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Topic: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: usdcaguy
Posted 2013-01-21 16:19:23 and read 13221 times.

As flights have become increasingly fuller as airlines cut capacity and push up load factors, I have started to think about alternative models for employee travel. One of the models Amtrak uses is that they sell confirmed tickets (coach/sleeper) at a 20% discount and then reimburse the fare if the train doesn't sell out. This apparently applies only on "white" days, which are days that are busy but not the days for peak travel. On peak days (red days), employees get a 20% discount but no refund and on blue days, they get free coach travel but no free sleeper (although I have read the sleeper cars are always purchased as though the train left on a white day). I'm not sure the red/white/blue day system would work for airlines as there are an incredible number of seasonality, special event and capacity variables that would make identifying such days difficult. However, I wonder about the purchase/refund model.

Currently, many US carriers give employees discounts of 20-30% for confirmed tickets, but you don't get a refund if you would have gotten a seat anyway if the flight had not gone out full. The way I see the system working is that you could pay 75% of any fare in advance for a confirmed seat. To determine refunds, you would subtract the number of nonrev standbys from the final passenger count while keeping the confirmed employees in the count. This final count would then be subtracted from total seats available on the aircraft. You would then theoretically "relist" all employees, both confirmed and standby, according to seniority. If, say, there were 15 seats open at closeout and you were number 8 on the seniority list, you would get a refund, but if you were number 17, then you would not. Is there any part of this that would be a disadvantage to an airline in a way that it is not to Amtrak? Would it be of any value to employees? I also wonder if carriers could grant higher discounts (50-75%) for a set number of confirmed tickets per employee in lieu of unlimited standby travel, but I know there is a significant cost to the airline in that case.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: N908AW
Posted 2013-01-21 16:54:29 and read 12962 times.

I have heard of airlines that do offer their employees a limited number of 25% off positive space seats every year. But I don't think any of the airlines are complaining about having to let fewer non-revenue passengers on board.

Plus, you probably shouldn't do something just because Amtrak is doing it.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: B727FA
Posted 2013-01-21 17:04:57 and read 12870 times.

We have a confirmed program with a refund available (but not based on NRSA seats being open) and one w/o a refund plan.

I don't think the OP is advocating we do it "because Amtrak does" rather it was an idea/conversation starter.   

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: phxa340
Posted 2013-01-21 17:05:51 and read 12866 times.

Quoting N908AW (Reply 1):
Plus, you probably shouldn't do something just because Amtrak is doing it.

Well, I like what the OP is trying to do ... maximize revenue. However your right, if you want your business model to succeed , typically you want to do the exact opposite of what Amtrak is doing.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: LONGisland89
Posted 2013-01-21 17:20:13 and read 12737 times.

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
You would then theoretically "relist" all employees, both confirmed and standby, according to seniority. If, say, there were 15 seats open at closeout and you were number 8 on the seniority list, you would get a refund, but if you were number 17, then you would not.

Don't confuse seniority with priority. Not all airlines board their employee non-revs by seniority.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: HPRamper
Posted 2013-01-21 17:29:34 and read 12664 times.

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 3):
Well, I like what the OP is trying to do ... maximize revenue. However your right, if you want your business model to succeed , typically you want to do the exact opposite of what Amtrak is doing.

As a subsidized company, Amtrak isn't trying to chase profits. They are doing fine for what they are. In the absence of a profit-driven environment, a company does exactly what Amtrak is doing - maximizes service and employee benefits.

In any case, I can't see any reason that Amtrak's model results in any sizable lost revenue for the airline compared to what they are currently doing...other than ill-gotten revenue they make off the backs of their own employees. The only difference is that there are many more levels of priority within an airline.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: Mcoov
Posted 2013-01-21 17:58:35 and read 12506 times.

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 5):
As a subsidized company, Amtrak isn't trying to chase profits. They are doing fine for what they are.

Oh what a laugh this is.

Congress has been funding Amtrak begrudgingly since Day 1 (May 1, 1971). It has been the mission of Amtrak since A-Day to turn a self-sufficient profit, which it has failed to do each and every year*. As a result, Amtrak is almost always on the chopping block for the Congressional budget, and has been faced with life-or-death situations several times now (1979, 1983, 1997, and 2002). Amtrak chases profits like Wile E. Coyote chases the Roadrunner, with just about as much success. They are not doing fine, they never have been, and the business model that is passenger rail travel has been ill since the early 1950's. Now I'm not saying that we should do away with Amtrak. I am quite pro-rail and pro-Amtrak, and I get supremely annoyed anytime Congress tries to cut their already thin budget.

*Note: This failure is partly a result of the business model it is trying to sell. Americans will mostly use cars for short trips, and airlines for long trips.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: exFWAOONW
Posted 2013-01-21 18:16:16 and read 12399 times.

Interesting idea. I can see issues during a/c substitutions where the seatmap isn't updated and a flight is boarded using open seating.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: bond007
Posted 2013-01-21 18:19:48 and read 12386 times.

Quoting N908AW (Reply 1):
Plus, you probably shouldn't do something just because Amtrak is doing it.
Quoting phxa340 (Reply 3):
typically you want to do the exact opposite of what Amtrak is doing.
Quoting Mcoov (Reply 6):
They are not doing fine, they never have been

Did you ever read any airline's annual reports over the past 10 years or so and count the number that filed Chapter 11?

Amtrak had a loss of $360 million last year, and carried over 30 million pax. At least a couple of airlines carried around twice as many pax, but had losses over 4 times as much....

If any industry could be labelled as having bad business models, it would be the airlines.


Jimbo

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: jayunited
Posted 2013-01-21 18:23:20 and read 12357 times.

Unfortunately Amtrak's model for employee travel would never work for an airline. An employee can not buy a confirmed ticket then list themselves on standby for the same flight. On certain flights at certain times of the year you can have 30 employees on standby for a singular flight now imagine if all 30 of those employees bought a discount confirmed ticket and then canceled that ticket on the day of travel, now imagine this scenario being repeated across the system multiple times a day you can see how this type of action can cost an airline millions of dollars over the years.

If this was the policy all employees would simply buy a refundable discount ticket and cancel it on the day of travel list themselves on standby and practically guarantee themselves a seat on evey flight every time.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: UA787DEN
Posted 2013-01-21 18:35:16 and read 12254 times.

Quoting bond007 (Reply 8):
If any industry could be labelled as having bad business models, it would be the airlines.

I might venture to say that more than one industry is doing badly or has a bad business models. And many US train systems, such as Amtrak, have bad business model. If a company is losing money, it generally has a few flaws in the business model.

Quoting jayunited (Reply 9):
Unfortunately Amtrak's model for employee travel would never work for an airline.

     

100% agree.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: usdcaguy
Posted 2013-01-21 18:35:29 and read 12253 times.

Quoting exFWAOONW (Reply 7):
I can see issues during a/c substitutions where the seatmap isn't updated and a flight is boarded using open seating.

Good point. I'm sure changed seat maps could be an issue, but I wonder if you could have a policy whereby you gave every confirmed employee a refund in the event the final passenger count was unavailable if that would solve the problem. I am sure you could mitigate a lot of these unforeseen circumstances, though, by querying databases with the latest passenger counts. Any good system could have plenty of workarounds, and that data already exists in tables somewhere.

Quoting LONGisland89 (Reply 4):

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
You would then theoretically "relist" all employees, both confirmed and standby, according to seniority. If, say, there were 15 seats open at closeout and you were number 8 on the seniority list, you would get a refund, but if you were number 17, then you would not.

Don't confuse seniority with priority. Not all airlines board their employee non-revs by seniority.


Very true. I definitely mean priority in this case!

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: airportugal310
Posted 2013-01-21 18:40:36 and read 12211 times.

Quoting N908AW (Reply 1):
I have heard of airlines that do offer their employees a limited number of 25% off positive space seats every year.

I believe our airline has some kind of setup like this, though I'm not too sure how it works. I haven't really bothered to look into it.

Quoting LONGisland89 (Reply 4):
Not all airlines board their employee non-revs by seniority.

What are some of the other ways?
First come first listed comes to mind...but that seems like a it might cause more problems than it solves (idk...I'm just thinking out loud here...)

Edit: To clarify, I mean what are the other ways OTHER than a seniority/priority combo.

[Edited 2013-01-21 18:42:01]

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: phxa340
Posted 2013-01-21 18:44:18 and read 12176 times.

Quoting bond007 (Reply 8):
Amtrak had a loss of $360 million last year, and carried over 30 million pax.

Fair enough but if you also look at Amtraks financials and Airlines financials - the airlines have made billions more than Amtrak over their lifespan.

Quoting HPRamper (Reply 5):
As a subsidized company, Amtrak isn't trying to chase profits.

Fully agreed - but they do have a responsibility to attempt to chase some sort of profits as a subsidized entity.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: bond007
Posted 2013-01-21 18:47:57 and read 12151 times.

Quoting UA787DEN (Reply 10):
If a company is losing money, it generally has a few flaws in the business model.

Ummmm... the reason I mentioned the airlines.

Few industries have continuously had losses for as many year as most airlines, or gone into bankruptcy as many times ..


Jimbo

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: apodino
Posted 2013-01-21 19:49:54 and read 11944 times.

Quoting jayunited (Reply 9):
Unfortunately Amtrak's model for employee travel would never work for an airline. An employee can not buy a confirmed ticket then list themselves on standby for the same flight. On certain flights at certain times of the year you can have 30 employees on standby for a singular flight now imagine if all 30 of those employees bought a discount confirmed ticket and then canceled that ticket on the day of travel, now imagine this scenario being repeated across the system multiple times a day you can see how this type of action can cost an airline millions of dollars over the years.

If this was the policy all employees would simply buy a refundable discount ticket and cancel it on the day of travel list themselves on standby and practically guarantee themselves a seat on evey flight every time.

Not to mention that with Amtrak..they can simply add Coaches to trains without having to substitute other equipment...where with an airline it is a whole new can of worms to upgrade equipment.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: max999
Posted 2013-01-21 19:59:17 and read 11881 times.

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 13):

Fair enough but if you also look at Amtraks financials and Airlines financials - the airlines have made billions more than Amtrak over their lifespan.

The airlines also carry hundreds of millions more passengers than Amtrak.

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 13):

Fully agreed - but they do have a responsibility to attempt to chase some sort of profits as a subsidized entity.

Don't forget the multi billion dollar 9/11 Victim's Compensation Fund and chapter 11 bankruptcy are forms of government subsidies for the airlines.

[Edited 2013-01-21 20:04:52]

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: william
Posted 2013-01-21 20:03:39 and read 11846 times.

Every mode of transportation is subsidized in some form. Amtrak's subsidy is more open.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: simairlinenet
Posted 2013-01-22 00:37:25 and read 10724 times.

I like the initial idea. It tries to maximize airline revenue and also maximize employee's choices.

A few years ago I reviewed a large list of employee ideas. We had 20%/40% off options, and one employee advocated that employees who buy the confirmed ticket should jump to the head of the standby list--for equity and revenue reasons. Made a lot of sense back then too.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: ryanov
Posted 2013-01-22 00:58:39 and read 10568 times.

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 3):
Well, I like what the OP is trying to do ... maximize revenue. However your right, if you want your business model to succeed , typically you want to do the exact opposite of what Amtrak is doing.

That is neither a particularly accurate nor well-supported statement, nor is it an apples to apples comparison. Airlines, for example, don't have to deal with much infrastructure maintenance (at least not compared to a railroad).

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: irregking
Posted 2013-01-22 02:11:43 and read 10169 times.

Currently, major EU airlines generally offer only the IDR1 (confirmed) or IDR2 (standby/non-rev) option for their employees. This is also still the case at the giant which I am working for.

Having a system in place that your IDR1 ticket will be auto-converted into an IDR2 ticket if the flight goes out with space available.... that is something we can only dream of!
Fairness; or generosity even, was never on our employer's priority list.

To make matters worse; the IDR1 tickets have a refund deadline of 24hrs before departure, ie. when check-in opens.
So you can't just buy an IDR1 and an IDR2 ticket and then at the gate, shortly before flight-close, choose which one you want to use. It doesn't work that way.
Unless you travel the route often enough then you can rebook the IDR1 ticket to another date and use the IDR2 ticket for the flight when there are still seats available. But even then you will need to make the rebooking before the flight is finalized, or you have to be good friends with the gate-agent who will quickly do it for you. It is quite the hassle.

And to add insult to injury; even if a system like the one the OP suggests would be put in place, or a system which is customary at US-airlines (purchasing an IDR1 which auto converts into IDR2 if SA); the IDR1 fares here in Europe can sometimes, what am I saying... OFTEN TIMES be even higher than the best available web-fare. Especially intra-Europe.
Quick search results:
FRA-ATH-FRA web: €176
FRA-ATH-FRA IDR1: €208
FRA-ATH-FRA IDR2: €103
Same flights!

Therefore, requiring the purchase of an IDR1, although the difference to an IDR2 will be refunded if the flight leaves with space available; however forcing the employee to fork out in advance up to 70% more of what he would have spent on an IDR2, together with the already minimum-wage salary that he gets... not fair either.

I guess what I am saying is that; compared to other global players in the aviation industry, travel benefits for the employees of US-carriers are much more lenient and generous than any of us Euro-boys and -girls will ever experience and it sometimes makes me a bit sick when I see employees of US-carriers complaining about their travel benefits in other threads and posts.
Appreciate what you have, me thinks.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: usdcaguy
Posted 2013-01-22 03:03:32 and read 9893 times.

Quoting jayunited (Reply 9):
If this was the policy all employees would simply buy a refundable discount ticket and cancel it on the day of travel list themselves on standby and practically guarantee themselves a seat on evey flight every time.

My idea was definitely not that the employee would be able to cancel at the last minute. That would open up a bad can of worms and is not what Amtrak allows either. Basically, they would go ahead and fly on the ticket regardless. Once the flight departed, a calculation would be made in the system as to who was owed refunds and then this money would show up in the employee's paycheck if the employee would have theoretically cleared the flight. By subtracting only the NRSA employees from the total pax to determine the final count before standbys cleared, which would include employees who had paid for a ticket, you would be assuming that the confirmed employees are displacing pax that would have otherwise bought a ticket. Yes, the airline would lose the money the employees paid if they would have cleared anyway and would not get the money paid by the theoretically displaced passenger, but they would often retain this money when flights were full and would be likely to sell more confirmed tickets to employees. Note that all tickets bought as nonrefundable would remain so unless the employee would have cleared the list.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: usdcaguy
Posted 2013-01-22 03:09:09 and read 9855 times.

Quoting irregking (Reply 20):
I guess what I am saying is that; compared to other global players in the aviation industry, travel benefits for the employees of US-carriers are much more lenient and generous than any of us Euro-boys and -girls will ever experience and it sometimes makes me a bit sick when I see employees of US-carriers complaining about their travel benefits in other threads and posts.
Appreciate what you have, me thinks.

You make a very good point and agree. I almost never buy space available tickets within Europe anymore. Too much hassle, especially when you cannot fly your own carrier. However, we should bear in mind how high load factors within the US have been lately. I don't mean to complain about the current system but rather have a discussion about other options that could make employee travel easier (if slightly more expensive overall) while lessening the pain for carriers providing the benefit.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: irregking
Posted 2013-01-22 03:54:53 and read 9542 times.

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 22):
I don't mean to complain about the current system but rather have a discussion about other options that could make employee travel easier (if slightly more expensive overall) while lessening the pain for carriers providing the benefit.

Oh I know that you weren't complaining hence why I said

Quoting irregking (Reply 20):
in other threads and posts.

with emphasis on the word "other".  

I think the system you mentioned (the confirmed/non-rev difference refund system) sounds really great. I just wanted to (slightly veering off topic) paint a picture of how most EU-carrier employees have far less lenient, fair, generous, etc. travel-benefits than the ones which the US-carrier employees can enjoy.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: RWA380
Posted 2013-01-22 04:07:17 and read 9445 times.

Quoting N908AW (Reply 1):
I have heard of airlines that do offer their employees a limited number of 25% off positive space seats every year

I am unsure of what has happened in he past 5 years, but when I left the travel agent side of the industry, we were provided at an almost unlimited basis AD75 certificates, providing 75% off, the catch was it was on Y or F basis fares, NW and AS had the best Y discounted fares, so I flew F a lot. It was the AD100 passes that were harder to come by, but DL took care of me most of my career with lots and lots of AD100's, all upgradeable to F, if dressed properly and available on departure, pretty hot and sweaty when flying out of HNL or OGG. AA gave us AD100's for J class worldwide, if airlines give those kind of tickets to agents, do airline employees only get 25% off lowest fare or just full Y coach?

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: xdlx
Posted 2013-01-22 04:34:47 and read 9399 times.

Overboking.... is no longer sensible. 99% of tickets are purchased in advance and the no show pax
already paid for that seat and has to exchange the ticket if they want to utilize it (flex) again.

IF an airline overbooks.... It is because they have no faith in their revenue vehicle.
If an airplane seats 100 pax but to make money you have to sell 110-117 seats -17 over capacity. Your revenue fundamentals are all wrong..... Enjoy the maze of NRSA travel!

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: jfklganyc
Posted 2013-01-22 05:12:54 and read 9064 times.

I am an airline employee that doesn't travel much.

However, I must say, I have gone all over the country on non rev travel. It is great. It is cheap. And you usually get a better seat than you would have if you bought the lowest fares.

Sure, I have had my share of missed flights, middle seats, and jumpseats. But I have also had my share of F, J, EML, free drinks, free food, priority boarding, etc

Anyone who tells you that non rev travel stinks is doing it wrong and not looking at the big picture. And if you work for one of those airlines that charges you a non rev fee...your company really stinks. Sorry, had to throw that out there.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: PassedV1
Posted 2013-01-22 05:23:52 and read 8991 times.

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 12):
What are some of the other ways?
First come first listed comes to mind...but that seems like a it might cause more problems than it solves (idk...I'm just thinking out loud here...)

My current airline uses a priority/seniority system, and my last airline used a priority/first-come system and I have to say I prefer the seniority system, as it prevents having to show up at the airport 4 hours prior trying to get on the priority list on a full flight. That being said, one benefit of the first-come system, is that you did not usually get the lower seniority employees getting stuck at stations for days sometimes as more and more senior people keep showing up at the airport.

I would support a change so that the first order of priority was non-revs that were rolled from a previous flight.

I also think that non-revs not travelling with the employee (i.e. spouses and kids) should travel at a lower priority.

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 21):
Once the flight departed, a calculation would be made in the system as to who was owed refunds and then this money would show up in the employee's paycheck if the employee would have theoretically cleared the flight.

You're not going to convince the airline to ever give the employee any money back. This would be a logistical nightmare.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: FURUREFA
Posted 2013-01-22 06:07:14 and read 8561 times.

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 24):
do airline employees only get 25% off lowest fare or just full Y coach?

Usually 25% off lowest available fare.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: ABQopsHP
Posted 2013-01-22 06:30:19 and read 8323 times.

Quoting N908AW (Reply 1):

I have heard of airlines that do offer their employees a limited number of 25% off positive space seats every year

Yes when I worked for HP we had 20 or 25% (I dont recall which) discounted tickets, off any "published" fare. Thus when I flew ELP-PHX one time I could use the lower "Q" fare and was confirmed. My reason for doing that, was I knew the flight was going to be oversold which it was, and thus I did not get bumped. The supervisor even solicited me, for compensation which we were eligible for, but I had a connection to GJT and there were few options via DEN I had already looked at.



Quoting jayunited (Reply 9):

Unfortunately Amtrak's model for employee travel would never work for an airline. An employee can not buy a confirmed ticket then list themselves on standby for the same flight. On certain flights at certain times of the year you can have 30 employees on standby for a singular flight now imagine if all 30 of those employees bought a discount confirmed ticket and then canceled that ticket on the day of travel, now imagine this scenario being repeated across the system multiple times a day you can see how this type of action can cost an airline millions of dollars over the years.

This is/was a firing offence. I have caught plenty of non-revs trying to do so, when Ive been the gate agent. And told them they had to use their revenue ticket, since they booked that and as a non-rev, or take another flight listed appropriately. And I have heard of a few that were fired. This wasnt only at HP but at CO/UA as well. As for flights that might have 30 non-revs on it? Trust me, after working in MCO I watched the non-rev list and bookings closely to make sure there were no games being played. There have been some that book fake reservations who have been caught and fired for doing so.

Quoting simairlinenet (Reply 18):
employee advocated that employees who buy the confirmed ticket should jump to the head of the standby list--for equity and revenue reasons

Yes. Its "revenue" not space available, so seniority does/should not apply.

Also, someone mentioned getting refunds? Since I bought mine off a Q fare it wasnt, and I understood that. But for some that do have refundable tickets, good luck getting it. I watched a co-worker of mine try to get hers back from UA last year and it took months of calling, sending emails, talking to the pass bureau, just going in circles trying to get it. I was a joke. I think she finally got it, about 6 months later.

JD CRP

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: irregking
Posted 2013-01-22 06:47:52 and read 8115 times.

Quoting PassedV1 (Reply 27):
You're not going to convince the airline to ever give the employee any money back. This would be a logistical nightmare.

So true!

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: richierich
Posted 2013-01-22 06:51:09 and read 8113 times.

Quoting Mcoov (Reply 6):
Oh what a laugh this is.

Congress has been funding Amtrak begrudgingly since Day 1 (May 1, 1971). It has been the mission of Amtrak since A-Day to turn a self-sufficient profit, which it has failed to do each and every year*. As a result, Amtrak is almost always on the chopping block for the Congressional budget, and has been faced with life-or-death situations several times now (1979, 1983, 1997, and 2002). Amtrak chases profits like Wile E. Coyote chases the Roadrunner, with just about as much success. They are not doing fine, they never have been, and the business model that is passenger rail travel has been ill since the early 1950's. Now I'm not saying that we should do away with Amtrak. I am quite pro-rail and pro-Amtrak, and I get supremely annoyed anytime Congress tries to cut their already thin budget.

*Note: This failure is partly a result of the business model it is trying to sell. Americans will mostly use cars for short trips, and airlines for long trips.

It is true that Amtrak loses serious money outside of the Northeast Corridor and some parts of southern California - the reason Amtrak exists at all in rural states, like South Dakota and Montana, is because of politics. You are correct, Americans use cars for short hops and airlines for long trips which doesn't leave much middle ground for Amtrak outside of the congested regions of the country. In my opinion, the reason Amtrak fails is because they are doomed to use freight lines and are second priority on most of the tracks they use. Much of Amtrak's network is covered by once-daily service, with trains horrendously late and impacted by all sorts of challenges. Greyhound offers far more options as far as connections and frequencies, and is often quicker too! Throw in cost, and Amtrak is often the more expensive option!

As much as I am an airline fan, I am a travel fan first; I love the idea of train travel and there are clearly benefits to taking a train versus driving or flying. Amtrak doesn't do enough or have enough service to capitalize on those benefits, in my opinion. I don't think the airline industry should be looking to Amtrak for revenue ideas but I suspect we will always see airlines come up with new ways of generating or protecting revenue.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: RDH3E
Posted 2013-01-22 07:18:41 and read 7868 times.

Quoting airportugal310 (Reply 12):
I believe our airline has some kind of setup like this, though I'm not too sure how it works. I haven't really bothered to look into it.

UA has unlimited 20% off for the employee and their family/domestic partner/enrolled friend

Quoting irregking (Reply 20):
together with the already minimum-wage salary that he gets... not fair either.

Who works for a major airline that makes minimum wage?

Quoting xdlx (Reply 25):
IF an airline overbooks.... It is because they have no faith in their revenue vehicle.
If an airplane seats 100 pax but to make money you have to sell 110-117 seats -17 over capacity. Your revenue fundamentals are all wrong

Not at all! It means that A) you're generating extra revenue from change fees, or B) you're generating a revenue premium from refundable tickets. Not sure how you could possibly arrive at your conclusion. Sometimes pax don't show up for flights, its a fact of life. So why not sell those seats?

Quoting jfklganyc (Reply 26):
And if you work for one of those airlines that charges you a non rev fee...your company really stinks.

Huh? Define "non rev fee" there is almost always a cost associated with flying non-rev. I

Quoting PassedV1 (Reply 27):
I also think that non-revs not travelling with the employee (i.e. spouses and kids) should travel at a lower priority.

The post-merger UA system has this

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: brilondon
Posted 2013-01-22 07:25:37 and read 7778 times.

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 3):

Quoting N908AW (Reply 1):
Plus, you probably shouldn't do something just because Amtrak is doing it.

Well, I like what the OP is trying to do ... maximize revenue. However your right, if you want your business model to succeed , typically you want to do the exact opposite of what Amtrak is doing.

I would agree to a point with your statement. Airlines could take a lesson in customer service from Amtrak. This summer my partner and I traveled from San Francisco to Chicago on Amtrak and found that the on board service personnel were very good and made the trip very enjoyable. I wish the airlines would take a trip on Amtrak and see what they do and how they treat their passengers.

Quoting Mcoov (Reply 6):
Congress has been funding Amtrak begrudgingly since Day 1 (May 1, 1971). It has been the mission of Amtrak since A-Day to turn a self-sufficient profit, which it has failed to do each and every year*. As a result, Amtrak is almost always on the chopping block for the Congressional budget, and has been faced with life-or-death situations several times now (1979, 1983, 1997, and 2002). Amtrak chases profits like Wile E. Coyote chases the Roadrunner, with just about as much success. They are not doing fine, they never have been, and the business model that is passenger rail travel has been ill since the early 1950's. Now I'm not saying that we should do away with Amtrak. I am quite pro-rail and pro-Amtrak, and I get supremely annoyed anytime Congress tries to cut their already thin budget.

*Note: This failure is partly a result of the business model it is trying to sell. Americans will mostly use cars for short trips, and airlines for long trips.

Amtrak was founded by acquiring all the bankrupt assets of the freight railroads passenger services. How in the world do you make any money when you have a failing system that was about to bankrupt the freight railroads. This was already a failed business model before it was started.

Quoting william (Reply 17):
Every mode of transportation is subsidized in some form. Amtrak's subsidy is more open.

It has to be as it is owned by the government. Imagine if the airlines had to pay for every bit of their operations including the airports and the air traffic control system mandated by the government. Most of the airport infrastructure is funded through local airport authorities who then charge it back to the airlines who use the airports through PFC's. Amtrak had to rely on funding their own stations and pay the freight railroads to use their rails.

This is not an apples to apples comparison,but it does high-lite the differences between Amtrak and what they have to expense. If you get rid of all the infrastructure that is funded by Amtrak ie. payments to freight railroads, then they would make money.


Quoting ryanov (Reply 19):
That is neither a particularly accurate nor well-supported statement, nor is it an apples to apples comparison. Airlines, for example, don't have to deal with much infrastructure maintenance (at least not compared to a railroad).


  

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: richierich
Posted 2013-01-22 08:53:08 and read 6921 times.

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 32):
Huh? Define "non rev fee" there is almost always a cost associated with flying non-rev.

Yes, there is always a cost (fuel, time, etc.) but many airlines do not charge their employees and eligible pass riders a fee. Taxes are the exception.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: jayunited
Posted 2013-01-22 08:55:17 and read 6916 times.

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 21):
My idea was definitely not that the employee would be able to cancel at the last minute. That would open up a bad can of worms and is not what Amtrak allows either. Basically, they would go ahead and fly on the ticket regardless. Once the flight departed, a calculation would be made in the system as to who was owed refunds and then this money would show up in the employee's paycheck if the employee would have theoretically cleared the flight. By subtracting only the NRSA employees from the total pax to determine the final count before standbys cleared, which would include employees who had paid for a ticket, you would be assuming that the confirmed employees are displacing pax that would have otherwise bought a ticket.

There is a huge problem with your theory so let me break it down. Year ago the airlines use to grossly oversell their flights because people wouldn't show up for the flight they actually booked. But with the changes the airlines made to same day standby to revenue passengers most passengers are now showing up for the flight they actually booked reducing the need to grossly overbook a flight.

So If an employee buys a confirmed ticket that seat has been taken out of service. The airlines do not sell revenue standby seats to employees. An employee is either a revenue passenger or they are a standby passenger buying a revenue seat takes that seat out of the available inventory.

What you are suggesting is that the airline makes the choice for the employee as to the form of travel revenue or standby.
That is not the airlines job that is the employees job. I go on 2 or 3 cruises every year and I don't fly standby when I'm gong on that cruise I buy a confirmed ticket because I know I have to get to either MIA or FLL I can't tell you the number of employees who have had their vacation ruined because they decided to try to fly standby and didn't make it or they did get out of Chicago and then couldn't get back to Chicago for 4 or 5 days it can be horrible. So the employee must make that choice and it is how badly do they want to get to their destination? If an employee has time and wants to spend all day and /or days at an airport going from one standby list to another they can do that. But if that employee needs to get to their destination then they need to buy a confirmed ticket especially now days when most flights are going out full.

The employee makes the choice not the airline and you most certainly do not get to buy a confirmed ticket and list yourself on standby for the same flight going to the same destination and have the airline reimburse you the cost of your ticket if it is determined that you would have gotten on on standby.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: jayspilot
Posted 2013-01-22 09:03:51 and read 6822 times.

What i do now is when I can't non-rev or don't want to is to buy a refundable ticket on SWA or B6 and if you get bumped from flight you go on that and if not you roll the credit to the next flight. I do this every time I travel with my family to avoid the stuck feeling ruining the trip.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: Tomassjc
Posted 2013-01-22 09:55:54 and read 6302 times.

At my carrier we are occasionally "awarded" a hand full of free (taxed) positive space tickets. They are capacity controlled and might not be available on all flights. We are also offered a 20 percent discount off ANY available confirmed fare system wide, booked online, refundable or not. Both benefits are great when you can plan ahead (PST) or need a last minute confirmed space seat (20% off). However, even listing space available on a flight for which you have a confirmed seat is grounds for dismissal, and is monitored by Employee Travel.

Tomas SJC

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: phxa340
Posted 2013-01-22 10:38:48 and read 5885 times.

Quoting ryanov (Reply 19):

Amtrak competes with airlines - just like airlines competes with the automobile. They are all in the transportation category so comparing them is entirely fair. And Amtrak has lost millions so not sure what part of my statement is wrong ?

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: ryanov
Posted 2013-01-22 13:45:12 and read 4477 times.

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 38):
Amtrak competes with airlines - just like airlines competes with the automobile. They are all in the transportation category so comparing them is entirely fair. And Amtrak has lost millions so not sure what part of my statement is wrong ?

Amtrak really doesn't compete with airlines outside of very few markets. When I travel on Amtrak, I most often see people who would never fly on the train. I suppose I'm a rarity, but similar in that I won't fly shorter than about a 10-15 hour train ride. What is not fair is looking at them as if they both have the same obligation and ability to compete and to make money. At the most basic level, you're comparing an entity that would have to maintain thousands of miles of track, if it were to own/build any more than the northeast corridor. Airlines don't have to maintain the air, though I suppose they do have to pay into the ATC system.

As far as "you want to do the opposite of them because they're losing money," that is glossing over the situation with no real demonstrated understanding of it. A company can lose money for a variety of reasons, and that may not always be a bad thing. Passenger rail has not really made money since the large-scale divestment from the private railroads for a variety of historical reasons. Commuter rail loses money too, but it is more of a public utility than a for-profit company.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: Wisdom
Posted 2013-01-22 14:45:53 and read 4036 times.

I think that it's a marvelous idea and that it could work perfectly if the will is there.

As irregking suggests, the airlines managements do not wish to go along with this kind of system.
I think that it's because they just don't know better.

As to employees blocking seats and cancelling on the day of the flight, why on Earth would you do that?
If you make the ticket non-refundable, you wouldn't have this problem

Airlines need to start realizing the revenue potential of their employees.
Sell the seats at 30-60% off and if the flight that the employee boarded wasn't fully booked, refund the full ticket.

On some flights you lose revenue, but a happy employee is much more productive for the same cost.

A happy stewardess will take much better care of her customers, and happy customers will fly more with that airline. A stewardess costs the same whether she's grumpy and useless or smiling and genuinely helpful.
The happy stewardess will keep more customers happy and that's where the money comes from.

The same goes for all employees in an airline or any company that sells a service.

It makes plain sense.
It's just that airline systems are like big fat dinosaurs. They are not flexible and they don't care for common sense, as long as it's simple. They are so busy keeping the daily business going that they don't have the energy to stop, think and rationalise matters.

[Edited 2013-01-22 14:54:02]

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: usdcaguy
Posted 2013-01-22 14:52:06 and read 3985 times.

Quoting Tomassjc (Reply 37):
At my carrier we are occasionally "awarded" a hand full of free (taxed) positive space tickets.

Mind sharing which carrier that is?  
Quoting jayunited (Reply 35):
The employee makes the choice not the airline and you most certainly do not get to buy a confirmed ticket and list yourself on standby for the same flight going to the same destination and have the airline reimburse you the cost of your ticket if it is determined that you would have gotten on on standby.

You're absolutely right about that, but at Amtrak it works that way. Pretty wondrous to think about as an airline employee. If we got to do it legitimately, I'm sure more employees would be willing to buy tickets, although it would be a pure gamble if affording the tickets would be a budgetary stretch.

Quoting ryanov (Reply 39):
As far as "you want to do the opposite of them because they're losing money," that is glossing over the situation with no real demonstrated understanding of it.

  
I see this as the same mentality that says, "We should not have socialized medicine because of Europe's problems with unemployment." Rejecting things outright because one part may be undesirable makes no sense. If we always did that, we'd never have private corporations just because CEOs make too much money.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: blueflyer
Posted 2013-01-22 15:17:15 and read 3793 times.

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):
I also wonder if carriers could grant higher discounts (50-75%) for a set number of confirmed tickets per employee in lieu of unlimited standby travel

I suppose it also depends on how discounted tickets might be used. I can't imagine that airlines would want their employees to fill up half the flights between BWI and MSY on a deeply-discounted yet confirmed-space basis minutes before New England has admitted defeat. It would deny the airlines a significant revenue that I am sure they count on. Once they start going down that road, airlines might want to block all destinations in Florida all winter, Hawaii in the summer, any flight to anywhere at Thanksgiving, etc... After a few years, your deeply-discounted confirmed-space tickets might be useless for half the destinations half the year.

Quoting Mcoov (Reply 6):
Amtrak chases profits like Wile E. Coyote chases the Roadrunner, with just about as much success.

Yeah, but unlike Wile E. Coyote, Amtrak has a map to find the elusive Roadrunner! Problem is, that map is edited by Congress members who want Amtrak to visit their backyard, whether or not there is any evidence the Roadrunner has or ever will be visiting.

[Edited 2013-01-22 15:21:44]

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: Maverick623
Posted 2013-01-22 16:07:59 and read 3474 times.

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 24):

I am unsure of what has happened in he past 5 years

I have an aunt has worked for a large corporate travel agency for over 25 years, and she says she hasn't seen any ID tickets available for years.

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 24):
do airline employees only get 25% off lowest fare or just full Y coach?

My airline give a 20% discount off the lowest published fare at booking. My parents use that more often than they do regular Space-A travel... it's hard enough these days non-reving as an employee. I gave out 3 one-way buddy passes last year, out of the 16 we're allocated. It's just not worth it anymore.

Quoting PassedV1 (Reply 27):

I also think that non-revs not travelling with the employee (i.e. spouses and kids) should travel at a lower priority.

I believe they do at most airlines. For mine, the highest SA priority is reserved for vacation passes (a limited number are issued per year), followed by retiree emergency travel, then active employees and their accompanied pass riders, then retirees and any unaccompanied pass riders of an active employee.

Quoting ABQopsHP (Reply 29):

This is/was a firing offence. I have caught plenty of non-revs trying to do so, when Ive been the gate agent. And told them they had to use their revenue ticket, since they booked that and as a non-rev, or take another flight listed appropriately. And I have heard of a few that were fired. This wasnt only at HP but at CO/UA as well. As for flights that might have 30 non-revs on it? Trust me, after working in MCO I watched the non-rev list and bookings closely to make sure there were no games being played. There have been some that book fake reservations who have been caught and fired for doing so.

I remember until about 2007 or 2008, all rampside computers with QIK had full access to all of the keypads. IT then locked down any keypad that could alter reservations or flight listings to those PCs that had generic sines, with few exceptions.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: aflyingkiwi
Posted 2013-01-22 19:03:06 and read 3192 times.

Quoting phxa340 (Reply 38):
Amtrak competes with airlines - just like airlines competes with the automobile. They are all in the transportation category so comparing them is entirely fair. And Amtrak has lost millions so not sure what part of my statement is wrong ?

While Amtrak does get millions of dollars in subsidies, It is worth noting that roads require subsidies as well.. In fact only around 60% of the costs of highways are paid through gas taxes & other user pays methods in the US.

In one way shape or form pretty much every transportation mode requires some sort of subsidy.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: zippyjet
Posted 2013-01-22 21:15:41 and read 3030 times.

Quoting usdcaguy (Thread starter):



That system sounds like it was designed or invented by a bureaucrat, government worker or lawyer. Too confusing. Maybe for long overseas flights but this sounds like a bureaucratic nightmare.Though flawed, I'll stick with the current model. Why have to put out money and though jump through hoops dealing with payroll and accounting? How about a choice, buddy passes at whatever costs your company sets or give them up for 2 confirmed round trips of course certain days such as the day before Thanksgiving, the Sunday after Turkey day and other benchmark holidays are blacked out.

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: irregking
Posted 2013-01-23 03:38:30 and read 2832 times.

Quoting RDH3E (Reply 32):
Who works for a major airline that makes minimum wage?

Nowadays quite a number of people are desperate enough to accept the new contracts that airlines offer to new-starters.
Either to work at an airline or just to have a job in the 1st place.
For example: I just came across some newly hired ground staff (non-outsourced) who told me that they have a full-time starting salary of €900/month ($1400) after tax, which is not increased until the probationary period of 6mths/1yr passes. And even then it will increase only marginally. I don't know about the US but €900 here in Europe, considering bills, rent, food... that's not a lot.  

If you look on the VS careers website for example when they are hiring cabin crew, it says in the job description:£12000/year base salary before tax + flight pay - which makes it a little bit better but Kelly, Shelly, Sam and Hazel still have to share a 2 bedroom flat in Crawley, struggling to pay bills, let alone pay for any confirmed tickets if they ever need to go somewhere.

The days when airlines paid their non-management employees a half-what decent wage are long gone, my friend.  
That is also why the people who still have their old contracts/salary schemes are holding on to their jobs for dear life, just like I am. "Cause it ain't gettin' better than that!"

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: Tomassjc
Posted 2013-01-23 08:39:33 and read 2616 times.

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 41):
Quoting Tomassjc (Reply 37):
At my carrier we are occasionally "awarded" a hand full of free (taxed) positive space tickets.

Mind sharing which carrier that is?


It's the one with the dude all bundled up on the tail.  

Tomas SJC

Topic: RE: Amtrak Employee Travel Model For Airlines
Username: N908AW
Posted 2013-01-23 10:15:59 and read 2526 times.

Quoting ryanov (Reply 39):
As far as "you want to do the opposite of them because they're losing money," that is glossing over the situation with no real demonstrated understanding of it.

That's true, but many (most) functions of Amtrak are only feasible because the government subsidizes the money pit. There are many things Amtrak's cost structure permits, by virtue of the fact that the company ultimately survives no matter how big the loss. That's why those federal studies indicate that it costs Amtrak $1.50 to sell you a $1.00 can of pop on board. That's why Amtrak's cost recovery ratio (RASM/CASM) hovers around 80% and why its systemwide load factor hangs out south of 55%.

My original statement - "Plus, you probably shouldn't do something just because Amtrak is doing it." is more or less different than your statement anyway. There is probably something that Amtrak does that is indeed valuable - I just can't think of one.

In essence what I meant... don't do something because you see Amtrak doing it - if you do need a good reason to do it, look at your return on such an investment, not just Amtrak's.

*http://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/85/91/Am...y-Performance-Report-July-2012.pdf


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