- United Airlines had a major SHARES outage late this afternoon, bringing their website down and halting operations at some airports. United is apparently offering a travel waiver for impacted customers, but as of this posting, no link has been posted online. [Edited (thanks Kris): The waiver is now posted.]
- In other not-so-good United news, a Boeing 767 bound for Chicago returned to London’s Heathrow Airport after pilots reported an engine surge. Firefighters had to spray the smoking engine down upon landing.
- A gay couple is suing United Airlines for “severe emotional trauma” and “intentional harassment” after their bag made the rounds on the carousel with a rather large sex toy prominently displayed taped to the outside after the bag allegedly broke. My take on the lawsuit: really? First maybe consider leaving it at home and second, will the article with your picture prominently displayed on it not cause even more trauma? Get over it and move on. [Edited to add: Yes, I agree the baggage handlers were very wrong in their actions... more in the comments below.]
- Southwest Airlines is adding new routes. Beginning March 9, 2012, Southwest will add flights from Newark to Nashville, New Orleans and Austin. Also new will be Dayton to Orlando and Key West to New Orleans.
- Spirit Airlines also announced new routes. Service from Houston Intercontinental to Chicago O’Hare and Las Vegas begins in October. Service from Denver to Phoenix-Mesa Airport also begins in October, and flights between Portland and San Diego commence in November.
- JetBlue launched fixed-price “Go Packs,” where by September 6, you can buy blocks of 10 one-way tickets for a single price. Rates start at $899 plus $7 per flight for a “Pittsburgh to Boston and New York” pack to $2,499 plus $7 per flight for a “Boston or New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco” pack.
- Vienna’s first Ritz-Carlton hotel opened. The 202-room hotel includes 43 suites and a rooftop bar. And Malaysia’s first Grand Hyatt hotel opened in Kuala Lumpur, offering 412 rooms and 42 suites.
- The TSA fired six “officers” and suspended 14 others at Boston’s Logan Airport for inattention on the job. These agents all happened to work in the same checked bag screening room. Guess they missed the gay couple’s sex toy and can’t be blamed.
- Lufthansa flight attendants could strike beginning tomorrow after refusing the latest offer of a 3.5% pay raise from the airline. Flight attendants were looking for 5% after a three-year pay freeze.
- With business travel picking up and successful growth in overall market share, Virgin Australia enjoyed a AU$22.8 million net income for its recent fiscal year. Business travelers now make up 20% of the airline’s domestic revenue.