Feb. 28-March 6: Top Loyalty Programs, Destination Mix-up, Defunct Brands Return, Weather Delays Causes Erratic Behavior

This week’s round-up brings the latest airline travel news — from top loyalty programs, destination mix-up, and Eastern and SkyMall’s return, to being on hold for six hours, sit-ins, and weather delays. Enjoy!

Top Loyalty Programs

The fourth-annual FlyerTalk Awards was handed out on Tuesday, and the “Best Rewards Programs” for the Americas are American Airlines, Starwood Hotels and Hertz. The FlyerTalk Awards are voted by members of the airline and travel community of FlyerTalk, known as FlyTalkers. All three companies have won the award for the last 4 years. British Airways won both the Best Reward Program and Outstanding Benefit categories for Europe/Africa, while Cathay Pacific did the same for Middle East/Asia/Oceania.

Domestic Airlines Flies More Passengers with Same Number of Planes

By the end of this year, American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are expected to fly more passengers than in 2014 without buying new planes. This is accomplished by one of three methods: replacing smaller planes with a bigger aircraft, flying their planes more often, or the third and most dreaded option – adding more seats in their current planes.

Final Destination, Goiania? Try Again…

If you think having your checked luggage arriving at a far flung destination as bad, it’s probably a lot worse if you end up in the wrong city, or worse, country. Emmanuel Akomanyi, a medical student from Ghana was bound for Guyana, on the Caribbean coast of South America, but he ended up in Goiania, Brazil instead, about 1,900 miles away from his actual destination. Akomanyi spent a week in Goiania before the airline rebooked him to his actual destination. While these kinds of mix-up are rare, it happens. Last year, a dentist found himself in Grenada in the Caribbean instead of Granada, Spain. And in 2013, a couple ended up in ended up Dhaka, Bangladesh instead of Dakar, Senegal. The takeaway — always check your ticket and destination before booking/boarding your flight.

Eastern Air Lines Eying a Comeback

Your familiarity with the name Eastern Air Lines will be dependent on your age. Founded in 1926, Eastern became one of the major airlines through the 80s, when it started having trouble competing due to deregulation, and ceased operations in 1991. Eastern is now expected to start flying charter flights sometime this month, with scheduled service to Latin America and the Caribbean from the original Eastern hub in Miami 12 to 18 months later, which may provide some needed competition to American.

SkyMall May be Coming Back

In other news about a brand coming back from oblivion: SkyMall, who along with its parent company, Xhibit filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, citing the increasing use of electronic devices on planes has resulted in fewer passengers browsing and purchasing from the catalog. However, now there’s news that Scott Jordan, the CEO of ScotteVest, is interested in bringing the seatback catalog back, claiming it will now sell products “that people actually want to buy.” But don’t start celebrating yet, as Jordan has stated that the return of the product catalog is dependent on airlines’ cooperation, and so far, they aren’t.

On Hold with an Airline for Six Hours

File this under persistence! Earlier this week, Renee Allen’s original flight on American Airlines was cancelled due to the weather. She called customer service to rebook her flight but ended up being put on hold for a whooping six hours, and yet she wasn’t able to speak to a live rep! American has since issued an apology, stating that they “worked to re-accommodate customers as quickly as possible based on their individual travel plans.”

There are a few ways to avoid the pit Allen fell in as listed in this helpful article, including checking the airlines website first or try calling the international desk.

Fliers Stage Sit-In

If you think U.S. airlines and their delays are bad, be thankful you don’t have to put up with what Iranian fliers have to, where a two- or three-hour delay on a domestic flight is normal, and there have been reported delays of up to 22 hours. Frustrated fliers recently decided to protest the delays by staging a sit-in on two separate incidents, after arriving 12- and 13-hours late. ATA Airlines and Iran Air both have claimed the delays were due to weather or technical issues, along with U.S.-led international sanctions that made it difficult for the airlines to purchase new aircraft or replacement parts.

Random Story of the Week: What Happens To Planeload Of People Stuck For 9 Hours?

The weather has been causing havoc to air travel most of this winter, with countless delays and cancellations. Perhaps one of the worst flight delay experience this winter happened last Friday, when what was supposed to be a 30 minute flight between Dallas and Oklahoma City turned into a nine hour ordeal. Enterprising passenger, Brandon Sullivan, documented what happens to a plane full of frustrated and annoyed passengers whose patience have worn out, including adults kicking seats and passengers helping themselves to the liquor.

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