There’s a reason why airlines have positioned themselves for a solid performance in 2010: in addition to charging all those extra fees, they have been cutting positions (and thus expenses). In July alone, the industry in the United States trimmed 2.3 percent of its workforce relative to July 2009. That made 25 consecutive months of net job losses in the domestic airline sector.
According to the Department of Transportation‘s Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 378,100 people were employed full-time by the airline industry in the United States in July 2010, a decline of 8,700 from July 2009. Five of the six network carriers cut positions, with Delta adding headcount only because of its Northwest acquisition. Only two low-cost carries reported net cuts for this period (Southwest and AirTran).
According to the Associated Press, maintenance and ticket agent positions are getting hit most:
While the number of in-flight airline employees like pilots and flight attendants is regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, the bulk of airline employees-maintenance crews, reservations and ticket agents-work on the ground and aren’t subject to federal minimums. Airlines are operating with less staff to save money, but they’re also outsourcing maintenance and other work to other countries where labor is cheaper.
[photo by aflcio via Flickr]
June was the worst month of the year for airline on-time performance since December, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Together, U.S. airlines had an on-time arrival rate of 76.1 percent, down from 80.5 percent in May. But, they had fewer delayed flights than in June 2008.
Hawaiian Airlines put up the best on-time results in June, with Delta subsidiary Comair at the other end of the spectrum. Continental had the fewest delays among the legacy carriers (those that had a large footprint before airline deregulation in 1978), and American Airlines was at the bottom of the barrel for this category.
Unsurprisingly, weather, equipment problems and airport congestion were cited as the most frequent reasons for flight delays. To count as a delay, a flight must be more than 15 minutes late – canceled and diverted flights also count. Through most of the year, flight delays fell largely because airlines were cutting routes and servicing fewer passengers.
Mishandled baggage fell, as well, year-over-year, though it was up from May to June. Reports were down 20 percent from June 2008 to June 2009. AirTran had the fewest gripes from passenger. American Eagle (a unit of American Airlines) had the most.
Is AirTran the pot or the kettle? It’s hard to say, but the airline that has done a great job of making passengers uncomfortable – think of it as the Greyhound experience of the sky – is now telling passengers how they can keep from making their fellow fliers unhappy. It’s like giving a stern warning and nothing more to a bank robber caught in the act: it won’t do much.
Nonetheless, now that AirTran has wireless internet service on all its flights, the airline has issued Internetiquette: A Guide to Keeping Everyone in Line While They’re Online. This list of suggestions will be found in every seatback pocket, right with the emergency card.
This isn’t exactly a new concern. The debate over in-flight porn may be behind us but is not forgotten. And, even non-sexual computer interaction may involve some actions that disturb other passengers – from muttering to yourself to shuffling papers around.
So, what does AirTran recommend? Find out after the jump.
1. Flight attendants are not tech support (no shit)
2. Online investors shouldn’t give advice to other passengers (would be nice even on flights without wi-fi)
3. Be aware of anyone who could be reading over your shoulder
4. Don’t offer to land the plane for the flight crew
Yeah, not much to work with … you can check out the list here.
AirTran is the newest airline to bring inflight Internet access to the skies. The airline chose the Gogo Inflight to outfit their planes, which is the driving force behind airborne Internet service on United Airlines, American Airlines, Virgin America and Delta.
What makes the Airtran announcement special, is that their entire fleet will be equipped with the service by mid-summer.
That means all 136 AirTran planes will allow you to get online just in time for your vacation.
Gadling took Gogo Inflight for a spin last year on Virgin America, and as far as I am concerned, the service is the biggest thing to hit the skies since online check-in. Speeds are great, and at $9.95 for flights up to 3 hours, getting online is quite affordable.
Inflight Internet access was just one of the ideas submitted by AirTran passengers on their site “everyflight.com“. Some of the other submissions included “hungry squirrels”, “mojitos” and “remote control cars”. I can see why Internet access won.