flyingnanook
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Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:31 am

I was just browsing through Alaska Airlines' website and found that on Jan 9 they are starting buy-on-board meals for flights to Mexico. Is this a trial to see if it will be implemented system-wide or just in leisure markets, or what?

http://www.alaskaair.com/www2/help/faqs/MealService.asp
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:34 am

If I were a betting man, and I have been known to dabble at a table or two - I'd make the guess you might be right . . . AS is testing the water so to speak . . .

And another full service carrier bites the dust . . . maybe.

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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:34 am

Right now it's just a test on certain routes to see if there is actually a market for a buy-on-board product. Here's a memo about it:

Alaska to test selling meals

'In-flight Café' to debut January 9 on most Mexico routes

Posted November 5, 2004

Coach passengers flying to and from Mexico will soon be able to purchase a freshly made meal for $5 when Alaska Airlines tests a new buy onboard program.

The program is being offered in conjunction with the airline’s inflight catering partner, LSG Sky Chefs.

Debuting on nonstop flights between Seattle and California and Los Cabos, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, Manzanillo and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, the test program will give passengers the opportunity to buy a meal onboard directly from a flight attendant. The test will run from January 9 through April 30. All the flights will feature a standard beverage service for those choosing not to purchase a meal.

Why is Alaska considering selling meals? “Because it means considerable cost savings in catering expenses, while still offering customers a choice to purchase a meal,” explains Tom Romary, vice president of marketing. “We know our customers base their decision to fly to Mexico on low price, a convenient schedule and friendly service; not whether we offer a free snack.”

The meal service, branded “In-flight Café,” is still being developed but most likely will feature two different hearty sandwiches. “We’re working hard with Sky Chefs to make sure the product is right for Alaska Airlines,” says Andrea Olsen, inflight food service product manager.

Starting next week, customers will learn about “In-flight Café” when they book flights via reservations or alaskaair.com.

If the test on Mexico flights proves successful, a similar service could be offered in other markets.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:08 am

""If the test on Mexico flights proves successful, a similar service could be offered in other markets.""

Yup, I'm right, another full service airline going low rent.


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Blackhawk144
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:44 am

 Sad As much as I love AS, I'm afraid I'll have to agree with ANCFlyer. It sounds like they are going to become low-service. What next? Low Fares?

Anthony
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Tango-Bravo
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:10 pm

What next? Low Fares?
-------------------------------

Of which markets do you speak? If it's city pairs within the U.S. where have you been? (unless you consider examples such as SEA-ORD at $79.00 each way based on round-trip and other equally ludicrous offerings as high fares).

Me suspects that in the reply I quote that I'm "hearing" the well-worn "they (Alaska Airlines) gouge us in the state of Alaska because we don't have a choice" to which I will reply with the equally well-worn reply (that doesn't seem to sink in with some) "if Alaska Airlines is making obscene profits at the expense of its state of Alaska markets, where's the competition that would surely seek to get in on the highly lucrative racket?"
 
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:21 pm

I will reply with the equally well-worn reply (that doesn't seem to sink in with some) "if Alaska Airlines is making obscene profits at the expense of its state of Alaska markets, where's the competition that would surely seek to get in on the highly lucrative racket?"

Amen, preacher brother!  Big thumbs up

While AS doesn't have much (if any, in most cases) competition in the state of Alaska, it's because of the fact that the other carriers have come to the conclusion that financially speaking, it just does NOT make any sense to deploy their assets there. AS isn't taking money home in wheelbarrows.
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Cactus739
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 12:35 pm

I don't understand Blackhawk's statement... "what next? low fares?"

While I don't think the $500 my father shelled out for a oneway FAI-SEA this summer was low fare, the $179 I paid round trip PHX-SEA was. If consumers demand low low prices while one of their costs is going through the roof, they need to make cuts somewhere, or at least find a way to recoup some of the money they spend. And if they run this test and it proves popular (as it has for Delta, US Airways, Northwest, America West, etc), why not do what the consumer wants? That's just good business.

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ANCFlyer
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:26 pm

Tango-Bravo: ""Me suspects that in the reply I quote that I'm "hearing" the well-worn "they (Alaska Airlines) gouge us in the state of Alaska because we don't have a choice" to which I will reply with the equally well-worn reply (that doesn't seem to sink in with some) "if Alaska Airlines is making obscene profits at the expense of its state of Alaska markets, where's the competition that would surely seek to get in on the highly lucrative racket?""

Other carriers have entered the market but as we all know were underfunded and horribly mismanaged (remember Mark Air! What a joke). Any time a new carrier enters the market in Alaska, AS simply matches the fare on the few flights in which there is competition and cleans house. Now, that's capitalism, and I can't blame them . . . business is business.

Having said that, if anyone comments that AS doesn't have a monopoly - and doesn't gouge the Alaskan flier - and doesn't live here, then you're talking out of turn (that's the polite way to say you're talking out the left side of your a$$).

EA CO AS: ""While AS doesn't have much (if any, in most cases) competition in the state of Alaska, it's because of the fact that the other carriers have come to the conclusion that financially speaking, it just does NOT make any sense to deploy their assets there. AS isn't taking money home in wheelbarrows"".

Probably not taking $$$ home in wheelbarrows system wide, but damn sure taking plenty of it to the bank from Alaskan fliers . . . run the numbers, they can charge lower fares in other markets because of the monopoly in Alaska. Other factors of course are taken in to consideration when I think of AS fares intrastate here, cost of living, cost of fuel, etc. But the bottom line - they gouge us here and it's that simple.

It might be a well worn line - but it is an honest bitch.






[Edited 2004-12-14 05:33:30]
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:58 pm

Probably not taking $$$ home in wheelbarrows system wide, but damn sure taking plenty of it to the bank from Alaskan fliers . . . run the numbers, they can charge lower fares in other markets because of the monopoly in Alaska.

That's not the whole picture by a long shot though. Part of the thing that determines your airfare is not only the cost of doing business flying between points A and B, but how many people want to fly there, too.

For example, if AS determines that there is only enough demand to justify four SEA-KTN flights a day, then AS has only perhaps 600 seats per day to spread those costs over. But in a market like LAX-JFK, run as many as 10X a day by multiple carriers, you have several THOUSANDS of seats to spread those costs over. This translates into a lower cost you need to cover per customer to break even.

For AS, their breakeven load factor is much higher on AK routes than on runs like SEA-LAX, since there aren't as many seats in the market. To compensate, you need to have a disproportionately higher yield per seat in the AK markets. Add in the naturally much higher costs of doing business in Alaska, and...well, you get the idea.

So now, a little "tough love".....if you live in the state of Alaska, you will NEVER consistently enjoy fares the likes of the $69.00 each way rates you drool over when you watch fare wars between the majors flying JFK-FLL, etc. Get over the fare envy - it's no different than how you pay more for everyone else for ketchup, eggs, Top Ramen, etc.

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Lono
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:01 pm

ANCFlyer wrote:

"Probably not taking $$$ home in wheelbarrows system wide, but damn sure taking plenty of it to the bank from Alaskan fliers . . . run the numbers, they can charge lower fares in other markets because of the monopoly in Alaska. Other factors of course are taken in to consideration when I think of AS fares intrastate here, cost of living, cost of fuel, etc. But the bottom line - they gouge us here and it's that simple.

It might be a well worn line - but it is an honest bitch. "

I say Amen!!!! Having had to bend over in SE Alaska growing up to fly AS... It is time that AS IMHO gets some competition with Virgin America....!!! I can't wait!!!!

I was gouged $500 for a ANC-JNU-ANC flight... on AS.... ouch!!!!
AS takes advantage of Alaskans and there is no argument about that...
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S12PPL
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 2:03 pm

Umm....Alaska HAS low fares, chief. You can fly PDX-OAK for as low as $118.00. PDX-LAS for as low as $198.00. AS prides themselves on they're web specials, which are truely a bargain for someone planning ahead.
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AeroWesty
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 3:38 pm

$5 for a quality buy-on-board meal sounds like a bargain to me. The last ones I've been offered by other airlines were $7 to $10. I just hope when I'm the one paying for the meal, Alaska foregoes the little prayer card.  Smile

Cheers.
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 4:41 pm

S12PPL: ""Umm....Alaska HAS low fares, chief. You can fly PDX-OAK for as low as $118.00. PDX-LAS for as low as $198.00. AS prides themselves on they're web specials, which are truely a bargain for someone planning ahead""

Ummm, yourself, the comment was in reference to INSTRAstate fares, notPDX-OAK or anywhere else they fly outside Alaska. . .

EA CO AS - I understand the yield/cost per seat mile, yadda, yadda. I know I could move to say OAK or MSP or someplace and get a $69 fare. I understand how it works.

I'm simply defending the Alaskan posters here that get it in the shorts in Alaska everytime an AS 73 lifts off intrastate from folks that live "outside" that insist the there is no argument here. Simple as that.

Look at Lono's last post, and the cost for an ANC-JNU-ANC trip. That would an prime example - no competition, rape the flyer . . . AS knows there is no other option in Alaska. Can't drive there, they are the only came in town, lets make some real money off these poor bastards living in the frozen north.

Once again, well worn, old bitch, but right on target.

Lono: "Growing up in SE Alaska"

I grew up in SE Alaska (Skagway) also, been taking it in the shorts from AS from way back when. It was better when there was competition from Western and PNA, but that was way back in the day. Yup, it would be nice to see another "Morris Air" come to ANC and FAI - and hopefully JNU etc.



[Edited 2004-12-14 08:42:25]

[Edited 2004-12-14 08:44:14]

[Edited 2004-12-14 08:50:26]
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Blackhawk144
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 10:37 pm

 Nuts, sorry, I didn't think about what I said, when I said low-fares, sorry about that. When I've thought of Alaska's fares, well, my friend always tells me of how expensive they are, and I just thought they'd soon become low-cost no frills airline. And no, I do not live in Alaska, if anybody was thinking I was. I live in Boise, Idaho.

Didn't mean to confuse anybody.

Anthony
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:35 pm

Look at Lono's last post, and the cost for an ANC-JNU-ANC trip. That would an prime example - no competition, rape the flyer . . .



Fine. So if AS is only there to gouge people, why don't they charge $2,000.00 each way? I mean, if they're the only game in town and you can't get there any other way, then you'd have to pay whatever they wanted, right?

Again, your frustration with airfares stems from your frustration with daily life where you live. I'd suggest coming to grips with your reality and stop blaming the "big bad airline" who "rapes" people.  Insane
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
ANCFlyer
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Tue Dec 14, 2004 11:45 pm

EA CO AS: ""Again, your frustration with airfares stems from your frustration with daily life where you live""

Geez, where the hell did that come from? My frustration with the cost of air travel in Alaska has nothing to do with anything except the cost of airfare in Alaska.

I can't think of anywhere else in the world I'd like to live, except here (well, maybe the Big Island - Hawaii  Big thumbs up). Don't read anything into this post that isn't there - and don't try to analyze me; you don't know me.

And . . . ""Fine. So if AS is only there to gouge people, why don't they charge $2,000.00 each way?""

Because AS isn't stupid either. Remember my earlier post - it's capitalism, it's business . . . can't do anything about it. I also fully acknowledged cost of doing business in Alaska, did I not? Perhaps you ought to re-read my posts.

Regardless - Alaska still gouges the Alaskan flier, and they always will, as long as there is no competition up here.





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AeroWesty
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:11 am

What does this babble have to do with Alaska's buy-on-board meals?

Thank you.
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ANCFlyer
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:18 am

AeroWesty: ""What does this babble have to do with Alaska's buy-on-board meals?""

not a damn thing - but like all threads on this board - or nearly all anyway - tangents are a reality . . .

You always have the option of the "Suggest Deletion" button . . .

Apologies if this discussion got off topic too far for anyone.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 12:33 am

Well Said AeroWesty, il try and link these two threads in this post...

In terms of AS's current transcon in-flight product, i would have absolutely no problem in paying for meals as my experience of the current AS situation is that meals are of a high quality and far superior to that offered by other carriers. The pay-for-meal syndrome is here to stay it seems, so kudos to AS for testing the waters; its just a natural progression with the increasing low-cost emphasis for fares to be lowered in conjunction with some of the other former standard options becoming optional! Its the whole concept of consumer surplus as well as customisation of the experience for individual needs; i.e. if a customer is willing to buy a meal, they will buy it, if they dont, they wont and will enjoy lower air fares in the longer term as a result of not paying for an inflight product they dont need.

EA-CO-AS once caught me up when AS announced they were removing the wardrobes from their aircraft, (i think i said blaming customer sentiment for the action was silly..), but i think i realise now that for AS to survive the ever-evolving western market they must become more Southwest like in certain respects. Costs have to be paired and Bill Ayer sems to be doing a good job of balancing the AS ethos with the airfares suitable for the market - this does not necessarily mean offering low fares in markets where the airline ends up subsidising access (i.e. Alaska) - this is a role for government (through subsidies or public surface obligation contracts or similar), not a private company.

Regards
Ph

[Edited 2004-12-14 16:34:51]
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:24 am

I was gouged $500 for a ANC-JNU-ANC flight... on AS.... ouch!!!!
AS takes advantage of Alaskans and there is no argument about that...


Even while AS charges higher fares in AK than in the rest of the system, they're hardly taking advantage of Alaskans. That ANC-JNU-ANC roundtrip you got for $500.00? That was the last-minute, completely unrestricted full coach fare, which runs $245.00 each way before taxes.

The lowest roundtrip on AS? With a seven day advance and a one-night stay, it's only $196.00 roundtrip before taxes.

The difference between the lowest coach roundtrip and the highest one is less than a 3 to 1 ratio, which is far LESS than what other major carriers charge in other city pairs.


But let's look at major markets in the lower 48, run by a LCC for example:


MIA-ATL:

FL lowest roundtrip - $158.00 roundtrip before taxes. Highest - $232.00 each way - nearly the same spread between high and low-end fares as what AS charges in the ANC-JNU market (which, by the way, happens to have almost identical stage length)!

So tell me....is FL "gouging" the people in South Florida and Georgia? Are they "taking advantage of Southerners," through these outlandish fares?  Big grin
"In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem - government IS the problem." - Ronald Reagan

Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
AeroWesty
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:28 am

No, I don't like the Suggest Deletion button, actually. I'd rather have someone explain why they said what they said, rather than be censored without the opportunity of any appeal.

The reason I clicked on this thread a few times and was disappointed where it was heading, is that due to their service and routes, I will fly Alaska as my first choice, even paying a premium to do so, and wanted to see what news others had on this topic.

I doubt Alaska would go the B-O-B route for transcon routes, as it's been inferred, as carriers are starting to bring some services back, and Alaska has always prided itself with their onboard service being ahead of the pack, but anything's possible. It's been 10 years since United served me a meal of any kind on a flight between the Pacific NW and California, yet at least Alaska is trying to continue to provide something, at what appears to be a reasonable cost. Hardly "biting the dust" or going low rent in my book. Maybe it's just perspective.

If someone *does* have any info on what Alaska plans on having as part of their B-O-B service at some point beyond the "hearty sandwich" description, I for one would welcome your post.

Cheers.  Smile
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:55 am

If someone *does* have any info on what Alaska plans on having as part of their B-O-B service at some point beyond the "hearty sandwich" description, I for one would welcome your post.


I'll be glad to post the info once it becomes available.  Smile

And FWIW, you're right - the buy on board program, from what I've been told by senior management, is not something that is being considered for the transcon product.

But then again, stranger things have happened! If AS finds unprecedented demand, who knows? I don't see it happening, though - in limited test runs done several weeks ago, demand was around 30%. These expanded test runs are just the next step in the testing phase.
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Comments made here are my own and are not intended to represent the official position of Alaska Air Group
 
Lono
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:58 pm

AS gouging Alaskans for years has allowed them to compete in the lower 48 on less profitable routes.... there is NO argument that you can offer to refute this reality...!!!
and
Alaskans realize they are held hostage by the fares AS charges... It does not make us happy.. their service level up here is also much less than you get with AS in the lower 48.... bah!

Alaskans realize they subsidize AS in the lower 48... and their time has come!

I wish AS luck with their onboard pay meals.... and their negotiations with their employee groups... AS is in the same boat as the Legacies... just a bit behind in reality catching up with them...

Bring on Virgin America!!!

Reuters said today of Branson...


"He said Virgin would announce within days who would be the major US investors in his Virgin America airline which would be up and running in 2005, but refused to confirm whether previously touted Green Briar Equity Group would be a lead investor in the budget carrier."

(Reuters)


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ANCFlyer
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RE: Is AS Starting Buy-on-board Meals?

Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:31 pm

EA CO AS: ""So tell me....is FL "gouging" the people in South Florida and Georgia? Are they "taking advantage of Southerners," through these outlandish fares?""

I would answer quickly by saying no they aren't taking advantage, but would caveat by saying that travelers in that market have more than one option, including, if times were desperate, walking (I know that's a stretch) . . . at the very least there are other air carriers from which to choose, and one could always drive. I suppose you could drive from ANC-JNU, if you include 4-6 hours on a ferry.

I'll get off this soap box since it's pretty clear you and I (and other Alaskans) will disagree about this no matter what . . . regardless, back to topic and my respects for a interesting debate.

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