FCAFLYBOY From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 670 posts, RR: 0 Posted (7 years 5 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 10030 times:
Hi fellow a.netters,
I was just reminiscing about one of my first flights as a youngester, on Air 2000. I remember that feeling of being so excited about the whole experience and how enjoyable it was.
Fair enough, when we're young, everything has more appeal, but I do remember just how different the experience was then, compared to todays (almost) bus-like transition of people from point A to point B.
We all know that Oil prices have gone through the roof recently, and there is by large a global economic downturn, but even as recently as the late 90's it was a far more service-orientated experience. So why did airlines decide that service should take a second row seat to profits?
A small touch such as a hot towel can make such a difference, wouldn't airlines be wise to realise that for the expenditure involved, they could potentially gain new customers from airlines offering a sub-par service. Gone are the days now when you can get a hot-towel in economy, and even a can of Coke will set you back £3/$5 - Where will it all end?
Flyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (7 years 5 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 10000 times:
A lot of it started with the ability to purchase tickets on the internet. Sites like Expedia and Travelocity made it very easy to shop for the cheapest fare.... cheapest fare class, cheapest day, cheapest airline. People would choose another airline even if their fare was only $5 less.
Due to that, competition between airlines went from ruthless to extreme. Many of them have not been able to adapt and they just stopped being able to make money. Couple that with the cost of oil and such and service hasn't taken a second row seat to profits, it has taken a second row seat to clinging to staying in business.
The government hasn't helped either as much as it seems like it has. At least, in the US, the government has provided bailouts either in the form of money, loans, or favorable legal rulings to bankrupt airlines ensuring they stay in business. Its good in the short term to avoid the massive shock that would be caused by a major airline going out of business, but in the long run it severely hurts the whole industry. These failed airlines are draining profits away from the ones that are able to successfully run.
Flyf15 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 5 months 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 9988 times:
I also should mention that the whole system is broken. The airlines are no longer able to control their own bookings/profits/business plans. How do I know this? Because the flights are full and they're still not making money.
The whole supply/demand equation isn't being applied here. There are more passenger than there are seats available. This means one thing: airlines should raise prices to the point where they are consistently going out with some empty seats. Not a lot, but some. This would show that they have correctly priced their seats with demand. Sure, they go out with a few empty seats here and there now, but that is either because of no-shows or markets that just not have been correctly approached.
But, they can't do this.... if they were to increase their price to properly charge for their product, another airline will see that and charge $5 less. The passengers will buy their tickets on that airline instead and the whole thing will fall apart.
Because of this, it seems pretty obvious to me that the airline industry is destined to always not do well, even if oil goes back down to $50/barrel. They'll still be struggling to make money.
KarlB737 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3264 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (7 years 5 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 9862 times:
Quoting Babybus (Reply 5): For me it lost its sparkle when all these heavy duty security checks came in. I mean it's like going to prison, "take-off your belt, empty your pockets, take your shoes off, turnaround' etc.
In other words just after Septemeber 11th when needed security checks began. I agree that they are necessary but the "sparkle" I think disappeared when this began.
Elite From Hong Kong, joined Jun 2006, 3029 posts, RR: 10
Reply 8, posted (7 years 5 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 9855 times:
I don't think flying has lost it's sparkle. Flying now has become much, much more common and instead of being something only the rich can do it is now something millions and millions of people can do. If you fly first class, you will still find that special sparkle. . . at least I do.
EXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 9, posted (7 years 5 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 9840 times:
Maybe it was after the Gulf War on 1991. Slowly, it did go out.
What do you consider sparkle? Meals on 90 min flights? You could get that in the 1980s and even in the early 1990s on Piedmont or Delta.
Or do you consider the seat next to yours being empty to be more important? Then the sparkle went out in 10/24/1978 as the post above suggested. In the 1970s Annual LFs rarely went above 60% and DC-9s were flying to cities like Decatur, IL.
Did the sparkle go out when independent regionals began aligning with mainline airlines for codesharing there-by ending the liveries of airlines like MVA, Pilgrim, etc making airports much less interesting to view(ORD was served by Britt, MVA, Midstate, Air Wisconsin, Air Iowa, Simmons all in their own colors. If so, I think the first codesharing was in 1984-85 with American/Chappral or Ozark/Air Midwest. I remember seeing OZ coded SWMs flying out of STL in 1984-85 in the OAG
Personally, I think the sparkle went out on May 12, 1982
Skyfellow From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 5 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 9824 times:
Quoting Jetfuel (Reply 6): Somehere in the 1980's flying lost that nostalgic romance. I think it was the 747-400 and the massive non-stop international long haul that had something to do with it
Flying eventually evolved, with the availability of larger aircraft, to become a form of mass transportation. This is in contrast to the wealthy few who could afford this in the past when flying was just not going from point a to b, but with style and with pampering.
I sometimes wonder looking at nostalgic cabin pictures of a UA 747 in the 70s flying domestic, half full and with all kinds of lounges and generous seat pitch: did they really make money doing this? I can only wonder.
But I think this evolution is a good thing. We are more mobile and well traveled than ever, and the invention of the jet aircraft and the availability of flights should take its fair share of credit for economic growth and prosperity worldwide.
Air travel never lost its sparkle; it just redefined its purpose and gained momentum.
FCAFLYBOY From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2006, 670 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 5 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 9816 times:
Quoting Elite (Reply 8): If you fly first class, you will still find that special sparkle. . . at least I do.
I'm in no doubt about that one, however, us poorer minions might not be able to sample
this every time we fly (unfortunately). I remember when you felt special flying Y, and you felt as though the airline appreciated you as a customer, seats were always pre-booked and service with a smile (and I'm crew BTW!). It's just gone now, unless you can afford J/F of course.
Osprey88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 330 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (7 years 5 months 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 9784 times:
Some flying hasn't lost its sparkle for me at least. I still love to fly on turboprops from my regional airport, especially the 30 seat EMB-120. Its an intimate setting and it is wonderful to take them on a short 30 or so minute flight from MRY-SFO. I love being able to walk across the tarmac to board the aircraft, I love the noise at takeoff and then buzzing across the sea at 6000ft, seeing the whitecaps and passing onto land across the mountains, and then, almost too soon, you see SFO and the little plane dives and you hear the gear come down and you are on the ground. To me, their doesn't have to be service on these turboprop flights, these little planes themselves provide that, and I fly them whenever I can.
However, I will have to concede FCAFLYBOY's point that much of flying today has lost its sparkle. Longer flights, especially in Y I don't particularly look forward to anymore, mainly because service is usually less than happy, if their is service to give. Occasionally, I find older flight attendants who still do their jobs well and I enjoy talking with them, but mainly today, service is brusque or unhappy. I can see why security would be a problem for most people, I generally accept it though, its a side affect of the times we live in.
I must say though, until they eliminate the roar of those engines and the feeling of power pushing irresistibly at your back on takeoff, flying will still maintain some sparkle for me.
"Reading departure signs in some big airports reminds me of the places I've been"
Charles79 From Puerto Rico, joined Mar 2007, 1338 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (7 years 5 months 4 days ago) and read 9686 times:
Quoting Babybus (Reply 5): Next they'll want us to stand there in our underpants or have a shower naked with 200 others to decomtaminate us prior to boarding, or look up the back passage.
You mean that's not standard ops? Damn, they took advantage of my innocence!
Quoting FCAFLYBOY (Thread starter): I remember that feeling of being so excited about the whole experience and how enjoyable it was.
Perhaps I'm easy to please but I still get excited and enjoy the experience quite a bit. Then again, for me the thrill of flying is not measured by how many cokes I'm served or whether I had some "free" meal in Y on a 2 hour flight. For me the thrill is the take-off and landing, the queue at the ticket counter, just pulling up to the airport gets me going. What can I say, I like planes, and I'm a happy camper when inhabiting the interior of an A320 or a 763. Food, drinks, IFE? Nah, I always bring my own, thanks!
... when airlines awoke to realise they actually needed to generate profit in an industry that is notoriously unprofitable.
But let's not think for one moment that airlines cannot have excellent service and generate decent profit. Yes, some airlines, such as Ryanair, don't have much service yet are ordinarily very profitable. But what about very customer-centric airlines like Singapore and Southwest? Excellent service and excellent profitability. There are shining lights in an otherwise dark sky.
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
DL747400 From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 392 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (7 years 5 months 4 days ago) and read 9630 times:
Flying lost it's luster and sparkle years ago. Even before 9/11, air travel had become a commodity and no longer about service (unless you are traveling in First/Business Class). Nothing about Coach air travel is easy, fun, or comfortable anymore, but it is (and will likely remain) a necessity for hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Air travel is still faster in most cases than virtually any other mode of transportation, and time is money.
All posts reflect my opinions, not those of my employer or any other company.
PanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 21, posted (7 years 5 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 9592 times:
When non-aviation CEO's were allowed to take control of airlines and leech them dry like a vampire on a binge.
Gone are the days of visionaries such as Bob Six, Eddie Rickenbacker, and Juan Trippe. They were replaced by cartoon-like supervillains such as Frank Lorenzo, Carl Icahn, and the crop of current managers that have turned the airline industry into the sad satires of what they used to be.
Also, when even the slightest attempt at common sense vanished from our collective conscious. One must not forget the asinine stupidity of "no-liquids". I'm sure to lighten the mood in madrasses and terrorist training camps, terrorists laugh their @$$es off at how all that had to be done was to mention that liquid MIGHT be able to be used as a weapon, and the world reacted in a panic that they couldn't have imagined in their wildest dreams. Meanwhile, 3 ounces of lotion is okay, but 3.5 makes you Osama bin Laden. Never mind that two passengers could put their 3 ounces together - no, we must take grandma's lotion away!!
Need I mention the "no-fly" rule?
Whenever I fly, I still do my utmost to enjoy the trip, and I go out of my way to be friendly, smiling, and act as a guest in someone else's home. I find that 99% of the time I find that attitude returned to me, and as a result, my trips are generally quite fun. I think one must go into every flight with this attitude or the stress from problems will be magnified.
Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
Tdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12710 posts, RR: 80
Reply 23, posted (7 years 5 months 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 9499 times:
Quoting FCAFLYBOY (Thread starter): So why did airlines decide that service should take a second row seat to profits?
Because their passengers told them (with their feet) that's what they wanted.
Quoting FCAFLYBOY (Thread starter): A small touch such as a hot towel can make such a difference, wouldn't airlines be wise to realise that for the expenditure involved, they could potentially gain new customers from airlines offering a sub-par service.
It doesn't work. It's been tried over and over and over again and it never ever works. The only thing that does work is customer service attitude, which is technically "free" but requires more support of the employees that most companies are willing to do.
I still feel special flying Y. But I'm probably looking for different things in the air than you are.
Quoting FCAFLYBOY (Reply 11): you felt as though the airline appreciated you as a customer
Fly Southwest...they still do.
Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 21): Meanwhile, 3 ounces of lotion is okay, but 3.5 makes you Osama bin Laden. Never mind that two passengers could put their 3 ounces together - no, we must take grandma's lotion away!!
There's two things they're trying to restrict...volume and container size. Even if you had two (or forty) passengers pool their 3 oz's, you'd still only have a 3 oz. container.
Don't get me wrong, I still think the liquids thing is stupid, bu it's not as stupid as it may appear at first glance. It's all based on a flawed premise but, if you accept the premise, the method on the liquids actually isn't that bad.
I've only ever taken 2 flights with them, but I couldn't agree more. It's a shame we dont have a comparable equivalent here in Europe.
Quoting Charles79 (Reply 17): Perhaps I'm easy to please but I still get excited and enjoy the experience quite a bit. Then again, for me the thrill of flying is not measured by how many cokes I'm served or whether I had some "free" meal in Y on a 2 hour flight. For me the thrill is the take-off and landing, the queue at the ticket counter, just pulling up to the airport gets me going. What can I say, I like planes, and I'm a happy camper when inhabiting the interior of an A320 or a 763. Food, drinks, IFE? Nah, I always bring my own, thanks!
I would second that too, however, I really miss the days where an airlines repuutation was based on it's levels of service and customer satisfaction, rather than being the cheapest ticket. I still lov flying though, full stop, or else I'm in the wrong job!