Throughout the week we post dozens of original stories, connecting the dots across the travel industry, and every weekend we sum it all up. This weekend roundup examines aviation.

For all of our weekend roundups, go here.

Southwest CEO: We Won’t Introduce Basic Economy. Southwest has known for years that there is money to be made in differentiation and protecting your brand identity regardless of what Wall Street thinks. That’s a factor in its decision not to launch basic economy or bag fees.

Asian Airlines Turn to Super Business Suites Rather Than First Class: Asian airlines still cling to first class, but is the product necessary anymore? Some carriers are rethinking their strategies.

American Airlines Has a Customer Satisfaction Problem: American Airlines President Robert Isom said customer satisfaction may be declining because the airline has not been as reliable as it should be. Is that the entire problem?

Alaska Airlines Works Fast to Erase Memories of Virgin America It can take some airlines as long as a decade after a merger before they truly operate as one entity. But Alaska Airlines is working much faster to gobble up Virgin America. Part of that is because both carriers were relatively small. But by any standard, Alaska is moving quickly.

U.S. Airline Revenue Growth Will Slow in 2019: New Skift Research Estimates: Skift Research’s proprietary U.S. airline estimates provide market shares for all major carriers as well as industry overviews by product line and key operating statistics.

American Airlines Opens Premium Economy Award Booking to Fill a Gap: American Airlines wasn’t first to the party when it launched award seat availability for its international premium economy product. But it was the most transparent.

Recession Watch: The Debt Load of the Travel Industry’s Public Companies. When it comes to their debt, easyJet has a much more liquid position than Ryanair, while United and Delta have a lighter debt burden relatively speaking than American Airlines. In the event of a recession, debt loads would be one critical factor among many in hamstringing or contributing to a company’s ability to maneuver.

Air Traffic Controller Sickouts Disrupted Operations at La Guardia Airport: Disruption at U.S. airports, IRS agents calling in sick, and the overall negative impact to the U.S. and even global economy — all these factors will pressure legislators in Washington and the current occupant of the White House to come up with a deal to end the U.S. partial government shutdown.

British Airways Rules Out Further Norwegian Offer: Is this the end of the story? We’re willing to bet that this one still has more twists and turns to come.

Is Business Class Heading for an Upgrade? We know first class is on the way out on routes between the biggest business cities. But do travelers want a better-than-business option at a reasonable price?

 

 

Photo Credit: Employees load bags onto a Southwest plane. Along with not offering basic economy, Southwest CEO announced the company would not start charging for the first two checked bags. Bloomberg