

With limited resources, airports and airlines have asked researchers to help figure out where best to target prevention, said Dr. Mark Gendreau of Boston's Lahey Clinic Medical Center who is on the panel.  Check-in kiosks and baggage areas are other prime suspects in addition to security lines, he said.

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: Seats getting narrower
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2013, 06:09:43 PM »
The Incredible Shrinking Plane Seat
American Airlines, United and Other Carriers Are Wedging an Extra Seat Into Each Coach Row
By Jon Ostrower and Daniel Michaels
Updated Oct. 23, 2013 8:57 p.m. ET

Airlines' push to lure high-paying fliers with flatbed business seats and premium economy loungers is leaving economy-class passengers with less space.
Related Video

No, you're not going crazy: airline seats really are getting smaller. For airlines, the reason is simple: the lighter and smaller models cut costs and widen profits.

Holiday travelers are skipping the cold this season and making a beeline for the beach, prompting a rise in airfare to places like Florida and Cancun. The Middle Seat columnist Scott McCartney joins Lunch Break. Photo: Getty Images.

A push over the past decade by carriers to expand higher-fare sections has shrunk the area devoted to coach on many big jetliners. But airlines don't want to drop passengers. So first airlines slimmed seats to add more rows.

Now, big carriers including AMR Corp.'s AAMRQ +9.52% American Airlines, Air Canada, AC.B.T +0.57% Air France-KLM SA AF.FR +1.41% and Dubai's Emirates Airline are cutting shoulder space by wedging an extra seat into each coach row. That shift is bringing the short-haul standard to long-haul flying.

For almost 20 years, the standard setup in the back of a Boeing BA -0.03% 777 was nine seats per row. But last year, nearly 70% of its biggest version of the plane were delivered with 10-abreast seating, up from just 15% in 2010.
Enlarge Image

777 Economy 10-abreast seating BOEING
More

    Thanksgiving and Christmas Airfare Turbulence

Of the airlines that have bought Boeing Co.'s new 787 Dreamliner—a model touted as improving passenger comfort—90% have selected nine-abreast seating in coach over roomy eight-abreast. And 10 airlines around the world now fly narrower Airbus A330 jetliners with nine 16.7-inch seats in each row—among the tightest flying—rather than the eight it was designed for, according to the unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. EADSY +1.96%

The new trend in economy seating reverses a half century of seat growth in economy class. Early jet planes like Boeing's 707 had 17-inch seats, a dimension based on the width of a U.S. Air Force pilot's hips, says Airbus marketing chief Chris Emerson.

That standard for long-haul flying increased to 18-inches in the 1970s and 1980s with the 747 jumbo and the first Airbus jets. It widened to 18.5 inches with the Boeing 777 in the 1990s and A380 superjumbo in the 2000s. Now, cost-conscious airlines are moving to lighter 17-inch-wide seats on their Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliners and 18-inch seats for A350s.

This doesn't sit well with many travelers, particularly those who are large or overweight. Arm rests and aisles are also getting slimmed to wedge in the extra seat, meaning more elbows get bumped. And while seats are now being designed more ergonomically, with better cushions and head rests, the improvements don't stop people from rubbing shoulders.

"I felt that I was kind of stuck in the seat" of an Emirates 777, said Ben Goodwin, a marketing manager at Birmingham University in England, who recently flew to China through Dubai. On his connecting flight, an Emirates Airbus A380, the seats were one inch wider. "I felt like I'd been upgraded, even though I was still in economy," he said.
Enlarge Image

The squeeze can help cash-squeezed airlines. Air France recently expanded the premium sections on its 777s while cutting the floor space in economy class. Yet the carrier kept the number of economy seats constant by switching from nine- to 10-abreast in the back, a spokesman said.

"On a 777, ten-abreast is the way to go," said Emirates President Tim Clark. "You'd be nuts to do it any other way."

Pressure in economy cabins also lets airlines upsell coach passengers. Air New Zealand Ltd. flies 10-abreast 777s on which fliers can book three economy seats that convert into a couch by raising the arm and leg rests.

Passengers aren't happy facing decreased shoulder room, more frequent bumps from service carts in narrower aisles and less overall comfort, said Andrew Wong, regional director of travel website TripAdvisor LLC in Singapore. Based on feedback to the company's SeatGuru website, he said, fliers "are becoming aware of increased seating abreast—particularly for the 777."

Plane makers deflect criticism, noting that seat width is up to airlines. Boeing designs its jets for airlines to do "whatever they want to do inside the cabin," said Mike Bair, Boeing senior vice president of marketing. Boeing designers focus on "creature comfort that can't be violated by the airlines," like bigger windows, larger overhead bins and mood lighting on every jet, he said.

Airlines and airplane makers are aware that passenger hips and waist lines aren't shrinking along with the seats dimensions.

"We are mindful that we serve a wide range of customer types and our aircraft need to be configured accordingly," said senior vice president of marketing and loyalty for United-Continental Holdings Inc., Tom O'Toole, who says the airline brings in real people of all shapes and sizes to help test and select its seats.

But United says seat width isn't the sole focus of passenger comfort. The airline's nine-abreast Dreamliner cabin has received higher marks for passenger satisfaction—49% higher than the average rating of its other long-haul jets, owing to the higher overall marks for the 787's new cabin features, he said.

Airbus is publicly siding with coach fliers by running ads touting the width of its traditional economy-class seats. The tagline: "Personal space isn't any less personal on a 12-hour long-haul flight."

But the European plane maker, like Boeing, is also helping airlines cram more seats in the back of its planes.

When Airbus introduced its two-deck A380 superjumbo a decade ago, it boasted that the lower deck was 12 inches wider than a Boeing 747 jumbo jet but would offer the same 10-abreast seating, giving each passenger up to 19 inches of hip space. Now Emirates and some other A380 operators aim to put 11 seats across, at about 17.2 inches each, the same standard used for smaller jets like Boeing's 737.

"We've tried it," said Mr. Clark. "It works."

Airbus officials say they don't promote the configuration for intercontinental flights. "On long haul, we believe it needs to be a minimum of 18 inches," said Airbus's Mr. Emerson. "If it's a regional flight, we can accommodate one more seat abreast."

Mr. Emerson said seats on an Airbus superjumbo at 11 abreast are about the same width as a Boeing 777 at 10 abreast.

But the packed A380 would have an extra drawback because the center bank of seats, between the two aisles, would be five abreast: In every row, both of the window seats and the center seat would be two seats from the aisle, an arrangement known to frequent fliers as the 'double excuse-me.' That means three passengers in each row could face "this horrendous position of having to cross two people to reach the aisle," said Mr. Wong at Trip Advisor.

Airbus, like Boeing, is making high-density seating easier. On the new Airbus A350 model, now in development, the company is proposing either nine-abreast seating or 10-abreast.

Airbus dubbed the model "XWB" for extra-wide body, because the A350 is wider than its A330 and Boeing's Dreamliner. But Boeing officials note that Airbus is proposing to put the same number of passengers in each row of an A350 as Boeing traditionally put in rows of a 747 jumbo jet—inside a cabin roughly 21 inches narrower.

Boeing's future 777 promises some relief. The proposed 777X's cabin will be 4 inches wider than current versions, giving almost half an inch more per seat at 10 across. But that space won't arrive until about 2020.

The solution, said Mr. Clark at Emirates, is to offer distractions like big meals, frequent snacks and lots of electronic entertainment. Mr. Goodwin, the Emirates passenger from Birmingham, said attentive service did distract him from the seating.

"With food and TV," said Mr. Clark at Emirates, "people are mesmerized."

Crafty_Dog

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Connect the toilet to the country
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2013, 07:10:35 AM »
Okay, world travelers, a different sort of test for you. Guess (or know) which country the toilet is
located
...

http://toys.usvsth3m.com/crapper-mapper/

Crafty_Dog

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The sardines are getting restless
« Reply #4 on: December 23, 2013, 11:02:21 AM »
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/23/business/on-jammed-jets-sardines-turn-on-one-another.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20131223&_r=0

Flying coach can be a bruising experience these days.
An Inch Can Make All the Difference
Seats are getting smaller, travelers are getting larger, and tensions are rising.

Rory Rowland said he was rudely rebuffed after he asked the person in front of him not to recline his seat on a red-eye flight. When he later got up to use the bathroom, and the other passenger had fallen asleep, “I hip-checked his seat like you wouldn’t believe,” Mr. Rowland, a speaker and consultant, said, then feigned innocence when the enraged passenger complained to a flight attendant.

With air travelers increasingly feeling like packed sardines, flying has become a contact sport, nowhere more than over the reclined seat.

Now, it is only getting worse, as airlines re-examine every millimeter of the cabin.

Over the last two decades, the space between seats — hardly roomy before — has fallen about 10 percent, from 34 inches to somewhere between 30 and 32 inches. Today, some airlines are pushing it even further, leaving only a knee-crunching 28 inches.

To gain a little more space, airlines are turning to a new generation of seats that use lighter materials and less padding, moving the magazine pocket above the tray table and even reducing or eliminating the recline in seats. Some are even reducing the number of galleys and bathrooms.

Southwest, the nation’s largest domestic carrier, is installing seats with less cushion and thinner materials — a svelte model known in the business as “slim-line.” It also is reducing the maximum recline to two inches from three. These new seats allow Southwest to add another row, or six seats, to every flight — and add $200 million a year in newfound revenue.

“In today’s environment, the goal is to fit as many seats in the cabin as possible,” said Tom Plant, the general manager for seating products at B/E Aerospace, one of the top airplane seat makers. “We would all like more space on an aircraft, but we all like a competitive ticket price.”

Some carriers are taking the smush to new heights.

Spirit Airlines, for instance, uses seats on some flights with the backrest permanently set back three inches. Call it, as Spirit does, “prereclined.”

The low-cost airline started installing the seats in 2010, squeezing passengers into an industry low of 28 inches. While the Airbus A320 typically accommodates 150 passengers in coach, Spirit can pack 178.

And that is a good thing, Spirit says.

“Customers appreciate the fact that there is no longer interference from the seat in front of you moving up and down throughout the flight,” said Misty Pinson, a spokeswoman for Spirit.

Rick Seaney, the chief executive of FareCompare.com, said the airline business had changed in recent years, after airlines parked older planes and started flying with fewer empty seats. In the past five years, he said, carriers had cut capacity — the number of seats they fly — about 12 percent.

“The flip side is they can’t afford not to fill up their seats,” Mr. Seaney said. “This is a massive sea change.”

With so little space to haggle over, passengers have developed their own techniques for handling the crowded conditions.

“They jam their knee into the back of your seat as hard as they can, and they’ll do it repeatedly to see if they can get a reaction,” said Mick Brekke, a businessman who flies for work a few times a month. “That’s happened to me more than once, and that usually settles down after they realize I’m not going to put it back up.”

The passengers Mr. Brekke has encountered are not even the most extreme: Some have taken to using seat-jamming devices, known as knee guards, that prevent a seat in front from reclining. Airlines ban them, but they work, users say.

Smaller seats are not the only reason passengers feel more constricted these days. Travelers are also getting bigger. In the last four decades, the average American gained a little more than 20 pounds and his or her waist expanded about 2.5 inches, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The dimensions of airplanes, however, have not changed and neither has the average width of a coach seat, which is 17 to 18 inches.
==========================

Page 2 of 2)

As the cabins grow more crowded, airlines say they are thinking only of their customers, trying to keep costs down. Jude Bricker, the senior vice president for planning at Allegiant, said the airline’s nonreclining seats have fewer moving parts and so require less maintenance, which means lower costs. This allows the airline to keep its fares low, he said.

“We are continually reminded from customers and their behavior that what they want most is convenient service with a low fare,” Mr. Bricker said.

Several budget carriers in Europe have also adopted stiff seats, including Ryanair and EasyJet. Air France, for its domestic flights, which never take more than an hour, has installed nonreclining seats where the magazine pocket has been moved above the tray table to provide more space in the critical area around the knees.

For passengers willing to pay more, of course, airlines offer more room. Business class remains an ultracompetitive market with constant innovation and comfortable amenities, like seats that recline fully. Airlines are also increasingly offering several rows of coach seats with more legroom — also at an extra price.

Still, the squeeze is on for most passengers in coach. On a flight from Washington to Frankfurt last year, Odysseas Papadimitriou, the chief executive of WalletHub.com, a personal finance social network, was challenged by a tall passenger seated behind him when he reclined his seat. “He was like, ‘Hey, watch it, buddy. I don’t fit here with you reclining the seat,’ ” he said.

Mr. Papadimitriou called the flight attendant to mediate the dispute and eventually tilted his seat back, but the price he paid to recline was a fitful night’s sleep, as the other passenger grumbled and pushed against the back of his seat for the rest of the flight.

There are ways of resolving conflicts other than bumping into other passengers, as Mr. Rowland, the speaker and consultant, found.

“I lean forward and tap them on the shoulder and say, ‘I’ll buy you a drink if you don’t push your seat back,’ ” Mr. Rowland said. “It’s made flying very pleasant.”


Crafty_Dog

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Planes in the air
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2014, 07:18:54 AM »

This site

http://www.flightradar24.com/

purportedly shows all the aircraft in the air right now, this moment. On the map you will see all the planes in the air. When you click on a plane, the information related
to that flight will display in the left navbar:
 airline, plane type, air speed, and altitude; all in real time re-calculated every 10 seconds.

In the navbar (left hand column) is a box called "planes." The number in the box is the number of planes airborne.

Drag the map to take you to the area you want to view. To view your region or town, you can zoom in by tapping with your
mouse.  Click on "view from the cockpit" to see... well, from the cockpit.
:-)

David


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« Last Edit: April 26, 2014, 07:35:43 AM by Crafty_Dog »

Crafty_Dog

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YAPTA for cheaper air fare
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2014, 12:00:09 PM »
WSJ

Yapta Alerts You to a Cheaper Airfare in Time to Rebook Your Flight
Even After Cancellation Fees, Travelers Say They Save by Buying a New Ticket at a Lower Price
By Scott McCartney
Aug. 27, 2014 7:23 p.m. ET

One corporate travel executive saved about $12,000 on a business-class fare to Shanghai, above, from Tampa, Fla., using the Yapta fare-searching tool. Getty Images

Searching for a Labor Day weekend plane ticket home for my daughter, I saw an attractive $432 fare on American Airlines. I sent her the details and she responded within 90 minutes.

It was too late: The price had jumped to $597. But by the end of the day, it was back down to $432.

Airfares yo-yo with more volatility than commodity prices and blood-pressure readings. But you can beat the bounces. It turns out many corporations are doing it daily for their business travelers, and consumers can, too.

Airfares bounce up and down, often frustrating and angering travelers. But can you get a better price after you buy? WSJ's 'Middle Seat' columnist Scott McCartney joins Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero with the answer. Photo: Getty

Yapta, which began tracking airfares in 2007, has turned its fare-searching technology into a corporate tool to hunt for lower fares and hotel room rates after trips are booked. It's available to consumers at yapta.com.

Whenever a price drops in the first 24 hours after purchase, or when it drops more than the cost of the airline's change fee, Yapta sends you an alert and you rebook at the lower price, paying the change fee and pocketing what's left.

Airlines, having created so much volatility in their own pricing, are offering ways to beat the bounces, too. Last week, British Airways IAG.MC -1.01% announced it would offer a 72-hour price hold for a flat fee of $10—useful if you see a good price but aren't ready to commit to a nonrefundable ticket. That's similar to United Airlines's "FareLock," where you pay $5 to $20 and lock in a price for either 72 hours or seven days.

You could combine the two in a strategy to make sure you are getting the best price possible. Put a fare on hold and put Yapta to work. If the price drops during the hold period, you'll get an alert and you can jump on it.

Yapta does what consumers or travel managers could do manually: It periodically rechecks the price of a ticket. Airlines don't embrace the idea, and their pricy penalties for changing nonrefundable tickets limits how often travelers rebook. But neither have airlines put up a fight against Yapta. After all, they are the ones bouncing prices up and down.

When you search for an airline ticket, you usually see one price for a particular trip on specific dates. Airlines, though, actually load as many as two dozen different prices into reservation systems. A number of seats are offered at the lowest price in each class of service, and when those seats sell, reservation computers automatically display the next higher price as the best available.

Several times a day, airline pricing analysts and their computers can change the number of seats available at each price point, and they can change the prices themselves.

Mix in actual purchases and you get a rapidly changing pricing vortex that can anger and frustrate shoppers. One minute you see a good price; the next minute it's a whole lot higher.

"A lot happens between the time you buy and the time you fly,'' says James Filsinger, Yapta's chief executive of the Seattle-based company.

Yapta says its research shows some cities are a lot more volatile for airline prices than others. Tickets leaving from San Francisco were the most volatile of 15 major airports for business travel, Yapta found, and departures from New York's LaGuardia Airport were the least volatile. San Francisco is a hub for both United Airlines and Virgin America, providing lots of pricing competition. La Guardia, with limited takeoff and landing slots, historically has lacked low-fare competition.

Started by a former airline pricing executive, Yapta now is run by Mr. Filsinger, a former executive at the reservation technology firm Sabre Group. Yapta takes fare data published by airlines and periodically tracks the lowest price available for a trip it is monitoring. So far working only on tickets sold in the U.S., Yapta says there are savings opportunities on 11.2% of all itineraries, after airline change fees.

Most of the chances to get money back come within the "void window'' of the first 24 hours after purchase. Corporate travel departments typically get a full business day.

When there were savings to be had, the average in a Yapta study of 150,000 itineraries booked from July through December 2013 was $306 after fees on tickets above $500, and $58 after fees on tickets under $500.

The Transportation Department requires at least a 24-hour cancellation window for tickets sold in the U.S., as long as the reservation is more than seven days before departure.

Most airlines charge the full price up front at the time of booking, but must give a full refund if canceled within 24 hours. (They don't advertise that fact much.) American does offer a 24-hour hold without payment.

With corporate customers, Yapta loads its software into travel department booking systems. It doesn't charge for the service but takes a cut of the savings, usually about 35%, Mr. Filsinger said. With consumers, use of the tracking tool is free. Companies, like consumers, can set a threshold on minimum savings before an alert is sent, to take into account change fees and other expenses. The company recently launched a similar system to check for falling hotel room prices, but so far that's offered only to corporate travel departments and not consumers.

The bigger the fare, the bigger the potential savings, so travel managers say they have seen their most eye-popping results on international business-class tickets.

One Friday, Al Mazzola, director of travel services at Sykes Enterprises Inc., a Florida technology-consulting company, booked a $19,000 business-class ticket from Tampa to Shanghai and back, only to see it fall to $7,000 over the weekend. With the Yapta alert, the company grabbed the new price. "I was stunned. I've never seen savings like that,'' Mr. Mazzola said.

Mr. Mazzola has been using Yapta for more than a year and said he has saved more than $125,000, even after Yapta's percentage and airline change fees. He said probably 90% of the savings comes in the void period, the first full business day after purchase.

Most of the price changes happen in the middle of the night, Mr. Mazzola says, and the new fares are usually still there when he gets to work around 7 a.m. on the East Coast.

Travel agents can rebook via computer when an alert comes in. The traveler keeps the same seat and the same reservation code. Mr. Mazzola sends an email to company travelers saying, "Congratulations, we found a lower fare for you.''

Still, savings are too sporadic to justify booking a high-price ticket in the expectation that it will come down. The company tries always to book the lowest fare, he said.

Similar to United's "FareLock," which Continental Airlines first offered in 2010 shortly before its merger with United, is British Airways's 72-hour hold option. It can help you hang on to a price if it turns out to be the lowest offered. British Airways said it refunds the deposit—$10 for flights from the U.S., €10 from Europe and £10 from the United Kingdom—if the ticket purchase is made. Seats can only be held 21 days or longer before departure.

The hold fee is offered through ba.com and includes code-sharing flights on partner airlines. A few destinations, including some in the Caribbean as well as Buenos Aires, Cairo, Lagos and some cities in India, aren't available because of "complex fluctuating tax calculations," British Airways said.

United said FareLock fees are nonrefundable even if you buy the ticket and can be used only with United and United Express flights, not Star Alliance partners. FareLock can be used to hold frequent-flier award tickets.

Write to Scott McCartney at middleseat@wsj.com

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WSJ: The best and worst Airlines
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2015, 10:45:16 AM »
The Best and Worst Airlines
The Middle Seat’s annual scorecard ranks the eight biggest U.S. carriers.
Virgin America moved up to No. 2 in overall rank, from No. 3 a year earlier, in The Middle Seat column’s annual scorecard of eight major U.S. airlines for 2014. Virgin America did better last year, relative to others, in canceled flights, long delays, bumped passengers and complaints. ENLARGE
Virgin America moved up to No. 2 in overall rank, from No. 3 a year earlier, in The Middle Seat column’s annual scorecard of eight major U.S. airlines for 2014. Virgin America did better last year, relative to others, in canceled flights, long delays, bumped passengers and complaints. Associated Press
By
Scott McCartney
Jan. 14, 2015 11:57 a.m. ET
40 COMMENTS

As airlines shrink personal space in coach cabins, they are also finding other ways to aggravate travelers: Flight delays, cancellations, lost baggage and complaints all increased last year.

Passengers got hit with bad weather, a crippling fire at a key air-traffic control center near Chicago and runway resurfacing closures in San Francisco and Newark, N.J. Several merged airlines had problems of their own as they sought to combine operations of two airlines into one.

U.S. airlines canceled nearly 66,000 more flights last year than in 2013, and the percentage of canceled flights jumped to 2.7% from 1.9% the previous year, according to flight-tracking firm FlightStats Inc. The year got off to a bad start with polar-vortex weather hammering the East Coast and Midwest. In both January and February, the Department of Transportation reported more than 5.5% of all flights were scrubbed. The number of complaints filed with the DOT over airline service shot up 26% last year.

The results are surprising in a year when carriers are posting record profits on high fares and lower fuel costs. Airlines have been investing in new technology, both in the air and on the ground, that helped boost reliability. But the 2014 service setbacks show how fragile U.S. air transportation still is. A few disruptions triggered airline meltdowns, leaving passengers stranded for days. And old equipment is failing more often under increased passenger loads: Southwest Airlines says its baggage belts suffered a lot of breakdowns that left luggage in huge piles.

Airline baggage handling industrywide got smashed last year, after some years of baggage-handling improvement in part because passengers were checking fewer bags. Over the most recent 12 months reported by the DOT, ended in November 2014, airlines lost or delayed more than 2.1 million bags, a 17% increase over the same period a year earlier.


In The Middle Seat’s annual scorecard of airline service, which tracks seven different key measures of airline performance, Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, two perennial good performers, placed at the top of rankings. Alaska has invested in satellite-based technology that helps it keep flying in fog and other bad weather in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Alaska says a program announcing customer surveys onboard planes has helped reduce DOT complaints and a 20-minute delivery-time guarantee on getting bags to carousels has forced improved baggage handling.

Virgin America credits, in part, a generous employee-incentive program that offers a 3% bonus for high scores in three areas: customer-satisfaction surveys, aircraft operations and safety and on-time performance.

United and American airlines occupied the bottom two rungs of the scorecard for the fourth straight year.


United ranked last or next-to-last among eight airlines in all seven categories. United’s ranking in on-time arrivals, cancellations and two-hour tarmac delays all worsened, though part of the decline can be attributed to inclusion this year of regional airline partner flights.

In years past, only flights of the main airline were scored. This year, data from both FlightStats and masFlight, another flight-tracking service, tallied all flights marketed by an airline. Regional airlines typically perform worse than the big carriers they serve because the big airlines control their schedule. When the FAA orders groundings during bad weather, for example, big airlines hit the schedules of regional partners hard, canceling and delaying more of their flights.

“The simple driving factor is that you want to impact as few passengers as you can,” said Greg Hart, United’s chief operations officer.

Chicago-based United said it was hit disproportionally hard by the winter weather, runway closures in San Francisco and Newark—both of which are United hubs—and the fire at the Federal Aviation Administration in Aurora, Ill., which forced reduced air traffic in skies around Chicago for more than two weeks.

United has had several years of subpar operational performance as it struggled with its merger with Continental Airlines. Mr. Hart said there were small integration issues in 2014, and United is now investing in new technology to improve its reliability.

“We fully expect ’15 to be a better year than ’14 because even if there’s [bad] weather, we’ll have better tools,” Mr. Hart said.

This month United will be rolling out new software for gate agents, for example, to better set the time to close the door to a departing flight. The new tool will take into account a host of factors, such as how many customers are trying to connect to a flight, how many bags will need to be connected and how many customers might get stranded if it is the last flight of the day.

“For the first time, we’ll empower our agents to make the best decision for each and every flight,” Mr. Hart said.

Flight attendants will get hand-held computers that let them report broken parts inside cabins easily. Technicians will be ready with replacement parts the next time the airplane goes through a United hub. “About 25% of our maintenance delays come from interior items,” Mr. Hart said.

Southwest, the only carrier that offers to fly two pieces of checked luggage free for each passenger, was the worst performer among peers in mishandled baggage. Southwest had 4.18 reports of mishandled bags for every 1,000 passengers over the last 12 months reported by the DOT, ended in November. That is nearly twice the rate of mishandled bags at Delta Air Lines . On average, at least one passenger ends up missing a bag from every Southwest flight.

To improve on-time and baggage performance, Southwest in August added extra time between flights in its schedule. The airline that once prided itself on 20-minute turnarounds between flights now unloads and reloads flights in an average 39 minutes. On-time reliability improved, but still trails all competitors except United.

Southwest is considering investing in new technology to improve baggage handling, said Steve Hozdulick, senior director of operational performance. Last year, Southwest handled 88 million bags, up 4.2% from 2013, straining its older baggage-handling systems. It is considering adopting hand-held scanners to track bags. It is also studying equipment to load planes better and possibly using baggage tags with embedded radio frequency ID chips, he said.

Hawaiian Airlines scores well in many of the seven categories studied, but isn’t included in the rankings because of its lack of exposure to mainland U.S. weather and congestion. Fast-growing Spirit Airlines , because of its small size, wasn’t required to report consumer information to the DOT in 2014, but will be in 2015. Still, flight-tracking services found Spirit’s on-time-arrivals rate lower than its competitors.

American Airlines , the largest carrier in the world in terms of passenger traffic, had significant operational changes in 2014 from its merger with US Airways. Operations at more than 100 airports were combined and the two airlines began connecting passengers to each other. The rankings are based on American US Airways results combined into a single airline.

American lost ground in baggage handling, where higher rates of mishandled bags resulted from problems moving luggage between American and US Airways flights.

Senior Vice President Kerry Philipovitch said the US Airways operation in 2015 will switch to the same bag scanners that American uses, making it easier to track and sort bags. A baggage rerouting tool that US Airways uses will be rolled out to American this year as well.

The two airlines, which expect to get a single operating certificate from the FAA in 2015, will move to a single reservation system this year. A new operations center will open later in 2015 with enough room to combine dispatchers and other workers together in one room. That should improve reliability, said Robert Isom, American’s chief operating officer.

All that merger integration could lead to travel snafus, as it has at other airlines. “The main heart of the integration is upon us,” Mr. Isom said.

Write to Scott McCartney at middleseat@wsj.com


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PEr-emptive Dhimmitude at American Airlines
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2016, 11:46:17 AM »
Flying While Counter-Jihad
Or, Why You Should Never Fly American Airlines
October 4, 2016
Robert Spencer
Share to FacebookShare to TwitterShare to More52Share to Print
 
According to a fawning write-up in the New York Times, Roula Allouch of the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is worried about “Islamophobia” in airports because, she claims, people sometimes give her “a hard, strong stare and a stern look.”

Horror of horrors! People give me “a hard, strong stare and a stern look” in airports all the time; I’ve always thought that it was because they weren’t thinking about me at all, but were preoccupied with making their flight and other pressing matters. But Roula Allouch appears sure that everyone who doesn’t give her a cheery grin is an “Islamophobe” who quietly disapproves of her hijab, and of course, she knows better.

Allouch elaborates: “Our main concerns during this time of heightened Islamophobia are mosque attacks, bullying against students and traveling — they’re equally discussed. More and more people are being deplaned because they’re Muslim. For instance, one student was asked to leave a flight because he was speaking Arabic. What seems to be happening frequently is if another passenger on the plane has a complaint, the person they’re complaining about is asked to deboard. We’re a country that operates with civil rights. It’s very arbitrary and very troubling.”

In reality, however, the claim that Muslims are singled out for special examination or harassment in airports is wholly baseless. Many who claim they were persecuted for “Flying While Muslim” really were acting suspiciously. Allouch said that “one student was asked to leave a flight because he was speaking Arabic.” That was the case of a young Muslim named Khairuldeen Makhzoomi. According to the Dallas Morning News, “Makhzoomi, an Iraqi refugee and senior at the University of California Berkeley, was removed from an April 6 flight from Los Angeles to Oakland after another passenger told crew she overheard ‘potentially threatening comments.’ Makhzoomi’s comments came during a conversation with his uncle.”

There is, however, just one catch: “A Southwest Airlines passenger who overheard a college student’s conversation also spoke Arabic and perceived the comments to be threatening, according to a new Southwest Airlines statement.”

Interestingly enough, Roula Allouch doesn’t seem to have apprised her New York Times interviewer about that little detail. She was more concerned with complaining about the “stern look” she supposedly receives. Oh, the humanity!

If Roula Allouch really wants to know what it’s like to be gratuitously harassed while flying, let her declare that she doesn’t think Islam is a religion of peace. For well over a year now, every time I fly American Airlines, which up until recently has been almost every week, I’ve been subjected to extensive and time-consuming extra security checks. This never happened when I flew any other airline, only American — but I was a Platinum frequent flyer on American, so it happened often.
After repeated inquiries, I finally found that it was because American Airlines and British Airways are partner airlines, and British Airways was requiring that I be subjected to these extra security checks to make sure I wasn’t flying to Britain. I am, of course, banned by the British government from traveling to Britain because I noted (correctly) that Islam is “a religion and is a belief system that mandates warfare against unbelievers.” I wasn’t banned for any criminal activity and have no criminal record. It is, moreover, perfectly clear from my flight ticket in every case that I am not traveling to Britain. Hence these extra security checks to make sure I am not flying to Britain simply constitute harassment, mandated by British Airways and perpetrated by American Airlines.

I wrote to American Airlines explaining the situation, noting that I had been a loyal and frequent customer for many years, and asking that they stop the extra security checks. All I got back was a form letter. So apparently American Airlines only wants the business of those who believe Islam is a religion of peace. Very well. I will go elsewhere, and I hope you will, too, and avoid American Airlines whenever possible.

That’s harassment: Flying While Counter-Jihad. A stern look in an airport, Ms. Allouch? That’s not harassment.

I wrote this article while utilizing in-flight Internet on a Delta Airlines flight.


Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and author of the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to Iran. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.


ccp

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Re: Travel
« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2017, 05:50:34 PM »
They can hire all the ones Reagan fired.


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Re: 10 ways to spot an American abroad
« Reply #21 on: June 05, 2017, 09:18:54 PM »
http://travel.alot.com/themes/10-ways-to-spot-an-american-abroad--9775?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=FB_9775

20. Not Understanding the Metric System

There are countries that use the the metric system. There is a country that has been to the moon.





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WSJ: If you are arrested abroad , , ,
« Reply #23 on: July 24, 2017, 03:00:52 PM »
If You’re Arrested Abroad, the U.S. May Not Bail You Out
The State Department needs to do a better job protecting travelers—and warning of the danger.
Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
By Jared Genser
July 23, 2017 5:28 p.m. ET
81 COMMENTS

I represent two Americans, Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer, being held in deplorable conditions in Iran’s Evin Prison. Last October they were sentenced to 10 years on sham charges of “collaboration with a hostile government,” namely the U.S. In a statement Friday, the White House demanded their freedom: “President Trump is prepared to impose new and serious consequences on Iran unless all unjustly imprisoned American citizens are released and returned.” In June the administration arranged for Otto Warmbier to be brought home after nearly 18 months in a North Korean camp. He died shortly after returning to the U.S.

Americans need to appreciate they are highly vulnerable to arbitrary detention abroad—and not just in countries like Iran and North Korea. I say this from experience, as a lawyer who has represented not only the Namazis but also U.S. citizens wrongfully imprisoned in such countries as China, Cuba, Myanmar and Nicaragua. Each year more than 70 million Americans travel abroad. Several thousand are arrested annually. The State Department estimates more than 3,000 are imprisoned, some 100 of whom, two officials told me on condition of anonymity, are hostages of rogue states and terrorist groups.

Many Americans believe if they get into trouble the U.S. government will rescue them. In most cases it won’t. Those who are detained typically get a list of local lawyers and visits from consular staff every one to three months. Buried on its website, the State Department explicitly advises it “cannot get U.S. citizens out of jail.” Still, more can be done to help Americans imprisoned abroad.

First, Mr. Trump should direct the State Department to evaluate individually the case of every imprisoned American to determine privately whether he is likely to have been arbitrarily detained. This need not be a complex legal evaluation, but rather a simple application of international law to the facts of each case.

This review is critical. Many of the imprisoned did break local laws, and the U.S. Privacy Act prohibits government agencies from releasing information that might enable human-rights groups or the media to conduct independent evaluations. That’s why the State Department must determine internally which Americans are unfairly imprisoned and then provide diplomatic and political support to push for their freedom.

Second, Congress should require, every three months, that the State Department provide lawmakers a private list of Americans believed to be imprisoned wrongly abroad, including suggested steps to assist them. In opposing such a bill previously, the department argued in a memo to Congress: “The idea that we would distinguish among U.S. citizens as more or less ‘deserving’ of our support contradicts the fact that all U.S. citizens deserve our best efforts.” Yes, Americans deserve consular support without distinction, but those who are wrongly detained merit special attention. Lawmakers should encourage the State Department to provide it. They should not, however, prescribe or require specific action, because these cases require specialized support based on the facts of each case.

Third, the government needs an integrated approach. In 2015 President Obama issued a directive that created a special presidential envoy for hostage affairs, a position Mr. Trump should fill soon. But the administration also needs to identify and assist other wrongly detained Americans. It needs to enhance deterrence, to go beyond saying it has a “no concessions” policy, and to consider coercive measures such as suspending foreign aid and imposing targeted sanctions against governments, organizations and individuals responsible for holding U.S. citizens unfairly.

Fourth, the State Department should do a better job educating Americans as to the dangers of traveling abroad. That wouldn’t help dual nationals like the Namazis, visiting family or friends. But a warning could help others avoid trouble. Every passport should come with a letter emphasizing the government’s limited ability to recover wrongfully imprisoned citizens, listing countries that have taken American hostages, and noting that U.S. citizens traveling abroad are wholly outside the protection of the Constitution and must follow local laws.

Even with these measures, securing the release of wrongfully imprisoned Americans will remain difficult. But perhaps high-profile hostage cases like those of the Namazis and Warmbier will focus the government on fulfilling one of its most basic duties: protecting its citizens when they most desperately need help.

Mr. Genser is founder of Freedom Now.


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DougMacG

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Re: How flying messes with your mind
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2020, 10:33:00 AM »
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/how-flying-seriously-messes-with-your-mind

Very interesting article.

"the air pressure (in the plane) is similar to that atop an 8,000ft-high mountain."

Vail, Colorado (the town) is at 8000 ft.  (8000' is the bottom of the mountain there.)  People love it there.  (The skiing is all above that.)  The median price of homes currently listed in Vail is $2,350,000. (Zillow)

Summit County Colorado is higher, 9600' in Breckenridge.  13k at the top of the Imperial lift. 
"Summit County Has Highest Life Expectancy in US"
https://colorado.gov/pacific/agingstrategy/news/summit-county-has-highest-life-expectancy-us-0

My house in CO is at 10,200'.  The mountains around it are 14.1k.  Endurance athletes come from all over the world to train and compete there.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadville_Trail_100

Djokovic (and Jagger?) train in simulated altitude:
https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111904787404576532854267519860
-----------------------------------------------------

I was talking with a scientist who works on magnetic levitation travel.  I asked him
what it felt like to be in a capsule traveling through a vacuum tube at hundreds of miles per hour?
https://staff.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/
https://www.govtech.com/fs/Colorado-Considers-Building-Magnetic-Levitation-Monorail-Consults-the-Public.html

He replied, how do you feel now (we were standing in a yard on a beautiful blue sky day)?  You're flying around the sun at 67,000 mph right now. https://www.space.com/33527-how-fast-is-earth-moving.html 

It's all relative.   )
« Last Edit: February 06, 2020, 11:24:29 AM by DougMacG »

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Travel
« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2020, 12:16:22 PM »
I would submit that it is different living at an altitude because your body adjusts (e.g. greater blood volume) than taking a flight for some hours at the equivalent of that altitude.

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Re: Travel
« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2020, 05:06:01 PM »
I would submit that it is different living at an altitude because your body adjusts (e.g. greater blood volume) than taking a flight for some hours at the equivalent of that altitude.

Funny enough, people in top physical condition are more prone to altitude sickness. The last time I read up on it, scientists weren't sure why.

Counter-intuitive. You'd think that would be the group least affected.

Crafty_Dog

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Re: Travel
« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2020, 01:32:31 PM »
So, THAT explains it! (i.e. my reaction!)

G M

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Re: Travel
« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2020, 09:29:55 PM »
So, THAT explains it! (i.e. my reaction!)

I would tend to think so.

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Re: Travel
« Reply #32 on: March 13, 2020, 09:10:44 AM »
Stratfor Worldview
ASSESSMENTS

As Coronavirus Takes Flight, the Airline Industry Takes Cover
11 MINS READ
Mar 13, 2020 | 10:00 GMT

HIGHLIGHTS

The global coronavirus outbreak has been and will continue to be a massive shock for the airline industry due to the increasing number of travel restrictions and economic setbacks in key markets.

As the epicenter of the outbreak, China's airline sector has so far been hit hardest, likely spurring greater consolidation of the country's state-backed airline carriers as they absorb beleaguered private players.

In Europe, the outbreak will accelerate the ongoing process of consolidating the airline sector as well, as some companies merge while other weaker players disappear.

The coronavirus pandemic is ravaging the airline industry, with the most highly impacted countries of China, South Korea, Italy and Iran accounting for over a quarter of global passenger revenue alone. As panicked consumers continue to cancel or suspend their travel plans for fear of getting sick, and as more governments pursue containment measures and travel bans, an increasing number of airlines will be forced to either consolidate or go out of business.

In China, this will likely lead to a market that's even more dominated by the state-backed carriers. Bigger airlines in Europe, meanwhile, will merge as revenue losses deal the final blow to their smaller competitors. But while so much is still unknown about how the outbreak will unfold in the weeks ahead, what remains certain is that the airline industry is headed for even more unexpected turbulence.

The Big Picture

The global airline sector was already expected to face slowed growth in 2020 due to the overall setbacks in the global economy related to China’s ongoing slowdown, headwinds in key Asian markets and Europe’s own sluggish economic growth. The coronavirus crisis, however, has since dramatically increased challenges for airlines across the world, and could tip some of the financially-weaker carriers into bankruptcy.

Impact on the Chinese Market

China’s status as the epicenter and worst-affected country in the coronavirus outbreak means that its airline industry is set to sustain the greatest losses, although it is also the country with the first chance of recovery. Although China’s outbreak appears to have already peaked, its economy was all but offline for much of the period from late January to early March — most critically during the travel-heavy Lunar New Year holiday. Full figures have yet to emerge, but domestic Chinese travel dropped 6.8 percent year-on-year in January 2020. Airlines in China lost $3 billion in February amid the coronavirus outbreak, with an 84.5 percent drop in passenger traffic and a 21 percent drop in cargo flows.

For Chinese airlines, this translated into a February loss of over $1.44 billion and a revenue drop of $5.33 billion. In 2019 overall, China accounted for around $98 billion in domestic and international passenger revenue. But now, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) projects a 23 percent drop in Chinese passenger flows this year, with revenue dropping $22.2 billion. More uncertain, however, are the knock-on effects to Chinese airlines from the outbreaks in key international travel destinations such as South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. And the as-yet unclear overall impact of the coronavirus on both Chinese gross domestic product (GDP) growth, as well as global economic growth, could bring further damage to China's aviation sector as general consumption declines.


Amid the outbreak, the Chinese government has moved quickly to support the sector. On March 4, the Civil Aviation Commission of China (CAAC) unveiled financial incentives in the form of direct subsidies for airlines that resumed suspended service to international destinations through June 2020. Chinese airlines might have some relief as the country recovers from the outbreak, and works to get manufacturing back online and rebound from the bottleneck in overseas shipping by sending more goods by air. This would especially benefit the country's state-backed players (namely, Air China, China Southern and China Eastern), which are some of the world's largest cargo carriers. Passenger demand is also already starting to rebound in China’s domestic market from its February low point, but the stigma of the virus will take some time to dissipate. The first week of March saw 40 percent of flights resumed domestically but some of this uptick is being fueled by so-called "cabbage prices," or cheap seats meant to fill planes and not generate revenue.

But the sector still faces major headwinds, which will hit particularly hard on private and smaller players. China’s market is dominated by the so-called “Big Four” carriers, who command 84 percent of the country's aircraft fleet: Air China, China Southern, China Eastern and HNA Group. Of these, HNA Group is the only private entity, while the others are partly state-owned. While there's been recent government efforts to open up the airline sector somewhat and foster competition, the massive damage to the sector caused by the coronavirus outbreak may accelerate a trend back toward consolidation under the umbrella of the state-controlled carriers. In addition to its other supports to the ailing industry, the Chinese government is reportedly considering having the three big government-linked carriers — which still account for 46 percent of China's airline capacity — absorb smaller players unable to weather the crisis.

Even HNA Group may fall victim to this consolidation push. HNA Group’s aviation component accounts for 17.2 percent of the Chinese aircraft fleet and is comprised of 13 airlines, the largest of which by far is Hainan Airlines. But despite its outsized role in the sector, HNA Group has one of the highest corporate debt levels in the country at $35.6 billion — a 90 percent debt-to-capital ratio — due to an overseas buying binge that in 2017 put it in the crosshairs of both Chinese and overseas regulators. HNA Group has since been working to offload hotel, property and insurance assets in an attempt to attain some sort of financial stability. In November, it announced plans to focus the business on its more profitable aviation units and to separate this from a "non-aviation asset management unit." But the carrier has since been hit hard by the coronavirus, compelling the Chinese government to intervene. In January, Hainan airlines reported a 35 percent year-on-year drop in passenger flows. The Hainan provincial government recently appointed two of its officials to serve as co-CEO and executive chairman of HNA Group, as part of a working group to manage the company's financial problems in conjunction with the CAAC and China Development Bank. Reports indicate that the government will direct an aggressive campaign to sell off HNA Group’s assets with a possibility that its aviation components may be taken on by Air China, China Southern and China Eastern.

All in all, the coronavirus outbreak will likely bring about a degree of consolidation of the sector under the mantle of these three state-backed carriers, allowing China to prop up its industry in a way more difficult for other countries and regions. Greater consolidation will mean an increased ability for the sector to outcompete regional rivals and to set higher prices for consumers. But Beijing will still tread carefully. Already the increased state oversight of HNA Group has raised the prospect that the airliner's American assets could come under scrutiny by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). If HNA's airline assets are eventually brought under the purview of China's big three government-linked carriers, it will need to avoid strengthening one of these players to the detriment of the others.

Impact on European Markets

Meanwhile, in Europe, the coronavirus outbreak is severely threatening the profitability of most European airlines. On March 5, the IATA warned that airlines operating in Western Europe could see a reduction in passengers of up to 24 percent this year, and a fall in passenger revenue of more than $37 billion. Several factors explain the problems facing European airlines. For one, many carriers have suspended their flights to China, Italy and other countries with high numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases. Anxiety is also hurting holiday traffic and undermining travel to popular destinations in countries like Spain or Italy, as lots of people are canceling or postponing their vacations for fear of contracting the virus. Meanwhile, companies across the continent are telling staff to work from home and suspend all non-essential travel, which reduces demand for flights to business centers such as London, Paris, Frankfurt or Geneva.

The U.S. government's recent announcement that it was banning all flights from 26 European countries for a month beginning March 13 will make matters even worse for airlines operating routes to the United States. In addition, several international fairs and sports and cultural events in Europe have either been canceled (such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona) or postponed (such as the International Motor Show in Geneva), which further undermines demand for flights to the cities holding them. Against this gloomy outlook for Europe's crucial tourism industry, airlines have also been among the main losers in recent drops in stock exchanges in Europe and other parts of the world.

Travel restrictions and plummeting demand due to the coronavirus outbreak will force some airline carriers to consolidate, and others to call it quits.

For the companies that were having financial problems before the outbreak, the coronavirus has made things even more difficult. This is the case of Britain’s Flybe, which went into administration on March 5, leaving thousands of passengers stranded and putting some 2,000 jobs at risk. But the escalating coronavirus crisis has begun testing the endurance of stronger European airlines as well. In recent weeks, companies including British Airways and Finnair warned of significant falls in their operating profit this year because of the outbreak, while airlines including Lufthansa, Easy Jet, Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair said they were considering measures such as freezing recruitment, promotion and pay rises, as well as offering unpaid leave to their staff. Many airlines are also calling on regulators around the world to suspend a rule according to which they lose landing and take-off slots in airports if they don’t use them for prolonged periods. This has forced several airlines to operate "ghost flights" with little to no passengers to preserve some of their routes, which further weakens their profitability. On March 10, the European Commission announced that it would temporarily suspend these rules.

However, some airlines are making it clear that the ongoing crisis should not open the door to national governments granting financial aid to weak companies. William M. Walsh, the CEO of the International Airlines Group (which owns British Airways), recently said that governments should not provide state aid to "airlines that were not sustainable before the coronavirus.” As national governments in Europe struggle to come up with stimulus measures for the economy, they may not have fiscal room to rescue airlines in trouble. Governments are more likely to help airlines via tax benefits or tax delays, and not so much through bailouts. This could result in more of the weaker players collapsing, as the Flybe case illustrates. 

The spread of the coronavirus in Europe will eventually be contained, but it will be weeks, if not months, before that happens. In the meantime, companies will struggle to adapt to this new environment. And policies that are meant to reduce internal costs (such as offering employees unpaid leave or suspending the purchase of new aircraft), as well as strategies to boost sales (such as offering customers the chance to rebook their flights for free, or giving them discount prices for flights), may not be enough to save the weaker players in the industry. And as carriers continue to face millions in revenue losses, those that were already struggling to make ends meet before the outbreak may not survive.

By bankrupting some companies and forcing others to merge in order to mitigate their revenue losses, the coronavirus crisis will likely accelerate the ongoing process of consolidating Europe’s airline sector. As a result, many small players will disappear as the bigger players get bigger. When the coronavirus outbreak eventually wanes, Europeans may find that former airline competitors are now owned by the same parent companies. But while this could mean higher prices and fewer options for consumers, it would also mean a less fragmented and somewhat more cost-effective airline sector in Europe.

The Unknown Global Impact

The now global coronavirus outbreak is highly fluid and its spread unpredictable, meaning that both new and sustained outbreaks will likely bring further knock-on effects to the sector. In the Middle East, where Iran has been at the regional epicenter of the outbreak, low oil prices will limit the government’s ability to prop up airlines in the face of declining demand amid already growing global competition. In the United States, where many global air airlines are based, carriers are already expecting to annualize declines in Revenue Passenger Miles (RPMs) significantly greater than those even following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

And, lastly, the still-unknown fallout in terms of global economic growth due to the virus could further stymie demand and damage the industry. The IATA now forecasts that the global passenger airline sector will lose between $63 billion and $113 billion. But whether losses meet or exceed the far end of this spectrum will depend on the scope and trajectory of the increasingly global outbreak — especially in the United States, where the situation is rapidly evolving. The key will be whether more countries experience surges in coronavirus cases, and whether transmission rates in the Northern Hemisphere slow as the weather warms in the months ahead.

Crafty_Dog

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Aviation Fuct
« Reply #33 on: May 08, 2020, 04:33:29 PM »
An Industry Both Grounded and Up in the Air
Joel Peterson and Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s chairman and CEO, on how the pandemic has racked the business and how flying will be different once it’s over.
By Tunku Varadarajan
May 8, 2020 12:47 pm ET

You sense that an industry is in frantic straits when you email the chairman of its coolest company to ask for an interview and he says yes-sure-when within minutes of your hitting “send”—and he also asks if the CEO can join.

Thus I find myself on Zoom a day later with JetBlue Airways ’ Joel Peterson and Robin Hayes. Mr. Peterson, 73, has been chairman since 2008. Mr. Hayes, 54, is in his fifth year as CEO. The two men arrive online early, and it’s easy to see why they’d be anxious to talk: Covid-19 has dealt airlines an atrocious hand. Hardly anyone wants to fly. There have been reports of scheduled flights in the U.S. taking off with barely a paying soul on board. Business travel is defunct world-wide. Cabin crews, fearing a virus that has coursed through continents, aren’t eager to be up in the air either.

JetBlue, founded in 2000, is a low-cost carrier, America’s sixth-largest by passenger volume. Like every other large American airline, it has signed up for the federal government’s Payroll Support Program, which Congress established in March with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The act doles out $50 billion to the U.S. airline industry, $25 billion of which must be used to keep employees on payroll. Messrs. Peterson and Hayes say JetBlue will receive $936 million in federal support, a relatively modest amount compared with the $5.4 billion that will go, for example, to Delta Air Lines, the world’s largest by 2019 revenue.

For Mr. Hayes, taking the money was a “no-brainer,” while Mr. Peterson says he is “philosophically against government bailouts.” He thinks free markets “do a much more efficient job of sorting things out and allocating resources.”

Yet Mr. Peterson is also quick to stress that he wants the money. “In this case,” he says, “saving the airline industry and ensuring that it can be productive quickly is one of the things that will save the economy.” Both men also want Americans to note that if all the other airlines are taking this money, “we don’t think JetBlue has any choice.”

If the airlines went bankrupt and furloughed hundreds of thousands of people, Mr. Hayes says, “we’d be wanting to get the economy going, but people would be driving their cars thousands of miles, because there wouldn’t be any viable air service.” Mr. Peterson cuts in to add that “most of this money would’ve had to go out in unemployment benefits. So we’re really just allowing them to stay ‘furloughed’ with the airlines, so that we can reboot this critical industry more quickly.”

A transplanted Londoner, Mr. Hayes has that self-deprecating worldliness common in his countrymen—and he makes an effective foil for the chipper, Midwestern Mr. Peterson. “One of the best things companies can do at the moment is to continue to keep employees,” Mr. Hayes says. “I think that’s going to help us come out of this together. We’ve never furloughed a crew member in our 21-year history.”

They agree the pandemic is far worse for the industry than the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. “Although 9/11 was a very New York-centric event,” Mr. Hayes says, “it had a global impact in terms of demand. But you saw a lot of traffic come back in a couple of months.” It took about two years for the industry to recover to pre-9/11 levels. “Right now, we’ve lost 90% to 95% of our revenue.”

As Mr. Peterson asks his CEO to spell out JetBlue’s numbers for the previous day (April 20), I sense a muffled groan over the Zoom audio. “On a normal day we’d have carried 100,000 passengers,” says Mr. Hayes. “Yesterday, we had 3,000.” It had been an exceptionally bad day. JetBlue is flying “10% to 15%” of its schedule, and “most days, we’re 10% to 15% full.” That hasn’t changed 2½ weeks later.

To be sure, the bailout money comes with strings attached. In addition to maintaining their workforces, beneficiary airlines must continue to serve routes that are (for the moment) unprofitable. Mr. Hayes says he accepts that there are requirements to maintain essential air service in the U.S. “So we have to continue to fly a minimal level of service. It’s the right thing to do given the number of essential workers, particularly in the medical profession, flying around the country.”

Nonetheless, the Transportation Department acceded this week and allowed JetBlue to suspend operations at 16 major U.S. airports—including Atlanta and Chicago O’Hare—where continued service imposed (as the company put it) a “significant burden to the airline.” But for now the airline is compelled to continue service in five smaller Western cities—Palm Springs and Sacramento, Calif.; Bozeman, Mont.; Reno-Tahoe, Nev.; and Albuquerque, N.M.—where there’s little demand.

Messrs. Peterson and Hayes say they’re untroubled by the other conditions laid down by the Cares Act, including restrictions on executive pay. Board members are serving without compensation—“zero dollars,” Mr. Peterson says—and Mr. Hayes has had his salary halved, from $625,000 a year to $312,500. “I think the required restrictions on pay are very reasonable,” the Englishman says, “especially after what happened with some of the TARP money that was made available back in 2008, 2009.” (Reports at the time showed that $1.6 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program went to bank executives.)

A brutal question remains: How long can the airlines survive without passengers? “Not very long,” says Mr. Peterson, who has just published a book called “Entrepreneurial Leadership: The Art of Launching New Ventures, Inspiring Others, and Running Stuff.” (Mr. Peterson is also chairman of the Hoover Institution’s Board of Overseers.) “We have expensive equipment, expensive employees. We’re capital-intensive.”

Mr. Hayes points out that airlines are already entering bankruptcy, including Virgin Australia and Flybe, a budget U.K. carrier. “A lot of airlines around the world will go into bankruptcy without government support,” he says. “I think a lot will get that support, because countries know how important the airline industry is to their national self-interest.” But when revenues are down 95%, “you’ll only last so long. We do have the Cares Act now, so we can sit it out, but you also come out of it with high levels of debt that you need to focus on paying down over the next two or three years.”

So as the airline industry hibernates, cutting costs has become imperative. While pay rates haven’t been scaled down, employees are working many fewer hours. “So total salary costs come down,” Mr. Hayes says. “Obviously, there’s no fuel cost,” but that means “we can’t take advantage of the really low fuel prices.” JetBlue has deferred most of its projects and capital expenditures—whether on information technology or infrastructure—and is spending nothing on marketing. Still, the company went from earning a profit to burning $18 million in cash a day in March. Mr. Hayes says that figure has now stabilized at “around $10 million,” of which the federal payroll support covers $5 million.

The airline industry’s Covid-induced crisis is as much about psychology and science as economics. What can airlines do to restore the confidence of the many ordinary people who are now mortally afraid to fly?

“Think about 9/11,” Mr. Hayes says, “and the locked cockpit doors, the TSA screening, all the focus on security. Before 9/11, we didn’t give that any thought. But we’ve seen a sea change.” Expect a similar change now “in terms of aircraft cleanliness, and sterilizations.” Since Covid-19, JetBlue—and other airlines—has greatly enhanced the cleaning of airplanes, and he says the change will be permanent.

Mr. Peterson says passengers will insist on “state-of-the-art air filtration systems” such as HEPA filters (an acronym for hospital-grade high-energy particulate air). The airline is requiring its crew members to wear masks and this week it made them mandatory for passengers too.

Mr. Peterson anticipates that “there will be a market response that will be favorable toward more room—or a less dense feeling—within planes.” For now, JetBlue is keeping middle seats free, and Mr. Hayes thinks that will continue “until people feel more confident about traveling, and some of the social-distancing standards start to relax.” He also foresees that some flyers will pay for middle seats, or even whole rows, to avoid sitting next to strangers. Mr. Peterson raises the possibility of reconfiguring cabins, which would “take time and is a capital-intensive process.”

There could also be a radical rethinking of change fees. “If you look around the world at how airlines have become more profitable,” Mr. Hayes says, “they’ve really had a big focus on ancillary revenues and change fees.” It costs money to alter a nonrefundable ticket. “It’s going to be pretty hard for an airline in future—when a customer calls up and says, ‘Hey, I think I’ve got the flu and I don’t want to travel,’ the airline can’t say, ‘Well, I’m sorry. You lose your money.’ ” JetBlue has waived change fees for the duration of the crisis. “When Covid-19 came out,” Mr. Peterson says, “we were the first airline in the U.S. to offer customers free changes.”

On the bright side, Messrs. Hayes and Peterson see, as the former puts it, “a huge pent-up demand to fly again.” The industry’s recovery is inextricably tied to overcoming would-be passengers’ concerns about Covid-19, and that will require progress on vaccines and therapeutics. JetBlue’s leaders are upbeat. “As human beings, we want to be optimistic, to put this behind us,” Mr. Hayes says. “Planes flying again as they used to is a hugely important part of society coming back to its normal cadence.”

Mr. Varadarajan is executive editor at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

ccp

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Re: Travel
« Reply #34 on: May 08, 2020, 04:46:47 PM »
"An Industry Both Grounded and Up in the Air"

well the airline industry has done more than any industry I can think of to insure spread of disease sickness and more.

by packing people on flights as close together as humanly possible.


Crafty_Dog

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Re: Travel
« Reply #35 on: May 09, 2020, 02:19:19 PM »
My wife tells me Europe will be requiring 14 day quarantine?

Crafty_Dog

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WSJ: New Age of Air Travel
« Reply #36 on: May 18, 2020, 11:22:17 PM »

By Alison Sider, Benjamin Katz and Mike Cherney
May 18, 2020 1:40 pm ET

A new age of air travel is taking shape.

Airports and airlines are rolling out temperature checks for crew and, increasingly, passengers, as well as thermal scans to spot people with elevated body temperatures. Face masks are now de rigueur for travelers across the U.S. Passengers on Europe’s biggest budget carrier must raise their hands to use the toilet.

Forget about the perks of priority boarding at Air France. The carrier is one of several boarding passengers seated at the back of the aircraft first, to limit traffic jams in the aisle. Many airlines are removing in-flight magazines, scrapping meal services on shorter routes, and parking the duty-free cart.

Getting off the plane at the end of the flight could take even longer than usual as airlines try to control the typical crush, with some saying flight attendants will cue small groups when it’s their turn to stand up.

Taking Off
Air traffic is slowly coming back, as lockdownsease.
U.S. travelers screened by TSA
Source: TSA
.million people
Sameweekdayin 2019
2020
March ’20
April
May
0.0
0.5
1.0
1.5
2.0
2.5
3.0
As lockdowns loosen, airlines are plotting a path out of hibernation, reformulating routes and services, and balancing safety protocols with the challenge of convincing passengers to board the enclosed space of an aircraft in the midst of a pandemic.

The Trump Administration is preparing to begin temperature checks conducted by the Transportation Security Administration at some airports, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday. The TSA said no decision has been made.

Some of the biggest changes airlines envision are the result of what executives expect will be months, maybe years, of lower demand: They see fewer direct flights, for instance, which means more dreaded stopovers.

Some airlines are considering requiring passengers to sign health certifications, or to eventually carry “immunity passports”—documentation that a passenger has had, and recovered from, the virus.


All of this presents a threat to many of the practices that helped drive a record-long streak of airline profits in the U.S.

Carriers boosted revenue by squeezing more people into coach cabins in recent years—shrinking seats and space between rows. They had started charging for more room and for extras that were once free, like choosing seats in advance. Fees for flight changes and checked bags brought in billions of dollars each year.

Now carriers are being encouraged to keep seats empty, making it harder to turn a profit on each flight. At the same time, the corporate customers that were willing to pay high fares for seats in premium cabins could be slow to return as long as international travel restrictions remain in place, and may stay grounded longer if video conferencing becomes the norm or if companies remain cautious about business travel.

For now, airlines have suspended flight change fees and may have a hard time reinstating them as they seek to restore confidence and keep sick people from flying.

“It’s going to be socially less acceptable for someone to get on an airplane who clearly isn’t well,” JetBlue Airways Corp. Chief Executive Robin Hayes says. “Airlines have to figure out how they’re going to respond to that in a way that still allows them to be profitable, but also recognize that you don’t want people on the airplane that are ill.”

Air France has rolled out mandatory temperature checks before each departure, with passengers showing a temperature above 38 degrees Celsius, or about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, prevented from boarding. So far, no passenger has been denied boarding as a result, according to an airline spokesman. Carrier KLM in the Netherlands is requiring passengers from areas designated high-risk by the European Union to fill out a health declaration. The areas include major airports in 20 U.S. states.

The airport in Canberra, Australia’s capital, is already using thermal cameras to take the temperature of passengers as they pass through security. London’s Heathrow Airport plans to test thermal imaging to screen arrivals at one of its terminals for fever.

Korean Air has started scanning passengers for high temperatures flying out of Seoul. Air Canada takes passenger temperatures with a no-contact infrared thermometer; and Frontier Airlines plans to do the same at boarding.

Staggered Return
Asia, first hit by the virus, is now first getting back into the air.

Flights within Asia

scheduled for March 1 to July 31

2019

1.0

 million

0.8

2020

0.6

0.4

0.2

0

March

May

July

Flights within Europe

1.0

 million

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0

March

May

July

Flights within North America

1.0

 million

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0

March

May

July

Source: Cirium Core
Some critics say temperature checks could give passengers false confidence, as they won’t identify infected people who are not symptomatic. European air-safety regulators aren’t expected to embrace temperature checks. A draft document of the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s recommendations circulated to national authorities, according to industry and government officials, indicates such checks aren’t effective in delaying or mitigating the Covid-19 contagion.

Low cost Ryanair Holdings PLC, Europe’s biggest carrier by passengers, has done away with lines for the toilets. Passengers are now required to raise their hand to request permission from a cabin crew member before using them.

U.S. carriers are beginning to require passengers to wear masks for the entirety of their flights, but it’s not clear how such a policy can be enforced. Some airlines said they’re advising flight attendants to de-escalate difficult situations if passengers refuse to wear masks while planes are in the air.

The CEO of Frontier Airlines, based in Denver, said “if someone is uncompliant, we will eventually divert an airplane.”

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
What would it take to get you back on a plane? Join the conversation below.

One of the biggest challenges revolves around the viability of social distancing at airports and onboard aircraft. Many industry executives say it isn’t feasible. There’s little agreement on standards. Industry leaders are insisting on consistency around the world so passengers aren’t confused.

“It’s impossible to socially distance in an airport,” says John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of London Heathrow Airport. The hub is in the process of rolling out Plexiglas screens at check-in desks, encouraging the use of face masks, and deploying more automation to limit the interaction between staff and passengers.

Mr. Holland-Kaye is working with his counterparts at airports in Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Sydney to implement standardized procedures. “If we wait until some global organization has agreed it for 172 countries, it’ll never happen,” he said.

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Some carriers have promised to keep the middle seat open, to preserve some sense of social distancing aboard. That hasn’t been too onerous, since there are so few fliers these days.

Executives say that’s not viable for the long haul. They question its effectiveness, and say carriers can’t afford the cost of leaving those seats empty. Air New Zealand Ltd., the country’s flag carrier, said that to comply with social distancing, just under 50% of seats on a turboprop and only 65% of seats on an A320 narrowbody can be filled. Flights need to be 77% full on average for airlines to break even, according to the International Air Transport Association, which estimates that fares would have to climb 50% to offset the cost of leaving so much empty space on an A320.

With airlines having cut down on the frequency of flights, some planes have started filling up.


A thermal camera monitor shows the body temperature of passengers as they wait to board airplanes in Seoul, South Korea last month.
PHOTO: AHN YOUNG-JOON/ASSOCIATED PRESS
United Airlines Holdings Inc. earlier this month said it would start giving passengers advance notice if they’re scheduled to fly on a full flight, allowing them to make other plans. The airline shifted its policy after images on social media of a packed flight earlier this month sparked outrage.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D. Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee wrote to major U.S. airline trade groups last week, urging them to do more to space passengers out. Airline executives say they can’t keep that up forever.

“I would hope that we don’t have unnecessary regulations,” Southwest Airlines Co. Chief Executive Gary Kelly says. “It’s really not a viable intermediate or long-term solution to cap a flight at 60%.”

For now, however, Southwest is limiting the number of seats it will fill on any given flight. When it sees bookings start to approach that threshold—something that has started to happen several times a week for some routes—it will add another flight if there’s enough demand to cover operating costs like fuel, Mr. Kelly said. “We at least want the revenue,” he said.

Ready to Fly?
As flights increase, passengers are in for some big changes. Here are some things airlines and airports are doing differently amid the pandemic.

Temperature checks

The Trump administration is preparing to roll out temperature checks conducted by the TSA at some airports. Some airlines are taking passengers' temperatures and airports are using thermal scanning to check crowds.

 

Health declarations

Dutch carrier KLM asks passengers from high-risk areas to affirm their health before flying. The carrier reserves the right to keep passengers it deems ill off the plane.

 

Boarding

Air France is boarding the back of the plane first, making business class and other higher fare passengers wait.

 

On board

China Southern and other carriers are not seating passengers in the middle seat, or spacing them out through the cabin. Xiamen Air keeps the last three rows free for ill passengers.

 

The lavatory

Ryanair, Europe’s budget carrier, is requiring passengers to raise their hand and seek permission to use the bathroom.

100.4

PRIORITY

Earlier this month, Frontier Airlines, thought it hit on a solution. Chief Executive Barry Biffle says he believes keeping middle seats empty does little for safety if passengers wear masks. To give passengers peace of mind, though, while not forcing the airline to operate money-losing flights, the airline created a new offering: for a $39 fee, a passenger could ensure being seated next to an empty middle seat.

Lawmakers wrote to Frontier to object. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) suggested federal guidelines might be necessary to ensure distancing on planes during a subcommittee hearing, broadcast online.

Nick Calio, chief of Airlines for America, an airline lobbying group, protested that a rule wouldn’t be necessary.

“Hopefully the market will take care of that,” he said.

“Well, it didn’t with Frontier,” Ms. Klobuchar responded. That evening, Frontier rescinded its plan.

The carrier isn’t the only one that has encouraged passengers to spend more to secure their peace of mind. Ryanair last week asked passengers to purchase fast-track access through airport security and priority boarding to help avoid crowding.

In China, where domestic flights have resumed in significant numbers, aviation authorities haven’t publicly announced social-distancing measures. Most airports and airlines require passengers to wear masks, and to have their temperature checked. Some airlines, including China Southern Airlines Co., are preventing passengers from sitting next to one another.

Demand in China lags far behind capacity, despite airlines offering discounts of up to 90% on many routes. China’s civil aviation authority said last week that passenger numbers in April were down 69% from a year ago at 16.7 million. A five-day holiday at the start of May provided a boost, but not the dramatic spike in travel demand that usually characterizes China’s national vacations.

Airlines have started cleaning planes more thoroughly and more often, using equipment to mist cabins with disinfectant and wiping down all surfaces between every flight, not just when jets are parked overnight.

Delta Air Lines Inc. has started building in extra time between flights for cleaning, and says it plans to keep the procedures in place indefinitely.

“We’ll take delays if we have to,” said Bill Lentsch, Delta’s chief customer experience officer.


Passengers, many wearing masks, board an American Airlines flight from New York City to Charlotte, earlier this month.
PHOTO: ELEONORE SENS/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES
Analysts at airline data firm OAG estimated that with new cleaning procedures, carriers might need to leave two hours for connections, up from 45 minutes for domestic flights and 90 for international connections.

Another big change: Where you can fly. Widebody planes that flew lucrative long haul international routes are being parked in droves, many permanently. Delta said it will retire its 18 Boeing 777 jets, which it used to launch ambitious global routes like Los Angeles to Sydney, this year.

Last year, global airlines competed to offer flights so long they tested human endurance, like Qantas’s experiments with direct service from New York and London to Sydney—a 19-hour journey. Now Project Sunrise, as the effort was dubbed, is on indefinite hold.

U.S. airlines like Delta, United and American Airlines Group Inc. had assembled global networks, securing lucrative airport slots and signing joint venture deals with global partners. Executives now believe international travel will be some of the last to recover.

American has slashed international flying for the summer and has delayed the launch of new international routes it planned for this year. Flights from Philadelphia to Casablanca, Morocco, Chicago to Krakow, Poland, and Seattle to Bangalore, India, are being pushed back to 2021.

“We’re not going to be flying the same airplanes to the same places that we flew in the past,” American Chief Executive Doug Parker told pilots during a town hall earlier this month.



Write to Alison Sider at alison.sider@wsj.com, Benjamin Katz at ben.katz@wsj.com and Mike Cherney at mike.cherney@wsj.com