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High jet fuel prices have protected existing airlines from startups, prevented fare wars

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Airline executives frequently complain about fuel costs. But the truth is higher prices actually have been good for business. In the past six years, airlines have overhauled the way they operate to adjust to this new reality. They've shown more discipline by offering fewer seats, which ensures airfares are high enough to cover costs. Unprofitable routes have been eliminated. And every expense has been scrutinized.

Upgrade policy changes last straw for some frequent flyers

By Mitch Lipka (Reuters) - For business flyers like Adam Kubryk, who is on the road about 200 days a year, one of the perks of flying often and using the same airline regularly is getting upgraded from coach to business class when a seat is available. But now when he flies on Delta Air Lines on some of his more frequent work-related routes, he has lost that key perk and it is making him mad enough to ditch the airline and take his frequent flyer miles elsewhere.

Faster Wi-Fi on flights leads to battle in the sky

By Alwyn Scott and Victoria Bryan NEW YORK/HAMBURG (Reuters) - Wi-Fi in the sky is taking off, promising much better connections for travelers and a bonanza for the companies that sell the systems. With satellite-based Wi-Fi, Internet speeds on jetliners are getting lightning fast. And airlines are finding that travelers expect connections in the air to rival those on the ground - and at lower cost.

Travellers adjust on the fly as airlines change loyalty-program rules; American just the latest

DALLAS - Airline travellers are adjusting to constant turbulence in frequent-flier programs. American Airlines is the latest to tinker with its program. The Dallas-based carrier on Tuesday announced changes that make it tougher to redeem miles for a flight during busy travel periods, and to check a bag without a fee. The changes aren't as dramatic as Delta Air Lines Inc.'s recent switch to basing rewards on money spent, not miles flown, but they are just the latest example of airlines giving away less as executives increasingly focus on growing profits.

Airlines are running late and mishandling more bags, but fewer passengers complain

DALLAS - A big drop in customer complaints helped U.S. airlines post their best ratings ever even though more flights were late and more bags were mishandled, according to a report released Monday by university researchers. Virgin America topped the ratings, and three regional airlines scored at the bottom. Among the four biggest airlines, Delta ranked best followed by Southwest, American and United, according to researchers from Wichita State University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Supreme Court limits lawsuits over frequent flier programs, rules against Minnesota rabbi

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a Minnesota rabbi who complained about an airline's frequent flier program is out of luck. The justices unanimously sided with Northwest Airlines and dismissed a lawsuit from Rabbi S. Binyomin Ginsberg that alleged he was stripped of his top-level frequent flier status because he complained too much.

Pilots for regional airline American Eagle reject contract offer, call it concessionary

DALLAS - Pilots at regional airline American Eagle are rejecting a contract proposal that they say freezes their pay and cuts health-insurance benefits. About 70 per cent of the pilots voting turned down the offer, the Air Line Pilots Association said Friday. Eagle's parent company also owns American Airlines, and it has threatened to farm out Eagle's planes to other regional carriers.

Oracle quarterly results disappoint Wall Street; shares fall

By Noel Randewich SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Oracle Corp posted higher third-quarter revenue and profit that failed to satisfy investors looking for signs of a sustained turnaround, and its shares fell about 4 percent. Shareholders had grown more optimistic after Oracle's previous quarterly results, but still worried about slow IT spending and growing competition from smaller, nimble rivals. On Tuesday, the company also forecast current-quarter results roughly in line with investors' targets.

Top 4 airlines blame storms for 75,000 cancelled flights, but travel demand looks sunny

DALLAS - Airlines are still tallying up the damage from this winter's storms, but solid demand for travel means they are likely to weather the rocky start to 2014 in good shape. Reports from some of the airlines point to higher average prices, and executives say spring bookings look strong.

Malaysia launches terror probe over vanished jet

Malaysia on Sunday launched a terror probe into the disappearance of a passenger jet carrying 239 people and the United States sent the FBI to investigate, as anguished relatives begged for news of their loved ones. Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished from radar early Saturday somewhere at sea between Malaysia's east coast and southern Vietnam. Search teams were still hunting for the plane, and the airline said it was "fearing the worst".
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