IN OTHER NEWS
Playa, Apple investments hint all-inclusives are hot 6
Airbus division planning reconfigurable jets 8
Expedia, at 20, shoots for $100B in sales 10
WWW.TRAVELWEEKLY.COM DECEMBER 19, 2016
[ 15 CONTRACTS SIGNED IN 2016 ]
peace with labor,
but at what cost?
See LABOR on Page 48 See STATUS on Page 46
By Robert Silk
As the Big Four U.S. airlines completed a slew of major year-end labor negotiations in recent months,
a key question on the minds of
many industry observers was
whether the resulting shift in cost
structure would prove to be sustainable.
Early this month, Delta’s 13,000-plus pilots
ratified a labor deal that increased pay, retroactive to Jan. 1, by 18%. The increase will
have a $475 million impact on the airline’s
fourth quarter, including $380 million in retroactive pay.
The deal set a new standard for U.S. airline industry pilot agreements. But it is just
one of three labor deals that the four largest U.S. carriers — Delta, American, United
and Southwest — entered into with pilots
in 2016. And it is just one of 15 labor deals
overall that those carriers have completed
For the airlines, which have made record
profits over the last two years, the deals bring
the security of labor peace. United for example, entered into five union deals in 2016,
clearing its slate of labor negotiations.
Southwest, meanwhile, completed six
life easier come the fourth quarter.
“I spend the whole last part of the year
helping everybody figure it out,” Rockett, a
partner at Seattle-based Twist Travel, said of
her clients’ frequent-flyer statuses.
The fourth quarter brings a glut of last-minute flight requests to Rockett and other
agents, typically from corporate clients looking to maintain status.
Rockett said it usually begins in October
with call after call from clients — mostly
By Jamie Biesiada
Every summer, right around July, Danielle
Rockett gets ready to send a memo to the
majority of her corporate clients. It’s not a
marketing tool but a reminder to check the
frequent flyer miles they’ve accumulated
thus far, then examine what steps they need
to take to maintain or achieve elite status for
Rockett said the memo tends to make her
A year-end scramble to keep elite status
corporate executives, but also some frequent
leisure travelers — asking what, exactly, they
can do to maintain status. Then the work begins.
Most typical are cross-country flights that
rack up last-minute miles, such as from Seattle to New York, Fort Lauderdale or Tampa,
“They’ll fly down,” Rockett said. “If they
can turn around that day and get back on
THE TRAVEL INDUSTRY’S TRUSTED VOICE
United Airlines alone signed
contracts with 5 unions this
year, clearing its slate of labor
NCLH CEO Frank Del Rio on Cuba’s finally taking action on his brands’ port authorizations. 4
This winter will see more mountains than
ever ‘codesharing’ via season passes. 44
At the Hideaway artistic retreat, old-world
Europe meets modern-day Monterey Bay. 36
If every possible danger is enumerated for a
client, real danger may be lost in the list. 28
Zika. Terrorism. Hotels vs. OTAs. Airbnb. Cuba. Fathom.
River cruises. The Virgin America-Alaska merger. TSA PreCheck. Brexit. An election surprise. These were key topics
that defined the industry last year, for good or ill.
BY JOHANNA JAINCHILL PAGE 14
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