Back in the early nineties when I was working for Delta, the rumor started going around that Delta was going to start a Low Cost Carrier. When I heard that, I was somewhat confused.
My reasoning went something like this: I’m a gate agent at gate 5. Next to me at gate 6 is the LCC aircraft.
- The same company owns both aircraft.
- Both sets of employees are paid by and trained by the same company.
- The aircraft are serviced by the same mechanics and flight dispatchers, and the pilots and flight attendants are trained at the same facility.
So, how can you call this a low cost arm of a major carrier? Just because there is different signage?
I know that most majors spin off their LCCs as separate divisions, but I still do not see the economic benefits. What does, in fact, happen? Does the major carrier cede some routes to the LCC, i.e. New York – Florida?
When it comes to the LCCs, I understand the following:
- I’m making more per hour than the guy next to me is, so there is one benefit. In addition, I’m sure the pilots and flight attendants are either earning less or working more for the same amount of money than they would at the major carrier.
- My passengers are probably paying in the neighborhood of 20% more just to get on my plane to go to the same area i.e. Florida or New York.
My final question is this: Why the need for the LCC when you should just lower your prices on the routes where you compete with a LCC and obtain wage and work concessions system-wide to compensate for it?
Can someone please explain to me the rationale behind the LCC trend? And with the disappearance of Continental Lite, MetroJet, Shuttle by United, what makes Delta think that Song will make it? And now, all of the sudden, why is this trend showing up in the Gulf States with the start of Gulf Traveler?
I guess that is why they call it a trend…it is unexplainable.
Always a pallbearer, never a corpse.