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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