Delta eyes Shanghai hub. Delta said last week it will relocate its operations at Shanghai Pudong Airport from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1 on April 13 in order to be close to its codeshare partners China Eastern Airlines and Shanghai Airlines, and Delta CEO Richard Anderson suggested in a message to employees that Shanghai could be Delta’s next hub as it builds up the China-U.S. market with its partners. He compared it to the existing link between Delta and partner KLM at Amsterdam Schiphol. Delta currently flies to Shanghai from Seattle, Detroit and Tokyo Narita, and if it wins government approval, will add Los Angeles-Shanghai service in July, giving it a total of 28 flights a week from the U.S. The code-sharing pacts with China Eastern and Shanghai Airlines give Delta access to 30 destinations beyond Shanghai. And Delta’s customers will have access to a new SkyTeam Lounge that China Eastern plans to open in the airport’s Terminal 1 later this year.
AA accelerates elite points. Members of American Airlines’ AAdvantage program can get on the fast track to elite status by buying pricey premium cabin tickets this year. The company said members who buy full-fare first and business class tickets (fare categories J and F) from now through December will earn 3.0 elite-qualifying points per mile — the usual 1.5 per mile plus a new bonus of an additional 1.5. For discount first and business fares (R, D, A, I, P), the regular 1.5 points per mile is supplemented with an extra 0.5 points for total of 2.0. The bonus applies for travel on American, US Airways, British Airways, Iberia, Finnair, Qantas and Japan Airlines. Hmm. That’s starting to sound like a revenue-based frequent flyer program to us…
Lufthansa lies flat. Thankfully Lufthansa is rapidly shedding its old-school angled lie flat seats, and they will be completely gone in a few months. A Lufthansa spokesperson confirmed that, for example, the carrier’s A380s between Frankfurt and SFO now feature the new business class product. “The Business Class retrofit process of the entire Lufthansa long-haul fleet will be completed in the second quarter of this year,” he said.
Related: Business class on sale for summer!
Delta mileage sale. Delta, which recently changed its SkyMiles rules to make some domestic/Latin America/Caribbean award flights available starting at 10,000 miles one-way, is greatly expanding the number of markets in that deal in a new promotion for spring travel (April 30-June 20). The purchase deadline is April 23. Sample markets include Atlanta-New Orleans, New York LGA-Orlando, Seattle-Phoenix, New York JFK-Bermuda, Atlanta-Nassau and Los Angeles-Mazatlan. among others.
American’s merger milestone. Although they’ve been operating under common management for some time, American and US Airways were technically separate airlines — until last week, when the FAA finally granted the company a single operating certificate for the two carriers, a step that American called “a major milestone” in the merger process. Although that makes a difference to air traffic controllers (all flights will now go by the AA call sign “American”), the change will be transparent to passengers, who will still check in at aa.com or usairways.com or their respective check-in counters. American recently started merging the frequent flyer accounts of the two carriers into a single AAdvantage program, but it still has to combine the two airlines’ reservations systems — a big job that has caused problems for some earlier airline mergers.
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New routes: Southwest, Delta, JetBlue. Southwest Airlines last week kicked off the latest expansion of its growing network out of Dallas Love Field, adding daily non-stop service to Columbus, Indianapolis, Memphis, Milwaukee, Panama City Beach (Fla.), Portland, Sacramento, San Jose and Seattle. On April 11, Southwest will add Saturday-only service from DAL to Charleston, S.C. Southwest also started new daily service last week between Kansas City and New York LaGuardia … Delta said it will add two new South American spokes from its Atlanta hub on December 19, including daily service to Medellin, Colombia and three flights a week to Cartagena, Colombia … JetBlue plans a December 10 start for new flights from Albany, N.Y. to Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, with one daily roundtrip in each market.
SAS ‘Street View’. SAS is using Google Street View’s technology to give customers a look at the interiors of its newly upgraded long-haul A330/340 aircraft. Users can navigate their way through the plane to look at the features of SAS Go, Plus and Business classes, checking out the entertainment systems, the seats and even the bathrooms. You can try it out here. But it will be a while before you can actually sit in the new seats. A spokesperson told TravelSkills, “We are upgrading a total of four 340s and the upgrade is should commence just after the summer.”
In Case You Missed It…
- Plan ahead to avoid troubles with tipping on your trips.
- Heading to Europe? Here’s how the strong dollar is cutting trip costs.
- Some European carriers are rolling out summer sales on business class.
- Virgin America will soon start flying to Hawaii from San Francisco.