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Excellent Op-Ed On US Domestic Airlines  
User currently offlineInnocuousFox From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2805 posts, RR: 14
Posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 3451 times:

I saw this article at National Review Online. It is entitled "Just Plane Stupid: Nearsighted congressional protectionism is ruining the domestic in-flight experience." Very good point here. The crux?

Quote:
The outlook for domestic carriers, and passengers, looks grim. Without any serious foreign competition, the services and amenities provided by the domestic airlines will continue to slide. (Although the domestic carriers who fly internationally will continue to upgrade their services on international routes. Wonder why? I know: competition.)

Yep. Nailed it.  thumbsup 


Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMasseyBrown From United States of America, joined Dec 2002, 5460 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 3403 times:

Wow. What did Delta do to him? He must have lost money on their stock.


I love long German words like 'Freundschaftsbezeigungen'.
User currently offlineHoya From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 410 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 3315 times:

This guy seriously needs to do some research. While his general points make some sense, in that more competition is good, don't you guys think that there is enough competition in the domestic skies? (F9, B6, WN, UA, AA, DL, etc. etc.) How much more competition does he want? Also, are European domestic airlines that much better than their US counterparts (I'm thinking Easyjet and Ryanair here). At least from what I'm seeing (I'm no expert), but aren't European airlines cutting services on intra-European routes too due to all this competition from the LCCs?

What really made me think this guy is an idiot is this line:

Quote:
In-flight trivia: How many domestic airlines have purchased 787s, those modern-era aeronautical beauties? I know the answer. (I should since it’s my game of trivia.) The number is zero. All the 787s are being purchased by the foreign airlines who are flourishing in the world economy. The backlog of 787s is pretty long, and the chance I’ll ever fly one on a domestic route is minimal at best.

Uh, NW and CO have ordered 787s. AA just announced they have purchase rights for the 787. But, I'll give him this one, he is correct in that his chance to fly one domestically will be minimal.



Hoya Saxa!!
User currently offlineBoeing7E7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3204 times:

Wrong...

How many domestic airlines have purchased 787s, those modern-era aeronautical beauties? I know the answer. (I should since it’s my game of trivia.) The number is zero.

But right...Until 767-300's need upsizing and domestic use 777's need a replacement.

the chance I’ll ever fly one on a domestic route is minimal at best.

Quoting MasseyBrown (Reply 1):
Wow. What did Delta do to him?

Pee'd in his salad?  Smile


User currently offlinePBIflyguy From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 248 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3182 times:

I alsmot bought into this fella being a seasoned traveller/Frequent Flyer.... UNTIL , he referred to the " Head Cabin Attendant " . How many medallion level folks do you know that call us that. NOT MANY  Smile

User currently offlineOptionsCLE From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 467 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3145 times:

I just can't agree with this article. He speaks as if domestic airlines are inefficient and cutting frills only to drive their "regulated profits" through the roof. When you actually look at the domestic airline industry, very few airlines are earning any profits, and none of those profits is worth writing home about. Airlines have cut their costs as much as they possibly could, this is true. Frills have been taken away, this is also true.

But why? Is it some sort of selfish profiteering that drives their actions. NO! With the price of fuel today, the price of a domestic airline ticket is so low that they simply can't afford to operate while still offering 3 meal choices and handmade caesar salads. If this guy and others are so upset about the level of service they receive, then stop flying DL, WN, etc. and start paying a premium for airlines like CO that offer food. Stop flying NW with no domestic in flight entertainment and start flying UA (or which ever airline you prefer.) Change your buying habits and the airlines will respond.

He talks about simple economics. Well, simple economics are what have brought us to where we are today and the root of the problem is the consumer's lack of desire to pay the necessary fare.


User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 3140 times:

What a crock of s***.

Does this moron have any idea why things are so bad? Has he no understanding of the demands of the $99 transcontinental fare? Does he not understand how hopelessly clogged the air traffic control system has become? Can you imagine his ranting if he'd had to depart ATL during a thunderstorm?

And the arrival of Virgin America means an airline will actually start making his Caeser salad at his seat?

Whatever this guy is on, get me a doggy bag...



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineAirlineEcon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 130 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3085 times:

I must agree with the others on this one, this guy made a pretty low level analysis. It is not simple economics that more competition brings with it movies and caesar salads. Perhaps it would be like Europe, really cheap fares with even fewer in-flight amenities. Its not obvious to me how it would turn out.

Virgin America's offering of food, that I would guess have prices like movie theatre food, doesn't sound like the kind service he is expecting.


User currently offlineConcordeBoy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3042 times:

If this person truly thinks that intra-domestic competition with foreign carriers is going to raise USA airline service standards instead of lower foreign service, I've got one word for 'im:
"entropy"  Yeah sure


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3037 times:

From the article:

"Now I’m wondering if the gas tanks are full."

They rarely are, not if you want to carry a full payload, that is. Fuel loads are mission-specific, since carrying around excess fuel wastes some of it due to increased consumption from the heavier weight of the aircraft.

As far as the gent's article is concerned, it seems like he's been living under a rock since 1978, when the airlines were deregulated.

As far as foreign airlines being able to carry passengers between two US points, he focuses on the passenger service issues to the exclusion of other factors. US-registered scheduled airlines operate under FAR Part 121 Domestic or Flag Rules. Foreign airlines operating into the USA operate under Part 129, which essentially kicks things back to the regulations of the airline's home country. Some other countries have rules and regs comparable with Part 121 Domestic/Flag, but some don't. Anyone recall the Avianca 707 that ran out of fuel on a second approach to JFK back in 1990? Before anyone chimes in with ATC, weather, or language issues, know that first on the NTSB's list of contributing factors was the lack of an operational control system (required under Part 121), with ATC, weather, and language issues ranking after that. A Part 121 would have been diverted, and many were that night, with nobody running out of gas.

Bottomline here is that if you let foreign airlines fly in the USA under the rules applicable to their home country, you may or may not get a level of safety comparable to airlines US Part 121 Domestic/Flag regs. Look at the accident rates in other parts of the world compared with the USA.

Would flying a potential "Air NAFTA" be worth getting that ice cream sundae?


User currently offlineChinaClipper40 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 169 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2883 times:

Come on, people. Get real. Do you really expect accuracy or impartiality from an article published in the National Review? One of the most ultra-conservative right-wing screeds published in today's America? I would remind everyone that the National Review was founded by the dean of American conservative political commentary - William F. Buckley, Jr. Many of the magazine's commentators are affiliated with ultra-right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute. And the National Review has been one of the strongest supporters of the ultra-right-wing mind-set and actions of the current Bush administration. That op-ed piece on domestic aviation is a political diatribe, pure and simple. Remember, the linchpin of conservative political thought is that government should regulate NOTHING in society. Even better in their minds, government should DO nothing in society. These are the same people behind the privatization of the American military, in the form of the private mercenary army - Blackwater USA - currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hell, some of them want to sell off the Interstate Highway System to private investors, who will convert the system into toll roads. Some want to privatize police forces across the country. Some want to abolish the FAA and the NTSB. Why? Because in their minds the "free market can solve everything" if left completely unfettered. These are people for whom the radical privatization of American society has long been a cherished ideological mission. "Regulated profits" in the domestic airline industry? Yeah, right. Tell that to all the airline employees whose jobs have vanished (indeed, whose airlines have vanished) ever since deregulation mania swept over the industry. Tell that to commuter airline pilots whose salaries are on a par with garbage collectors and highway paving crews in some municipalities. He's an extremist, hawking an extremist political and social agenda. You want accuracy and objectivity from such people?

ChinaClipper40


User currently offlineGoboeing From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 2699 posts, RR: 15
Reply 11, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2874 times:

Quoting OPNLguy (Reply 9):
carrying around excess fuel wastes some of it due to increased consumption from the heavier weight of the aircraft.

I read somewhere a few years ago that the figure is 3% of fuel on board is burned carrying itself. In other words, if a plane departs with 100,000#, at the end of the flight if it burned 90,000# then 2,700# was burned carrying it. Is that 3% rule accurate?


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2851 times:

Quoting Goboeing (Reply 11):
I read somewhere a few years ago that the figure is 3% of fuel on board is burned carrying itself. In other words, if a plane departs with 100,000#, at the end of the flight if it burned 90,000# then 2,700# was burned carrying it. Is that 3% rule accurate?

It varies by stage length, but I think 3% is a good general figure...


User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8565 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2818 times:

The person has a point, simply this:

If Thai Airways brought over a bunch of Thai flight attendants (foreign workers) and let them give the Thai standard of service in America, people would enjoy it. However, that is illegal for more reasons than just trade restriction. Immigration/working permits are a major reason.

If he thinks simple foreign ownership would improve US airline service, he is on crack. The US capital markets are second to none. The amount of $$ hard cash being pumped into airlines such as Delta, NWA, US Airways, FL, etc is not lacking in any way at all. The Americans do not need foreign ownership of airlines.

Maybe they do need foreign service workers. But again, they are free to apply for US immigration visas. If the USA really needs them, their visas should be granted.


User currently offlineFuturecaptain From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2803 times:

Um, God, where to begin.

It IS possible you will be able to fly a 787 domestically. Hasn't NW already announced DTW-JFK as one of the first routes? And you can bet CO will have some positioning going on between IAH and EWR.

Nextly I would seriously doubt if any foreign airline flew domestic US routes if their standards of service would stay for long. In such a market where price is the sole factor for 99% of the traveling public the good food is the first thing to go.

Also, we have so much competition already in the US. More so than most countries....and more so than alot of international routes which he speaks of. Flying between major US cities I'd bet even alot of people here couldn't name every airline flying the route without looking it up. Most international routes though only have a few players from both sides of the border.

Enough of my ranting for the night. Please never bring this guy's opinion into a topic again.  Smile


User currently offlineSllevin From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 3376 posts, RR: 6
Reply 15, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 2788 times:

What the article fails to mention is those same foreign airlines that offer you a nicer snack are typically a lot less consumer friendly in a lot of ways.

Some examples that spring to mind:

No same-day standby.
Lots of fare that earn little or no mileage.
Much smaller baggage allowances with serious high costs for being "over"
Small carryon limits
Unchangeable "use it or lose it" fares
Much more difficult mileage redemption
Much more difficult class of service upgrades (if available at all)

Steve

[Edited 2007-04-06 06:26:02]

User currently offlineFlyDreamliner From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 2759 posts, RR: 15
Reply 16, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 21 hours ago) and read 2738 times:

So the guy got delayed, and no one tossed a salad in front of him. Big deal. They don't toss salads on most airlines domestic flights, with a few exceptions. The service on United's Premium Service transcontinental flights is on par with domestic service anywhere else - on any other airline. AA is upgrading its signature transcontinental service as well. Service in the US isn't really that bad. I flew an AA flight at christmas time between MSP and MIA that showed a movie, then some short length content, fed me in Y, the service was polite, the plane was new, and despite weather in both directions, arrived early. I was impressed all around. Then again, I've had domestic flights that sucked. It's all depends.

On NW's first class service from MSP-SEA and MSP-SAN I've had a Mediterranean salad served to me before my choice of two or three decent lunch choices and a nice dessert.

If it makes this guy feel any better, I was reading a trip report on here about a BR flight from LHR-TPE which ran out of water mid-flight. How's that for service?

Quoting Flighty (Reply 13):

If Thai Airways brought over a bunch of Thai flight attendants (foreign workers) and let them give the Thai standard of service in America, people would enjoy it. However, that is illegal for more reasons than just trade restriction. Immigration/working permits are a major reason.

Service on Thai might be pretty friendly and attentive, but you can't live in America on a Thai salary with the same lifestyle you can in Thailand. If you are charging the same fare and your costs are lower, of course your service is better. Oh, and if you brought a bunch of Thai F/A's over here, as nice as their language skills are, it's just not the same. Kind of like tech support in India.

Personally, and I may be alone here, I enjoy the service on US airlines. I would appreciate better food, but I understand that spartan food comes with flying. I much rather F/A's who are efficient, polite, and really I require nothing more. I don't need to be asked if they can do anything to make my flight more enjoyable, if I thought of anything, I'd let them know. I guess for me, with few exceptions, airlines in the US have service which for the most part is efficient, simple, and generally pleasant enough. I get to enjoy my flight in peace, and get where I am going pretty quickly. Airlines in the US offer better frequency than just about anywhere on earth. They offer more point to point flights, their hubs are almost always easily navigated, and more often than not, efficiently managed and staffed. Not to say airlines in other countries don't have many of these qualities, I'm just saying airlines in the US aren't that bad, and in some areas, like point to points and frequency, are some of the best.

I've been stuck on the ground in Europe for hours delayed due to airline gaffs (on foreign airlines) just like I have been delayed in the states. I've enjoyed KLM's disappointing European domestic service - which my family, who sometimes can't even tell you which airline they are flying, found to be unimpressive.

Point being, Airlines in the US are no worse than anywhere else, by and large. Yes, they have their problems - but they also have their strengths as well, which often are ignored. No, Delta is not Singapore Airlines. When I fly to Asia and have to pick which Star Alliance carrier (for FF reasons) I'm going to fly, I could enjoy the wonderful service of Singapore or for a much lower price, the service on United, which is 4/5 as nice for less than 4/5 the price, often enough.



"Let the world change you, and you can change the world"
User currently offlineCurmudgeon From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 695 posts, RR: 22
Reply 17, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2662 times:

Quoting Goboeing (Reply 11):
I read somewhere a few years ago that the figure is 3% of fuel on board is burned carrying itself. In other words, if a plane departs with 100,000#, at the end of the flight if it burned 90,000# then 2,700# was burned carrying it. Is that 3% rule accurate?

The correct consumption rate is 3% [b]per hour[b]. Tankering fuel on a four hour trans con thus burns about 12% of the extra fuel carried. This number is an average, and includes such factors as added weight delaying a climb to a more efficient altitude.

I don't envy airline staff in America having to be the official apologists for a diminished product, but as someone already mentioned, with fares so low its got to be impossible to provide top notch service. I fly for an airline that still dishes up hot meals on a :45 minute flight, and shows first run movies on 2:30 and longer flights. There is still always someone to complain that the wine ain't quite vintage enough, or the winglet's blocking his view of the sunset, or some damned thing.



Jets are for kids
User currently offlineFlighty From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 8565 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 2517 times:

Quoting FlyDreamliner (Reply 16):
oint being, Airlines in the US are no worse than anywhere else, by and large. Yes, they have their problems - but they also have their strengths as well, which often are ignored.

Bingo... America has a great air transportation system. You can get anywhere fast and cheap. Quite remarkable how the top 100 cities are so well connected. It's a high speed air train system.

The guy has a point that if we allow total open skies, you could fly GOL MIA-JFK or ORD-MIA. Maybe that would be really cool. But legally, the worker nationality thing would begin be an issue. Gradually there would be no Americans left in their own industry, since it would be so easy to import our airlines. In this sense he is right, our labor costs are higher than developing countries. So you could say the airlines are a bastion of middle class protectionism. But so are most workplaces in the USA -- since they are protected by the border patrol, which is effectively a quota on labor imports.

[Edited 2007-04-06 20:35:28]

User currently offlineInnocuousFox From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2805 posts, RR: 14
Reply 19, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2462 times:

Notice the title of the article again... all he said was "domestic in-flight experience". Isn't this the board where people have been lamenting that very loss for years now? Are you folks arguing that the food is better than it was before? That the planes are in better repair than they were before (new ones aside)? His point was dead on - domestic carriers from a service standpoint realize that they don't have to do crap domestically. However, they DO have to keep up with the likes of BA on international routes.

Now what if BA (or anyone else) was allowed to fly inside the US? Do you think that"
A) people would fly them?
B) people would enjoy the in-flight experience?
C) people would expect or desire that experience on other carriers?
D) the carriers would retool said experience in order to at least mimic BA?

What happened here, it seems, is that you people were looking to be offended about something. He didn't say "flying sucks". He didn't say "domestic airlines (or even Delta) suck". What he did say is that, it is too bad that the governmental regulations preventing foreign airlines are also preventing some competition from a few class acts. Reread the article, then reread your post(s). There is a non sequitor there based on a misinterpretation of the author's meaning.



Dave Mark - Intrinsic Algorithm - Reducing the world to mathematical equations!
User currently offlinePVG From Hong Kong, joined Dec 2004, 727 posts, RR: 2
Reply 20, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2446 times:

If I were the US carriers, I'd support a deal whereby foreign competition would be allowed on US domestic routes in exchange for review free (no DOJ or DOT or congressional review) merger activity among US airlines for a 24-36 month period.

User currently offlineMkirch72 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 198 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2428 times:

Quoting OptionsCLE (Reply 5):
But why? Is it some sort of selfish profiteering that drives their actions. NO!

Actually - the only reason any business is in business is to make money. And publicly traded companies are even worse. Their primary responsibility is to the shareholder. No one else. Don't ever fool yourself into thinking otherwise. Everything a company does, despite the ups and downs of the business cycle, is to make money. If it wasn't "selfish profiteering", they would change themselves to a charitable 501c3 organization. If these corporations didn't act out of selfish profiteering, they would be extinct. That's the nature of the business world.


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2405 times:

Quoting Flighty (Reply 18):
Gradually there would be no Americans left in their own industry, since it would be so easy to import our airlines.

...and also import the safety standards that come from the airline's home country, which might not be as stingent as the Part 121 Domestic/Flag rules that scheduled US airlines operate under.

Be careful for what you ask for, as ye may receive it...


User currently offlineWesternA318 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 5700 posts, RR: 24
Reply 23, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2392 times:

Quoting Boeing7E7 (Reply 3):
Pee'd in his salad?

Or perhaps dropped the widget on his foot..

Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 6):
Can you imagine his ranting if he'd had to depart ATL during a thunderstorm?

or JFK on B6 on V-day..



Check out my blog at fl310travel.blogspot.com!
User currently offlineSkyexramper From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (7 years 5 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2311 times:

"And now the captain's back on the loudspeaker. We're number three for takeoff, so I look out the window to make a visual confirmation. One, two, three . . . four? Why are four planes in front of us if we're third in line?"

So shoot the captain for being off in the count by 1 airplane or 2 minutes in delay. Big dang deal.

Love how be goes on to complain that there is no in flight movie! Now who flies coast to coast without bring something to do for 6 hours! What a snob!

" Who stole them? I know who --- or what. It's the really stupid regulation that allows only U.S. carriers to fly domestic routes."

Wrong buddy...it's the stupid CEOs that crap out their airline and the crappy World Economy that sends prices soaring. We might as well just re-invoke the C.A.B and award routes to certain carriers and force airlines to only flying in certain states!

"Stupid. I'm thinking about Virgin America now, the prospective domestic airline. It got kicked in the teeth when the FAA required it to adjust its ownership structure so that it is not controlled by foreigners. (I guess the name sounds too much like Virgin Atlantic.)"

Guess he is to stupid to realize that it's Branson's brainchild idea and yes it's another Virgin branded airline. Wonder if this guy made the connection between Virgin Blue, Nigeria and Virgin Atlantic. And maybe Virgin records, Virgin Mobile...etc.

"What if the government today restricted foreign auto imports just as they do foreign airlines? That's easy: Things would be just as crappy down there as they are up here. Yet the powers that be in Washington persist in outlawing foreign carriers from flying local routes."

Well my god, why doesn't the US Gov banish Sony or Toshiba from selling electronics in the US! Help us all! All of these companies have established US presence and the money stays in the US.

"In-flight trivia: How many domestic airlines have purchased 787s, those modern-era aeronautical beauties? I know the answer. (I should since it's my game of trivia.) The number is zero. All the 787s are being purchased by the foreign airlines who are flourishing in the world economy. The backlog of 787s is pretty long, and the chance I'll ever fly one on a domestic route is minimal at best."

mmmmm...Boeing is showing 5 going to Continental and we all know there will be other US carriers ordering them.

This guy is factually wrong with damn near everything...just because his company can't afford a jet of their own doesn't mean the public should be subjected to his pissy mood.


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