Airline rankings - April 2019


Almost Last!

A sad commentary for American Airlines; especially for those of us who remember the 

#1   AAgain   Campaign




United Kingdom Departure Tax - AA Non-Rev Travelers

March 15, 2019 - Effective immediately, if you are accommodated in a premium cabin, you will pay the same, lower tax rate as you would in Main Cabin. This update does not affect the cost of parent (D2P) or guest (D3) travel.  The change is effective now, however, the Travel Planner does not yet reflect it yet (so you won't see it reflected in your estimated charges) as of now.

AA PET EMBARGO & zed agreements

American Airlines Checked Pet Embargo

Frontier Airlines

Effective:  May 1, 2019 

ZED Agreement between AA and Frontier Airlines is CANCELLED.

Allegiant Air

Effective:  May 1, 2019 

ZED Agreement between AA and Allegiant  Air is CANCELLED.




 The EU and EEA

The European Union (EU) is an economic and political union of 28 countries. It operates an internal (or single) market which allows free movement of goods, capital, services and people between member states.




Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.




The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.

Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market - this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

E. T. I. A. S.


E. T. I. A. S.



Beginning in 2021, visitors from the United States, along with dozens of other nations, will be required to complete an online application for something called an ETIAS, from “European Travel Information and Authorization System.”

 It’s essentially the reciprocal of the ESTA authorization required of EU nationals visiting the US: not strictly a visa, but a Registration..

Once it is implemented, visitors from 60 countries will be eligible to apply for ETIAS online. The system will serve as a pre-screen for travelers entering from visa-waiver countries, and anyone from one of those countries will need to have a valid ETIAS authorization and passport when arriving at any EU member country’s borders.

ETIAS will not require formal interviews, 

nor any of the rigmarole involved when 

visiting a nation that requires an actual 

visa, like for example China.  

You should be able to complete the online up the submission in about 10 minutes, providing your personal details, passport information, date of birth, country of residence and answering a few questions related to criminal history and travel to conflict zones. 

Approval (or refusal) will be sent via email.





 Effective 2021  

U.S. citizens traveling to Europe will  

be required to apply for an ETIAS.  

(European Travel Information and Authorization System) Visa Waiver. 

Similar to other countries and regions in the world, Europe has recently decided to improve its security level to avoid any further problems with illegal immigration and terrorism. 

This means that from 2021, all Americans traveling to a European Country in the  SCHENGEN ZONE will require an ETIAS. 



It will cost 7 euros, or about $7.85 

at current rates, and will apply to travelers between 18 and 70 years old. 

Once obtained, it will “allow its holder to 

stay in 26 different countries in Europe for a period of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. 

It is valid for 3 years from the date of 

issuance or until the expiry date of the passport, whichever comes first.


ETIAS does not apply to the United Kingdom, which is not one of the countries in the Schengen Area.

The UK is weeks away from possibly leaving the European Union without a negotiated exit agreement, the so-called “no deal Brexit” that might result in serious disruptions to travel.  




700 PHX Flight Attendants Will Need to Move!

Prior to the integration of American Airlines and US Airways flight attendant systems, it restricted flight attendants from applying for transfers to each other’s hubs, or staffing each other’s aircraft. Now that the systems are fully integrated, the airline has greater flexibility but also a staffing imbalance. LAX and Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport each needs 700 more flight attendants, while Phoenix needs 700 fewer. With 13 airports where American can base flight attendants, it can deploy flight crews more efficiently if some employees are transferred out of Phoenix.

On February 13th the airline notified Phoenix-based flight attendants to watch vacancies at other bases and consider opportunities to transfer. The airline hopes to naturally reduce the number of Phoenix staff over the next few years through attrition and transfers.

American reaffirms commitment to Phoenix





ConnectMe (for AA Flight Attendants)


ConnectMe will be the new way for American’s Cabin Crew to solve flight problems before takeoff!

In a Q & A session this past week an American pilot asked CEO Doug Parker about technology to connect cabin crews with all the functions (departments) of the airline to fix problems similar to how Delta flights attendants currently operate. 

Delta flight attendants have a new update to their device so that they can connect and talk with ramp tower, catering, cockpit, crew schedules, passenger service and other employees. They can directly get problems communicated and resolved.

Parker didn’t know whether they had anything like that in the works, but their managing director for pilot technology was on hand and talked about the ConnectMe tool.   It can provide:

  • Real-time Operational Updates
  • Increased Accountability
  • Clear and Concise Messaging
  • Ability to View Message History and Missed Messages
  • Read Receipts to Determine When Message Have Been Read and Acknowledged

The system was developed for the airport, but the plan is to roll it out to cabin crew too. The roll out “has been a bit slow” but it “creates direct communication between employees responsible for getting a flight out on time” — such as maintenance, cockpit crew, flight attendants, gate agent




Honoring an Industry Great!   

Rest in Peace Herb Kelleher

Herb Kelleher, the charismatic and colorful co-founder of Southwest Airlines, was hardly a cookie-cutter chief executive.  

He was considered a visionary business leader whose record of sustained success at Southwest led Fortune magazine to ask on its cover: “Is Herb Kelleher America’s Best CEO?

Once a feisty upstart, it is now the largest domestic carrier in the United States, with annual revenue approaching $25 billion.




Southwest Airlines has announced this week that it will share $544 million dollars with its employees through the company’s profit sharing plan. This reward equals approximately 10.8% of each eligible employee’s eligible compensation.  

This is Southwest’s 45th consecutive profit sharing award, starting with the first profit sharing payout in 1974.   The 2018 profit sharing award is the third highest in company history.


FEB and MAR 2019  -- A L O H A !

Southwest Airlines launches service from West Coast Markets  (OAK, SJC, LAS, ONT, SNA, LGB) to MAUI (OGG) and OAHU (HNL).




American Airlines will end New York (JFK) – Orlando service on May 2, 2019 according to Airline Route. The route is currently operated daily with Boeing 737-800s.



NEW BOARDING PROCESS    The Atlanta-based carrier is doing away with traditional zone boarding and implementing a color-coded boarding system associated with fare tiers by January 2019. 


January 19, 2019

Spirit Pulls Ahead of AA and UA in New Airline Rankings

Legacy carriers American and United Airlines have a new competitor hot on their tails: Spirit Airlines. According to a new statistical report assembled by the Wall Street Journal's Middle Seat column,  Spirit Airlines is now the number four carrier in the country behind Delta, Alaska and Southwest. That puts it above both American and United, two of its more experienced, legacy competitors. 





February 1, 2019, individual membership fees will increase and household membership discounts will be discontinued.

Starting November 1, 2019, same-day boarding passes on American Airlines or partner airlines will be required for entry.

Any departing or arriving flight: marketed or operated by American Airlines, marketed and operated by any oneworld® partner carrier, marketed and operated by American Airlines or Alaska Airlines in any combination 

One-Day Pass

Available at select locations for $59. 

EXCLUDES the airports listed below that currently have clubs under construction:

  • Boston (BOS)
  • Charlotte (CLT)
  • Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Pittsburgh (PIT)


American Airlines Invites ConciergeKey Members to Use Flagship Dining

ConciergeKey is AA's revenue-based top level given to very high revenue customers and those who influence significant business for the airline.

They got priority for upgrades and other waitlists and they have a myriad of other benefits including Business Class Flagship Lounges for domestic travel and now will be provided visits to AA's exclusive Flagship First Dining. 


United, Delta and American Airlines are engaged in an airlines arms race to grab the most affluent customers. The decision is part of a larger industry trend to give more space and better service to high-paying passengers who account for a disproportionate share of airline revenue.

Now highly profitable, UA, AA, DL are plowing money into new planes, fancy seats with more legroom, airport lounges and other perks, many of which are aimed squarely at well-heeled travelers.

United raised the stakes when it announced that it will retrofit more than 100 planes as part of a move to add 1,600 premium seats on nearly 250 jets. The airline also plans to start using a new 50-seat jet with mostly premium seats on some routes popular with business travelers.

 Delta executives say they have increased premium seating from 9% to nearly 30% since 2011, and they're selling more than 60% of those seats, up from 13% — not just giving them away in the form of upgrades. They say more corporate accounts are letting employees buy up to premium travel. As a result, one-third of Delta's revenue now comes from premium services and less than half comes from economy seating, down from nearly two-thirds in 2011.


American has added "premium economy" seats often double the price of regular economy but less than business class on many planes used for international flights. 



American Gets to Keep Its Authority to Fly to China — Without Actually Flying to China

FEB 7, 2019

There’s no Open Skies agreement between the U.S. and China. Instead a bilateral agreement lays out what route authorities can be doled out by respective governments. AA dropped ORD/Beijing and ORD/Shanghai.

AA wants to keep their route authority from Chicago to China even while not using it. That would mean preventing any other U.S. airlines from adding China frequencies, which benefits American by avoiding competition for its DFW and LAX to Beijing and Shanghai service.

AA asked the DOT to grant a ‘dormancy’ of their authority to keep the routes for a year without flying them. Normally they would lose the routes after 90 days.

The odds that they’ll return to flying from Chicago to China are really, really low.  AA wants to focus on Europe flying because they cannot run any part of their system with the kind of losses they have sustained” in Asia.



AA's Fleet Plan

AA filed an expected fleet plan with the SEC in January, 2019.  It outlines the planes in their fleet at the end of 2018, where they’re expecting to be in 2019, 2020, and 2021.  


American’s 767s will all be gone by 2021. 

No one ever figured out how to squeeze more than 7 seats abreast in coach on these planes, so they’re probably the best passenger experience in coach in the international fleet. 

In contrast, Delta is putting new business class suite with doors in their 767-400s. 

The MD80s go away this year.


The Embraer E-190s leave the fleet, these are large regional jets that are part of the mainline fleet from legacy US Airways. AA is growing the number of large regional jets with first class and soon seat power, while shrinking their fleet of small regional jets.


DFW International Airport of the Year Honor

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Congratulations to Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) on being named Airport of the Year by Air Transport World (ATW), the leading monthly magazine for the global airline industry. The airport joined an impressive list of past winners around the world to receive the honor.  In recognizing DFW, ATW noted the airport’s continued record growth and traveler enhancements that include modernized facilities, updated amenities, added concessions and the opening of the largest duty-free store in the Western hemisphere.

DFW - Now!


January - 2019

DFW - Then!


DFW International Airport opened January 13, 1974.