N757ST: Well, I will possibly be flamed for this, but I really see a limit to these budget carriers as a mode of travel catering mostly to the leisure travelers of this country. Many buisness travelers like to book through a travel agent, like the added legroom of american, the connectivity of delta connection, the modern fleet of continental, and the many northern reaches of northwest. Southwest has its place, and is currently thriving, but they do not cater to the buisness world.
Jim: As far as I can tell, disagreeing with someone isn't of itself flaming them. Business travelers, I think, especially at the increasing number of small businesses in the US, will become more amenable to low-fare carriers over the next decades. Low-fare carriers are going to the JetBlue "quality/ value" mode--nice seats, more room (JetBlue seats 162 in an A320 that could seat 186 in its 3 x 3 configuration--sounds like more room throughout coach to me). As they get larger, their destination reach will become better, and their FF programs more valuable.
And during softer economic times, large corporations can demand that their employees use low-fare carriers where available. AirTran was lured to Rochester recently by the promise of several large companies to use them. The Rochester paper reports that JetBlue flights to JFK are heavy with business travelers.
(Regarding FF miles, a large company could solve that problem very easily. The company itself could become the FF program--all miles earned by employees on any airline go to the company, who disburses them back to employees on any carrier for which the airline has miles. So all those employees who want to use FF miles to go to Europe can withdraw AA miles and head for LHR. And employees who want to use FF miles to take the kids to see Mickey Mouse can withdraw FL miles, etc.)
The Cartel carriers will always provide certain things have that low-fares cannot, of course. 1) much more thorough network reach including small cities; 2) international flights; and 3) premium services such as high-end first class, and international alliances that offer vast FF-miles reach. As I said above, the Cartel carriers will always have a substantial and irreplaceable place in the picture. How anyone got a different impression from my words, I don't know.
Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)