April 4-10: Airlines Crack Down on Mistake Fares, Shrinking Coach Seats, World’s Most Dependable Airline, 33 Hour Delay & Loose Change Galore

This week’s round-up brings the latest airline travel news — from American and United’s effort to avoid future mistake fares, the ever shrinking seats in coach, and the world’s most dependable airline, to the flight delay from heck, and TSA finding loose change totaling the high six figures. Enjoy!

American and United to Crack Down on Mistake Fares

The recent spate of mistake fares has led to American Airlines and United Airlines to put in place more measures to avoid that situation in the future. American took a simpler approach by adding a new item in their recent Double Elite Qualifying Points promotion that basically prevents travelers from earning elite-qualifying points when flying on a mistake fare. United on the other hand will implement “a new Digital Operations Center, which will monitor the types of fares the airline sells by using sophisticated software and a video wall to “detect commercial impacts, fraudulent activity and end user manipulations,” according to Brian Sumers.

Coach Class Seats Continues to Shrink

If you thought the lack of space in coach in the current crop of planes is bad, wait until Airbus and Boeing release their new jets: the A320neo and 737 MAX, respectively. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) last month gave Airbus the go ahead to add an additional 15 seats to the A320neo, bumping it to 195 seats, which means the seat pitch on the new plane will be a measly 27 inches versus 30 to 32 inches on the standard A320. Boeing’s 737 MAX has 189 seats versus the paltry 160 seats on the 737-800, but Boeing’s not done! Next up will be the 737 MAX 200 built for Ryanair (the low cost European airline) with, you guessed it, 200 seats! The MAX 200 will have seat pitches of 29 or 30 inches, versus the 737-800’s configuration of 31 inches. Maybe scientists will come up with a way for travelers to temporarily shrink a few inches before a flight?

The Most Dependable Airlines

Data research company, Wanderbat, recently compiled a list of 22 most dependable airlines in the world based on three criteria: on-time performance, checked baggage cost and the average age of the fleet. Qatar Airways came in at number one with an on-time percentage of 82.8 percent with the average age of their planes at 5.5 years. There were a few surprising inclusions such as Aeroflot, but it’s no surprise that Southwest Airlines is the only North American based airline to make the list, coming in at number 17.

The Flight Delay to End All Flight Delays

We’ve all had our share of flight delays, but a recent delay on a Virgin Atlantic flight has to take the cake! Flight VS44 from Las Vegas to London typically takes just a little over 10 hours, but was delayed for 33 hours due to various reasons including mechanical issues (a part had to be flown in all the way from the UK) and bad weather. That’s basically the same amount of time to fly to London, back to Las Vegas and on to London again. Upon arrival at London, passengers were given two letters and a £20 (USD$29) gift certificate. EU law mandates that passengers get a €600 (USD$636) compensation, but some passengers are considering a lawsuit.

Random Story of the Week: TSA Finds $674,841 in Loose Change

We’ve all done it – digging through our couches and pockets to try find just the right amount of loose change. But we’re betting you’ve never found almost $700,000 lying around your house. In 2014, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) found (or collected) $674,841.06 in change left behind at security checkpoints, a $37,000 increase from 2013. With the unexpected windfall, TSA plans to expand their Pre-Check program.


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