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Why Not More Like AA Mrtc

Mon May 05, 2003 12:34 pm

With the economy the way it is now, why dont more airlines do what AA did, and take out some seats and give the economy passengers more space. As it appears now, most load factors are down, so why not reward those who fly? it sounds like a good idea to me. what about you. i mean why not take out seats that would be empty and reward those who actually do fly? what do guys think? thanks
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RE: Why Not More Like AA Mrtc

Mon May 05, 2003 12:45 pm

because the airlines couldnt give a rat's tushy about "rewarding" those who fly... the [failed?] objective of MRTC was to get more money by attracting those who might not have chosen American.

Quite frankly, I think UA's E+ was more the way to go, but I dont think you'll be seeing any major N.American carriers taking the initial expenditure to remove seats from planes.
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RE: Why Not More Like AA Mrtc

Mon May 05, 2003 12:54 pm

People care far more about price than legroom.

AA can up with a catchy phrase, and I suspect that a large reason that haven't gone back to pre-MRTC and gotten more seats back onto airplanes.


RE: Why Not More Like AA Mrtc

Mon May 05, 2003 1:07 pm

AA envisioned that MTRC would enhance their image of an airline offering a premium product, with costs offset by having more cargo space to sell and by collecting higher ticket premiums and more passengers. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. But AA’s spent millions on their MTRC campaign and isn’t ready to claim defeat just yet… I expect the program will be shelved in the future – at least on leisure flights (to Florida, Las Vegas, etc.).
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RE: Why Not More Like AA Mrtc

Mon May 05, 2003 1:16 pm

well i guess you guys are right, most people do care more about the price. but wouldnt they be able to charge the same price as b4, but now get more passengers, bc they have mrtc? correct me if i am wrong.
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RE: Why Not More Like AA Mrtc

Mon May 05, 2003 1:26 pm

It's a money loser. Seats are sold based on revenue buckets(I had this explained by someone much smarter and more knowledgable than I so this is the Cliff Notes...). If you have an MD80 with 16 FC and 130 Y seats the airline will offer 10 seats at bottom dollar. It will offer 20 seats in the next higher fare class and so on until you get to the 5 or 6 seats left for the poor sucker who shows up last minute and pays for the gas for the entire leg!

Now, if you have 16 FC and 115 Y seats, you necessarily have a smaller number of seats in each bucket. You CAN keep 10 seats for the lowest fare, but you lose revenue because you have fewer to sell in the higher fare buckets. I believe they offer fewer seats in each bucket because they keep roughly the same ratio of seats in each fare category.

Ok, the real hurt gets put on AA because the person who calls up for the lowest fare gets told that there are no more seats in that fare bucket--they only had 7 to begin with and they are sold out. We do have seats on that flight for $20 more per ticket, are you interested? Of course not, you just start checking with CAL, DAL, NW...etc.

Eventually, AA's competitors will run out of seats in the lowest fare bucket. BUT, the same rule of the jungle still applies. AA will sell those seats out and will turn away two or three customers that otherwise would have flown AA.

MRTC was tried by TWA under Robin Wilson to lure people back to TWA after the first bankruptcy. People loved it--but not enough to pay the extra cost to subsidize their extra legroom. And even without the fancy revenue analysis that AA has, TWA realized the extent of the revenue drain if they stuck with "Comfort Class".

MRTC was Carty's baby and his ego prevented him from scrapping the program. Maybe Arpey will do what is necessary and stop the revenue bleeding from this popular but costly program.TC
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RE: Why Not More Like AA Mrtc

Tue May 06, 2003 9:01 am

So are you saying that economy plus and things of that nature are better off, or are just as bad?
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RE: Why Not More Like AA Mrtc

Tue May 06, 2003 9:08 am

I think the best solution is not necessarily AA's roomier spacing for standard Economy class airline seats, but development of seats with slimmer overall design so passengers can actually gain more legroom without having to actually remove seats from the airplane like with traditional seats. I know that DL is doing this with their Slimline seats, and improvements in technology could make the seats even slimmer without sacrificing seating comfort and safety. If WN were to put in such new-technology seats on their 737 fleet using the same seat spacing as they are doing now we may see seating pitch exceed 34 inches (864 mm) on WN planes!  Big thumbs up
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RE: Why Not More Like AA Mrtc

Tue May 06, 2003 2:31 pm

For being a "cattle car", SWA has always been way more comfortable than many other carrier's coach seating. USAir's 733's were downright painful!

I do think having a 'mini-business class' on NB aircraft might be more advantageous...but you're still losing out in the "revenue bucket" game. ATA probably has the right idea with their "All Sardine Class" seating Big grin . TC
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RE: Why Not More Like AA Mrtc

Tue May 06, 2003 2:50 pm

MRTC was a great experiment, with lots of research, statistics and surveys behind it. However, the landscape for purchasing tickets has changed. Price is king, and everyone can find who has the lowest price. Brand loyalty...? Not with AAdvantage and other loyalty programs raising the mile redemption levels for upgrade and not for revenue postive space travel.

The product was expected to redeem big rewards as they were going to charge a bigger premium $30+ more, each way. However, it is a challenge to compete when the passenger will fly an other airline to save $5 dollars.

Disappearing on aircraft soon? Look around you on every AA flight, and plane. the MRTC (33"-35" pitch) is expected to quietly migrate back to a 31"-32" pitch, over time, as equipment cycle through scheduled maintenance. (AA will wish they still had the old TWA, now furloughed, MCI base engineering and mechanic staff to reduce cost on the reconfiguration? They were able to perform the MRTC reconfig. at a significant reduced cost and time compared with other AA bases. How did they do it?)

Thus allowing the campaign to fade away, leave the perception with the customer that they have more room, and compete with the lower fares.

Will passengers really notice the difference? No. Will customers be happy with low fares on a very premium airline? Yes. No one really complains (in writing) about leg room on an airliner anyway, no matter how tight.

Slimline seats will allow the airline to add an extra row, not improve customer floor space. The real estate is expensive especially when it burns fuel, requires human resources, maintenance, high lease rates and insurance.

Look to KLM's style of premium coach product, to take hold in the forward USA narrow bodied, domestic cabin. Move over 4 seats across for a premium six across with More Room throughout Premium Coach, enjoy the added recline (MRTPC?) So similar to UA... maybe, but only the cockpit crew will be in front of the premium product cabin. This will have snob appeal. Sell for a premium, and get a premium.

AA is on its way to big profits, and hopefully rewards for its employees through very substantial stock price increases. (Up over 100% since mid April.) Look for the "Time machine..." to return to the skies (circa 1990?) Load'em up, move'em

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RE: Why Not More Like AA Mrtc

Tue May 06, 2003 3:06 pm

Will passengers really notice the difference?

I sure will, at 6'7" and 250 lbs!

Oh well, I mostly fly WN anyways, I will occasionally fly AA but not that much.
Firings, if well done, are good for employee morale.

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