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Do Competing Airlines Ever Spy On Each Others?  
User currently offlineBobcat From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 7 months 2 hours ago) and read 2392 times:

Do competing airlines ever spy on each others?

For example, from something as innocent as taking
flights on a competitor's flight to study their product,
to something as drastic as industrial espionage?

Has there ever been documented cases/arrests of such

9 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineLanPeru From Peru, joined Jun 2001, 646 posts, RR: 6
Reply 1, posted (13 years 7 months 1 hour ago) and read 2361 times:

About the aressts etc, I am sure there have not been any. I can probably almost say that almost every airline spies on their competitor. I mean, it's not like you are not allowed to fly, say Virigin, if you worked for BA. So I am sure it happens all the time.

User currently offlineBR715-A1-30 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (13 years 7 months 1 hour ago) and read 2352 times:

I guess you haven't heard of the famous LEGEND/AMERICAN Spy case. It seems American Hacked into Legend's Reservations computers to find the prices, and route times so that they [AA] could match it and take Legend's customers away. TSK TSK TSK.

User currently offlineArsenal@LHR From United Kingdom, joined Mar 2001, 7792 posts, RR: 18
Reply 3, posted (13 years 7 months 1 hour ago) and read 2342 times:
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Virgin hacked into BA's computer systems, or the other way round.

In Arsene we trust!!
User currently offline777gk From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1641 posts, RR: 17
Reply 4, posted (13 years 7 months 1 hour ago) and read 2338 times:

Strangely, I can find out that information on just about any airline in the world using legitimate sources, and last time I checked, I wasn't a hacker.

A few years back, when we were first starting our segregation of services to other major hubs from EWR (ORD, ATL, DFW) to Terminal A, we would send some young, agent-in-training over to the DL, AA, and UA boarding gates to count the pax boarding each flight to the aforementioned destinations. I'm not sure if we still do this, I cannot imagine that we continue to do so in this age of cost cutting. In addition, I have to believe there are some other ways of obtaining this information. This is clearly an example of "spying" on other carriers, but I would in no way call this underhanded or predatory, but simply just a competitive measure to see how well the opposition is doing.

User currently offlineYbacpa From United States of America, joined Feb 2001, 1108 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (13 years 7 months 1 hour ago) and read 2332 times:

Yes, in various degrees. BR715-A1-30 mentioned one of the two cases that I could think of that was closer to the illegal side than most would be comforable with. The other being BA and Virgin back in the late 80s. BA was viewing Virgin's bookings, then calling their customers and asking them to switch.

On a more ethical note, all airlines study each other, both on paper, and in real life. I've personally sat next to one woman from Delta on a Continental Airlines flight to Montreal who came out and said she was doing exactly this for Delta (as an aside, her attitude toward Continental's new cabin design is a major reason I don't choose to fly Delta- {somewhat paraphrased} she "wondered why I would want bigger overhead bins and free upgrades to first class").

On a more well documented note- Continental did exactly this, and printed it in thier inflight magazine, when redesigning thier Business Class seats (if I remember correctly they even named names).

SkyTeam: The alliance for third rate airlines finally getting their act together!
User currently offlineFrequentflier From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 422 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (13 years 7 months 1 hour ago) and read 2325 times:

BA tried to lure pax away from Virgin and attempted to put them out of business. They had "reservation agents" call Virgin pax pretending to be Virgin reservations staffs saying that their flight had been cancelled but they could be rebooked on BA for a lower price. They also had people at Virgin gates trying to lure pax away. Rather nasty if you ask me.

User currently offlineBobcat From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (13 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 2266 times:

How did Virgin deal with BA's "spying"??? Did they sue BA?  Smile

User currently offlineVirginFlyer From New Zealand, joined Sep 2000, 4652 posts, RR: 37
Reply 8, posted (13 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2250 times:

Bobcat - yes they did. And won. It was some record ammount too in Britain at the time too (I can't recall the figure). There are a couple of books I would recommend on the subject; Richard Branson's autobiography Losing my Virginity, and a book specifically about Virgin's difficulties with BA, Dirty Tricks: British Airways' Secret War Against Virgin Atlantic by Martyn Gregory.


"So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth." - Bahá'u'lláh
User currently offlineBobcat From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (13 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2235 times:


Thanks! I'll see if I can find those books!  Smile

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