News and notes from around the interweb:
- Whereas I see the departure of Jeff Smisek from United as an opportunity to fix the airline, Joe Brancatelli seems to think they’ve just rearranged deck chairs on the titanic: At United, meet the new boss, same as the old boss
- I appeared on Wednesday night’s Boom Bust with Ameera David talking about consumer complaints, the most luxurious airline products, whether low cost carriers are a good deal and whether we’ll see consolidation in that sector.
- “Airlines often say that seat assignments aren’t guaranteed. That’s fine until they start charging for them.” Shame on Lufthansa, but it’s hardly limited to them. Now that airlines charge for checked bags they need to deliver those, too.
- Alitalia’s CEO has resigned for ‘personal reasons’. Sure, the airline is performing poorly. But it’s Alitalia so that alone cannot be reason, right?
- The European Union’s highest court has ruled that airlines owe passenger compensation when delays result from unexpected mechanical problems. That would seem obvious — except that carriers were interpreting EU rules that compensation isn’t due in the event of “extraordinary circumstances” as including routine mechanical issues, not just force majeure events. Put another way, the Court ruled airlines aren’t only liable for compensation where they ignore obvious and expected problems.
KLM argued the two defective components at the root of the delay had not exceeded their average lifetime and that the manufacturer had not provided any specific information on which defects might arise once the equipment reached a certain age.
The Luxembourg-based court said that while technical problems could constitute extraordinary circumstances, for example those caused by acts of sabotage or terrorism, the same could not be said for issues that arise during maintenance of the aircraft or from a failure to carry out such maintenance.
- Lufthansa has now finished upgrading its fleet to new business class