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Category Archives: Airlines

United breaks a promise

All middle seats taken on United flight Newark-San FranciscoDr. Ethan Weiss is a cardiologist and a scientist at the University of California San Francisco. On May 9, 2020, he tweets a remarkable photo (see on the right). It shows the cabin of a United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco. The flight is packed, all seats are taken. However, only 10 days before the flight United’s Chief Customer Officer sends a message to all passengers. It reads: "We're automatically blocking middle seats to give...

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Preferential treatment of US customers

  Full refund?For US customers KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has considerably more favorable rebook and cancelation policies than for other customers. The carrier offers US customers who saw their flights canceled not only a travel voucher. Alternatively, they can now get a full refund in cash if one of the following conditions applies. KLM has canceled the flight or delayed it by more than 3 hours. What’s more, US customers can apply for the refund online.

Travel voucher

Other customers can only apply for a travel voucher, which comes...
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Social distancing in the air

No legroomOver time airlines have reduced the seat size and passenger’s personal space in the cabin. At the same time passengers continued to grow, in particular in the USA. Carriers are free to reduce the seat size and the pitch (the distance between rows). But it is remarkable that the conditions for animals transported in the hold are much more regulated.

Personal space

However, several carriers including Lufthansa and Delta Air Lines have announced they will block middle seats in their aircraft. This will create a much needed...
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Money back or a voucher?

In case of flight cancelation, airlines must offer passengers 2 choices under EU regulation 261/2004. First, re-routing to their final destination under comparable transport conditions and at the earliest opportunity. This may also occur at a later date at the passenger’s convenience. The other option is reimbursement within 7 days of the full cost of the ticket. This applies to all passengers departing from an EU airport.

No reimbursement

Currently, carriers are short of cash and may have issues with reimbursement. Therefore, the Dutch minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen (infrastructure and water management) doesn’t...
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Lufthansa now more flexible

flexibilityWhen the coronavirus also hits the aviation industry, airlines have to cancel many flights. In particular Lufthansa shows little consideration for its customers. They can change their travel dates, but not their destination. In the current circumstances the lack of flexibility is crucial.

No change of destination

Suppose that a passenger has booked a flight to Italy. Lufthansa wouldn’t allow this passenger to change the destination to another country that is safer for health reasons. The carrier only allows to change the travel dates.

Lack of flexibility

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Airline subsidies and bankruptcies

US airlines have a long history of enjoying government subsidies. See the leaked list of subsidies for the US aviation industry here. But they also have a long history of bankruptcies. So it seems that the US government has wasted billions of tax dollars by subsidizing US carriers.

Middle Eastern competitors

Ironically, 5 US airlines meet on July 20, 2019 with Donald Trump in the White House. Their goal is to advocate operational limitations for their Middle Eastern competitors. Obviously, they prefer this over improving their own inferior products. But...
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