Alrite. I realize the topic of this thread is extremely broad, however i could not figure out a better title for this thread, as this will most likely become an in depth discussion of the United States Airline Industry. read on
I have become much more acquainted with the airline industry in my 3+ months here as an intern at Southwest Airlines. Not only from observing the day to day operations that all airlines need to work through, but i have also traveled more, with crews, and as a passenger (free travel has many benefits). I have started noticing a few things, a lot of it in my own feelings but also in that i see others feeling the same way, and what i observe in the news regarding airlines, etc...
It appears the Airline Industry has changed as we know it. Obviously that is not a bombshell to anyone and it is a correct statement. However, i believe that the industry has changed not only in how the airlines operate (pricing, salaries, cost structures, etc...) but also in how society as a whole travels and functions as a dynamic entity (forever changing).
It is my opinion that the airline industry, within 3-5 years at the least, will become a lot smaller than it is today, unless drastic changes can be made. The successful airlines, such as Southwest, JetBlue, AirTran, etc.... Will obviously be the main players. As it is right now, costs at the major airlines or legacy carriers are too high for prices as low as they are today. You can't run a successful airline business like United or American offering $200 roundtrips that are easily accessible by anyone. The costs for these carriers are too high, and i believe they are going out the door sooner then everyone thinks. I know i am not stating any earth shattering announcements here.
The true purpose of this topic (for me at least) is to ask you all a question. Do you (all of you mostly intelligent and somewhat in the know aviation posters) think that the level of price expected by people for an airline ticket is too low? For instance, the price i am willing to pay for a ticket is around $250. However i can go a bit higher, as i bought a ticket for SFO
for $318 (after finding a $240 fare and thinking about it for 2 hours, i came back and tried to purchase the fare, only to find out that it was unavailable, and the cheapest roundtrip for those flights were $318....sigh).
Have the airline fare wars of the 80's and 90's (and today) spoiled the american public into only flying on fares that they considered cheap ($300 or less). did this help propel the industry into the sharp downturn that we are experiencing today? Planes that are nearly full (75%+ loads) but not making any money? If so, is there anyway to go...backwards, in essence, and get people to expect to pay a higherfare?
Im interested to see the responses.
edited for misstypes
[Edited 2004-11-16 22:29:11]