Month: May 2015

Chinese airlines pose biggest threat to US carriers, says report

While the current focus is aimed squarely at the Gulf carriers of Etihad Airways, Emirates and Qatar Air, Chinese carriers pose a far greater threat for US airlines, according to a report by aviation intelligence firm OAG.
US and Gulf carriers have been trading barbs over the issue of ‘unfair’ subsidies provided to the Gulf carriers.

However, China will replace the US as the largest aviation market in the next seven years, OAG’s ‘The Fight for Global Markets’ report claims.

John Grant, executive vice-president at OAG, says Chinese carriers such as China Southern, China Eastern and Air China could become the new ‘big three’, fuelled by fast growing domestic markets.

“Whilst it is perhaps impossible to predict the future of the airline industry, the evidence suggests that China, and also Indonesia and Turkey might be the places where three globally dominant airlines are based in 10 years’ time, benefiting as they do from large domestic markets, growing economies and advantageous geographic position,” he said.

Being nicer to customers pays off for Ryanair

Being nicer to customers pays off for Ryanair

Ryanair’s new charm offensive appears to be working as latest figures released by the airline show its traffic leapt 16% last month, compared with April 2014.

Traffic for the 12 month period was up 12% to a total of 91.8 million passengers.

The airline carried 1.2 million more passengers last month than in April 2014, which it said was due to lower fares, stronger forward bookings ‘and the continuing success of our “Always Getting Better” customer experience improvement programme’.

Load factors were up from 84% to 91% last month.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

And the world’s top frequent-flier awards go to …

The loyalty programs for American Airlines and Marriott took home the coveted “Program of the Year/Americas” awards as the 2015 Freddie Awards were revealed Thursday evening in Atlanta.

American’s AAdvantage frequent-flier program and Marriott’s Marriott Rewards program each were repeat winners in the “Americas” region. The win was American’s fourth in a row while Marriott has won eight consecutive times. (Scroll down for the full list of award winners.)

Still, American’s win for the top airline program in the Americas was a close one. It’s AAdvantage program edged out Southwest’s Rapid Rewards program by just 1/100th of a point.

ARCHIVES: See 2014’s Freddie Awards winners
ARCHIVES: See 2013’s Freddie Awards winners

Among the overall results – which include regional award winners from all parts of the world – Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue program claimed five different Freddie awards, the most of any single program. Le Club Accorhotels took home Freddie Awards in four different categories. Starwood Hotels’ Preferred Guest won four while Southwest Airlines’ Rapid Rewards and Virgin Australia’s Velocity each won three.

Looking just at the Americas, winners of multiple Freddie Awards were Southwest’s Rapid Rewards (3) and American’s AAdvantage (2).

In addition to American’s “Program of the Year” Freddie for the Americas, AA also won for the “Best Elite Program.” Southwest’s three Freddies in the Americas region were for “Best Redemption Ability,” “Best Customer Service” and “Best Loyalty Credit Card.”

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While Marriott won the “Program of the Year Award,” the race among hotels was wide open in the Americas. No program won more than one Freddie in the region. The four other categories in the Americas went to four different programs, with Hyatt, Starwood, Choice and MGM hotel groups each winning one Freddie. For MGM’s M Life Program, its “Best Customer Service” Freddie was its first ever in any category.

The annual “Freddie” awards recognize the world’s top airline and hotel loyalty programs. The awards are determined by votes from frequent fliers and hotel patrons, recognizing five “best of” categories for both airlines and hotels in each of three global regions. The Freddies also honor the best loyalty credit cards in each of the regions.

The awards employ a scoring system weighted to balance high-scoring votes against a simple quantity of votes. In doing so, Freddie organizers say the loyalty program of a smaller airline or hotel chain is able to be judged more fairly against bigger programs that can mobilize a large number of voters.

Organizers says they recorded a record 20.9 million pageviews on the Freddie Awards voting page this year during the Feb. 15-March 31 voting period.

The Freddie Awards, first given in 1988, are named for the late Sir Freddie Laker, who achieved knighthood in the United Kingdom for pioneering low-cost air travel across the Atlantic in the 1970s.

“We are delighted to once again allow frequent fliers throughout the world the opportunity to select the frequent travel programs that they believe have achieved excellence,” says Randy Petersen, founder of the Freddie Awards. “This is not an elitist view of these programs but rather the ‘best’ are determined by the votes of those who spend a great deal of their life on the road.”

Scroll down for a full list of the awards:

Program of the Year

* Americas Airline: American Airlines AAdvantage

* Americas Hotel: Marriott Rewards

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Virgin Australia Velocity

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Le Club Accorhotels

* Europe/Africa Airline: Air France/KLM Flying Blue

* Europe/Africa Hotel: Le Club Accorhotels

Best Promotion

* Americas Airline: Avianca LifeMiles (Cyber Monday Miles Purchase: 2×1 miles + 25% bonus)

* Americas Hotel: Choice Privileges (Take two separate trips, earn a $50 gift card)

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: El Al Matmid Club (Hot Winter Deal)

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Le Club Accorhotels (Receive up to 160 euros in points)

* Europe/Africa Airline: Air France/KLM Flying Blue (Promo awards)

* Europe/Africa Hotel: Le Club Accorhotels (Receive up to 160 euros in points)

Best Redemption Ability

* Americas Airline: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

* Americas Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Virgin Australia Velocity

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

* Europe/Africa Airline: Air France/KLM Flying Blue

* Europe/Africa Hotel: IHG Rewards Club

Best Customer Service

* Americas Airline: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards

* Americas Hotel: MGM M Life

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Virgin Australia Velocity

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: IHG Rewards Club

* Europe/Africa Airline: Lufthansa Miles & More

* Europe/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Elite Program

* Americas Airline: American Airlines AAdvantage

* Americas Hotel: Hyatt Gold Passport

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Airline: Etihad Guest

* Middle East/Asia/Oceania Hotel: Hyatt Gold Passport

* Europe/Africa Airline: Air France/KLM Flying Blue

* Europe/Africa Hotel: Starwood Preferred Guest

Best Loyalty Credit Card

* Americas: Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards Premier Card

*Middle East/Asia/Oceania: ADCB Etihad Guest Above Card

* Europe/Africa: Air France/KLM Flying Blue American Express Card