Tag: airline

New Study Estimates Up To 36% Of Airline Business Travel Won’t Return

A new study by IdeaWorks and reported by the Wall Street Journal is the first detailed look at the effect of Covid-19 on longer-term airline business travel. The study breaks down the reasons people have traveled for business, assesses the effects of technology, work at home changes, and overall risk tolerance, and validates this with a wide range of industry and travel experts. As a result, this study is robust and more complete than any done since the pandemic began.

The four largest US Airlines should take note and all airlines will be affected in some ways if this estimate proves to be accurate.

Multiple Reasons For Business Travel

The study determined the reasons people travel by air for business, and then used data sources to size each category as a percentage of the total. In September, United CEO Scott Kirby said “I think it may take a year or two until you get back, but we’re firmly in the camp that believes business demand is going to come back.” He stepped back a bit from this a month later, but like others he may have been thinking about business travel in too limited a way. I have heard some industry people say things like “As soon as a business loses a million dollar client, they’ll be back on a plane to repair the relationship”. This may be true, but travel to support sales and revenue generation is just 25% of the total business travel population. Intra-company meetings make up a surprising 20% of all trips, and 5% are even people who commute by air for their job.

By looking at the multiple reasons that people travel, this study was able to better assess the reasons it may or may not return. This could be because of technologies like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, but also could be because more people will work at home or some may have changed their personal risk profile. Since people travel for different reasons, it is logical to assume that their approach to future travel would be affected in different ways. Consider a commuter who has flown every week from a home in Florida to a job in NY, for example. Going forward, they may still make this trip but will they make it as often? If the company is more comfortable with technology and more workers are at home anyway, would an every week trip still be necessary? The point is is that for each category, it’s not as if it is all or nothing. Yes, people will again travel for business reasons but not at the rate they used to

Using this idea and testing it with multiple industry-knowledgeable people, the study concludes that between 18% and 36% of the total business traffic base will not return to the skies. This is based on ranges for each category of business

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Family asks airline to change credit polcy amid COVID

They had $1,600 in airline credits set to expire despite government warnings against holiday travel.

WASHINGTON — It was supposed to be a February getaway for Howard Van and his family to relax after the birth of his second son, Vincent. He bought airplane tickets for himself, his wife Yok, Vincent and his older son Jason, and his sisters in-laws Amy and Yann Ly.

The family was supposed to fly on Southwest Airlines from BWI Airport to Tampa, Florida. But days before they were supposed to leave, and just as coronavirus was hitting the United States, Howard and his wife got sick with a fever and chills.

Van worried the couple might have contracted coronavirus, but said there was no way to know at the time.

“We had all the classic symptoms,” Van said. “But we will never know we had it or not because we there was no testing available to the general public at that time.”

Van says he was just trying to do the safe and responsible thing by cancelling the trip.

“For us as a family and for other passengers on that flight,” he said.

Southwest issued the van family travel credits for cost of the plane tickets worth roughly $1,640. The travel credits were set to expire on December 20, 2020. But with COVID cases surging around the country, Howard said there was no way to use the travel credits, especially since his wife and sister in law Yann are both front line health care workers and asked by their employers not to travel.

So, Van called Southwest and asked for an extension to use the travel credits.

Because of their current policy they were unable to grant me that request, which was very disappointing for us,” Van said. “And it became almost like a financial ticking time bomb as the deadline was approaching.”

That Southwest policy says only travel credits issued on or after March 1 of this year can be extended. Van asked customer service to make an exception, posting his appeal to Southwest Airline’s CEO, Gary Kelly, on the company website.

Van wrote, “The current Southwest policy is hurting front line medical professionals during a time when they are sacrificing the most to keep everyone safe.”

But according to a screen shot of that conversation provided by Van, Southwest wouldn’t budge. A customer service rep wrote back: “We’re sorry for any disappointment surrounding the fare rules…ya’ll chose to purchase.”

Van said the best Southwest told him they could do was charge him $100 per ticket to extend the travel credit deadline, meaning he could sink another $500 into a trip he didn’t know when his family could safely take. Or lose the $1640 in airfare all together.

“And for our family, that’s a lot of money,” Van said. “That’s money we could use to buy groceries, invest in our college funds or buy Christmas presents for our kids.”

Howard wrote to WUSA9 and asked for help. So, Chief Investigative Reporter Eric Flack

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Delta CEO gives airline workers free travel passes as thank-you for work during pandemic

After a turbulent 2020 for the airline industry, Delta is thanking employees for their work during the pandemic with free travel. 

Delta CEO Ed Bastian, in a Monday memo to employees obtained by Fox News, said they would be gifted two passes for any travel destination of their choice for their work during COVID-19. 

Delta is giving its employees two free travel passes to thank them for their work during COVID-19. 

Delta is giving its employees two free travel passes to thank them for their work during COVID-19. 


“I hope these passes will help with your own healing as we move into the future, whether it’s to connect with family, experience a brand-new part of the world, or embark on an adventure with a loved one,” Bastian said in the memo. 

“Those of you who have worked consistently throughout the crisis have done so under conditions that were unimaginable a year ago,” Bastian wrote, “and you still provide the best service and professionalism in the industry.”

Bastian went on to note the thousands of Delta employees who took voluntary unpaid leaves of absence to save airline jobs. Those who continued working and those who took a leave in 2020 will receive the free travel passes, which do not expire. 


With travel restrictions implemented during the pandemic, Delta lost $5.38 billion in the third quarter with passenger volume down more than 70 percent compared to the same quarter in 2019. 

Still, the Atlanta-based airline was able to prevent furloughing its flight attendants and frontline workers, unlike some of its competitors, such as American and United.


Airlines have been urging Congress to fund additional relief to the struggling industry during the pandemic. The industry has so far received $25 billion in aid under the CARES Act to save aviation industry jobs.

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Global airline body claims it has the solution that will allow international travel to resume


Image: Screenshot/IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it has reached the final development stage of a standardised digital platform that it claims would enable international borders to reopen safely and allow overseas travel to resume.

According to the IATA, the IATA Travel Pass would incorporate four open-sourced and interoperable modules that could be combined to deliver an end-to-end solution.

These modules include a global registry that would enable airline passengers to find accurate information about travel, testing, and eventually vaccine requirements for their journey, as well as the location of testing and vaccination centres at their departure location, which meet the standards for vaccination requirements of their destination.

The pass would also feature a lab app to enable authorised labs and test centres to share and test vaccination certificates with passengers, and a contactless travel app so passengers are able to create a digital passport that would allow them to receive test and vaccination certificates to verify they can travel, which could then be shared with airlines and authorities.

The app could also be used by travellers to manage travel documentation digitally, the IATA added.  

The IATA believes it could be used as the universal platform to manage and verify necessary testing or vaccine information among governments, airlines, labs, and travellers.

“Today borders are double locked. Testing is the first key to enable international travel without quarantine measures. The second key is the global information infrastructure needed to securely manage, share, and verify test data matched with traveller identities in compliance with border control requirements. That’s the job of IATA Travel Pass,” IATA director general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac said.

“We are bringing this to market in the coming months to also meet the needs of the various travel bubbles and public health corridors that are starting operation.”

The IATA also outlined that all technology used to develop the pass would be decentralised assuring that no central database holding passenger information would exist to maintain a high level of data privacy and security. Instead, passengers would have the sole right to share their data and delete it from the app at anytime.

The IATA will now work with the International Airlines Group (IAG) to trial the app to demonstrate that when combined with COVID-19 testing, it could replace the need for travellers to quarantine when travelling internationally. 

“Our main priority is to get people travelling again safely. In the immediate term that means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements. And that will eventually develop into a vaccine program. The IATA Travel Pass is a solution for both,” IATA airport, passenger, cargo and security senior VP Nick Careen said.

The first cross-border pilot is scheduled later this year and slated to launch in Q1 2021.

According to the Australian government’s current COVID-19 vaccination policy, re-entry into Australia may require proof of vaccination.

“While the Australian government strongly supports immunisation and will run a strong campaign to encourage vaccination, it

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Airline body IATA develops mobile apps for COVID-era travel

A plane prepares to land at the Nantes Atlantique airport in Bouguenais near Nantes, November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

PARIS (Reuters) – Global aviation body IATA is developing a set of mobile apps to help passengers to navigate COVID-19 travel restrictions and securely share test and vaccine certificates with airlines and governments, it said on Monday.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), which represents many of the world’s major airlines, plans to pilot the Travel Pass platform by year-end and deploy it for Android and Apple iOS phones in the first half of next year.

Airlines are pressing governments to replace traffic-stifling quarantine requirements with systematic COVID-19 testing, with some success.

“Our main priority is to get people travelling again safely,” IATA security chief Nick Careen said. “That means giving governments confidence that systematic COVID-19 testing can work as a replacement for quarantine requirements.”

Passenger health and other data are not stored centrally but authenticated with blockchain, leaving consumers in control of what they share, IATA said.

A new “Contactless Travel” app will combine passport information with test and vaccination certificates received from participating labs. It will also draw on global registries of health requirements and testing and vaccination centres.

The platform is built on open source standards to help interoperability with existing systems including its member airlines’ own customer apps, IATA said.

Reporting by Laurence Frost. Editing by Jane Merriman

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The airline industry had hoped for a bustling holiday travel season. It may not happen.

Thanksgiving week was shaping up to be one of the busiest periods for U.S. air travel since the pandemic brought it to a near-standstill in the spring. But a renewed surge in virus cases and increasingly alarming warnings from public health officials are rattling travelers and threatening airlines’ hopes for the holiday weekend and the months ahead.

Airlines argue that flying is generally safe because of the various policies put in place to limit contagion, high-end air filtration aboard planes and the relatively few published cases of coronavirus spread in flight. But the science is far from settled, travelers are still at risk throughout their journey, and many would-be passengers have been discouraged by lockdowns and outbreaks in the places they hoped to visit.

Airlines are already noticing that prospects for passenger demand in the weeks ahead are dimming:

  • On Thursday, United said that bookings had slowed and cancellations had risen in recent days because of the surge in virus cases.

  • Southwest Airlines said last week that booking momentum seemed to be slowing for the rest of the year.

  • American Airlines, which has also seen demand dip because of the virus, has slashed December flights between the United States and Europe, leaving just two daily flights out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, to London and Frankfurt.

To some extent, the unevenness of the travel recovery comes as little surprise, said Helane Becker, managing director and senior airline analyst at Cowen.

“We always knew that it would be choppy, but that said we think that people want to travel and they’re looking for ways to get out,” Ms. Becker said during a Thursday panel at the Skift Aviation Forum.

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the spoof airline offering free fares

Thought 2020 had run out of surprises? Try this contender for the least likely news to finish the year in travel: a new airline.

a plane sitting on top of a tarmac: "Mom Air" promised passengers the world -- but turned out to be a spoof

© Oddur Eysteinn Friðriksson/Mom Air
“Mom Air” promised passengers the world — but turned out to be a spoof

As the aviation industry struggles to remain afloat, with airlines hemorrhaging money left right and center, it came as a surprise to see the “launch” of Mom Air, a soon-to-be-skyward airline (or so the website promised), connecting Iceland to both sides of the Atlantic.

The livery looked suspiciously like that of WOW Air, which went bankrupt in 2019, only flipped upside down to spell MOM.

The routemap connecting Europe to North America — servicing major cities including London, Paris, Berlin, Boston and Toronto — seemed sensible enough.

But it was Mom Air’s other proposed policies that raised eyebrows.

The airline appeared to be taking a leaf out of the Ryanair playbook, by charging not only for seat assignments, in-flight Wi-Fi and cabin bags — but also toilet paper, soap and even lifejackets (which is illegal).

It even offered “Covid flights,” for those testing positive and those who had already had the disease. These, it claimed, would be staffed by workers who’d also already had it and developed antibodies.

It seemed like a hoax — but encouraged by its more passenger-friendly policies like giving away two free tickets per flight, not demanding payment until two days before takeoff, free cancellation and cheap standby seats, potential customers flocked to its website.

Mom Air also appeared to tick socially right-on boxes, by shining a light on gender equality and vowing to employ as many women as men; and promising to “protect nature to the best of our ability” by carbon offsetting, using recycled materials and going paperless.

The result? Just under 10,000 Instagram followers and 6,000 booking enquiries, according to the CEO, in just two weeks — before the airline had even announced dates and prices.

The great reveal

There was just one catch. Mom Air CEO Oddur Eysteinn Friðriksson, nicknamed Odee, is an artist. And the project, he told CNN, was to “show exactly how obscure our reality is — that we are talked to through marketing… and that just by setting up a website and sending out press releases, it turned our world upside down.”

a person with hat: The "airline" promised to focus on gender inequality, putting women in powerful positions

© Oddur Eysteinn Friðriksson/Mom Air
The “airline” promised to focus on gender inequality, putting women in powerful positions

In fact, he planned to carry on the project for more than two weeks, but the attention Mom Air received became too stressful. Having been adamant that this was a real airline, both to journalists and fans in a “launch press conference,” and to the lawyers representing WOW Air (which has plans to relaunch), after just 15 days, he confirmed it was an art project.

“It was quite demanding,” he says. “I got 6,000 bookings, 200 complaints, two comments per minute on social media” (CNN cannot verify these claims, although 10,000 people watched the airline’s

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How to change or cancel flights as the pandemic and travel restrictions cripple the airline industry’s nascent recovery

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a runway: Airline passengers reconsidering their holiday plans can take advantage of new policies offered by most major airlines. MARTIN SYLVEST/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty

© Provided by Business Insider
Airline passengers reconsidering their holiday plans can take advantage of new policies offered by most major airlines. MARTIN SYLVEST/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP/Getty

  • A surge in COVID-19 cases across the US is encouraging would-be travelers to cancel their holiday flights.
  • Four major US airlines have eliminated change and cancel fees permanently, while others have travel waivers to make it easier to cancel when plans change.
  • Most airlines won’t offer a refund, however, unless a flight is canceled or there is a schedule change, so flyers should be strategic when they cancel. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The airline industry’s hope for an air travel resurgence during the holiday season may be dashed as some travelers are looking to avoid flying amid a coronavirus surge. 

Rising COVID-19 cases and new lockdown orders from governors across the US that limit how many people can be at Thanksgiving dinner are forcing travelers to rethink their holiday plans. And for some, that means staying off of airplanes, despite the industry’s push to show that flying is safe. 

For those looking to stay home, airlines are being more flexible this year out of any year prior when it comes to changing plans. In the US, four major airlines eliminated change and cancel fees permanently in an effort to increase bookings despite the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic. 

American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Alaska Airlines have done away with the fees, normally a huge revenue driver, while others have waivers to allow limited changes with restrictions. 

But even though airlines are using words like change and cancel, the policies often have restrictions about which travelers are often unaware. While there might not be a change fee, for example, customers will have to pay any difference in airfare.

Here’s what you need to know about changing or canceling a booking as coronavirus continues to impact travel.

Four major US airlines are eliminating change and cancel fees for domestic and limited international travel

United Airlines was the first major international airline to eliminate change fees over the summer for its flights within the US or to the Caribbean and Mexico. Passengers with economy tickets and above, excluding basic economy, can make changes or cancellations as many times as they’d like. 

Award ticket holders can similarly make changes or cancel their flights. In order for the miles to be redeposited without a fee, however, the passenger must cancel greater than 30 days from the day of departure. 

Passengers with basic economy tickets who book or have booked their flights before December 31, 2020, are able to change their flights under United’s earlier change fee waiver. 

Travelers can rebook or cancel on United’s website, mobile app, or by calling 1-800-864-8331.

American Airlines’ new policy is a bit broader and includes the US, Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean, as well as all “long-haul international” trips that originate in North or South America, though American hasn’t yet defined which routes classify as long-haul international. Ticket

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Airline cancels passenger’s flight to Milan. Why won’t Orbitz help her get her refund? | Travel Troubleshooter

After TAP Air Portugal cancels Alexandra Rose’s flights from Washington, D.C., to Milan, the airline promises her a refund. Then it stalls. Why won’t her online agency help her get the refund she’s owed?

Q: I booked a ticket through Orbitz on TAP Air Portugal to fly from Washington to Milan in May. The flight was canceled in April because of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

I have been having an extremely difficult time getting Orbitz to help me. They have insisted repeatedly that I am not due a refund even though I am aware of the Department of Transportation (DOT) enforcement notice that all tickets have to be refunded if the ticket was canceled by the airline during COVID-19, if the customer desires a refund.  

I have also confirmed with TAP directly that I am due a refund. But they insist Orbitz must request it for me. 

After many hours on the phone with Orbitz over multiple weeks, I finally got Orbitz to email TAP to request a refund in May but I am not confident they sent this email to the right email account or if sending an email was even what was needed to appropriately request a refund from TAP because they have been giving me such a runaround. As of today I have heard nothing further from either TAP or Orbitz and feel I need help to effectively get this refund I am owed.

— Alexandra Rose, Washington, D.C.

A: You’re right. If TAP Air Portugal canceled your flight, you should get a full refund within a week. The DOT rule applies not only to airlines but also to online travel agencies such as Orbitz. 

So what happened? Well, after the outbreak, the European airlines petitioned the EU to allow them to keep the money for canceled flights and offer ticket credits. They said their survival was at stake, and they may have been correct about that. 

At the same time, a variety of European carriers began to slow down the refund process. Again, that’s totally understandable. They wanted to keep the money to pay their bills. This included creating new barriers to refunds. Could TAP Air Portugal have given you a refund for your flight when you asked? Without a doubt. Were they using Orbitz to slow down the process? Without a doubt. 

Orbitz was a willing accomplice. When it helps you get a refund, it loses any commissions and incentives the airline paid it. So you might say it is equally unmotivated, and in all likelihood, overwhelmed by other refund requests. 

Although I understand the positions of both your airline and online travel agency, it’s also helpful to appreciate your position. TAP Air Portugal canceled your flight and you were owed a refund. You weren’t getting it. If the tables were turned — if you canceled your flight because of a circumstance beyond your control — I’m not sure if TAP Air Portugal or Orbitz would be as patient as you’ve been, or as

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Airline and cruise stocks rally as Pfizer drug progress spurs hope for travel-industry recovery

norwegian epic cruise ship

Travel stocks surged on Monday after Pfizer’s encouraging vaccine update bolstered hope that the coronavirus crisis may soon end.

Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings all surged more than 30% on Monday morning. United Airlines gained as much as 27%. Delta Air Lines and American Airlines rallied 23% and 26%, respectively, at intraday highs.

The soaring travel giants helped major indexes reach all-time highs on Monday. Stocks rallied in early trading after Pfizer announced its experimental coronavirus vaccine was more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 in trial participants. The pharmaceutical company now plans to apply for emergency-use authorization that would allow it to more rapidly distribute the drug.

Read more: 3 volatility experts explain why the VIX has plunged so quickly despite a nail-biting election contest – and share what they are recommending to clients right now

Economists and strategists alike have repeatedly said that containing the virus is critical to driving a full recovery. With cases surging to record highs in the US, a viable vaccine is increasingly viewed as a silver bullet for ending the pandemic.

The travel industry was among those hit hardest by the virus and related quarantines. Airline and cruise stocks tumbled through March as trips were placed on hold and people avoided unnecessary travel. While airlines have experienced a partial recovery, cruises are still under a “No Sail” order from the Centers for Disease Control.

Read more: Morgan Stanley says to load up on these 10 stocks featured on the firm’s ‘buy list,’ which has dominated the broader market this year

While the recently beleaguered sector and broader market swung higher on the vaccine news, stocks that thrived through the nationwide lockdown plummeted. So-called stay-at-home plays including Zoom, DocuSign, and Peloton faced outsized selling as investors bolstered bets on the reopening trade.

The rosy vaccine news also boosted oil prices as traders turned more bullish toward an increase in travel activity. West Texas Intermediate crude oil leaped as much as 11.3%, to $41.33 per barrel, at intraday highs.

Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider:

A team of Wells Fargo investment strategists who studied the latest election results shares how exactly to play the most likely outcome with stocks, bonds, commodities, and tax strategies

Zoom tumbles 16% as Pfizer’s vaccine success drags on work-from-home stocks

These are the market’s biggest winners and losers of a hectic election week

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