As travel demand continues to rise and prices remain high, airlines are thinking of new ways to satisfy their customers and employees. Read on for the latest ‘Intel in the Air’ news roundup, where we’ll cover the biggest travel and aviation news from the month of June.
Prices Continue to Rise
We’ve been covering the rise of travel costs and gas prices over the last few months, so it’s no surprise that domestic airfare is up 45% since 2019, and international airfare is up 31%. This is due in part to rising fuel costs, but also to lower supply and higher demand levels. With the U.S. officially dropping its testing requirements for international travelers in June, international travel is becoming more accessible — if passengers can afford it, that is.
Dealing with Backlash
Thousands of flights were cancelled in June due to bad weather and worker shortages, most notably pilot shortages. Due to understaffing, many pilots have felt overworked and underappreciated, resulting in several recent pilot protests. More than 1,300 Southwest pilots protested at Dallas Love Field, hoping for better pay and scheduling. Delta pilots followed suit by protesting around the streets of New York City and in Grand Central Station, noting fatiguing schedules as their pain point.
United Airlines took the first step forward in satisfying their workers by raising pilot salaries 14% and offering eight weeks of maternity leave. Eyes are now on Southwest and Delta as they continue contract negotiations following the protests.
Similar situations are occurring in Europe, notably with the low-budget airlines EasyJet and Ryanair. With workers set to unionize this summer as a surge of travel hits the continent, passengers can continue to expect flight delays and cancellations.
Keeping Passengers Satisfied
Due to the rise in airfare, flight delays, cancellations and airport congestion, passenger satisfaction with airlines is decreasing. Therefore, airlines are coming up with various new ways to keep fliers happy amidst all the changes in the industry. Delta Air Lines is bringing more food and beverage startups to its in-flight dining offerings. For example, Delta partnered with startup Tip Top Cocktails to bring old fashioneds and margaritas aboard flights. Delta also added new in-flight entertainment options this month, including courses from Masterclass, an online education subscription platform with classes from celebrities like Gordon Ramsay and Anna Wintour. Other entertainment options include Spotify playlists and Peloton classes.
Overall, the pressure is on for airlines to provide outstanding customer service that is on par with the spike in travel prices.
Happy summer and safe travels!