Cranky in the News


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Marketwatch Logo

The future of in-flight entertainment may include gyms

Kari Paul – November 8, 2017

Brett Snyder, founder and author of airline industry blog The Cranky Flier, called it “a PR gimmick.” He recommends the kind of entertainment you can put on mute. “Most of what I see is still focused around personal entertainment and giving people the ability to choose, so you don’t have to bother everyone with a concert not everyone is going to like,” he said, adding that customized content through partnerships like Amazon is becoming more common.


Houston Chronicle Logo

One of United’s last 747s comes to Houston once more before retirement

Andrea Rumbaugh – October 19, 2017

Notable, too, were luxurious extras like the piano bar, even though airlines quickly realized that wouldn’t add profits like additional seating.

“People remember that,” said Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, “but it hasn’t been that way in ages.”


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Airline Data Powerhouse Needs to Evolve as Fast as Airfares Have

Sean O’Neill – October 10, 2017

Brett Snyder of the airline industry blog Cranky Flier and a former pricing analyst for now-merged US Airways, said: “It sounds like a place that is searching for a way to remain relevant in a world where fare distribution won’t be as tightly controlled as in the past.”

Snyder said: “[The organization] needs to change, and it knows that. The problem is finding out exactly where it belongs in the new world.”


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The Best Age for Your Child to Get a Smartphone and Experience 11 Other Milestones

Stacey Feintuch – October 10, 2017

“I know this sounds bad, but as soon as your child is old enough to watch an iPad, then the flight itself is probably fine,” says Brett Snyder, founder and author of the airline industry blog Crankyflier.com. “Before that point, not so much. But every child is different.” He says you should also consider what country you’re visiting. “If you’re an American, then you can probably go to the United Kingdom without much trouble finding food your child will eat. But going to Japan, that’s going to be tougher. Still, it’s at the parents’ discretion.”


Houston Chronicle Logo

Max 8 a jumbo upgrade for Southwest Airlines

Andrea Rumbaugh – September 29, 2017

Southwest hasn’t added television monitors or power outlets, which could be a drawback as competitors offer such amenities on their long flights. The airline could also use faster internet, said Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com.

“What they have today doesn’t work as well for longer-distance flights without faster internet or power outlets,” Snyder said.

With the Boeing 737-300s’ retirement, Southwest’s entire fleet will have Wi-Fi. Snyder said that will provide a more consistent experience for travelers.

Snyder and Harteveldt said the Max 8 could also provide travelers with new routes, especially international ones.


Marketwatch Logo

As Ryanair tightens its carry-on policy, will other airlines follow?

Alessandra Malito – September 6, 2017

It’s unlikely U.S. airlines will follow Ryanair’s example in baggage policies, said Brett Snyder, founder and author of airline industry blog The Cranky Flier, instead focusing more on offering basic economy seats, which restricts carry-on bags. “That seems to be their tool of choice to reduce clutter on an aircraft,” he said. Encouraging people to pay a few dollars more for priority boarding is a bargain, and a softer approach than legacy airlines in the U.S., he added.


The Vindicator Logo

Allegiant gone, now what

Kalea Hall – August 27, 2017

“There’s no question they have grown. Allegiant doesn’t have loyalty,” Snyder said. “If the market doesn’t work, they just walk away. [If] they don’t make money they walk away.”

Smaller airports, Snyder explained, have struggled for years for several reasons.

“You just have a lot of things that make smaller, shorter air service less attractive,” Snyder said.

“It all kind of adds together,” Snyder said. “People have just accustomed themselves to driving to the bigger airports.”

“Before you may have people driving from Cleveland because it was so much cheaper,” Snyder said. But now they can fly Allegiant from Cleveland and Pittsburgh, he noted.

“There are a ton of airports that don’t have commercial service,” Snyder said. “They can thrive on being local private airports.”


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United considers a new system to resell your seat for a higher price

Julia Horowitz and Jon Ostrower – July 13, 2017

The strategy is, “‘We’re going to buy this seat from you, and we’re betting we can resell it,'” said Brett Snyder, a former airline manager and editor of the travel blog Crankyflier.com.


Marketwatch Logo

United slapped with fine for taking plane ‘not in airworthy condition’ on 23 flights

Kari Paul – May 31, 2017

The FAA also announced in 2016 that it would require airlines to implement safety management systems by 2018. Brett Snyder, author of the airline-industry blog CrankyFlier.com, said it is important to note that “not airworthy” doesn’t necessarily mean unsafe.

Had United done the correct inspection, “it most likely would have found that the work was done correctly and it would have been able to fly just as it did even without the inspection,” he said. “But inspections are mandated for a reason: to ensure that the work is done properly every time.”


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FOX 11 News In Depth: Big changes coming to LAX

Hal Eisner – May 7, 2017

Appeared on a Sunday morning newsmagazine show about the big Delta terminal moves at LAX.


Ft Worth Star-Telegram Logo

Bumped off an airline flight? Here are your rights

Teresa Mcusic – April 20, 2017

Brett Snyder, editor of Crankyflier.com, said involuntary bumping has actually become less frequent in the last decade.

On his website, Snyder shows that the level of denied boarding has dropped by around 50 percent since 2003. At the same time, airline load factors have grown from an average of 74 percent in 2003 to almost 84 percent today.

“We have much more full aircraft while the deny-boarding rate has gone down,” he said, adding that overbooking is necessary for airlines to keep fares low.


To the Point KRCW Logo

Will airline service ever be great again?

Warren Olney – April 14, 2017

This public radio program had 3 guests bashing airlines… and me. It’s fun to spar, but it always bugs me that there’s never enough time to answer everything.


Fox 11 LA Logo

Story on United 3411 and Dr David Dao

Zohreen Adamjee – April 13, 2017

Appeared on an evening news story about the United/Dr David Dao saga.


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United Fiasco: How Do Airlines Select Who to Remove From Overbooked Flights?

Nikita Biryukov – April 13, 2017

The airline will look to a passenger’s enrollment in their frequent flier programs and to the fare class of their ticket, said Brett Snyder, author and founder of the Cranky Flier travel blog. If it comes down to it, the airlines may compare check-in times.

“It’s almost like a musical chairs sort of thing,” Snyder said. “You have a certain number of seats on the plane. And so they start filling up those seats, and then whoever’s left standing at the end, in most cases, is the one who’s left out. Different story when people are already on the airplane.”

“They’ve made it public how they make the determination, and they have a right to do that, I suppose,” Snyder said. “It’s up to them, if they think this is really the right way to do it. But I don’t think there’s anything random about it if they’re following their guidelines.”


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The carefully calculated process airlines use to strategically overbook flights

Courtney Linder – April 12, 2017

“They also consider big conferences and conventions that you wouldn’t normally think about, as well as big sporting events or anything else that impacts demand,” according to airline industry expert Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier, LLC, an airline travel blog out of Long Beach, Calif.

Mr. Snyder says small airlines order “revenue management systems” off the shelf from Sabre or PROS. Larger firms, including American Airlines, may design their own to better leverage commerce data and attempt to perfect the booking process.

The goal in all of this is to never have to touch that list, said Crankyflier.com’s Snyder.

“You can see that Delta really stands out because it has the most denied bookings by far, but they’re mostly voluntary,” Mr. Snyder said. “The rate of overselling has gone up but the rate of bumping has gone down.”

Airlines tend to get the equations right, Mr. Snyder said. “As recently as 10 years ago, the airlines still sold 72 percent of seats. They’ve gotten really good at it to the point that they now fill 80 percent of seats.”

Budget airlines that are less sophisticated tend to be less aggressive in overselling, he said. Since many use generic revenue management systems, they may not be experts at prediction.

Mr. Snyder, who has worked in the past as a senior analyst for America West Airlines, among other positions with American Airlines and United, said that overbooking is a sophisticated, as well as legal, process.

But even the process used to create a “bump-at-will” list is compiled by programs with discriminating data, Mr. Snyder said. Although dependent on seemingly objective computer algorithms, the list is not actually randomized, he said.

“United says their bump list is random, but it’s not random according to their policy,” Mr. Snyder explained. “They even say they have criteria for who gets bumped. They use an algorithm, but there are set decision points for that list.”

To ensure the best chance of holding onto a seat on the plane, Mr. Snyder suggests showing up to the gate early.

“If you have a seat assignment, you’re in a better spot on the algorithm than others, and if you check in early, you’ll probably have a better chance.”


USA Today

United Airlines debacle: Was a ‘random’ computer search really to blame?

Elizabeth Weise – April 12, 2017

Once a flight is set, an airline’s customer service software kicks into action. These complex software packages, generally outsourced from either Hewlett Packard Enterprise or IBM, combine all major passenger service functions, including pricing, shopping, reservations, ticketing, check-in and seat assignment, said Brett Snyder, founder of the airline industry blog Crankyflier.com.

“The gate agents don’t do anything” and don’t create the list, said Snyder.

The goal in all of this is to never have to touch that list, said Crankyflier.com’s Snyder.

Finally, it isn’t simply a matter of who checked in last. “It’s kind of like musical chairs, whoever’s left standing is out of luck,” said Snyder.

“This was an abnormal situation because usually the computer’s making the decision before everybody’s on the plane,” said Snyder.

So in the end, said Snyder, “it’s never truly random, it’s what they put into the algorithm.”


Channel NewsAsia Logo

United finally apologises as image takes beating

April 12, 2017

I spoke to a reporter about the United bumping issue with Dr Dao.

On Point Logo

Passenger Rights And The United Scandal

Jane Clayson – April 12, 2017

I was a guest on this forty-five minute show discussing the United bumping of Dr Dao. I came on about 20 minutes in.

CNN.com Logo

Here’s how much airlines will pay you to give up your seat

Chris Isidore – April 11, 2017

Brett Snyder, a former airline executive and editor of the travel blog Crankyflier.com, said it’s rare for airlines to offer more than $1,350 for a voluntary seat surrender, but he’s heard of it happening.
“Sometimes you’re just desperate to find the passengers who agree to be bumped, like United should have been,” Snyder said. “It would have saved them a lot of money if they had offered more.”


ANC Logo

Interview on United Airlines Denied Boarding

Annalisa Burgos – April 11, 2017


Wired Logo

United and Other Airlines Overbook Flights Because It (Usually) Pays Off

Aarian Marshall – April 10, 2017

“It’s all about trying to maximize the revenue they bring in, and part of that is making sure there’s a butt in every seat,” says Brett Snyder, who runs the air travel assistance business Cranky Concierge. Overbooking is good for everybody, in a sense. “When you have fewer butts in seats, the fares need to be higher to cover all the costs that involved.”


Dallas Morning News Logo

Report card: Which airlines are top flight in punctuality, reliability?

Laurie Joseph and Conor Shine – March 5, 2017

“You see them putting a priority on that stuff. Part of it is they have more money and more resources to devote to it. Part of it is the recognition that in a consolidated world, you can’t just compete on price and schedule. You have to provide a better overall product, and part of that is running a good operation.”
— Brett Snyder, president, Cranky Flier LLC


Philadelphia Inquirer Logo

American Airlines redesignates boarding process

Linda Loyd – February 28, 2017

Travelers vie to board because of limited space in the overhead bins for carry-on bags. “It’s the fight for the overhead bin space,” said Brett Snyder, author of CrankyFlier.com, an airline-industry blog.

American contends the new boarding groups will simplify the process.

Snyder said it doesn’t simplify anything. “It’s just renumbering what they already do. Nothing is easier. It’s just now you have a better idea of where you stand.”

Snyder, of CrankyFlier, said, “My initial reaction when I saw this was that I liked it.” Under the old system, even if a boarding pass said Group 1, “most of the plane was already boarded by the time they got to me because of all the elites,” he said. “This just kind of sets the expectations better.”


New York Times Logo

Airlines Phasing Out Screens Because You Are All on Your Devices

Christopher Mele – February 16, 2017

Another financial incentive: Without the screens, carriers can install slimmer seats, which means they can accommodate more passengers and earn more money, Brett Snyder, the author of the airline industry blog “Cranky Flier,” said in an interview.

Mr. Snyder said he had seesawed in his feelings about streaming but had come down on the side of the screens.

“It is awesome to be able to watch television or a movie in the background while working on my laptop,” he wrote in a blog post. “This is indeed a first-world problem. Can I be content without the screen? Sure. But I kind of want it to feel like it is when I’m at home. That makes me greedy, but hey, why not?”


Arizona Republic Logo

American Airlines is shrinking in Phoenix

Dawn Gilbertson – December 27, 2016

Brett Snyder, who worked for America West for a few years and now runs the popular Cranky Flier blog and Cranky Concierge flight-planning and assistance service, said he used to take US Airways from Los Angeles or Long Beach, with a stop in Phoenix, to visit his in-laws in Indianapolis. Now, American offers non-stop service from Los Angeles so he opts for that. That is just one example, he said, of new non-stops from Los Angeles on American.

“These are people who used to go over Phoenix and now they’re skipping Phoenix entirely,” he said.

Blogger Snyder said the addition of those flights in Phoenix is encouraging. He said that didn’t occur in Memphis and Cincinnati before those cities losing their hubs after airline mergers.

“There is still an important place for Phoenix and you can see that by some of the routes they’ve added,” he said. “Even though they’re not the biggest new destinations, it still shows that they’re important for American to serve and Phoenix is the way to serve them.”


Cleveland Plain Dealer Logo

United Airlines’ new Basic Economy fares: no carry-on, no seat assignment, no problem?

Susan Glaser – December 15, 2016

American Airlines is expected to unveil its own Basic Economy fare sometime next year. Look for both American and Delta to copy United’s overhead-bin policy if United’s plan is successful, said Brett Snyder, who operates the CrankyFlier.com website.

“The reality is that a lot of people are responding to this cheap model, this a la carte model,” said Snyder. U.S. legacy carriers are feeling pressure from low-cost competition not just in the United States, but also in Europe. “Look at Ryanair, easyJet – they’ve taken over the continent,” he said.

Snyder said that the success of United’s Basic Economy will depend a lot on how well it’s implemented.

Consumers, he said, have to be told very clearly what the different price points will get them. No one should arrive at the airport with a carry-on bag and be surprised that it’s not included with their fare, he said. (And if they are, they’ll be socked with a fee – not yet determined – to allow them to carry it on board, according to United.)


New York Times Logo

Doyle Owens, Founder of the Unclaimed Baggage Center, Dies at 850

Richard Sandomir – December 7, 2016

“This is just American ingenuity,” Brett Snyder, the president of Cranky Flier, an airline industry blog, said of the store. “Finding a niche opportunity and putting it to use.”


Travel Weekly Logo

Regulators taking harder look at air-service consolidation

Robert Silk – November 29, 2016

“They’re clearly trying to make some noise before going away,” Brett Snyder, who runs the aviation blog Cranky Flier, said of the two agencies.

Still, Snyder said he expects that regulators will reach a deal with Alaska-Virgin before Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.
“My assumption is they would have abandoned it by now if it wasn’t going to be resolvable,” he said of Alaska.


Wired Logo

Frequent Flier Miles Are Kaput—The Game’s About Credit Cards Now

Aarian Marshall – November 23, 2016

“The tweaks that [the airlines] are making are not about loyalty, but about revenue optimization,” says Brett Snyder, who runs the Cranky Concierge, an air travel assistance business.

The first rule: Collect whatever you can. “I’m a general believer that if you’re flying somewhere, you might as well earn miles,” says Snyder. “If over time you collect enough of them, great. If not, oh well.” So go ahead—sign up for that awards program and make sure you’re scoring ’em.


Travel Weekly Logo

Hub-and-spoke method leads to earlier on-time recovery

Robert Silk – September 26, 2016

Brett Snyder, who runs the aviation blog Cranky Flier, said the shorter ground times that point-to-point planes usually see are a likely reason that an airline like Southwest doesn’t recover with on-time performance as well during the evening as hub-and-spoke carriers.

“In general, they are just using very different strategies for running the airline,” Snyder said.


KPCC Logo

Airlines plan new regulations for service animals in-flight

Larry Mantle – September 26, 2016

Radio appearance talking about service and emotional support animals


Dallas Morning News Logo

Loyalty only goes so far as American Airlines, others revamp rewards programs

Conor Shine – September 16, 2016

“Frequent flier programs have become tremendous cash cows,” said Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog Cranky Flier and president of air travel assistance company Cranky Concierge. “They’ve looked at ‘How do we craft a program that’s going to help us make more money?’ ”

“First class pricing has come down significantly so you get a lot more people buying tickets. Not only are more people competing for upgrades, they’re selling it as a smaller upsell,” Snyder said. “It definitely takes away a ton of the value.”


Houston Chronicle Logo

United upgrades target high-end corporate fliers

Ileana Najarro – September 7, 2016

Yet Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, said carriers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, as well as U.S. carriers like Delta Air Lines, have already boosted onboard sleep quality for fliers.

“In terms of customer offerings, this is United catching up,” Snyder said.

Snyder mentioned Delta’s plan for suite-like spaces in business class.

Snyder expressed concern that future budget cuts could reduce the availability of some amenities, such as snacks and drinks or redesigned dishware and utensils.


NBCNews.com Logo

Delta Introduces Chip Tags, Tracking App So You Know Exactly Where Your Luggage Is

Alyssa Newcomb – August 22, 2016

Brett Snyder, who runs the blog Cranky Flier, told NBC News the technology could help put an end to lost luggage crankiness.

“The airlines have been doing better in general when it comes to mishandled bags, but this is going to help significantly,” Snyder said.

“Things really go off the rails when you have storms and you have bags scattered everywhere,” Snyder said. “Over the past few years, you’ve seen airlines going behind the scenes to focus on better operating and handling.”


Travel Weekly Logo

United makes good on pledge to improve on-time performance

Robert Silk – August 21, 2016

Brett Snyder, who runs the aviation blog Cranky Flier, said airlines that want to bring on-time stats up quickly also sometimes pad their schedules by increasing “block times,” the average time an airline expects routes to take, gate to gate.

Longer block times on the same route can improve on-time stats while a carrier does the harder work of making operations more efficient, he said. Once better efficiency is achieved, a carrier can then lower block times, which are often used as a metric for paying crews, as a way to reduce overhead.


Burbank Leader Logo

Blogger flies to 8 [ed note: actually 9] airports in one day

Anthony Clark Carpio – August 12, 2016

This article chronicled my day of flying Southwest on 8 flights between 9 California airports, never touching the same one twice.


TheStreet Real Money Logo

Questions Abound as Delta Power Outage Should Have Been Preventable

Tony Owusu – August 11, 2016

“I tend to doubt that these issues will have long-lasting impacts,” Brett Snyder of airline industry blog CrankyFlier.com said in a phone interview. “You will start to see an impact if a single airline starts experiencing multiple issues. A single issue like what happened on Monday will cause minimal impact in terms of flier sentiment.”


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4 Tips for Handling a Tight Flight Connection

Sebastian Modak – August 11, 2016

The best strategy for a tight connection is making sure you have the most accurate gate information, says Brett Snyder, travel specialist and president of Cranky Concierge. For that, go to the source: the airline’s app, he says. Many let you set flight status alerts, too, which keep you updated on changes.


CNN.com Logo

How do airline computer systems work?

Thom Patterson – August 8, 2016

“If you call Southwest, and they say, ‘Do you have a domestic itinerary or an international one?’ they actually need to know that, because they have two different systems,” said airline travel expert and former airline senior analyst Brett Snyder of crankyflier.com.

“Delta said, ‘This is ours and we’re going to do all the development in-house that we need.’ Now they’re pitching it to other airlines,” said Snyder.


Houston Chronicle Logo

Southwest still delaying, canceling flights after technology outage

Andrea Rumbaugh – July 22, 2016

“For an airline, which is highly dependent on technology, that is pretty poor,” Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, said about the system-wide technology outage.

The technical outage occurred during the height of summer travel, when families have planned vacations and don’t have the flexibility to change flights. Planes are fuller, too, which means fewer displaced travelers can be reassigned to them, Snyder said.


Associated Press Logo

Bereavement Fares Have Disappeared on Most US Airlines

David Koenig – July 13, 2016

“As low-fare carriers came into more markets, those bereavement fares ended up being higher than you could get elsewhere. It just angered people,” said Brett Snyder, who runs a concierge booking service and writes the crankyflier.com blog.

Bereavement tickets aren’t dead yet, though. Snyder said one of his customers recently used one on Delta.


Travel Weekly Logo

Scheduled charters a growing air service

Robert Silk – July 13, 2016

Brett Snyder, who writes the popular aviation blog Cranky Flyer [sic], said another factor that plays to the advantage of scheduled charters is the weakening of loyalty programs. For example, since 2014, American, Delta and United have all made it more difficult to obtain elite status by adding minimum annual spending thresholds on top of the previously existing minimum mileage thresholds. In addition, airlines have become more loath to offer upgrades to business class and first class.

Such policies can reduce brand loyalty among business flyers, Snyder said.

“The harder airlines make it to access benefits in their loyalty programs, the easier it is for a traveler to choose the flight that’s best for them, regardless of airline,” he said.


Houston Chronicle Logo

United’s international business class gets an upgrade

Andrea Rumbaugh – June 2, 2016

Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, said United has lagged Delta and American in offering seats with aisle access.

“The seat is catchup,” Snyder said. “United has had a subpar experience.”

As for United’s other Polaris amenities, Snyder said its competitors offer similar perks. Delta, for instance, advertises “plush Westin Heavenly In-Flight Bedding on 180-degree flat-bed seats” and hypoallergenic pillows.

“This looks like it should be a very good international business-class product. No doubt about it,” Snyder said. “But is it revolutionary? No.”

He said United could be the only domestic airline offering lounges dedicated for business-class travelers, however.


Entrepreneur Logo

JetBlue Defends Decision to Ask Passenger to Replace Booty Shorts Before Boarding Flight. Will the Incident Affect Its Brand?

Kim Lachance Shandrow – May 31, 2016

From a branding and customer retention standpoint, the incident won’t make so much as a dent in JetBlue’s reputation, nor its bottom line, says veteran airline industry expert Brett Snyder. “This won’t matter, there will be no impact,” the founder and president of Cranky Concierge, a Long Beach, Calif.-based air travel assistance company, tells Entrepreneur.

Passenger attire hiccups like these don’t happen often because, as Snyder says, most airlines don’t have a “cut and dry” dress code. “This is usually covered on the ‘Refusal to Transport’ section of the airline’s contract of carriage, and JetBlue has nothing specific. Kudos to Hawaiian [Airlines] for actually having one, but most airlines do not.”

Such might’ve been the case with McMuffin. Snyder suspects there’s a bit more to the story than the length of her short-shorts. “The person who is denied boarding always ends up initially coming off as a completely innocent participant, but it can sometimes later come out that he or she was belligerent or drunk or something else.” No matter: “The reality is that any airline has the right to refuse service, so JetBlue certainly has the right to do it.”


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Get the Best Deals with Frequent Flier Miles

Paul Magers – May 19, 2016


CNN.com Logo

Delta’s new CEO wants you to cut the TSA line

Thom Patterson – May 6, 2016

“Delta has a problem,” said airline analyst Brett Snyder of CrankyFlier.com. “And the problem is that it doesn’t have a lot of problems.”

“It’s hard not to get cocky when people are fawning all over you and telling you what a great job you’re doing,” Snyder said.

“To me, that is the biggest issue that Ed faces in this job, is preventing Delta from getting too cocky and getting over confident.”

“They’re addressing their slow Wi-Fi problems,” Snyder said. “They’re entering into an agreement with Gogo to bring in faster 2Ku Wi-Fi service. It’ll take time but they’re working on it.”

Nope, not according to Snyder. “As long as you maintain your fleet and it’s a nice experience on the inside, then it shouldn’t matter what it is on the outside.”

Look for Delta to try new ideas aimed at getting customers to open their wallets. Snyder calls it “flexing their revenue muscles.”

We’ll know Delta is crossing the line of cockiness, said Snyder, if it continues to flex its revenue muscles even when it’s clear the strategy isn’t paying off.

“So we’ll see,” Snyder said. “I’ll be really curious to see how that turns out.”


Associated Press Logo

Taking advantage of airline schedule changes to save money

Scott Mayerowitz – April 28, 2016

“The fact that you can change is generally made clear. They don’t make it clear what you can change to,” says Brett Snyder, who runs an air travel assistance company called Cranky Concierge. “The rules are crazy and complex.”

“They tend to be pretty flexible as long as it is a legitimate change,” Snyder says.


Philadelphia Inquirer Logo

Consumers push back on new airline rules, higher fares

Linda Loyd – April 21, 2016

When airlines announced the change, the fares generated on booking computers for a multi-city reservation became “fully refundable fares, which were insanely expensive. You saw $2,000 differences on some of these,” said Brett Snyder, author of CrankyFlier.com, an airline industry blog.

In the last two weeks, after public outcry, airlines have been backtracking and tweaking their fares, said Snyder, who recommends that passengers compare the cost of purchasing each flight separately with the price for a single ticket with multiple stops.

“Just because you never know how something is going to price,” he said. “Airlines have made this so opaque and so confusing.”

American, Delta, and United changed the pricing on multi-city trips “to try to solve a different problem,” CrankyFlier’s Snyder said. Low-cost rivals Spirit and Frontier have been rapidly expanding, offering cut-rate fares.

The major airlines “have been struggling to find a way to control how many people have access to those really cheap ultra low-cost carrier matching fares,” Snyder said.

Under the new policies, a traveler flying from Washington to Dallas, staying awhile, and then flying to San Francisco, staying for a while, and flying back to Washington on American would pay $1,837.20 on a single ticket. It would cost $412.80 if the flights were bought separately, Snyder wrote in a March 31 blog post.

“To fix the problem, airlines dropped the hammer,” he said. “They made it so that fares could not be combined with other fares on a single ticket, except for simple out-and-back round trips (from Point A to Point B and back to Point A).”


Bloomberg Logo

Three Big Airlines Just Trashed Your Cheap Fares

Justin Bachman – April 15, 2016

“The airlines just really screwed this whole thing up,” said Brett Snyder, a former airline pricing analyst who first wrote about the multicity fare changes on March 31 on his blog. “They had a problem, and they just didn’t think it through on how to solve it.”


Travel Weekly Logo

Alaska Air seeks California edge with Virgin America acquisition

Jamie Biesiada – April 10, 2016

Brett Snyder, president of CrankyFlier.com, said, “Alaska has a heritage as a traditional mainline carrier, but Alaska has also invested a lot in technology, has focused a lot on the operation. They have a fanatical following in the Pacific Northwest for sure, and so they are well-loved.”

As for Virgin America, Snyder said, “They’re the cool kids, right?”

Time will tell if Alaska will adopt any part of Virgin’s onboard experience.

“Ultimately, I’m not convinced that you need to have all of the things they have,” Snyder said of Virgin America’s accoutrements. “Does it really matter if you have mood lighting? And, by the way, Alaska’s new planes can do mood lighting, too, but does that matter? Does in-seat video matter? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. … Ultimately, what really matters is an airline with a good operation that treats people well, has decent fares and can get you where you need to go.”

Snyder agreed: “They have little overlap with each other, so it doesn’t really remove much in the way of direct competition. … And there are plenty of competitors on the routes that they do overlap.”


The Vindicator Logo

Growth in flights at YNG bucks US trends

Kalea Hall – April 10, 2016

“Smaller airports have really struggled,” said Brett Snyder, author and founder of the airline industry blog, CrankyFlier.

With ADI only having one flight on some days, local business travelers may see an inconvenience.

“If you are a business traveler you generally are going to need that flexibility,” Snyder said.

“Most cities think they have demand and they don’t,” Snyder said.


Associated Press Logo

Fliers beware: New airfare rule could lead to costly mistake

Scott Mayerowitz – April 6, 2016

Brett Snyder, who runs an air travel assistance company called Cranky Concierge, put it differently: “They haven’t found a way to solve it eloquently so they solved it with a sledgehammer.”

“They’re making you overpay,” Snyder added. “Airlines for years have made it clear that when you book a roundtrip it would be cheaper or the same price as a one way. Now they are flipping that, penalizing you and not even telling you.”


Associated Press Logo

Airline complaints rise even as more planes arrive on time

David Koenig – April 5, 2016

There are serious students of the airline industry who dismiss reports like the one from Wichita State and Embry-Riddle. Brett Snyder, who writes the Cranky Flier blog, said the rankings don’t tell travelers whether an airline is good or bad at what matters to them.

“It lumps everything together in a way that doesn’t make sense for most travelers,” Snyder says. “You should research what matters to you. If you’re flying a specific route, you can look at on-time performance on that route.”


Seattle Times Logo

Virgin fans may fret, but Alaska Airlines deal will benefit many on West Coast

Dominic Gates – April 4, 2016

Brett Snyder, founder of the airline-industry blog Cranky Flier and a resident of the Los Angeles area where Alaska’s reach will be greatly extended, welcomes the increased opportunity to redeem the miles earned on his Alaska Airlines Visa card.

“I’m excited about having more ability to use Alaska to go different places,” said Snyder. “From a passenger perspective, I’m really OK with it.”

Of course, said Snyder, the Cranky Flier, “I’m sure he’s not going to cry over it that much longer.” Branson’s stake in an airline that financially was never hugely successful will be sold for a stratospheric price.

It may be a blow to Virgin America loyalists to lose that experience, Snyder said, but most travelers are more concerned about a comfortable, affordable, on-time ride to wherever they want to go.

“This aura around Virgin America of just being cool, for some people is really appealing,” said Snyder. “For others, it doesn’t matter as much.”

And as for fares, both Snyder and Harteveldt said that because Virgin has a relatively light schedule on routes that are also flown by multiple other carriers, there’d still be plenty of competition if it were eliminated.

For example, Delta, United and Southwest as well as Alaska all fly on Virgin America’s routes from Seattle and Portland to the Bay Area.

“It’s not like this is a route going to no competition, said Snyder. “I doubt there’ll be a huge impact on fares.”


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Alaska Air buys Virgin America, and may keep a hint of its bling

Liz Ruskin – April 4, 2016

Also radio interview to accompany written article:
“There will be the added benefit, of course, for people that are loyal to the frequent flier program,” says Brett Snyder, who blogs about the airline industry on CrankyFlier.com. “They’ll have more options, be able to do more through San Francisco, LA and head east … but I don’t really expect to see a ton of changes for people who are in Alaska itself.”

Snyder says whenever there’s a merger, consumers want to know the practical effects, like how the two airlines will merge their frequent flier programs and whether the seat amenities will change.

“And the reality is these guys don’t know,” Snyder said, referring to airline executives. “They know that the numbers make sense. They’ve created a story from their perspective where the combined networks are going to work. And this is going to help them grow and achieve their goals. But the specifics we just don’t know, and so these will be revealed over time.”

It will be a meeting of two very different brand personas. Alaska, at more than 75-years-old, is all traditional and buttoned up. Snyder says young Virgin, with mood lighting and rock music, is far cooler.

“You know, Virgin –you feel like you’re going to the club,” Snyder said. “Anytime I walk on a Virgin airplane, I kind of look like there should be a bouncer who’s telling me I’m not allowed on.”


Houston Chronicle Logo

5 years later, Continental-United merger still stirs strong feelings

Andrea Rumbaugh – April 1, 2016

Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, said on-time performance has to be the “No. 1” priority.

“If you get me somewhere late, no matter what else you do, I’m not happy,” he said.

Snyder said it might be misleading to compare the pre-merger Continental data with post-merger United because they flew from different airports with different levels of congestion.

But in passenger satisfaction, United placed last among traditional carriers in the J.D. Power 2015 North America Airline Satisfaction Study. Since the survey began in 2005, United has always ranked below average for its category. By comparison, Continental ranked No. 1 – or tied for first – among traditional airlines in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

“I think there’s definitely some truth in what you’re seeing there with Continental being at the top and United not being at the top,” Snyder said.

While these sweeping reports have a kernel of truth, he said, results often aren’t insightful enough for airlines to take specific actions toward improving.


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Alaska Airlines Wants To Buy Virgin America, But Is It A Good Fit?

Interview with Spencer Raymond – March 31, 2016


Associated Press Logo

Hawaii senators want an end to shrinking airplane seat sizes

Cathy Bussewitz – March 31, 2016

“My general opinion on this is that it’s ridiculous, because people say they want more room on planes, but what they really want are cheap fares,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Concierge and author of the travel blog The Cranky Flier. “The airlines respond to that and have effectively tried to provide a variety of options for a lot of things.”


Houston Chronicle Logo

United seeks Cuba service from IAH

Andrea Rumbaugh – March 2, 2016

Brett Snyder, author of the airline industry blog crankyflier.com, said United will not get all of the flights it’s requesting.

“There’s no way that everybody is going to get what they want,” he said.

If United is awarded service, Snyder said, Newark seems most likely, though it’s hard to tell how the Transportation Department will divide the routes.


Atlanta Journal Constitution Logo

U.S.-Japan deal a defeat for Delta

Kelly Yamanouchi – February 18, 2016

Although Delta is concerned that the deal could cause its Narita hub to unravel, “whether that happens, who knows?” said Brett Snyder, a former airline manager who runs a consumer airline blog at crankyflier.com.

Snyder was doubtful, though, that the deal will scuttle Atlanta-Tokyo flights.

“This is a big route between two major world business centers,” Snyder said. “If you’re the only game in town between Atlanta and Tokyo, you’re probably still going to be flying.”

Snyder said Delta’s problem was that its position “happens to be against the interest of all the other airlines,” Snyder said.

Delta was arguing against gradual liberalization, while in U.S. aviation policy, “all trends have been toward liberalization,” he added.


LoHud Journal News Logo

‘Air taxi’ business sees promise at Westchester County Airport

Matt Coyne – February 12, 2016

Brett Snyder, who covers the airline industry on The Cranky Flier blog, believes the market for an air taxi-style service is generally confined to places where people can pay.

“The convenience factor is huge. If you live in Westchester and you want to go to Martha’s Vineyard, do you really want to sit in traffic or go to JFK (airport)? It’s a pain, right?” Snyder said. “The problem is, the cost factor is still there.”

“It’s a niche… but it’s a niche that can work,” he added.

Air taxi services can also help solve the problem of ensuring smaller markets retain air travel links, Snyder said.


CNN.com Logo

U.S. congressman proposes law to limit shrinking airline seats

Thom Patterson – February 10, 2016

But Brett Snyder of the consumer airline blog CrankyFlier isn’t so supportive.

“This is absurd,” Snyder said. “Without question, the FAA should ensure that passengers can quickly and safely get out of an airplane in an emergency, but that should be the only requirement on seat size and pitch.”

If passengers choose, they can pay for extra leg room, Snyder said.

“But by requiring minimum seat size and pitch, Congress would effectively be pushing the cost of plane tickets out of reach for the most price-sensitive travelers.”


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The Secret Of Cheap, One-Way Airfare

Alexandra Talty – February 2, 2016

“ If there are low-cost carriers in that market, you are likely to have one-way fares on all airlines ,” explains Brett Snyder, founder of airline industry blog, The Cranky Flier.

However, one-way tickets can be more expensive to and from smaller markets, where low-cost airlines do not fly . If you live near a smaller airport, Snyder advises to drive to a bigger a city or expand your search beyond non-stop flights. This allows a route through a popular hub, which adds more competition and potentially cheaper one-way flights.

“It is often better to book on the airline directly than an agent,” says Snyder.

“It started with Southwest Airlines,” explains Snyder. ”Legacy airlines had to become more competitive as low-cost airlines moved into more markets”


Philadelphia Inquirer Logo

Free snacks coming back on American and United

Linda Loyd – February 2, 2016

“The airlines are now competing beyond price,” said Brett Snyder, author of CrankyFlier.com, an airline-industry blog. “They are all now trying to compete with each other, and make sure they are offering products that people are willing to choose.”

Hawaiian Airlines, based in Honolulu, is the only U.S. carrier to still offer a free meal in coach, Snyder said. “Hawaiian says it’s a cultural thing, that when people come into your home, you offer them food,” he said. “Hawaiian views food as an important symbol of their welcoming people.

“So the other airlines are seeing that there is some value in doing that as well, I guess.”


USA Today

SeaPort Airlines abruptly cancels service in several states

Harriet Baskas – January 19, 2016

“Finding airplanes is easy, but getting enough pilots to keep them in the air is hard thanks to stepped up federal regulations on pilot qualification and rest,” said Brett Snyder of The Cranky Flier.


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The Opening Bell (Brett Snyder, Cranky Flier Interview)

Steve Grzanich – January 15, 2016


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What to do if your flight is grounded: Advice for airline travelers facing weather and other delays

Susan Glaser – January 13, 2016

“Try every tool you have,” said Brett Snyder, president of Cranky Flier, an aviation blog, and Cranky Concierge, a travel agency. That means: work with gate agents, call customer service, enlist the help of a travel agent (Snyder’s company offers “urgent assistance” for $150).

It may come as a surprise to some passengers, but gate agents really do want to help you, said Snyder. “People think that gate agents are sitting there with some nefarious plot. But what they really want is to get you on your way so they don’t have to deal with you anymore,” said Snyder. “Your interests are aligned.”

“They [Frontier] will not put you on another airline – that’s something you need to know,” said Snyder. “The trade-off for your cheap fare is that you’re not going to have as many options when something goes wrong.”

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