Here is some catchup:
Well, Rick Seaney and Tom Parsons are counting, that’s who.
From Rick, at Farecomare.com, last night:
“Before the paint could dry on the 20th attempted airfare hike of 2008 initiated late last week, United decided to kick off the long holiday weekend by firing out the 21st attempted airfare increase of 2008.
Tonight at 8 p.m. EDT United hiked airfares by $20 to $40 roundtrip (mostly $20) across the bulk of it’s route system – this year United has not been bashful about test firing increases as they have initiated 10 of the past 20 attempted airfare hikes this year.
Today was a very volatile airfare filing day as Delta earlier raised prices on dozens of smaller cities by $10 to $20 – not enough to be considered a full blown attempted hike but possibly the trigger for United’s move.
Recently we have seen an unusually high amount of airfare filing activity in every airfare distribution with a variety of “unexplainable changes” with wild price swings up and down for travel later in the fall as carriers react to other airlines pricing or attempt to initiate new higher pricing.
Consumers should be cautious about buying tickets right now for travel starting after early November as many airlines do not seem to be “set” on their price points yet for this time period as they make final decisions on flight cutbacks.
Air travelers should lock any tickets under $350 roundtrip for long trips and $225 roundtrip for shorter trips – price points are likely to be much higher in the coming weeks and months as more airfare hikes pile up.
We will continue to update as significant airfare activity occurs related to this increase.
The 2008 Airfare Hike Timeline is posted on my blog.”
And from Tom Parsons at Bestfares.com :
“The fireworks are starting early this 4th of July weekend with United Airlines raising airfares by adding an additional $20 in fuel surcharges on routes where they do not compete with low-cost airlines such as Southwest Airlines. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have quickly matched this new $20 fuel surcharge hike initiated by United Airlines. This will be the 21st time the major airlines have attempted to raise their airfares or fuel surcharges since the week of December 20, 2007. Both business and leisure travelers now pay on short-haul and long-haul flights a whopping $170 roundtrip in fuel surcharges for travel within the 48 states and Alaska. The new fuel surcharge to Hawaii is now $260 roundtrip” - states Tom Parsons, CEO and founder of Bestfares.com, an internet discount travel website.
Since December 20, 2007, there have been seven successful airfare hikes, and if this fuel surcharge is successful it would be the ninth fuel surcharge hike. There also have been five additional airfare and fuel surcharge hikes that have failed. Travelers on coas- to-coast, non-competitive routes have seen their combined airfare and fuel surcharges increase by as much as $420 roundtrip in under seven months” - adds Parsons.
Travelers who live near small regional airports continue to receive bad news. From new airfare hikes, downsizing of flights, new baggage fees, new change fees, new soda pop fees, seat assignment fees and much more. It’s coming to a point where leisure travelers who live in small rural communities who want a decent airfare will have to drive to a more competitive airport” - states Parsons.
For a full list of the 21 airfare and fuel surcharge hikes that have been attempted since December 20, 2007, please click here.”
Long-rumored, the deal is done.
British Airways said today it has an agreement to acquire French airline L’Avion and integrate the company with its new subsidiary OpenSkies. OpenSkies recently launched daily flights between Paris Orly and JFK.
The value for OpenSkies, I am told, is the hardware. OpenSkies needs a few extra 757s and British Airways doesn’t have them to spare. L’Avion operates two 757s between Paris Orly and Newark. The combined airline will operate up to three daily flights between Orly and JFK and Newark using 757s.
Dale Moss, managing director of OpenSkies, said, “L’Avion will provide OpenSkies with immediate scale [and] increased access to Paris Orly.”
British Airways said: “Once the two airlines are integrated, customers can expect to experience benefits that will further improve the Paris-New York offering, including an increased schedule and BA Executive Club privileges.”
L’Avion started flying in early January 2007. Its acquisition by British Aiways means that all four of the startup all-business-class airlines — MaxJet, Eos, Silverjet and L’Avion — have now disappeared.
L’Avion’s two 757s are configured with 92 all-business-class seats, each with a 140-degree recline. OpenSkies, however, has an odd configuration, with several rows of standard economy seats in the rear behind a business-class section with 140-degree-recline seats. For reasons of coding, OpenSkies calls its business class section Prem+, evidently as a marketing ploy to accommodate customers with corporate policies forbidding business-class travel.
The OpenSkies Prem+ does not fall into the premium-economy class that some other airlines offer. Premium economy is essentially a glorified coach class. OpenSkies is flying with business-class seats and service that British Airways pioneered in 2000 when it introduced its first generation of ClubWorld amenities. It’s widely suspected, by me and others, that the 30 token coach seats in the back are there to bolster the illusion of a three-class aircraft, and will disappear as soon as OpenSkies gets market traction. In an interview earlier this year, Dale Moss said that OpenSkies would consider removing the coach seats if it made sense.
Now that more 757s are available, Open Skies says that it is considering adding service between to Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt and Milan.