Yesterday was a busy news day for air travelers. Here's a round-up:
The Sequester Effect: Or is it a non-effect? That's been the big argument, with FOX News crying foul, and Janet Napolitano claiming that lines at customs and TSA security stations are already longer. Politico seems to be playing referee, publishing Napolitano's words, but noting there hasn't been any significant uptick in grumbling on social media about chaos at the airport.
Whatever the truth was about Monday may be moot, because furlough notices won't go out until March 7, apparently and that will DEFINITELY affect air travel for the worst.
Bundling Airfares: Back in October, I blogged about a worrisome plan put forward by the Air Transport Association to "customize" airfares. What it meant, in a nutshell, was that the major airlines of the world (all members of this group) would start collecting data on passengers and using it to put forward customized airfares for each person (one might get free luggage check, another priority boarding and each at a different price). I opined back then that this would inevitably lead to sharp upticks in the cost of airfares, as it would become much more difficult for consumers to compare one airfare to the next.
The New York Times--a little late on this one--has come to the same conclusion I did, based on that October ATA press release. It's also raising serious questions on privacy issues. To read their take on the issue, click here.
Air Miles Worth Less on Delta: That's the conclusion of an excellent and well-researched report by Gary Stoller in USAToday. According to Stoller, members are abandoning Delta's program in droves because they're finding it so difficult to redeem miles at a base level. When Stoller tried to do so, he found that 42 out of the 50 flights he checked, had no loyalty seats at a decent point level, despite the fact that he was checking on low-season flights. Take a read, it's an eye-opening piece.