Main News July 20 2012


Baggage fees not seen as a deterrent

Rising baggage fees have not stopped travelers checking in their luggage when they fly. According to the latest Department of Transportation data, US airlines collected more in checked baggage fees in the first three months of this year than in the previous three months.

Between them, the 17 largest airlines collected a total of US$815.8m for baggage fees during the initial quarter of this year. This total was up from US$792m posted in the fourth quarter of 2011. The increase comes in the face of a 4% drop in traffic this quarter, according to Associated Press reports.

Delta Air Lines was prominent, collecting the most (US$198m). United, American and US Airways were all runners-up, with each banking more than US$100m in terms of check-in fees.

Airlines also collected US$631m in changed reservation fees for the first three months of the year: this compares with US$567.1m earned in the fourth quarter of 2011 and US$597.8m garnered during the first quarter of 2011.

Once again, Delta outshone other airlines, banking some US$192.3m from this service.



IAM ratifies fresh contract

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers District 142 has confirmed that the ramp and stores agents at Alaska Airlines have ratified a new, six year contract. This latest agreement concerns some 600 workforce members and the deal was approved by 91% of those voting.

Various elements are covered under the terms of the document. A phased-in pay rise of 10% is now on the cards and employees can look forward to enhanced merger and job protection, as well as signing bonuses. Other emoluments include increased premium pay and improved benefits and working regulations.

“Both committees are to be commended for their no-nonsense approach to this round of negotiations, which enabled a full and complete agreement to be negotiated and ratified prior to the amendable date of July 19, 2012,” commented the District 142 President, Tom Higginbotham, in a statement. “Such an accomplishment is a rare occurrence in this industry.”


Better baggage handling results welcomed

More on bags: baggage handling results from May this year have shown that, for the eighth month in a row, US airlines have improved their on-time performance.

According to the Department of Transportation and an Air Travel Consumer Report, 83.4% of flights arrived within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time in May this year, which was a 6% improvement when compared to the same month in 2011. in fact, the industry has posted year on year gains for on-time arrivals for each of the past eight months.
In May, 99.72% of all US airline passengers had their bags properly delivered, an all-time record for any May since records began; the previous record was set in May 2010. The May baggage handling performance also represented the twelfth consecutive month of year on year improvement.


Lost – but not always found

According to yet another new survey, airports are an ideal environment in which to lose personal belongings. During 2011, statistics show that, for example, over 8,000 mobile devices were left at seven of the largest airports around the US.

What is more worrying is that only one of those airports reported handing the lost devices over to the authorities. Six out of seven airports said that they were in the habit of donating mobile devices to charity or transferring them to another location.

Portable computers topped the bill, with a total of 3,576 misplaced, equating to 44.6% of all lost devices. Smartphones and tablets were close behind (3,444 lost or 43.0%), whilst USB drives accounted for the remaining 12.4%.

Five out of seven airports stated that most mobile devices were being left behind at Transportation Security Administration’s checkpoints whilst two declared (perhaps unsurprisingly) that they discovered most of the missing devices in restrooms.

Even more alarming was the sheer size of some of lost items, which have included vehicle tires and even microwaves.