This last week has seen some extraordinary revelations about US airlines, some big, some small.
The biggest was Sundays prime time TV “60 Minutes”, which takes an in-depth view of a subject. This time it was Allegiant Airlines, not entirely unaccustomed to attacks on its poor maintenance standards. 60 Minutes let rip, with interviews and under cover filming that made the airline look very, very bad.
The airline says its been biased and tilted against them, an easy argument to make in the modern era of allegedly ‘fake news’ and the inability of US media to be impartial – and even if it was if it doesn’t meet what you want to hear, its easy to say its not true.
Either way, Allegiant Airlines stock price was heading to the gutter on Wall Street this morning and there’s a reason for that. 60 Minutes has been around for decades, it’s a serious programme with a strong ethical base and it’s almost never wrong, it’s probably the most unbiased, in-depth news programme on US TV, and its reputation is solidly reliable. Unless you don’t agree with it of course. What will happen to Allegiant? A weak stock price makes it a target for a cheap takeover…vultures will be circling.
Sun Country Airlines, based in Minnesota, really screwed a plane full of passengers over at the weekend. Weather in the northern US has been cold and unpleasant, the airline couldn’t get its aircraft out to fly to Mexico to pick up returning passengers. As it happened it was the last flight of the winter season. Did they say they’d come and get them later, or organise another aircraft? Ehmmmm…that would be no! It was basically “find your own way home, the service is closed for the season”.
Alaska Airlines, now it’s fully in charge of and has eliminated Virgin America, has told all customers with carry-on luggage that their bags need to shrink by a very substantial 32%. Carry-on only luggage is pretty much the normal for US domestic flights – largely because of checked baggage fees.
Who did Alaska blame? Well not themselves of course, it was all down to United, with whom they code share. United doesn’t allow bags bigger than the new Alaska size, and so nobody felt left out, they just made it ‘standard’. Of course the fact it might force more checked bags and increased revenue from fees never came in to it.