CAA Media Report February 8-15

CAA Media Report Feb 8-15

Attention CT travelers: Frontier Airlines to offer unlimited summer travel pass

CT Insider / Feb. 10, 2024
Now arriving at an airport gate near you: A Frontier Airlines program in which consumers can take an unlimited number of flights to anywhere the Denver-based airline flies this summer for $399.
The offer from the airline, which serves Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, comes with a few caveats. Reservations for domestic flights can't be made until the day before the flight is scheduled to depart, while flights to international destinations can only be booked 10 days in advance of departure.
The window of time to travel in the GoWild! Summer Pass is between May 1 and Sept. 30, according to airline officials. James Fenner, Frontier Airlines vice president in charge of pricing and revenue management, called the offer "an unbeatable value."
“Thousands of GoWild! pass holders are enjoying spontaneous, affordable travel to destinations across the continental U.S., Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Latin America," Fenner said in a written statement. "The GoWild! Summer Pass is a great fit - and a great gift - for anyone with flexibility in their travel plans, including students and new graduates, teachers, families, retirees, and remote workers.”
In addition, officials with the airline said pass holders will pay one cent for each flight, plus applicable taxes, fees and charges at the time of booking. Seat availability for pass holders is based on how many people are booked on an individual flight.
Airline officials said the passes are available for a limited time and can be purchased on Frontier Airlines' website. A pass is non-transferrable to other travelers.
Frontier operates five nonstop routes from Bradley International, according Alisa Sisic, senior marketing manager in charge of air service development and communications for the Connecticut Airport Authority. 
The non-stop routes are Atlanta, San Juan, Orlando, Raleigh-Durham and Tampa, starting in March, Sisic said. Some of those routes only operate seasonally, she said.

Individuals interested in purchasing the pass must be 18 years-old or older and pass holders under the age of 13 must be enrolled by their parent or legal guardian. Children under the age of 10 using the pass must travel accompanied by a passenger who is at least 15 years old.

Flights are subject to blackout periods, according to airline officials. The pass will automatically renew unless the owner cancels. Customers may opt out of auto renewal on their individual Frontier Airlines profile page.

Even with all of the caveats involved in the Frontier Airlines program, airline industry consultant Micheal Boyd called the plan "a brilliant way to fill seats they would not otherwise not fill." Boyd is president of the Colorado-based airline consultant Boyd Group International and he said this is the second year that Frontier has offered this program.
"As long as it is handled correctly and consumers understand what they are getting, it's beneficial for both the airline and certain groups of travelers," Boyd. "Something like this is not going to work for a family of four looking to go to Orlando because the seats just aren't going to be there."
Even on less heavily-traveled routes, Boyd said a pass holder may not be able to access a return flight home at a time that fits their schedule.
Frontier Airlines officials said they have made some refinements to the program from last year. They include allowing pass holders to earn miles with their GoWild! Pass for both their initial pass purchase as well as travel-related purchases like bags and seat assignments.
Jan Jones is the program coordinator for the hospitality and management program at the University of New Haven's business school, said she sees remote workers as one of the airline's primary targets with the GoWild! Pass program.
"When you can work from anywhere, where you are at any given time is less of an issue," Jones said. "I think this program will be popular with them." 
Many of Jones' students at UNH are comfortable traveling at the last minute, she said.
"But I don't think its necessarily a generational thing," Jones said. "There are just some people that are more comfortable having all of the details of their trip in place well in advance of when they leave."

Winter storm grounds travelers at Connecticut's airports

FOX 61 / Feb. 13, 2024

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The flakes were flying across the state Tuesday, but some of the planes stayed grounded.
Winter weather essentially shut down New Haven-Tweed Airport, with Avelo Airlines postponing all Tuesday’s flights to Wednesday.
While conditions were better at Bradley International Airport, the storm still caused 24 cancellations and 10 delays.
“We have a lot of specialized equipment,” explained Brian Spyros, spokesperson for Bradley International Airport. “We have very large brooms, blowers and plows. They go out there and they clear the surface down to the pavement so that there's no snow on it, and they have to continuously do that, obviously as the snow continues to fall throughout the day.”
Crews at Bradley were working round the clock Tuesday, as this storm dumped about half a foot of snow on Windsor Locks.
“We need to remain open and make sure that people can come and go safely, Spyros said. “There's a lot of surface area and we need to make sure that it's safe for aircraft, the vehicles and of course passengers, as they arrive and depart from the airport.”
Gary Granger was one of those passengers.
“Very happy to get away from the snow,” Granger said.
While Granger’s Tuesday evening flight was still on time, he wasn’t without worry.
“Being a South Carolinian, yeah, I was real scared,” said Granger. “I woke up and seeing all this snow out there, but they took great, great care of the roads here.”
Not used to the cold, Granger said he’s happy to be heading back south.
“Anything's better than the snow,” he continued. “Winter is a day you can't go to the beach.”
While there aren’t any beach days in Connecticut’s near future, airport officials say they’re ready to handle the rest of this winter weather.
“Bradley remains open and we continue to treat all of our surfaces understanding that you know, we have other aircraft here that may need to depart and in the event there's a diversion from another airport. We need to be ready to accommodate that aircraft,” Spyros said.
Airport officials say additional cancellations and delays are possible as the day goes on Tuesday.
This story was also covered by the following media:
  • NBC CT
  • WTNH
  • WFSB
  • Hartford Courant
  • Mass Live
  • Western Mass News
  • 22 News Springfield
Rideshare drivers strike at Bradley International Airport
WTNH / Feb. 14, 2024

 WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) – Rideshare drivers demanding better pay held a rally and a strike at Bradley International Airport Wednesday. 
Members of the Independent Drivers Guild and drivers gathered at the cell phone waiting lot in the morning. 

“They don’t want to be millionaires,” said Ali Alkayed as he gestured to fellow drivers. “They just want the minimum to live in dignity, to support their families and their children, that’s all.” 

Drivers claim rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft don’t pay their workers enough. 

“We are not slaves to this job,” said driver Enrique Ruano. “We chose to do [this job] once upon a time because it was good choice. Now, we are getting to the point that they are greedy. They are taking a lot of money.” 

As of quarter 4 in 2023, Uber reports that drivers make about $33 per hour spent on the roads. Workers told News 8 that’s not what they see in their paychecks. Abubakar Adam said he drives 60 hours a week and still doesn’t make enough to get by. He said he would earn $15 an hour driving a passenger from New Haven to Bradley, after fees, gas and factoring in wear and tear on the car. 

Drivers also want protections from app deactivations. They said oftentimes customers might complain, and a driver’s app is deactivated right away, and they can no longer work.

The Independent Drivers Guild expected 250 drivers to show up for the rally, but state police shut it down. A trooper told the group only 15 cars could be protesting in the lot. 

At the airport, staff advised passengers to use other transportation like taxis. 
Passenger Glenna Hartsog flew in from Mississippi. Her group had ordered an Uber when News 8 caught up with her. 

“We were watching the news at home yesterday because of the weather, and then we saw they were saying that some of the Ubers were on strike, and I’m going, ‘That’ll be great when we get there.’ But anyway, we called for one, so they’re supposed to be on their way. We’ll see,” she said. 
Her Uber driver arrived after a 5-minute wait. Another passenger who did not want to be on camera said she supported better pay for drivers. 

In a statement, an Uber spokesperson said, 
“These types of events have rarely had any impact on trips, prices or driver availability, and we expect the same today. That’s because the vast majority of drivers are satisfied – earnings remain strong, and as of last quarter, drivers in the U.S. were making about $33 per utilized hour. We also continue to act on driver feedback, adding new safety features to the app and improving our account deactivation processes.”

Lyft issued a statement: “We are constantly working to improve the driver experience, which is why just this month, we released a series of new offers and commitments aimed at increasing driver pay and transparency. This includes a new earnings commitment and an improved deactivation appeals process. Now, drivers will always make at least 70% of the weekly rider fares after external fees. It’s all part of our new customer-obsessed focus on drivers.”

Drivers can submit an appeal to Uber or Lyft. Spokespersons for both companies said they’re working on making the appeal process easier to use.
This story was also covered by the following media:
  • WFSB
  • NBC CT
  • FOX 61
  • News 12
  • 22 News Springfield
  • WNPR
  • Hartford Courant
  • CT Insider