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HomeEconomyThis week Southwest Airlines blew it up again. What happened?

This week Southwest Airlines blew it up again. What happened?

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In this week’s news, Southwest Airlines passengers received a stark reminder of the operational meltdown in December when the company briefly halted all departures due to IT problems; United plans to add new nonstop routes, more flights and larger aircraft later this year in a major expansion into Australia and New Zealand, including service from San Francisco; More international route news comes from United, Taiwanese Starlux Airlines, All Nippon Airways and Hawaiian Airlines; JetBlue salutes San Jose-New York JFK/Boston service and details cuts to its Northeast network this summer; The transition to JetBlue’s revamped TrueBlue loyalty program is scheduled for next month; Alaska Airlines is removing self-check-in kiosks at Portland International Airport as part of an ongoing overhaul of the airport’s check-in process; A leading food magazine ranks San Francisco International Airport’s restaurant selections as the best in the country; San Jose is considering a high-tech plan to transport passengers between the airport and the train station; And Delta opened a large sky club in Minneapolis-St. Paul International.

Passengers aboard Southwest Airlines on Tuesday, April 18, may have felt a sinking sense of déjà vu. When the FAA halted all carrier departures — a move the FAA said was requested by Southwest. The agency said in a tweet It ordered the ground stop after Southwest experienced a “technical problem with one of its internal systems”. Flights resumed about an hour later, though delayed flights caused delays that crept across Southwest’s network that day. The crash was a stark reminder of Southwest’s massive operational disruption during the last week of December, when it canceled nearly 17,000 flights during the peak holiday travel season. As Denise Schaal, airline reporter at Industry news site Skift“Every technical problem or flight stoppage at Southwest will come under intense scrutiny due to last year’s Christmas holiday disruption, and reports that the airline has invested too little in technology.”



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So what exactly happened? Southwest said it needed a pause in the aviation business “To work through data connection issues caused by a firewall failure. Early this morning, the vendor-supplied firewall crashed and the connection to some operational data was unexpectedly lost.” Capt. Tom Nikoi of the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association said in an interview with CNBC that the problem involved “submitting the software we use to create the paperwork required for each flight.” He said this is a program that “goes down sporadically quite often, maybe on a weekly basis. This just happens to be longer.” He said it’s not about the December crash, but it’s “just a chronic lack of investment in IT infrastructure” – which is something Southwest management vowed to correct him after the December troubles.

A United Airlines plane prepares for takeoff as a Southwest Airlines plane lands at San Francisco Airport in San Francisco on March 17, 2023.

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United Airlines has unveiled plans to significantly expand service to Australia and New Zealand this fall, Claiming that it will have more flights from the United States to more destinations in those two countries than any other airline. The news includes a new nonstop route from San Francisco to Christchurch, New Zealand, on the country’s South Island — one that is not currently served by any airline. United already has uninterrupted, year-round service between San Francisco International Airport and Auckland, New Zealand, on the North Island. The San Francisco International Airport-Christchurch route is scheduled to start on December 1, with three weekly flights from 787 to 8 flights. United said it will introduce a four-weekly Los Angeles-Oakland 787-9 on Oct. 28. Overall, “next winter, the airline will be approximately 70% larger in New Zealand than it was in 2019,” said United.

As for Australia, United is planning a significant capacity increase from San Francisco International. On October 28, it plans to increase SFO-Brisbane’s schedule from three flights per week to daily service with 787-9s and boost SFO-Sydney from 10 flights per week to 14 with 777-300ERs, the largest aircraft in its fleet. The 777-300ER is also scheduled to be deployed on United’s daily SFO-Melbourne flight starting October 28, replacing the 787-9 and adding approximately 100 additional seats per day in that market. At LAX, United said it will offer nonstop Brisbane flights three days a week starting November 29. United already offers daily flights from LAX to Sydney and Melbourne. United noted that through its partnership with Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia, customers will be able to book “easy, one-stop flights … to more than 50 destinations in the region.”

In other international road news, On the 23rd of April United are set to boost their services between San Francisco and Japan’s Osaka Kansai International From three weekly flights to daily frequencies using the 777-200ER. As of April 26, Taiwan’s Starlux Airlines is preparing to begin its first route in the United States with service from Taipei to the Los Angeles International Airport, initially operating five flights a week but increasing to daily flights on 5 June. The LAX-Taipei line is also served by EVA and China Airlines. Starlux is a full service airline and will fly to LAX with an Airbus A350 that has First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy Class and Standard Economy seats. Japan This week, All Nippon Airways introduced a significant increase in capacity from Honolulu to Tokyo NaritaIt increased its schedule from five times a week with an Airbus A380 to 10 times a week with an A380 and four times a week with a 787-9. Hawaiian Airlines plans to resume service on April 28 from Honolulu to Fukuoka, Japanwith three weekly A330 flights.

JetBlue honors healthcare workers with a special salute low over Manhattan during the COVID-19 pandemic on May 7, 2020, in New York City.

JetBlue honors healthcare workers with a special salute low over Manhattan during the COVID-19 pandemic on May 7, 2020, in New York City.

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On the domestic side, San Jose Mineta International Airport reports that JetBlue has resumed daily service from SJC to New York JFK and to Boston Logan. A look at JetBlue’s reservations system shows that The SJC-JFK flight is a red eye with a 10:05 p.m. departure, serving Boston as a continuation of the SJC-JFK flight after a stop at JFK. while, Simple Flying this week demonstrated JetBlue’s plan to reduce service in the Northeast this summer To assist the FAA in overcoming the shortage of air traffic controllers in the region. It said JetBlue will drop more than 1,500 departures from 107 routes during July and August, including canceling all 89 weekly flights between Newark and Boston. Most of the reductions are flights from Newark and New York LaGuardia, though schedules from Boston and Orlando have also been affected.

In December, JetBlue announced an upcoming overhaul of its TrueBlue loyalty program, and now it’s set May 10 for the transition. the The revamped TrueBlue introduces a new loyalty metric called “tiles” based on total spend – Not only on flights but also surcharges and related travel services booked through JetBlue affiliates such as hotels, rental cars, activities, etc., as well as spent on JetBlue credit cards. The new program also divides TrueBlue Mosaic elite status into four tiers and allows TrueBlue members to start earning customizable perks and benefits even before they qualify for Mosaic status. While they still earn points redeemable for reward travel, TrueBlue members will also earn tiles based on their combination of travel and credit card spending. Members will earn 1 tile for every $100 spent, including packages and travel arrangements through JetBlue Vacations or the airline’s Paisly reservation service and flights operated by JetBlue partner American Airlines, plus 1 piece per $1,000 in eligible spend on all JetBlue credit cards.

Alaska Airlines is eliminating passenger self-check-in kiosks at Portland International Airport – its largest terminal yet to take that step as the company transitions to a new streamlined airport process aimed at moving travelers through faster check-in. Alaska has already removed boarding pass printer kiosks in Las Vegas, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Missoula and Boise. Alaska notifies passengers at affected airports To check-in and print boarding passes at home Or to download an electronic boarding pass to their phone through the airline’s mobile app, though during the transition they’ll have staff on hand to print boarding passes at no cost if needed.

Alaska Airlines passengers check in for flights at San Francisco International Airport on April 19, 2022 in San Francisco.

Alaska Airlines passengers check in for flights at San Francisco International Airport on April 19, 2022 in San Francisco.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Alaska said this week it will spend $2.5 billion over the next three years to improve the airport experienceWithin our hubs and focus cities including Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Anchorage. Besides eliminating self-check-in kiosks, Alaska will roll out new self-service baggage stations “where you’ll pay for checked bags and tag them with iPad tablets,” the airline said. Three out of four guests with a boarding pass arrive at airports using the new technology. Most airports will move to new bag-tagging stations by the end of 2023.” Beginning in 2024, the airline said, lobbies at its major airports will have new technology for dropping off passengers’ tagged bags. “The machine will scan your face, government-issued ID, and bags. From there, you’ll take your bag(s) onto a belt to be loaded onto the plane. The process takes less than two minutes and will get you on your way to safety.”

Which airport in the US has the best food? SFO, According to a survey conducted by Food & Wine. SFO’s four stations offer “nearly 70 dining options representing the Bay Area’s vibrant culinary scene,” the magazine said. Among SFO’s favorite options is Bowden’s Bakery, an airport offshoot of “the oldest continuous business in town,” the magazine said. Cat Cora’s Mediterranean-inspired kitchen; Napa Valley Airport Site; Mustards Grill; seafood specialist Yankee Pierre; two airport Koi Palace locations in San Francisco, with dim sum and other Chinese fare; Coffee Roasting, where you make tailor-made brews for each customer; and the Napa Farmer’s Market, which provides “a variety of regional offerings.”

An oncoming Caltrain is seen from the Deridon Station in San Jose, Calif., Friday, Jan. 4, 2019.

An oncoming Caltrain is seen from the Deridon Station in San Jose, Calif., Friday, Jan. 4, 2019.

San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

San Jose officials are moving forward with a plan to shuttle passengers between San Jose Mineta Airport and the city’s Deridon rail station using driverless cars. According to the San Jose Mercury News, the City Council voted this week To study the plan with a startup called Glydways, which proposed using its automated four-passenger shuttle vehicles to ferry passengers on a “dedicated lane” along the 3.5-mile route between the two transportation hubs. The buses will travel at 31 miles per hour for an eight-minute journey, and initially stop in Terminal B of the airport, the newspaper said. The $500 million project could begin service by 2028 if the city ultimately approves it, with funding from both sectors. public and private. sources.

In other airport news, This week Delta cut the ribbon on their third Sky Club in Minneapolis-St. Paul Hub – The largest lounge in the airport with an area of ​​​​21,000 square feet and can accommodate more than 450 members. In the airport’s Concourse G, the new MSP-G Sky Club is the airport’s first to offer a “year-round, all-weather Sky Deck for 110 guests,” Delta said. The new lounge also has kiosks for self-check-in, a full buffet, two bars and a few soundproof booths for “quiet work”. while, The Points Guy reports that two of Delta’s busiest Sky clubs will open new grab-and-go lounges next month: Concourse B Club at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport and Concourse B Club at New York JFK’s Terminal 4. Club members who are in a hurry or who may encounter long lines to enter the regular club will be able to stop quickly to grab various sandwiches, fruits, snacks, and drinks .

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