United, which narrowed its loss to $240 million for the quarter, revealed that increases in fees for first and second bags, ticketing and reservations changes accounted for a 0.4 percentage point uptick in PRASM (passenger revenue per available seat mile) in the fourth quarter. However, overall PRASM declined 5.2% in the quarter.
United recently named Thomas O’Toole as its chief marketing officer. Part of O’Toole’s responsibilities will be to further develop the airline’s mechandising strategy, which includes bag fees and Economy Plus seating.
The Chicago-based airline offered some mixed news on distribution costs.
The good news? United’s distribution expenses decreased 13.2%, or $20 million, in the fourth quarter.
The downside? A decline in passenger revenue was the primary factor behind the dip in distribution costs, United says.
Meanwhile, AirTran posted net income of $17.1 million in the fourth quarter.
AirTran reported that in 2009 it became the first — and so far only — major U.S. airline to be 100% Wi-Fi-enabled on its fleet.
The airline has Gogo Inflight Internet service operational in all of its 138 aircraft.
This means other, larger airlines have to play Wi-Fi-catch-up.