Pass Travel UPDATE             March 10, 2018



1)  Pass Travel Tax invoices coming in March

2)  Next-generation Flying Together! 

3)  Change EFs in June for July-December travel

4)  Transit tax refund request LHR / NRT 

5)  Why UA will not gain from new tax plan

6)  Airport upgrades: SWF & ORD

7)  25 Fun Facts about Flying

8)  Recent News

9)  RAFA website

 


1) Pass Travel Tax invoices coming in March

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By now retirees should have received form 1099 from United for their taxable pass rider’s travel in 2017 (if your pass riders accrued more than $600 in imputed income). More information is in article #1 in RAFA’s January Pass Travel UPDATE.

Going forward, retirees will receive quarterly invoices from United to collect the tax withholding amounts on all taxable pass travel (no $600 threshold). The first invoice should arrive by US Mail this month. Make sure United has your correct mailing address!   

On February 15, 2017 the Employee Travel Center sent a reminder email to retirees explaining the process. Click HERE for a pdf of that email.

To check your pass travel history, go to FlyingTogether > Travel > “Pass Travel Report” and input the dates. United’s 2017 fiscal year dates were 11/01/2016 to 10/31/2017. Dates for the first quarter this year are 11/1/2017 to 01/31/2018.


Visit the “W-2 Pass Travel Tax Reporting” page on Flying Together > Travel for a complete list of resources and tools to help you through this transition.



2)  Next-generation Flying Together!

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United’s Flying Together website is getting a make-over and it's coming SOON!  “Everyone can experience and become familiar with the new site during a soft launch before it becomes permanent in a few weeks. Built based on extensive feedback from team members across United, the new intranet includes fresh features, functionality and navigation. Read about some of the new features and then check them out for yourself." Here’s the link:

https://flyingtogether.ual.com/web/content.jsp?SID=Company&path=/Pages/nextGenerationFT.jsp

Click the yellow links to see a preview of the new FT or switch to the new site now.


Tips: 

  1. You will be able to import all your existing tools and favorite shortcuts into the new Flying Together. 
  2. All information about Pass Travel will be in the Travel section of the new Flying Together, but some information may reside in new locations or menus.  Click around to find out!
  3. When you find a page you need often, use “Add to favorites” at the bottom of the page and you will be able to quickly access it with one click on your “Favorites” link. 


3) Change EFs in June for July-December travel


Plan ahead! Keep in mind only retirees will be able to change their Enrolled Friends during the mid-year open enrollment period beginning in June for travel July 1 through December 31, 2018.  

The enrollment will take place just like it normally does via FlyingTogether > Travel > “Update pass riders and buddies”. If you do not want to change your current EFs for July-December no action is needed. Your current EFs will automatically roll over on July 1. More information will become available on Flying Together in May.



4) Transit tax refund request  LHR / NRT

Thanks to Gina Sui-Oerelius for a heads-up on the new procedure.


New Procedure: To request a refund for the transit tax from London Heathrow (LHR) or Narita  (NRT) you must submit an offering via United Service Anywhere.


Do not email EPC@united.com or ETC@united.com.


United Service Anywhere offering link (fill out the form online):

https://msast001pngx.saas.hpe.com/saw/ess/offeringPage/2762165?TENANTID=341390153


Be sure to have the following prior to submitting your request:

London Heathrow (LHR):

If you connected from another airline and departed on a United flight in less than 24 hours, submit the other airline’s boarding pass and United ticket number.


Narita (NRT):

If you connected from another airline and departed NRT on a United flight in the same calendar  day, submit the other airline’s boarding pass and United ticket number.


More information is in article #2 here: http://www.rafa-cwa.org/UPDATE-2015-January 



5) Why United will not gain from the new tax plan

This article is from a chicagobusiness.com blog, Jan 17, 2018: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20180117/BLOGS10/180119917/why-united-wont-gain-from-lower-corporate-tax-rates 


At first glance, United Continental Holdings appears to be a big beneficiary of recently enacted federal income tax cuts. Unlike many large global corporations, the parent company of United Airlines has been shouldering the full weight of a 35 percent U.S. corporate income tax rate for years. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by President Donald Trump late last year slashes the rate to 21 percent.

A big boon to United, right? From an accounting perspective, yes. "The company expects to record a one-time, non-cash benefit due to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in the fourth quarter of 2017," United said in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission last week.

In actual dollars and cents, however, the tax cut won't give United much of a boost. That's because the company's cash federal income tax bill has been about as low as it can get in recent years. Deep losses that pushed United into Chapter 11 in 2002 generated billions of dollars worth of tax loss carry-forwards, or "NOLs" in tax jargon, that offset tax liability on the healthy profits it's booking these days. Wall Street expects United to record about $2 billion in net income for 2017, after posting $2.3 billion in 2016.

"The company expects that there will be no material cash taxes for the fourth quarter of 2017 due to United's net operating loss carry-forwards (NOLs), which were approximately $4.4 billion as of year-end 2016," the filing says.


NOLs will ground United's tax bill well beyond the fourth quarter. They don't start expiring until 2026, according to United SEC filings. "These NOLs are projected to offset (or minimize) cash income taxes for several years" United told investors in January 2017. United declined to comment on tax matters, citing a quiet period ahead of its release of fourth-quarter earnings results Jan. 23.

Longtime United rivals and fellow Chapter 11 alums American and Delta also have stacks of NOLs that largely eliminate cash tax liabilities. The three "legacy carriers" won't see significant direct cash benefits from federal rate cuts until their NOLs have been exhausted—assuming Congress hasn't raised taxes by that time.

More likely to reap immediate benefits are Southwest Airlines and other discounters that don't share full-fare carriers' history of catastrophic losses. Without a legacy of NOLs, they've been paying hefty cash tax bills right along. Lower rates will give them more money to buy planes, repurchase stock and finance deeper fare cuts on routes where they compete with legacy carriers. Southwest is so happy that it's sharing some of the extra cash with employees through one-time $1,000 bonuses. Interestingly, as United's workers surely noticed, American followed suit, even though lower rates won't reduce its cash payment to the IRS.

Of course, some provisions of the tax overhaul should help all airlines. For example, accelerated depreciation of equipment purchases would allow them to write down new aircraft faster. And United could pick up a strong tail wind if lower corporate tax rates have the intended effect of stimulating business activity. More activity often means more demand from corporate travelers, United's target market. A surge in business travel likely would send United's profit soaring—while its tax bill hugs the tarmac.



6) Airport upgrades in New York and Chicago


New York Stewart International Airport in the Hudson Valley will get a $20 million upgrade through 2020 while Chicago’s O’Hare will see $8.6 BILLION in improvements by 2026. Read more below:


https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/todayinthesky/2018/02/19/new-yorks-stewart-international-airport-gets-ok-expansion-name-change/350532002/


http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-met-city-hall-story-20180223-story.html  

Also see: Recent News item 02/28 below.



7) 25 Fun Facts about Flying

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RAFA has not verified any of these facts; are they true? 

https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/weird-airplane-flying-facts


8) “Recent News”on Flying Together > News

     Click the dark blue “Recent News” link above to see other stories. 

     Here are some you might like:

12/20: United has 40 daily flights to Hawaii

01/05: Farewell to UAX turboprop flights.. all jets!

01/08: All pax get 2 free checked bags to China/HKG

01/08: New routes to eight US cities

01/09: Basic Economy now on DEN-Hawaii flights

01/09: NEW FlyingTogether website preview

01/16: New guidance on acceptance of Smart Bags

01/23: United’s TV superheroes get surprised

02/02: Advance seat assignment option for Basic Economy

02/14: Inflight emergency on UA1175 SFO-HNL

02/19: First Boeing 737 MAX 9 to enter service

02/28: ORD modernizing & expanding

03/01: Lori Augustine’s route to LAX

03/06: Employees/Retirees get 20% off inflight purchases



9) Have you seen our RAFA website?

   Check out the Travel Benefits tab here:  http://www.rafa-cwa.org

   Read the Pass Travel Program Summary, helpful links, phone numbers & more.

   For other Pass Travel Topics: Previous Travel UPDATES




Compiled by Kirk Moore, RAFA Travel Benefits Committee                             March 10, 2018

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