Dr. Ethan Weiss tweeted a photo Saturday showing what appears to be a full United Airlines flight from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco. Though passengers are wearing masks, he said the crowded cabin runs counter to United’s assurances that it would leave middle seats empty in order to promote social distancing to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
One possibility would be to make seats bigger and give passengers a lot more elbow room — but such a change might feel a bit too “permanent” for the airlines’ taste. In the meantime, Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL), at least, has hit upon an interim solution: Since mid-April, Delta has “blocked” reservation of middle seats on all its flights, inserting a space barrier between aisle and window. Beginning today and through at least June 30, Delta will go a step further, blocking reservations of certain window and aisle seats in order to add additional “social distance” between passengers.
Brian Sumers, Skift Skift March 20, 2020, 3:30 PM CDT
During good times, airlines brag about revenue management systems, promising they can capture every bit of revenue by measuring each traveler’s willingness to pay. Often, humans become near bystanders, told to let the artificial intelligence work its magic….
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Delta Air Lines <DAL.N> said on Wednesday it was parking more than 600 jets, cutting corporate pay by as much as 50%, and scaling back its flying by more than 70% until demand begins to recover from the coronavirus epidemic hit.
In a memo to employees, Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said the company would continue taking “all necessary self-help measures,” with cash preservation the top priority, even as it remains optimistic of industry support from the White House and Congress.
Bookings for international flights departing the U.S. suffered another steep decline over the past week, as would-be passengers concerned about COVID-19 shied away from travel commitments.
ForwardKeys, a data firm that tracks more than 17 million business and leisure bookings each day, exclusively told Yahoo Finance’s “On The Move” on Wednesday that U.S. international bookings dropped 36.5% year-over-year for the period of January 20 to March 8.
Most strikingly, in the week of March 2, cancellations for international flights departing from the U.S. outpaced bookings, according to Olivier Ponti, Vice President for ForwardKeys Insights.
“Let’s be clear about this. We’ve never seen anything like this before. This is unprecedented and it’s going extremely, extremely fast,” Ponti said. “The situation is changing at a very fast pace.”
Qantas Airways Ltd. will run marathon ghost flights from New York and London to Sydney carrying just a few staff to see how the human body holds up before commercial services start.
Qantas said Thursday it will simulate the world’s longest direct flights with Boeing Co. Dreamliners as soon as October. The payload of 40 passengers and crew, most of them employees, will undergo a host of medical checks and assessments.
The Australian airline wants to start direct flights connecting Sydney to New York and London as soon as 2022. Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce calls the services aviation’s final frontier.
The services, which take about 20 hours, aren’t yet a sure thing. Qantas still hasn’t decided on a Boeing or Airbus SE plane that can fly the route fully laden and without a break. And it’s not clear how passengers will tolerate living in the cabin for the best part of a day and night.
“The things we learn on these flights will be invaluable,” Joyce said on a call Thursday.
Joyce has previously said he plans to choose either Boeing’s 777-8X or Airbus’ ultra-long-range A350-900ULR and -1000ULR for the flights.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Joyce said the delay to Boeing’s 777X program hasn’t excluded the U.S. manufacturer from the deal.
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