Archive for January 25, 2016

Snowpocalypse at the airport

With the recent 2016 blizzard on the Eastern seaboard of the United States, the snowpocalypse is leading to many stranded passengers at the airport, as well as several airports actually shutting down. Just take a look at all the delays, cancellations, and flight impacts using this neat interactive heat map web app produced by Flight Aware, and we can see the snowpocalypse impact throughout the North American airport infrastructure network:

The Snowpocolypse Flight map

The Snowpocalypse Flight map – Flight Aware

ORD and NYC have the worst network effect when it comes to flight impacts, with ATL a close second. My home airport, DEN fared fairly well all things considered (it’s still a United hub, with routes coming in from the Eastern seaboard, but DEN hasn’t gotten any snow this week). DEN has showed 16 delayed flights and only 1 cancellation, as compared to NYC’s 80 delayed flights and 59 cancelled flights. Granted, NYC includes everal airports (JGK, LGW, EWR) compared to Denver’s one (DEN), but you get the idea still.

According to Skift, more than 6,000 flights were cancelled over the weekend, with most happening on Saturday (4,400) at NYC and WAS airports.

Airlines canceled more than 6,600 flights this weekend as the blizzard hitting the East Coast brings major cities to a standstill.

Another interesting effect this snowpocalypse has been the proliferation of twitter hashtags related to being stuck at the airport.

Several hashtags have been floating around, used by frustrated travelers to voice their grievances, as well as airports to keep people informed of the state of the snowpocalypse – they include:

#AirportsNowDown – which is funny because I first read this snowpocalypse hashtag as “Airport Snowdown”, which I assumed was a play on another semi-popular hashtag #snowdown. But nope, it’s airports with an “s” and then “now down”. 🙂 Also, I’m surprised that ACI-NA chose this as a hashtag because, to me, it conjures up very negative images that I would think airports would like to keep their brands away from, especially given the already negative situation of a blizzard bringing travel to a standstill. Even so, some airport brands have managed to use this negative connotation to their advantage – check out how PHX (which by the way is covered in the tripchi airport app) has spun this snowpocalypse here:

#Blizzard2016 and #Jonas are a few that airports are using to keep people abreast of the snowpocalypse, but it’s a broader hashtag than just airports (in case you want to get in on the action). 🙂

#blizzard2016

#jonas

Incidentally, PIT is also part of the tripchi airport app – m.tripchi.com

#AirportThrowdown is another snowpocalypse hashtag one I’ve seen recently – which seems to be tied to both #Blizzard2016 and #AirportsNowDown. This hashtag has been promoted by the ACI-NA (Airports Council International – North America) using @AirportsCouncil.

#AirportThrowdown

I must say, I don’t really get it. But hey, it probably does mean something (sounds negative again, however, and not something airport brands would want to associate with).

If you want to see a nice roll-up of various tweets related to the snowpocalypse, then I suggest visiting Harriet Baskas’s blog, Stuck At The Airport – link here. And feel free to join in the #hashtag fun, and shoot @tripchi a note with your best #Airportsnowdown story.

MLK Day Airport Protests

If you happened to be at an airport during MLK Day today, you probably didn’t notice too many airports celebrating this historic day (to our disappointment). That said, you probably felt that Dr. King’s spirit was alive all the same if you witnessed airport workers’ protests at many airports across the country. There were several things these airport employees were demonstrating during this national day of civil disobedience – higher wagers (backing a $15 minimum wage proposal which would drastically increase the workers’ wages, which can be as low as $6.75 per hour), as well as shaking off threats against their rights to unionize. Dr. King would certainly have supported the airport workers’ plight of reaching for a higher minimum wage, as he supported a $2 minimum wage (around $15 in today’s terms) nearly 50 years ago. This “living wage” concept has also been on the front pages of US newspapers during the course of the Republican and Democratic debates, and will be a key issue for voters later this year.

Similar protests were held in Dec 2015 by United employees (Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune)

Similar protests were held in Dec 2015 by United employees (Abel Uribe / Chicago Tribune) from http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-mlk-airport-protests-20160116-story.html

One of the largest MLK Day demonstrations was by DCA (Reagan International Airport, which we plan to cover in the tripchi app soon) workers and supporters in Washington, D.C. Around 200 workers and supported blocked traffic from Independence Avenue SW, next to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall, and then marched from the memorial along Independence Ave. Their final march took them to a blockade of the Kutz Bridge over the Tidal Basin.

Countless other demonstrations at airports rippled across the country, and we’ve even heard reports of flight delays as a result. Drop us a line in the comments area if your travel plans were affected, or if you were able to witness any of the MLK Day airport protests first-hand.

Top Travel Brands

Diffbot recently put together a cool interactive infographic, highlighting the top travel brands by a variety of clever metrics. In this blog we’ll take a look at the findings.

The first thing the infographic focused on was Airlines, as measured by the number of mentions on social media channels (but not the usual suspects).

Top Travel Brands - Airlines

Top Travel Brands – Airlines

I found a few things interesting in this assessment. First of all, the typical social media channels – Twitter and Facebook – actually weren’t used in this assessment, which is what most companies tend to monitor to figure out sentiment about their travel brand. For this study, aggregate mentions on forums and comment sections on the web were considered, which allows for more freedom of expression than the typical 140 character Tweet.

What we see above is that United got the top number of mentions, with American Airlines second. However, even at second, brand fans tended to write more verbosely when talking about American than about United. This signals to me that American has more passionate travel brand fans. Lufthansa and British Airways fared the worse, with both the fewest number of mentions, and the shortest mentions when mentioned.

The next section of the infographic focuses on the specific relationship of a travel brand fan with the airline brand. The same airlines were analyzed, resulting in the following chart showing where consumer sentiment lies across the Negative – Neutral – Positive spectrum:

Airline travel brands love hate

Airline travel brands love hate

Here, even though previously it seemed that the number of mentions and comment length might lead to travel brand advocates, this is in fact not the case. Longer comments might actually mean more complaints, as both American Airlines and United come in the lower half of analyzed sentiment – both are just above a “neutral” brand assessment.

And which airline did the best? No surprise, Alaska Airlines. That matches up with what we wrote about earlier in 2015, when we rolled up passenger satisfaction and on-time performance from the Airline Quality Rating 2015 survey across airline travel brands.

Branvo once again, Alaska Airlines.

If you want to keep reading to learn about more travel brands than just airlines, check out the Diffbot link here.

tripchi – it’s a New Year for 2016 travel

cropped-tripchi-copy_blog.jpg2015 wrap-up & New Year 2016 travel begins – tripchi airport app newsletter

2016 travel is upon us, and the hectic 2015 holiday travel season is at an end. I had a wonderful time vacationing with friends and family in Los Angeles, recovering from my second ankle surgery, even though I was again faced with a difficult holiday travel experience on crutches (similar to those after my first surgery in 2014). To make matters worse, with the wacky El Niño weather the past few weeks, cancelling and delaying flights all across the Western Hemisphere, we all had to deal with a longer than average expected stay in the airport.

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