By Joe Brancatelli
THE AIRPORT REPORT
San Jose Terminal B Concourse Opens Its First Five Gates: Aging San Jose Airport in Silicon Valley is getting a $1.3 billion makeover and here’s the first evidence of the upgrade: Five gates have opened in the new Terminal B Concourse. All the gates will be used by Southwest, which now splits its San Jose operation between Terminal A and B. The downside of Terminal B: Travelers must clear security in Terminal A and take a long, long walk to get to the Terminal B gates.
- A business center has opened in the South Terminal at Miami Airport between Concourses H and J. The operation, with five computers, photocopiers and printers, is run by a currency-exchange firm.
- Continental Airlines has moved to Terminal 3 at Beijing International. Continental’s check-in facilities at the sprawling airport are located at Aisle D/Counters 11-16.
- Air Jamaica now sells day passes to its Executive Lounge clubs in Kingston and Montego Bay for $30 a visit.
- The world’s first Jack Daniels duty-free shop has opened in Terminal D of Houston’s Intercontinental Airport. It sells Jack Daniels (duh!) and Jack-branded merchandise.
- Speaking of firsts, the first airport branch of The Palm steakhouse chain is due to open later this year at Terminal 4 of New York/Kennedy Airport.
Lose Tons of Dough, Then Slap New Fees on Us: Continental Airlines and Delta Air Lines reported huge quarterly losses last month and their response was typical: Higher junk fees on us.
- Continental, which lost $213 million in the second quarter, tacked $5 more on both its checked-bag fees and its telephone-reservation charge. The fee is now $25 whenever you purchase a ticket or claim an award seat by phone. As for checked bags, the fee is now $15 for the first bag if you pay online and $20 if you pay at the airport. The second-checked-bag fee is $25 when paid online and $30 at the airport.
- Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines, which lost $257 million in the second quarter, added $5 to its checked-bag charge at the airport, too. The fees are now $15 (online) and $20 (at the airport) for the first bag and $25 (online) and $30 (at the airport) for the second bag. … Speaking of Delta, it was fined $375,000 for mishandling denied boarding procedures at the airport. The Transportation Department says that an examination of Delta records and passenger complaints from January to July, 2008, indicates that the carrier didn’t inform bumped travelers of their rights.
More Partners, Fewer Routes and Fewer Carriers: United Airlines continues to shrink. As it announced a second-quarter $323 million net loss late last month, it detailed more international route cuts: Gone by the fall will be flights to China from its Washington/Dulles hub and Denver-London/Heathrow nonstops.
- American Airlines has two new international partners. The first is Etihad Airways, which flies to Abu Dhabi from New York/Kennedy and Chicago/O’Hare. Those are American Airlines hubs, too. The other is GOL Airlines of Brazil. Effective August 1, American AAdvantage members are able to earn miles on select GOL flights. Travelers will be able to claim awards on GOL in the fall.
- Speaking of partnerships, Delta Air Lines says it wants to form a joint-venture alliance with Virgin Blue, the Australian airline. The two carriers compete on the Los Angeles-Sydney route. … Goodbye to MyAir.com, the Italian discountairline. Its financial difficulties led to a shutdown by Italian regulators. Meanwhile, Mexican regulators have shut down Aviacsa for safety violations.
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Joe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of JoeSentMe.com, a non-commercial Web site for business travelers. Copyright 2009 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.