Tidbits from David Rowell

David Rowell’s “TravelInsider” newsletter has some interesting tidbits today.

On the economics of lost luggage

    Lost luggage may become less common on Delta flights. Not because they too are going to eliminate checked bags, though! They have committed to spend $15 – $25 million over the next two years to equip all their airports so that every checked bag gets an RFID chip placed on its tag, enabling Delta to track the physical whereabouts of every bag. At present only 0.7% of the bags DL transports go missing, and so you might think it very altruistic of DL to add this helpful extra service.

    But that 0.7% represents 800,000 lost bags every year, and it costs Delta $100 million every year to resolve lost bag problems. A $25 million investment to massively reduce the number of lost bags and the associated problems when bags do go missing won’t take more than a few months to pay for itself.

On the potential for major carriers to outperform low cost carriers in the short-term

    [A] Goldman Sachs analyst is predicting that shares of the dinosaur carriers will outperform those of the low cost airlines for the rest of this year, thereby ending a three year series of the low fare airlines beating the dinosaurs. Part of the reason for this is that the major growth spurt in international travel benefits the dinosaurs while barely impacting on the lower cost carriers.

    But don’t plan on that situation remaining for too much longer. Low cost carriers are already operating to Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada, and are now looking further afield. ATA plans to fly to two or three cities in Europe next year, and rumors abound of other discount carriers considering international destinations. JetBlue, already serving some Caribbean destinations, is also thought to be looking at more international flights.

On whistle-blowing at the TSA

    Two federal training coordinators for the TSA at Buffalo Airport were helping out with luggage screening during the Thanksgiving rush last November. They watched screeners repeatedly failing to screen bags, and when screened bags showed possible explosives, screeners gave them only the most cursory of inspections.

    They told their boss about their concerns. He said they were responsible only for assisting screeners, not for supervising them. So they wrote a letter setting out their concerns to TSA headquarters. Two months later, the TSA responded to their complaints – by firing them both!

Worth signing up for a free email subscription, IMHO.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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