In jet blast incident, an American 737 damages a Delta 777

Jet blast from an American Airlines jet dislodged some construction barriers Thursday night at Los Angeles International Airport, causing them to strike an engine of a nearby Delta Air Lines Boeing 777, airport officials told me Friday.

“Last night at approximately 10:20 p.m. jet blast from an American Airlines engine caused some construction barricades to be pushed toward a Delta 777,” LAX spokeswoman Amanda Parson said in an email. “The barricades struck underneath the 777’s left engine.”

Delta canceled its 10:10 p.m. flight to Sydney, Australia due to “…damage to the aircraft engine cowling,” Parsons said. The Delta plane was parked at Gate 57 in Terminal 5.

The plane that caused the jet blast was American flight 2415 from Miami. It was a Boeing 737-800 and it parked at Terminal 4, Gate 46B. That gate is across an alleyway from Delta’s terminal.

Parsons said the incident is under investigation.

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Delta to add new flight from LAX to Mazatlan Mexico

Delta will fly from Los Angeles to Mazatlan, Mexico. Photo: Delta

Delta will fly from Los Angeles to Mazatlan, Mexico. Photo: Delta

Delta Air Lines will begin flights from Los Angeles to Mazatlan, Mexico in December, according to a release.

The flight starts on Dec. 20 and will use Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Mazatlan tourism officials say the new service will add 4,960 seats per month into the market. The release says this is year-round service.

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Report: Delta seeks new Airbus and Boeing widebody jets

According to Aviation Week, Delta is in the market for more A330s, provide the plane has new, more efficient engines. Rendering: Airbus

According to Aviation Week, Delta is in the market for more A330s, but probably wants the plane to have new more efficient engines than today’s models.  Rendering: Airbus

Delta Air Lines is looking for a replacement airplane for its fleet of widebody Boeing 747s and Boeing 767s, Aviation Week’s Jens Flottau wrote this week.

“The carrier plans to look at four options,” Flottau wrote. “The Airbus A350-900 and -1000, all three models of the Boeing 787, the current versions of the A330 and a re-engined A330.”

What’s interesting is Delta CEO Richard Anderson’s comments about how the carrier does not want to buy airplanes that are not appropriate for the missions they fly. If, for example, Delta wants an airplane to fly the relatively short distance from Atlanta to Europe, it doesn’t need a Boeing 777 with a range of 7,000 or more nautical miles.

“Aircraft that underfly their range are uneconomical,” Aviation Week quotes Anderson as saying. “You cannot make a 777 consistently profitable flying only East Coast to Europe. That would be routes 1,000 or 2,000 naut. mi. shorter than what it was designed for.”

As many readers know, Delta has recently taken a more cautious approach toward buying new airplanes than competitors American and United, which have been aggressive in being the next wave of jetliners, like the Airbus 350 and Boeing 787. Instead, Delta has been buying up both used aircraft, like the 717s it acquired from Southwest, and new versions of older planes, like the A330 with older technology engines.

Which jets would you like to see Delta buy?

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Travel infrequently? You’ll be earning fewer Delta Sky Miles in 2015

Delta is making major changes to its frequent flier program. Photo: Delta

Delta is making major changes to its frequent flier program. Photo: Delta

Delta Air Lines on Wednesday announced changes to its SkyMiles program that will reward the airline’s most lucrative and frequent travelers while making it more difficult for sporadic travelers, mainly of the leisure variety, to earn enough miles to redeem for free tickets.

The changes going into effect in 2015.

Instead of earning miles based on the numbers of miles of your flight, you’ll earn them based on how much money you spent on the ticket. The pricier your fare, the more miles you earn. Also, you’ll earn even more miles if you are an elite member of the SkyMiles program or if you buy your ticket using a Delta branded credit card. For full details, check out the press release on Delta’s website. Delta also put out a FAQ, which you can find here.

Delta published a chart of how you will earn miles in the future:

SkyMiles program status Miles per dollar* Miles earned with Credit Card*+ Total miles per dollar*
General member 5 +2 7
Silver Medallion 7 +2 9
Gold Medallion 8 +2 10
Platinum Medallion 9 +2 11
Diamond Medallion 11 +2 13
+ on Delta spend

This is likely good news for business travelers who buy a lot of pricey tickets. In the future, it’ll be possible for a traveler buying an expensive last-minute ticket to earn more miles with a coach ticket from Los Angeles to San Francisco than a leisure traveler would earn on a flight from L.A. to New York. Under the current distance-based formula, all travelers earn far more miles on Coast-to-Coast flights than they do on short-hops.

Delta also plans to make changes to its redemption chart, but those details are limited. We do know  it will be possible to use your SkyMiles for one-way tickets, which is not now not an option. You must currently buy a round-trip. We also expect Delta will tweak its award charts so that there is more variance in how many miles a “free” trip will cost. The number of miles required will probably fluctuate, even more than it does now, based on demand. So if you want to use your miles for a popular route, it’ll probably cost you a lot.

Want a more thorough breakdown? The frequent fliers at Flyertalk, who engage in a fine message board, have shared nearly 500 posts about the changes. 

Also, Delta is the nation’s third-largest carrier. But I think most industry watchers expect that its competitors probably will eventually roll out similar programs.

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CBS News VIDEO: Inside Delta’s Atlanta operation center as a storm hits

CBS News took a tour of Delta’s operations center this week, showing travelers how the airline copes with poor weather. Above you can learn what the network found out.

If you found that video compelling, you might want to check out my earlier posts following my visits to the operations centers at three major airlines — United, Delta and Lufthansa.

Of the three, my favorite was the Lufthansa center in Frankfurt. There, I learned how dispatchers plan flight 456 from Frankfurt to Los Angeles. Here’s what dispatcher Marcus Pabst told me when I asked him if the computer program that plans flights always chooses the fastest route:

It depends on what I have preselected. I have four options. I can tell the computer, give me a minimum cost track, including the overflight charges. Or I can ask for a  minimum fuel track only considering the fuel burn. Or I can ask for a minimum time track.  I would use that if I duty time problems from the crew (crew are permitted to only work so many hours per day) or most of the passengers are transit passengers and have to pick up their next flight, and we are arriving so late that if I have to send 50 passengers to the hotel or to another airline we are going to have to pay more money.  The fourth option is the minimum distance track – the shortest distance between two points.

 

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