United Problems, Frankfurt Strikes, & Engine Coins [Roundup]

United Problems, Frankfurt Strikes, & Engine Coins [Roundup]

This week was... interesting. Filled with aircraft incidents, new route announcements, DOT complaints, and in news that I'm sure we all saw coming: jetBlue has terminated their merger agreement with Spirit. This comes as no surprise when a federal judge blocked the merger. It really didn't seem like jetBlue really wanted to merge with Spirit, but instead wanted to block their merger with Frontier. Maybe they got their way? Or maybe Spirit will try again with Frontier.

JetBlue Announces Termination of Merger Agreement with Spirit
Positions JetBlue to focus on organic strategy and return to profitability JetBlue (NASDAQ: JBLU) today announced that it has reached an agreement with Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE) to terminate their July 2022 merger agreement. Although both companies continue to believe in the procompetitive benefits of the combination, JetBlue and Spirit mutually agreed that terminating is the best path forward for both companies as required closing conditions, including receiving necessary legal and regulator

This supposed 'partnership' with MGM is now live. However, looking at many of the details, the largest benefits are only for MGM members. Most Marriott elite members have no meaningful perks at MGM properties besides redeeming points for room. Which are not the best redemptions, and I'd rather just pay the cash price which, on the right days, you can get for under $100 a night.

Details: Marriott Bonvoy & MGM Rewards Partnership
Marriott Bonvoy and MGM Rewards have launched a partnership. Here’s what this means for earning and redeeming points, and elite perks.

Delta is playing quite the dangerous game. I feel as if they are pushing and pushing, seeing how far they can raise their prices over the competition and seeing how many loyal passengers they can retain. My fear is that they will reach that tipping point where passengers do not find it a good value or the quality of the airline does not match the price tag. And once you slip away will not be able to recover.

Premium In Name Only: Delta Air Lines Testing Customer Reaction To Higher Fees, Lower Rewards - View from the Wing
Delta Air Lines has moved to spending only as a metric for earning status. And they’re considering no longer awarding full credit for your spending, unless you buy more expensive fares. That’s one lesson of a new product survey they’re sending to frequent flyers that helps them sort through how much extra customers will pay to earn qualifying dollars. Other ideas being tested include bringing back change fees unless customers buy up to a more expensive fare and return of fees for getting help from reservations, with free assistance via chat features only.

American just put in a huge narrowbody order for 260 brand-new jets, one thing that stands out is the purchase of the E175 jet. This signifies that American is going to continue to expand both their regional and mainline footprint. Not that we're going to get into scope clause now, but in the current market the E175 is the last jet to stand as the CRJ is out of production, and everything else is too big.

American Airlines orders 260 new narrowbody jets, including Boeing 737 MAX 10 - The Points Guy
American Airlines said Monday that it had ordered 260 new narrow-body aircraft from Airbus, Boeing and Embraer. The order includes regional jets, as well as the Boeing 737 MAX 10.

More strikes this week in Frankfurt, ground staff have been having monthly strikes, and it is crippling the industry in Germany. Whenever these strikes happen, hundreds of flights are cancelled and international carriers are forced to leave their passengers behind when departing. Scammers seemed to have latched on to this and are trying to scam passengers of their money.

Lufthansa Warns Distressed Passengers Stranded By a Series of Strikes That Are Gripping Germany Not to Fall Victim to Scammers
Scammers are taking advantage of a series of crippling strikes across Germany’s aviation sector to target hundreds of thousands of stranded passengers who have been taking to social media sites like X (formerly Twitter) in a desperate bid to get help from airlines. The situation has become so bad that German flag carrier Lufthansa has…

Some interesting new routes from United, unlike any other airline in the US they've been aggressively expanding their international destinations. It's interesting to see not only do they have routes from the US but also their Japanese hub to Cebu. They're making the other legacy carriers look quite weak when it comes to their international destinations.

United Airlines Will Fly To Marrakesh, Cebu, And Medellin - View from the Wing
United Airlines has real claim to being the U.S. global carrier. They’re already the only U.S. airline flying to the Philippines - having launched Manila service - and now will fly to Cebu there as well (via Tokyo). They’ll add service to Morocco - direct to Marrakesh - and to Medellin, Colombia. Fifth freedom flying from Japan and love for their Houston hub make these adds even more interesting.

United's new routes have been overshadowed by multiple mechanical issues. They had a tire fall off a 777 from SFO that hit and descried multiple cars, an engine flame out, and they skidded off the runway in Houston. Not to mention another 737 MAX issue they had with one of their airplanes when they couldn't control their rudder after touching down.

Engine Issues, A Falling Tire, and Stuck Rudder Pedals Plague Three Separate United Airlines Flights - The Bulkhead Seat
Two separate incidents occurred on United Airlines over the past month that could continue to shine a light on issues with aircraft manufactured by beleaguered Boeing. The rudder pedals became stuck when pilots tried to land last month and on Monday another United plane had engine issues during climb out. These incidents were unrelated, but scary nonetheless.
Mystery: United 737 MAX 8 Veers Off Runway In Houston - Live and Let’s Fly
A United Airlines 737 MAX 8 appeared to land in Houston without issue, but shortly thereafter overshot the runway and came to a stop on the grass.

Please don't ever throw coins into an engine, these are perfectly tuned beasts and something like a coin can cause massive damage to an engine and cause it to fail enroute. I understand that it's a part of the culture to do this as a sign of good luck and safety, but things like this do the complete opposite, and the plane will be down for hours if this ever happens.

China Southern Flight is Delayed After a Passenger Threw Coins Into the Engine - The Bulkhead Seat
China Southern Airlines flight CZ8805 was delayed by more than four hours yesterday after a passenger threw coins into the engine. The flight from Sanya Phoenix International Airport (SYX) to Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) ended up leaving several hours later, but not until the offending passenger was arrested.

This last story hits home for me as I've gone through this exact issue. A customer transferred points to United to purchase an award ticket only for it to be ghost award space and when he went to book, it said unavailable. Obviously being smart with his points wanted to undo the transfer, but United said no. This DOT complaint could force airlines to undo point transfers, which would be a huge win if it can happen.

United Airlines Customer Submits DOT Complaint Claiming Carrier Incited Him to Buy Award Miles For a Flight it Couldn’t Sell Then Refused to Refund Him
A United Airlines customer has submitted a formal complaint to the Department of Transportation (DOT) claiming the Chicago-based carrier incited him to purchase nearly 200,000 miles for an award flight only to then claim it couldn’t sell him the ticket and refuse to refund the miles he had purchased. Mike Borsetti was looking for flights…

Thanks for reading, we'll see you next week!

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