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Given Losses, Are Asian Legacies Still Superior?  
User currently offlineAvek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4410 posts, RR: 19
Posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4799 times:

It has been a long-held notion on a.net -- admittedly, with some basis in fact for very short periods of time -- that Asian legacy air carriers, such as SQ, CX, JL, and NH, are "superior" to their legacy airline counterparts elsewhere in the world. Purveyors of this notion often referred to the economic performance of these carriers, in addition to their product offerings as evidence of their superiority.

However, at the present time, the facts of the airline business are clearly cutting against this notion. The Asian legacy carriers, as a group, racked up net losses as large as their peers elsewhere in the world despite operating significantly fewer flights and having less exposure to cost-control constraints such as powerful unions. Meanwhile, the recent and ongoing hard product investments by US and European legacy carriers -- to soon include The Most Wonderful Continental Airlines (see below) -- is eliminating the hard product advantage of the Asian legacies, and dilution of the soft product due to cost cut will cause the service "edge" to progressively disappear.

What say you to this present state of affairs?


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52 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31239 posts, RR: 85
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4772 times:
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I expect Asian carriers raked in significant cash on their premium cabins (especially First Class) and with that traffic collapsing, it's dragging down their revenues, yet the costs to provide that level of "superlative" service remains the same.

While the hard product may no longer be the best (though I believe SQ still reigns supreme with R Class on the A380, First Class on the 77W and Business on both), catering, in-flight service and ground service still can keep the Asian carriers at the forefront of a "premium" travel experience.

That said, CO really impresses me with their domestic First Class product and I was a happy man when they announced they were coming to Star.


User currently offlineAvek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4410 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 4732 times:



Quoting Stitch (Reply 1):
catering, in-flight service and ground service still can keep the Asian carriers at the forefront of a "premium" travel experience.

With NH potentially preparing to charge Y pax for various food items on longhaul flights?



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User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31239 posts, RR: 85
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4705 times:
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Quoting Avek00 (Reply 2):
With NH potentially preparing to charge Y pax for various food items on longhaul flights?

When I say "premium" I am referring to First Class and Business Class.  Smile


User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3649 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4660 times:

Hadn't heard about ANA charging for food (where can I read more about this?), but I flew them just a month or so ago JFK-NRT and got *far* more service than any US carrier provides. They walk around in economy class with a *basket of wine*, for god's sake, several times during the flight. They walk around with little individual Haagen Dazs ice creams! Not as part of the "snack" either, just for the hell of it.


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User currently offlineMax999 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 1077 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4648 times:

The short answer is yes.

Because the economies in Asia (ex Japan) are expected to recover from the recession much faster than the US. When the economies recover, premium travel will pick up again and the Asian legacies will be raking in the cash (i.e. highly profitable). They will use that money to continue to improve their product and grow the business.

Unfortunately, many of the economic forecasts I've read say that the US will be in for a slow and possibly painful recovery. This will further hamper the US legacies' profitability and ability to compete on a global scale.

[Edited 2009-08-07 18:07:47]


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User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3224 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4597 times:

lol Dude if you even have to ask that you obviously have never had a Singapore Airlines long haul economy flight.

Look at the car manufacturers. Yes the US companies are getting hit badly. And so are the Japanese companies (go have a look at the kind of losses Honda and Toyota have made)

And if we look to europe BMW and Mercedes have taken a hit too. But would anybody for a second entertain the idea that a Hyundai is better than a BMW just because both companies are under financial pressure at the moment due to the crisis? I think not my friend.

Now as for CO. Yes they are making more effort then a lot of other US carriers which is good, but they've still got a way to go in some regards before you can start putting them on the same level as the some asian carriers.
Those business first seats are a welcome improvement. CO's current one's are stuck in the 90s. So good move there (although they could improve their appearence). Likewise CO has made more effort in catering on short haul and long haul then many of its US conterparts. BUT... they product completely lacks style and Panache. Look at the china used for example. CO for example, pays more for business class catering then its competitors(US Based) but serves it up on dated gwady china?

Now I would like to point out that price is also a factor in all of this. If US carriers constitantly charge less... they of course nobody should be surprised if they recieve less. Comparing EK's first clas or SIA's suites to CO's existing business class would hardly be fair. Oh lounges are another area. Does CO offer anything like SQ does at changi 3? or CX's 'the wing' at Chep Lap Kok? or the Beautiful Lufthansa First Class Terminal? or Qantas 'First' lounge at Sydney? These are the sorts of things CO and friends will need to catch up on if they want that ultra premium dollar. So there is the difference.

Now all that being said let's not forget the huge profits that rather cheap and nasty Irish airline has made. There are many different markets after all.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31239 posts, RR: 85
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4540 times:
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Quoting Lufthansa (Reply 6):
But would anybody for a second entertain the idea that a Hyundai is better than a BMW just because both companies are under financial pressure at the moment due to the crisis? I think not my friend.

You might be surprised if you tried the new Hyundai Genesis sedan and coupe. It might just be the Korean's "Lexus Moment".


User currently offlineAvek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4410 posts, RR: 19
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 4530 times:



Quoting Lufthansa (Reply 6):
lol Dude if you even have to ask that you obviously have never had a Singapore Airlines long haul economy flight.

This is correct -- I've only done the mentioned Asian carriers in J (save for JL, which I would rather not fly anytime soon). And I stand by my fact-based disbelief of the notion articulated above.



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User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3224 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 4449 times:



Quoting Avek00 (Reply 8):
And I stand by my fact-based disbelief of the notion articulated above.

Fact based? Come on. You didn't address any of the areas like lounges, seating, flight attendent to passenger ratio, attitudes of the staff, crockery and glasswear used, especially in the premium cabins, but also in economy, things stock in the lavs (you'll find a selection of moisturizers, combs, toothbrushes and toothpaste, mouthwases, perfumes, razors etc on SIA in the ECONOMY class lavs). Ammenties kits on some. the size and volume of the meal etc.

Then there's things like staff uniforms! Presentation is everything. Delta is the only legacy carrier in the USA to be making any effort at all in this regard. The rest are in desperate need of a designers touch.

CO is a 3 star airline. To be fair to CO, their business first product is probably better then 3 stars with the new seat coming online, but even if we just look at the companies long haul operations, they've still got work to do if they want to get to the 4 star level across the board.


User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3224 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 4443 times:

I will say this though the pict of the Singapore Girl...and the "was singapore girl now singapore Madame" was pretty bloody funny!

User currently offlineManekS From Singapore, joined Oct 2008, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4416 times:

Are you comparing CO to SQ?  eyepopping  To be honest, I don't really see any difference in service standards with SQ. You still get hot towels in Y, the meals are the same portions, and you don't have to pay for bags. As for the lady on the right, is she one of CO's pursers?  duck 

User currently offlineTravellerPlus From New Zealand, joined Nov 2008, 347 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4389 times:

Maybe it would be best to compare airline with airline rather selective comparisons at a continental and national level. Asia is vast and covers hundreds of airlines from countries as diverse as Kuwait, Russia, the Maldives, China, India, Singapore etc. To say that all of these share similar traits is plain wrong.

Reality check time here. Flat beds have been around for well over 10 years on many airlines, it it seems a bit sad that an airline with the stature of CO is still only providing computer mock-ups of such a product for its potential passengers.

Quoting Avek00 (Thread starter):
admittedly, with some basis in fact for very short periods of time

Very short period of time? As far as I am aware, since the early 1970's (about 40years ago) CX and SQ have been stellar, if not world beating, performers with respect to their finances. They have achieved investment grade returns consistently and shown that they have weathered former crises like SARS and curency meltdowns. They have rarely recorded full year losses. Their service has been pioneering and of the highest quality. No company can please everyone, but the level of esteem in which they are held in many culturally diverse markets is testament to the higher service standards they have.

What can be said is that a mid sized airline hub airline is a strong position to be in. It can achieve economies of scale and still be at a manageable size with regards quality. LAN in South America is another mid sized airline with an exceptional customer service and financial record. In the USA, Alaskan and Hawaiian seem to have similar traits to this model. They are large without being huge but they can report profits and high service standards too.

[Edited 2009-08-07 21:39:29]


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User currently offlineEDICHC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4375 times:

Having sampled the wares of SQ, AA and CO in the recent past I can tell you while CO is significantly better than AA, CO is the proverbial mile behind SQ. From the customer/pasenger perspective it is of little significance to me what the respective financial performance is of each carrier. Ticket price and service standard are my indicators.

User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3224 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4341 times:



Quoting ManekS (Reply 11):
As for the lady on the right, is she one of CO's pursers?

lol @ ManekS

she couldn't be from SQ they would have fired her long before she got that big!
A few things on SIA:

*Printed Menus IN ECONOMY


*Givenchy ammenities kit (for econ pax!)


*Hot Towels for economy class passengers(yes real towels for econ!)


*Economy class meal - note real glassware used


*Gourmet Icecreams inbetween meals with your movies IN ECONOMY


*Contemporary China used in Business


I couldn't be bothered go on...but pay attention to the wine glasses. Not they don't have any stem. Much like the type found in trendy bars and restaurants around the world atm. It's those sorts of little touches that are completely missing. We could go on and on here but by now you should get the point.


User currently offlineJustlump From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 158 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4337 times:
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Quoting Lufthansa (Reply 6):
they product completely lacks style and Panache. Look at the china used for example. CO for example, pays more for business class catering then its competitors(US Based) but serves it up on dated gwady china?

What nerve serving food on dated gawdy china!!!! Next time I'm back in Y unwrapping my sandwich and chips, I'll have the satisfaction of knowing that the elites up front are suffering through a meal on gawdy china. What next?......lukewarm champagne!!!  Big grin


User currently offlineSpacecadet From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3649 posts, RR: 12
Reply 16, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4320 times:



Quoting Lufthansa (Reply 14):
*Printed Menus IN ECONOMY

JAL and ANA also have printed menus in economy. And I have to agree about the F/A to passenger ratio, the presentation (Japanese f/a's actually *change uniforms* depending on what service they're performing), the attention to detail (Japanese f/a's even sit down in a particular way), the size of the meals, the cleanliness of the bathrooms and the stock of paper towels and toilet paper kept in them, etc. Everything is just better on Asian carriers.

Just again about the size of the meals - on both JAL and ANA, I was too full to finish both meals provided on my JFK-NRT flights. Never happens on any US carrier.



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User currently offlineOP3000 From United States of America, joined Jun 2009, 1783 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 4255 times:

Going back to the financial performance premise of the OP, yes a few of the Asian carriers have had losses this year (JL the most recent). Due the growth rate in Far East Asia vs. the rest of the world over the past 10 years the Asian carriers have had the most expansion, so its a normal correlation that when there is a global recession they are the ones with the most extra capacity. On the other hand the USA carriers continue to suffer from losses despite years of capacity reductions. If it were not for the fact that DL, UA, NW and US had already been in bankrupcy within the past five years, you'd probably have that same number of the majors in BK right now.

Not to mention cargo, where the slump has hurt the Asian airlines dramatically more, as they handled most of the airborne consumer imports into the USA.


User currently offlineKappel From Suriname, joined Jul 2005, 3533 posts, RR: 17
Reply 18, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 4181 times:



Quoting OP3000 (Reply 17):
Going back to the financial performance premise of the OP

And don't forget that, yes SQ expects a full year loss, but since they went public in 1985, they only had one quarterly loss, that was in 2003. Never a full year loss. How many airlines can say the same thing?



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User currently offlineBrons2 From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3017 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4123 times:

Nice pics, but how much legroom is there in Y?


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User currently offlineTayser From Australia, joined Mar 2008, 1134 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4085 times:

^ in their 77Ws - a lot, I'm 184cm and can cross my legs in the seat!

same goes for CX's newest A330s.


User currently offlineAaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8220 posts, RR: 26
Reply 21, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4070 times:



Quoting Brons2 (Reply 19):
Nice pics, but how much legroom is there in Y?

JL offers 30-31" in most configurations
SQ, CX and NH offer 32" in most configurations
KE offers 33-34" in most configurations
CI offers 34" on their 744s and 32" on other aircraft
CA offers 34" generally
MH offers 34" as a rule as well
TG offers 34" in newer configurations and 32" in the old



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User currently offlineCerecl From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 740 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 3962 times:

Everyone to his own but you'd be hard pressed to find a great many people (outside the US) who prefers CO over SQ or CX (not sure about JL or NH, but would add MH to that list. Also take frequency and connection etc out of the equation). I also disagree about your belief that a large part of Asian airline's success is based on their financial result. The average passenger could not care less about that. It is outstanding service at every level that attracts them. This is what prompts the passengers to fly them even when there are cheaper options available.

It is also amusing that you point out the loss by "Asian airlines", but not a word was mentioned about the "Most Wonderful" airline's two bankruptcies   .

[Edited 2009-08-08 05:08:02]

User currently offlineAirNz From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3916 times:



Quoting Avek00 (Thread starter):
It has been a long-held notion on a.net -- admittedly, with some basis in fact for very short periods of time -- that Asian legacy air carriers, such as SQ, CX, JL, and NH, are "superior" to their legacy airline counterparts elsewhere in the world. Purveyors of this notion

Hmmm! "purveyors of this notion" eh? Guess it's obvious you haven't really done much flying on world class airlines. The answer is an unequivocal yes. Tell me though, what do you mean by "short periods of time" as relative to what?

Quoting Avek00 (Thread starter):
to soon include The Most Wonderful Continental Airlines

LOL!!!! as I said, you've obviously never flown a WORLD CLASS airline

Quoting Avek00 (Thread starter):
The Asian legacy carriers, as a group, racked up net losses as large as their peers elsewhere in the world

Why did you strangely suspect them to be immune? Why are you talking about 'groups'?


User currently offlineAvek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4410 posts, RR: 19
Reply 24, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3899 times:



Quoting AirNz (Reply 23):
LOL!!!! as I said, you've obviously never flown a WORLD CLASS airline

Well, in my lifetime, I've flown:

SA)">AA
SA)">UA
SA)">DL
SA)">NW
US
SA)">CO
EK
PD
BA
VS
AF
IC
SQ
NH
TG
MH
CX
LH
SK
QF
MS
SA
AC
U2
FR
CM
AZ
CY

A wide range of airlines, including several "world class" legacies in North America, Europe, and Asia, and Australia. And I stand by my rejection of the "Asian legacies are superior" mythology after having done so.



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25 Pellegrine : Good for you, but why do you have to beat everyone else over the head with it? From your posts on this forum your disdain for Asian airlines has beco
26 Avek00 : I have no disdain for Asian legacy carriers, I just don't buy into the factually-unsupported hype that they are superior to their peers elsewhere in
27 AirNz : Good for you, and not bad for a 21-25 year-old if I may say.......I'd certainly like your job though lol!! In which case, enlighten me though what 'w
28 Avek00 : I'm 26 now (going on 27) - I'l update my profile to reflect that. Thanks for pointing that out. AC CO DL UA AA Every bit as "world class" as legacies
29 Cjpark : I recently booked a round trip on CX and have flown the first half between TPE and KUL in Business Class for $400 US? After all the years of great ser
30 Je89_w : Having recently flown JL, I can tell you that there are no meal menus in economy anymore, and they haven't appeared in the seat pockets for at least
31 Cerecl : Sorry, say whatever you like, but UA is not a world class airline. I had the misfortune of flying SYD-SFO-SYD once on them. It was easily the worst l
32 LDIkaros : Based on my own limited experiences, AC is a great airline, probably worthy of 4 stars. Still, service-wise they are behind the likes of CX, OZ, SQ,
33 Avek00 : UA offers better "hardware" in C and F than SQ on many of its longer flights.
34 AirNz : You're seriously joking, lol!! They don't even come close to the service standards of Asian carriers, let alone anything else. Even the most ardent a
35 Aaron747 : Since industry rating groups, customer satisfaction surveys and travel magazines consistently rate Asian carriers superior in terms of product delive
36 OA412 : Agreed! It would be one thing if we were only hearing on A.net that Asian carriers are better than their US counterparts service-wise. However, this
37 Avek00 : US and European carriers have gotten all of those awards and accolades as well, so what's your point?
38 Avek00 : Not at all. I mentioned the inferior products touted by SQ in J and F on many long flights -- worse than even the previous-generation UA counterparts
39 Post contains links and images OP3000 : US carriers? Yeah, maybe in the 1970's. This may refresh your memory: http://www.airlinequality.com/StarRanking/5star.htm http://www.airlinequality.c
40 Viscount724 : How many US carriers have cramped 10-abreast seating in Y class like EK on all their 777s? None. And I can't think of any other major carriers anywhe
41 Comorin : CO is a solid airline that delivers more than it promises. But it's not trying to be another SQ or CX. SQ and others are in the game of being the best
42 NZdsgnr : oh come on, if you are going to make comparisons, compare apples with apples, not apples and oranges... SQ regional vs UA domestic... mmm let me thin
43 DocLightning : The Asian carriers, by every measure, provide far superior inflight products on international routes to any American carrier, CO included. Not even CO
44 Post contains images Chrisrad : Old UA J class Old SQ J Class Old UA F class Old SQ F class So again which is better? Comparing apples with apples
45 Lufthansa : Another thing i'd like to add here is a fair bit of an airlines image particularly if much of the carriers business is long haul, first comes about in
46 GFFgold : 40 years ago they did. Not any more. SQ, CX and MH knock seven bells out of most European legacies and ALL of their US counterparts. However, I think
47 Anonms : If they go the CI route, not very long. CI stopped economy class menus, like, 4 years ago and started projecting the menu on the IFE which changed th
48 Avek00 : What are you talking about? Continental's Awards and Recognitions No. 1 Most Admired Global Airline; Fortune magazine (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008,
49 Jetlanta : I realize that this thread is talking about the present state of product and service, but it actually goes to a point that I've been making on here fo
50 OA412 : Here's the problem with those as I see it. The majority of the companies you posted are US based and it has always been the case that US carriers get
51 AFGMEL : By Americans Eh? Best Airline Based in North America Winner: Continental Airlines Hahaha, an American company seeing things from and American perspec
52 Nzrich : To be world class an airline must be in ALL classes .. Try UA on a long haul flight in economy with no PTV in economy on the 744 hardly world class .
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