Delta plans Aeromexico joint venture. In addition to its joint ventures with Air France/KLM/Alitalia across the Atlantic and Virgin Australia across the Pacific, Delta now wants to create a similar partnership with Aeromexico, a member of its SkyTeam alliance. The companies said the proposed joint venture would let them coordinate routes and schedules across their networks. “Upon receipt of the required governmental approvals, Delta and Aeromexico will seek to expand opportunities to co-locate and invest in airport facilities by improving gates, lounges and the overall connecting experience. Additionally the airlines will increase joint sales and marketing initiatives,” Delta said. JVs like this don’t typically result in lower fares; instead you can expect a better, more consistent experience. In other news, Aeromexico is starting up two new U.S. routes this week, with Mexico City-Ontario, Calif. service four times a week and Mexico City-Sacramento three times a week.
Free beer on United. Starting this month, United will offer a new beer onboard: Goose IPA, which it describes as “a craft beer that delivers a fruity aroma, dry malt flavor and long hop finish.” Goose IPA arrives on United almost a year after Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat Ale, which IPA will gradually replace. United says that on April 15, it will offer free Goose IPA on select flights from Chicago and Houston departing between 4 and 6 pm.
AA 787s delayed. Two months ago, American Airlines announced the initial routes for the first of 42 Boeing 787 Dreamliners it has ordered, with the first flights starting in May. But the 787 rollout could be delayed by a problem in the supply chain: Not enough seats for the planes. In fact, Boeing has taken the unusual step of putting two of the new Dreamliners — which were supposed to be delivered to American late last year — into storage in the California desert, because the French company making seats for the planes hasn’t delivered them. No word on how this might affect AA’s Dreamliner schedules.
Delta dogs. The Humane Society of the United States urges people not to ship their pets by air “unless absolutely necessary.” I agree with that and would rather drive my pooches across the country than force them to undergo the danger and trauma of an airline flight in the cargo hold. (Our big labs aren’t small or civil enough to ride with the passengers. See above!) According to Bloomberg, for $50 Delta will place a new device on your pet’s crate, noting location, temperature and position. If the temperature rises above 85 degrees for example, it will send an alert to Delta. Pet owners can also monitor their animal’s stats by visiting a website. However, the device only provides data before and after the flight because the device relies on cellular communication, which must be disabled during the flight. What do you think about pets in the cargo hold?
Readers sound off! Check comments: New Marriott/Hilton cancellation policy irks (Reader Report)
Visa simplifies in-flight charges. Credit card giant Visa said in a blog post that it has introduced new global payment standards for airlines’ ancillary fees that should simplify expense reporting for travelers and expense processing for companies. Under the new standards, charges will be specifically identified by the type of transaction, like baggage fees, in-flight food purchases, upgrades and so on. Visa noted that airline ancillary fee credit card purchases have jumped by almost 400 percent since 2008 as carriers changed their business models. Visa said that with the changes, “consumers can more easily understand charges on their bill.” It also means more transparency for your accounting or travel department. For example, what previously may have read, ‘Airline Air 0014567891014’ would now read ‘Airline Air WiFi.’ “
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Delta extends bag guarantee. A couple of months ago, Delta issued a limited-time guarantee for checked bag deliveries on domestic flights: Any SkyMiles member whose bag took more than 20 minutes to make it to the carousel could get 2,500 bonus miles as compensation just by filling out an online form. That was supposed to expire March 31, but on Friday Delta said on its Facebook page that it has extended the offer. The airline’s “Bags On Time” web page lists no new expiration date. Irritating: Several TravelSkills readers are reporting that Delta gate agents now frequently fudge about lack of overhead bin space on planes during boarding, forcing passengers to gate check carry ons. But once on board, these passengers report seeing acres of unused overhead bin space. Has this happened to you?
New Japan route. Japan Airlines has reintroduced daily non-stop service between Los Angeles and Osaka’s Kansai International Airport — a route it stopped flying more than eight years ago. The service is being operated as part of JAL’s joint venture with American Airlines. The carrier is using a 787-8 Dreamliner on the route, with 42 business class seats and 144 economy seats. Related: JAL’s new SkySuite 777 on TravelSkills
SkyMall purchase. A New Jersey company purchased the remnants of SkyMall at a bankruptcy auction last week for $1.9 million. The company has also bought rights to failed companies like Ritz Camera and Polaroid. Details are still sketchy, but the LA Times reports that the new owners have said that the SkyMall website continues to generate lots of traffic and sales and suggested that in the future, the SkyMall magazine might instead be distributed in airports and hotels, instead of airplanes. Another company called SKY2BUY (which was apparently trying to buy SkyMall, too), is considering starting a new special advertising section inserted into airlines’ existing in-flight magazines. My favorite catalog is The Herrington Catalog, which features a curated collection of truly useful travel-related items, plus clothing and an excellent Europeanish travel shoe selection. What’s your favorite catalog?
Did you miss yesterday’s TravelSkill Weekend Edition? Not a problem! Here’s the link:
In Case You Missed It…
- How to avoid fees when you want an earlier flight.
- San Francisco looks to the sea to accommodate conventioneers.
- Reader ravages new Marriott, Hilton cancellation policies.
- Chris goes to SFO to see the new British Airways A380 flight.
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