As the west-coast alliance between Alaska Airlines and American Airlines continues to evolve some frequent flyers got good news this week: upgrades will be available to top tier elites across both loyalty programs.
We know that overall passenger numbers are, for very good reason, down massively. But airlines have relied on their loyalty programs to provide a significant, and perhaps more importantly steady, stream of revenue for the operations. So, as the airlines use those programs to collateralize billions of dollars in new financing, it is worth considering if that revenue flow is as reliable as airlines (and debt holders) hope it can be.
In this edition of The Weekly Wrap we’re chatting with Philip Balaam, president of Inmarsat Aviation, about the company’s tie-up with Hughes to create a new in-flight connectivity solution, GX+ North America. Plus FreeSpirit, OpenIFC, and showers in the sky.
It is time for the Spirit Airlines loyalty program to grow up. And the new version launching today appears to be far more rewarding, or at least it holds that potential.
As the US carriers continue to tweak their new “no change fees” policies Delta Air Lines made a major move for its SkyMiles members. Effective immediately most domestic SkyMiles awards will be fee-free for changes or cancellation. SkyMiles rewards are now a spectacularly flexible method for booking travel on Delta Air Lines.
Typically reserved for its most frequent flyers, Southwest Airlines is now using its Companion Pass program in an effort to drive bookings in the near term. The carrier launched a promotion this week where a single trip in the next 60 days can earn the pass for the first two months of 2021. This is, by far, the biggest promotion the company has run with the Companion Pass.
Thai Airways officially entered its bankruptcy reorganization on Monday. The carrier’s petition for rehabilitation, filed on 27 May 2020, was granted by the Central Bankruptcy Court on 14 September, allowing the company to proceed with its recovery plans.
“We have successfully pivoted from an airline to an all-in-one digital lifestyle company anchored on travel.” This was the key message delivered by AirAsia Group CEO Tony Fernandes as part of the company’s Q2 financial results that showed a 96% drop in quarterly revenue. Airline-related revenue dropped 98% while non-airline revenue, a much smaller portion of the company’s operations, dipped only 55%.
Air Canada finally unveiled details of its new Aeroplan program, following two years of planning. And, if nothing else, the loyalty program reflects on its creators. That appears to be a good thing for consumers, at least given the initial information released today.
United’s top frequent fliers just scored a nice improvement to their travel experience. The company’s Global Services members will have access to United Club lounges when traveling on domestic itineraries starting in January 2021. The announcement is the latest play to secure the loyalty of the carrier’s high value customers.