2.04.00 – (LAA) – Alaska Airlines Flight 261 Crash, AOL AAdvantage, Dallas Love Field, Legend Airlines, TWA, Hotel Reviews

February 4, 2000

This is Marcus Gluth, Miami International based Flight Attendant, with APFA HotLine news for Friday, February 4th.

Topping the news this past week was the crash of Alaska Airlines flight 261 on Monday afternoon, January 31st. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the friends and family members of the 83 passengers and five crew members on board the flight. The MD83 aircraft, operated by the Seattle based carrier, crashed in the Pacific ocean off the coast of Oxnard, California, just north of Los Angeles, while attempting to make an emergency landing at LAX. While rescuers found no survivors, recovery efforts are continuing. Preliminary reports are that the pilot identified problems with the horizontal stabilizer. More information will be available once the plane’s ‘black boxes’ are found and examined.

Flight 261 was en route from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to San Francisco and Seattle. The manifest released by Alaska Airlines officials listed among the passengers thirty non-revs including: 3 Alaska employees, 4 employees from Alaska’s sister airline Horizon, their guests, and their family members. Former Reno Air Flight Attendant Kristin Mills from Las Vegas, who joined Alaska Airlines last May, was one of the three Flight Attendants working the trip. In a letter of sympathy to the Association of Flight Attendants President Pat Friend, APFA President Denise Hedges stated: ‘On behalf of the membership and leadership of the APFA, I would like to convey to you and to your members our deepest condolences regarding the tragedy of Alaska Airlines Flight 261. APFA stands ready to lend our support.’ Also among the passengers on Alaska flight 261 were a cousin of President Hedges, her cousin’s husband – a prominent Seattle internist, and their four children.

American made several major announcements this past week, beginning with the announcement on January 31st that it is teaming up with America Online to form: AOL AAdvantage, which it bills as the world’s largest online customer loyalty program. The program, which is planned for an official launch in the Spring of this year, will be jointly marketed and managed by both Companies, and promises to allow members to earn and redeem AOL AAdvantage miles through a single online account balance accessible through AOL.

On February 3rd, American announced that it will be removing several rows of coach seating on each of its aircraft to increase the pitch of coach seats to a predominant level of 34 and 35 inches of space, from the current 31 and 32 inches. Approximately 7,200 seats about 6.4 percent of the coach capacity will be removed in a process that will see all two-class aircraft completed by November of 2000 and three-class aircraft by mid-2001. The first completed Super 80 aircraft enters service on February 12th. Vice President Judy Ladislaw has been advised that there will be no staffing changes due to the reduction in seats. More information can be found in SABRE star record N [display] MORE ROOM in RES.

European flying by American is being increased this summer with the addition of a second daily JFK to Paris flight starting May 1st, and the inauguration of the long-awaited service from Chicago to Rome beginning June 1st. The new Paris flight is scheduled to depart JFK at 9:50 p.m. while the Rome departure from Chicago is scheduled for 4:40 p.m. In order to accommodate the new Rome service from O’Hare, the current Chicago to Zurich service will be shifted to DFW.

Finally, in the continuing battle against long-haul air service from Dallas Love Field, American has announced its own proposed service to compete with Legend Airlines, which has won permission from the courts to begin service to Los Angeles and Washington beginning February 29th. American had teamed up with the city of Fort Worth to contest the new authority, but in the meantime has scheduled service beginning May 1st from Dallas Love to both LAX, with four daily flights, and Chicago O’Hare, with five daily flights. According to American, the service will use F-100 aircraft reconfigured to 56 first-class seats. Later in the year, specially reconfigured MD 80 aircraft will be introduced to the Love Field market.

In other industry news: The last of the major U.S. carriers has reported its fourth quarter earnings. Trans World Airlines turned in its worst quarter since 1996, reporting a $92.7 million loss for the last three months of 1999. This marks nearly eleven years that an annual profit has proven elusive for TWA, which spent much of 1999 withdrawing from its once mainstay European routes.

APFA base meetings for the month of February are as follows: IDF on Tuesday, February 8th, DFW and LAX on Wednesday, February 9th, and SFO / SFO-I on Wednesday, February 23rd. Check your base bulletin boards to verify the place and time.

Hotel reviews will be conducted during February in: Knoxville, London, Dayton, Chicago (short), Providence, Guadalajara, Caracas, and Tulsa. Please direct your comments regarding these or other layover facilities to the APFA Hotel Department at headquarters extension 8306, use the hotel debrief form in operations, at the APFA website’s hotel section..

That’s it for this week. For those of you on the Internet, be sure to check out the various links attached to this HotLine on our web site at: www.www.apfa.org. Remember that APFA 2000 means Unity for 20,000! Wear your APFA pin proudly as a sign of our independence, unity and strength. Thank-you for calling the APFA HotLine.

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