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Six Ways to Improve Air Travel Instantly

Travelers love to hate on airlines. Airlines sometimes do bad things to their customers, dinging them with add-on fees, penalizing them when plans change, squeezing them into shrinking seats and bathrooms and occasionally leaving them stranded for a couple of days.

So if you could wave a magic wand and improve air travel, what would you do?

We’re not talking about fantasies like first-class seats for $10. Airlines need to be able to pay their bills. But are there practical fixes that could make flying better for people who don’t have superelite status or the cash to buy flying beds?

The question is a serious one for airlines. Airline loyalty is in decline. Henry Harteveldt, founder and analyst at Atmosphere Research Group, says his surveys show only 21% of U.S. airline passengers considered themselves loyal to any one airline last year. In 2000, that number exceeded 40%, he says.

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This is an excerpt from WSJ

Island Bound: Southwest and FAA Race to Complete Approval for Hawaii Service

Southwest Airlines Co. and air-safety regulators are scrambling to complete work that would allow the carrier to begin service between California and Hawaii, scheduling eight government-supervised flights but the shutdown was looming

The unusually tight timeline, spelled out in federal documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, partly reflects the desire to minimize the impact from a possible second partial federal government shutdown by the middle of the month. The White House and congressional negotiators are working under a Feb. 15 funding deadline, though industry and government officials said some of the flights are slated to occur a few days past that date.

Under the most optimistic scenario, these officials said, Southwest could start regular service for passengers across the Pacific from the West Coast by April. The timing depends on whether the designated flights without passengers are completed successfully and on time, as well as when the low-fare carrier opts to put tickets on sale.

Limited service flown by senior pilots or managers could begin in March, according to industry officials.

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This is an excerpt from the Wall St. Journal

Delta Expects Shutdown to Hurt Revenue

Furlough of FAA inspectors also slows airline’s introduction of new Airbus planes

Delta Air Lines Inc. forecast sluggish revenue growth for early this year in part because of business lost to the federal government shutdown.

The Atlanta-based carrier said Tuesday that it expects first-quarter unit revenue—a key industry metric—to be flat or rise at most by 2% as federal workers travel less during the spending fight between the Trump administration and Congress.

Chief Executive Ed Bastian said the shutdown would cost Delta this month about $25 million in revenue from government travel. The airline also attributed its tempered outlook to a stronger U.S. dollar and to the timing of this year’s Easter holiday in April, which pushes a busy travel period beyond the first quarter.

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This is an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal.

Air Travel Remains Safe During Shutdown, Data Show

Rate of planes coming too close to each other hasn’t changed, but air-traffic controllers’ resources ‘are starting to run thin,’ union official says

U.S. aviation officials have compiled data that statistically support, for the first time, Trump administration statements that the partial government shutdown hasn’t jeopardized air-traffic-control safety.

The data, according to one person briefed on the details, indicate that serious traffic-control deviations—incidents of planes coming dangerously close to each other in the air or on the ground—have remained flat from levels a year ago. Such incidents are typically captured by computers and other automated means.

The statistical summary, covering the duration of the shutdown through the end of last week, also shows a 4% overall drop across a broader range of air-traffic-control deviations, this person said.

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This is an excerpt from The Wall Street Journal.

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