Weekend what we’re reading: Delta cuts non-stops to Europe, 6 business travel complaints, AA improves

by Charlie Leocha on October 14, 2012

This weekend we look at Delta’s schedule changes to Europe in conjunction with their Skyteam partner Air France-KLM. A frequent business traveler discusses his big travel gripes. Finally, AA improves its service after a horrible two weeks of cancellations and maintenance issues.

Delta trimming nonstops to Europe

Delta announced that it will cut several non-stops to European cities, replacing them with connecting flights through its Skyteam alliance partner hub in Paris. This is a consequence of the limited competition that antitrust immunity now provides. Though the promise of increased access to worldwide destinations was promised, reality is showing fewer non-stop flights and much less competition on routes.

Delta Air Lines is cutting back on nonstop flights to cities like Milan, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain, and depending more on connecting passengers through Paris, where its joint venture partner Air France has a major hub.

The move means travelers who once could fly nonstop to some European cities may have a connection as Delta shuffles its flight schedule around to adjust to difficult economic conditions.

Delta announced it is adding a second Atlanta-Paris flight starting March 30. Air France also has two daily Atlanta-Paris flights.

My 6 biggest complaints about business travel

A business traveler gets a chance to sound off in the New York Times. From electrical outlets to lounges to seat recline, here are his gripes. I can think of a lot more.

Although TerraCycle still has less than $20 million a year in annual revenue, it operates in 21 countries now. That means that my intense domestic travel — Minneapolis to Racine, Wisconsin, to Chicago — has morphed into intense global travel — Newark to Bogotá, Colombia, to Tel Aviv.

No matter how you do it, travel is a strain — made worse, I believe, because airlines seem to have a hard time with customer service. Maybe it’s just because there are always so many exhausted travelers complaining. Or maybe it’s something more systemic. Who knows? But I continue to believe there are some easy fixes that airlines could make. Here are my top six.

American Airlines service improving

After a catastrophic several weeks of flight delays and cancellations, seats falling out of planes (well, not falling our the doors of aircraft; but, out of the tracks and fasteners that hold them in place in airplanes) and reservation cancellations, AA seems to be improving.

American said in the memo Thursday that it has seen a 16 percent increase in its punctuality in the first nine days of October, and it has reduced its cancellations by 27 percent.

FlightStats.com data indicate that American is turning the corner. On Tuesday, for instance, 66 percent of its flights arrived on time, defined as within 14 minutes of schedule. That compared with 81 percent for the entire U.S. industry. And American canceled 18 flights, or 1 percent of the total. On Wednesday, FlightStats said, 64.5 percent of American’s flights arrived punctually, compared with 79 percent for the industry, and 11 flights were canceled, or 0.6 percent of the schedule.

From CBS News here is a clip from their news video that shows the AA seats tilted back and out of their tracks and unfastened.

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  • Anonymous

    “Seats falling out of planes?” Gesh. Nice you gave AA credit for improving service, but that’s a pretty horrible and completely false description of prior problem. Seats moving in place on aircraft is the factual description.

  • http://www.tripso.com/author/leocha Charlie Leocha

    I agree. I fixed it. The seats were falling out of the tracks and fasteners that secure them in airplanes.

  • http://www.waterhabitatretreat.org/ Partha Mandal

    It is funnt that Seats falling out of planes? OMG It is nice giving AA grade for improving services but this is false information that seats are moving

  • Guest

    “Seats moving in place on aircraft” is a bit understated, in my opinion, although I agree that the seats certainly didn’t fall out (The article says they didn’t actually fall out of the plane.) of anything, and fortunately the seats didn’t move completely out of where they were located.

    Some seat rows, however, did release completely out of their locking mechanism according to the FAA, and one row of seats rotated back so far as to literally hit a passenger in the knees as the set came up to about a 45 degree angle.

    Passengers interviewed by the New York Post said the seats “dangerously
    slid around like a carnival ride,” and “The seats flipped backwards and
    so people were essentially on the laps of the passengers behind them,
    with their legs up in the air.”

    Sam Mayer, a New York-based AA pilot and spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, confirmed, “A row of seats basically became unbolted from the floor. The seats were completely not attached.”

    You might be interested in reading my column today, “If only it happened in the movie ‘Airplane, not real life,” which goes into depth about the situation.

    http://www.consumertraveler.com/columns/if-only-it-happened-in-the-movie-airplane-not-real-life/

    At this point, I’m not flying American myself, despite lots of frequent flier miles with them. I want them to clear up their maintenance, and other problems before I fly them again.

  • Anonymous

    “Moving in place” was my admittedly understated English trying to convey there were no seats flying in the air all over the airplane, which one could infer if you agree the seats were not flying out of the planes.

    The seats were leaning back, sliding but remaining essentially in their same row in the aircraft. That is a far different description than “flying out of planes.” They were not flying. They were not out of the plane. They were not even out of their row, the point I am making.

    My original comment stands. The description is blatantly untruthful and harmful to AA.

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