- United is adding 1,400 flights during Thanksgiving week on expectations of higher demand, a more than 9% increase during the week of Nov. 23 and is planning to “swap in larger aircraft when needed to accommodate last-minute demand.”
- Airlines are focusing on price-sensitive customers booking within the U.S. and Caribbean as long-haul international travel suffers in the pandemic.
- Airline stocks surged Monday after Pfizer and BioNTech reported positive results from their late-stage Covid-19 vaccine trial.
- About half of United’s customers will likely book Thanksgiving flights less than a month before departure, the carrier said, up from about 40% of last-minute bookings in 2019.
- Southwest Airlines made a tough, momentous decision this week, signaling something it’s never done before in 49 years.
- If it happens, it will mark the first time that Southwest, which has been flying under its current name since 1971, has resorted to furloughs or layoffs.
- Last month, Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly recorded a video message for employees, describing the state of the airline and asking unions to agree to take 20 percent pay cuts in 2021 to help stop the financial bleeding.
- He also added that he personally would take no salary in 2021, and that other senior executives will see their salaries drop by 20 percent.
- In return, he promised, non-union employees would see no layoffs throughout 2021, and their salaries would “snap back” at the end of the year to pre-pandemic rates.
- As for union employees, of course Southwest can’t cut their salaries unilaterally. So, Kelly said he was asking for these pay cuts in exchange for the same promise of no layoffs in 2021, but also warning that if unions wouldn’t agree, furloughs would likely follow.
- The flight attendants’ union told me its members were “not interested in making concessions to a contract that took decades to obtain,” and the pilots’ union told The Wall Street Journal that while it had agreed to discussions with Southwest, that was “very different than agreeing to concessions.”
- Because while Southwest issued its first furlough warnings this week, which are legally required before it can take this kind of action, those notices didn’t go to the pilots or flight attendants. Instead, they went to a much smaller group: 42 material specialists represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which Southwest said had announced they would not negotiate.