remymartin11
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:51 am

Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 6:49 am

With US Major Airlines flowing red ink (or in bankruptcy), it is obvious there is only one solution. END FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAMS. FF miles just may be the largest "currency" in the world and the airlines now have more than they ever bargained for with this "affinity" program. What has resulted is a culture of "upgrades", "beating the system" and hitting the airlines for a ton of non-rev seats, regardless of how much they try to keep bumping up the mileage requirements.

We need to get back to the golden age of travel. You want to fly first class - you pay for it - no other way. With technological advances, we now have direct TV and in flight email -plenty to keep all passengers happy. AA, UA....you need to take a page from Song/Jet Blue.

The US carriers should follow the Delta Song/Jet Blue Model. Great service, great food and great amenities. Have a first class cabin that gives 2x2 seating with 45 pitch and make it so the only way you get up there is TO PAY FOR IT.....no more upgrades, free tickets....NADA.

Let's see what carrier has the balls to say enough is enough - our FF program is history.
 
jdaniel001
Posts: 619
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 6:57 am

Ending FF programs will never happen. Like on the Indy thread, someone said that it's a free market. Anything to produce loyalty for a brand is a necessary evil as far as FF programs go. I hate them. It use to be so easy to non-rev in First. Now I can't get a seat to save my life. And I am spoiled airline person.
We Are UNITED!
 
deltaflyertoo
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 6:59 am

Interesting argument...

Could be esp. interesting for hub carriers who dominate nonstop service in cities like Houston, Atlanta, Dallas and Philedelphia, to name a few...would pax be willing to stick w/ that carrier without a FF for the sake of convience? Maybe. I think like 90% of all FFs are in programs where the hub city dominates. I.E. you wouldn't find many AAdvantage members in the Houston area or One Pass members in Atlanta. The nonstop convience came first then the FF.

Where doing away w/ FF would have major impact on revenue is on these INt'l codeshares. Right now there is absolutely no reason for US consumers to choose one Int'l carrier over the other when going to Europe other than for which alliance they are in and what FF program that airline has that is in line with the consumers.
 
atomother
Posts: 389
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:00 am

Maybe the airlines should just raise prices on tickets. No one ever mentions that. It would be nice for the race to the bottom to turn into the race to the top.
 
remymartin11
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:51 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:00 am

Non Rev in first is a slap in the face to travelers paying full fare first.....I flew AA JFK-LAX-JFK recently in first and for $3K, I expected some peace and quiet. No way - the sticker crowd in business, all laden with their tumi bags and ripped jeans with Ipods come shuffling on before the door closes.......guarantee most didnt pay more tha $1000 for their tickets......total joke to people that still pay to fly in comfort
 
remymartin11
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:51 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:04 am

the airlines dont need LOYALTY....they have virtual monopoly. with more and more people flying, its not like they are "fighting" for pax like they were before deregulation. people will continue to pay for convenience and comfort. FF just puts the airlines behind the 8 ball even further. End it.
 
Planesmart
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:06 am

No carrier has the balls to do that.

A subsidiary of the organisation I work for undertakes industry-wide research, and more specific research for various airline clubs and individual airlines.

Obviously Chinese walls apply in terms of information flow in both directions, but fair to say most airlines would like to scale back (and many have) frequent flyer benefits, just as most want to do the same for airline staff benefits (especially those of other airlines).

Alternative is to shrink the size of first and business class, so available seats more closely match the number of paying customers, the tactic many in the industry are adopting.

In the USA, frequent flyer liability is an impediment to mergers and acquisitions. Now more attractive to fold the airline and acquire selected assets (name, etc), rather than as a going concern.
 
stlgph
Posts: 9059
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:08 am

Quoting Atomother (Reply 3):
Maybe the airlines should just raise prices on tickets. No one ever mentions that. It would be nice for the race to the bottom to turn into the race to the top.

sure. raise prices. pretty soon, people won't fly. then what?

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 4):
total joke to people that still pay to fly in comfort

maybe they find comfort in ripped jeans and in being able to have their ipod.


I agree with Jdaniel. It's a free market and everyone is after brand loyalty. Why do you think almost every airline with a frequent flyer program has a credit card allowing you to earn points/miles? Same with hotels. Nordstrom. Target. Starbucks. General Motors. Borders.

Frequent flyer programs allow airlines that don't have huge or huge operations in cities to build a clientele there, and then perhaps come in later and take advantage of it and profit on it. Like Northwest in Milwaukee and Indianapolis. Boom, perfect example. In St. Louis, we have American with a bastard hub here and Southwest with a comfy operation here, but I sure do see a lot of people out and about with Delta SkyMiles cards and Northwest World Perks credit cards taking advantage of them.
if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
 
Falcon84
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:11 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 4):
Non Rev in first is a slap in the face to travelers paying full fare first.....

If you're talking about airline employee non-revving, why is it a slap in the face at anyone? If there are empty seats, and no one qualifies for an upgrade, why, as an employee of said carrier, should I NOT be entitled to a f/c seat? To me, after all the years I've put in with the company, it's a nice perk, if it's available. I don't see it as anything but jealousy from those who don't work for a carrier.
Work Right, Fly Hard
 
remymartin11
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:51 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:12 am

STLGPH - If your product is outstanding, you dont need any loyalty or affinity programs to get or keep customers. Product is hero. With hundreds of ways to accrue miles, it is absolutely out of hand. All it does is undercut profitability. Get 500 miles for renting from Hertz - what a joke. Get 1000 miles for buying a new car? C'mon....end FF and trade up your product or service......do it right, and they will come. Why is Satellite Radio doing so well - it's a great service and it proves people WILL PAY for quality and service
 
jdaniel001
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:36 pm

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:12 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 4):
Non Rev in first is a slap in the face to travelers paying full fare first.....I flew AA JFK-LAX-JFK recently in first and for $3K, I expected some peace and quiet. No way - the sticker crowd in business, all laden with their tumi bags and ripped jeans with Ipods come shuffling on before the door closes.......guarantee most didnt pay more tha $1000 for their tickets......total joke to people that still pay to fly in comfort

Well times have definitely changed. Non-revs use to be required to wear a coat and tie while traveling. Now that's not the case. DH even allows employees to wear shorts. But also recognize the fact that traveling as an employee used to be taken as a sacred privilege, not a right. But I think the airlines are not protecting first as much as they use to either. They only care about appeasing the traveler. When my wife and I flew to AUA on AA for our honeymoon, I bought tickets and used miles to upgrade to First. It wasn't cheap either. But the entire trip from JFK to AUA, we had a screaming baby in first right in front of us. Then, to make it worse the toddler traveling with the same family started to barf while everyone was trying to eat dinner. That's disgusting.
We Are UNITED!
 
bond007
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:13 am

Well, I'd agree if FF was the only problem that the airlines face.

Most airlines are in trouble because of basic bad business practice. Any other companies that are run as inefficiently as most of the airlines would have been bankrupt 20 years ago. They get free government bail outs and still continue to have huge overheads and lose money.

Learn for the guys who ARE making money, like Southwest. One of things they can get rid of is the ridiculously complicated pricing programs - god knows how much money it takes to run a business where every person on the flight pays a different price!

As for frequent flyer upgrades etc., the truth is, apart from International flights perhaps, fewer and fewer people do pay for First/Business Class anyway. There is a thin line between paying full first class fare on a major airline, and chartering your own plane to do the trip. Most of the people in First/business on domestic flights are business guys, who don't personally pay for the ticket anyway, and/or are upgraded coz they fly every week.

Speaking as somebody who does fly every week - I do make my decision of airline partly based upon which airline I have status with, and whether I might get upgraded. I know many people who do this. I still pay for my coach ticket, but might decide to fly AA just coz of sitting up front.

Don't forget that upgrades always come after fare paying pax in First - so if they sold the seats, there wouldn't be any upgrades.

....Oh, and if you fly domestic US, you see less and less rows of First Class anyway - down to 2 rows (8 seats) in many.

Run an airline (or any other) business properly and it'll make money.

rgds,

Jimbo.
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
remymartin11
Posts: 73
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:16 am

Airline employee is one thing Falcon...I agree they should get good treatment. However, one time in LIM on AA back to DFW, I was the only person in first. The next thing I know, I've got 3 AA FA's heading back to ORD coming up into first before the door closes (with plenty of seats in coach). Dont demean your premium product to those that pay for it.
 
remymartin11
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Aug 31, 2004 3:51 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:19 am

JDaniel - Amen brother. No one dresses to travel anymore. "Catch me if you can" was a great movie and showed the glory age of travel. The worst things to ever happen to fashion in the US - the blue jean, the running shoe and the warm up suit.

The old saying....."No one ever lost money UNDERESTIMATING the taste level of the American consumer".

We've become a nation of wal mart fanny packers.......wish we were a little more Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. Even if you're middle class, you can still look presentable.
 
bond007
Posts: 4423
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:07 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:23 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 4):
Non Rev in first is a slap in the face to travelers paying full fare first.....I flew AA JFK-LAX-JFK recently in first and for $3K, I expected some peace and quiet. No way - the sticker crowd in business, all laden with their tumi bags and ripped jeans with Ipods come shuffling on before the door closes.......guarantee most didnt pay more tha $1000 for their tickets......total joke to people that still pay to fly in comfort

Well....I think you're stereotyping those with money here!
I don't necessarily disagree, but I'm sure there are plenty of people paying for First class that wear ripped jeans, talk on the cellphone, and get drunk....just as much as FF's who get upgraded.

...and sure, screaming babies are bad, but the mother could just have easily have paid for the ticket. Mothers who pay for First Class don't automatically have quiet children!

rgds,

Jim
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
Leskova
Posts: 5547
Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2003 3:39 pm

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:23 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 12):
Dont demean your premium product to those that pay for it.

How does giving your employees a benefit "demean your premium product"? Does the fact that non-revvers pay small amounts for seats in Economy also "demean the standard product"?

So what if there were plenty of seats open in the back - as you said yourself, you were the only person in First: if your enjoyment of a flight is dependant on you being the only one in the cabin, you really should consider a business jet!

And the idea of scrapping frequent flyer programs to save the airlines... are you serious? That's, often enough, one of the few reasons that some customers are loyal to any airline: scrap those, and people will do nothing but chose their flights according to who has the lowest fare, resulting in even less money coming in to the airlines.

I don't really see how that would improve the situation...

Regards,
Frank
Smile - it confuses people!
 
stlgph
Posts: 9059
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:27 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 9):
STLGPH - If your product is outstanding, you dont need any loyalty or affinity programs to get or keep customers. Product is hero

It's nothing to do with the product. It's an incentive to keep you coming back to get reward. Everyone loves rewards and treats. In the first grade, if everyone behaved for the week, they got an extra half hour on the playground on Friday during recess. If you are playing with your kitty cat and "good kitty" plays well, kitty gets a reward treat. Same with a dog.

Bob's Bedroom Fun Store and Wilma's Vibrator Stop could be located right next door to each other, and they might sell the same vibrating phallicle at the same price, but if Wilma's got a "get a punch for each one bought and get a free one after ten punches" promotions going on, you get Wilma's going to be getting a lot more business than Bob.


There is nothing wrong with the flight attendants coming up and sitting in first class. They work for the company. If their superiors or their colleagues are going to let them sit in first, then so be it. If it's something the company allows then so be it. It's no different than restaurant managers or chefs who get free meals during their time on the job. Jobs come with perks and often times these have been negotiated as part of the general employment. If your job doesn't pay you enough so you can't buy out the entire first class section to have it all for yourself, then you didn't negotiate enough, yourself.
if assumptions could fly, airliners.net would be the world's busiest airport
 
bond007
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:29 am

Learn a lesson here from Southwest about whether FF programs work.

Made a profit every year.....8 roundtrip flights and you get a free roundtrip ticket.

Probably one of the better reward programs if you like Southwest.

Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
avek00
Posts: 3160
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2004 5:56 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:31 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 9):
If your product is outstanding, you dont need any loyalty or affinity programs to get or keep customers.

Tell that SQ, CX, NH, EK, or even WN - travelers often DO have a choice of airlines, and FFPs are one way to incentivize a customer to choose between airlines, especially if the carriers are similarly situated wrt sked, price, and service.
Live life to the fullest.
 
Planesmart
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:48 am

As I've mentioned on another thread, if you look at the average revenue per sqm of floor space allocated to first, business and economy, many airlines operate flights where they earn less from first than business, and quite a few earn less from business than economy.

While gross revenue isn't everything, because for example less densely packed seating in first means fewer passengers and baggage, so lower kg's per sqm, it can be offset by other costs. For example, many businesses operate accounts, and fly before they pay, in contrast to private economy passengers who pay often well before they fly.
 
gigneil
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:51 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 9):
WILL PAY for quality and service

The reality is, no they won't.

N
 
jdaniel001
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:11 am

So why is Midwest surviving? I think you give people who travel for a living a choice, they would gladly pay a premium for a separate cabin, bigger seats, something to eat and to drink. I mean these people TRAVEL for a living. They live out of a suitcase for days in a row. Unlike the pleasure traveler who needs to pay for a family of 4 to go on vacation, rental car, hotel, food, etc. They will always fly the cheap way and they don't care if they don't get squat as long as it's an affordable fare. The only reason people use there miles to upgrade the family is most likely to show off. "Hey I spend 10 hours a week on airplanes and here is where I sit. blahblahblah" For years I was told that DL16/17 DFW-HNL was a money loser because it was all FF members redeeming miles. The only reason that Legend EVER flew to LAS was to have one city on the map that would entice FF members to join and use LAS as a redemption flight. Airlines need FF programs and First Class for the business travelers who travel for a living. Let everyone else fly WN or some other LCC.
We Are UNITED!
 
ANCFlyer
Posts: 21391
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:11 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 12):
Airline employee is one thing Falcon...I agree they should get good treatment. However, one time in LIM on AA back to DFW, I was the only person in first. The next thing I know, I've got 3 AA FA's heading back to ORD coming up into first before the door closes (with plenty of seats in coach). Dont demean your premium product to those that pay for it.

It's not the non-revving airline employee that usually leaves me bitter when I fly . . . and I fly in F . . . it's the guy with the holey jeans, Grateful Dead T-Shirt and Fuck You Hat they stick next to me. I believe that's where you're point is going.

I'm quite comfortable, and prefer, an airline employee non-revving (or otherwise) in F. They are usually (99.9% of the time), well dressed and well mannered. It is after all still their carrier they are representing usually. But airlines will throw any meatball in F that has the appropriate miles or status. I have been called arrogant about this. I have been called a lot of things about this, and naturally, I don't care. I don't want the nasty asshole that needs a bath and shave wearing the wife-beater sitting in F next to me and propping his nasty ass unsocked feet on the bulkhead for me to look at for the thext two, three, four hours. And that's regardless of whether I paid for F or upgraded to F.

There was a thread a long time back relating to dress codes in F . . . we won't get in to that now.

I've never had a problem upgrading on CO or US, and on the very rare occasion I fly UA or DL I buy that. I don't care who the carrier puts in the front cabin with me so long as they respect me space, my nostrils and my vision and act like they have a modicum of common sense.

That said, I'd be glad to pay the price for premium service IF it is true premium service. The ONLY, repeat, ONLY US Carrier coming remotely close today on domestic flights is CO.

[Edited 2005-04-17 01:15:51]
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
Planesmart
Posts: 1769
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:18 am

ANCFlyer

I agree 100%.

Don't have recent experience with CO, but in general, my experience flying in the USA versus other parts of the World, except certain Eastern European countries, is that USA airlines don't really measure up in biz and first class.
 
jdaniel001
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:36 pm

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:19 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 22):
The ONLY, repeat, ONLY US Carrier coming remotely close today on domestic flights is CO.

Really? What makes them so different? I haven't flown CO in F since the early 90's. It is was only IAH-DFW.
We Are UNITED!
 
UAL Bagsmasher
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:35 am

Easy answer to this one...re-regulate.
 
ANCFlyer
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Joined: Mon Nov 15, 2004 3:51 pm

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 8:46 am

Quoting Jdaniel001 (Reply 24):
Really? What makes them so different? I haven't flown CO in F since the early 90's. It is was only IAH-DFW.

I find the entire package to be superior . . . from Reservation, automatic upgrades for elite, checkin, luggage handling, flight, cabin service, cleanliness of a/c, arrival, etc. And there are a lot of miles on my posterior with US, CO, UA, NW, HP, AS, AA, (in that order or preference based on route and destination) in the last 15 years - well over a million - I'll take CO any time and anywhere over any other US carrier.

I did rather prefer UAs 742s SFO-HNL, on the upper deck, but those are gone now too.  Sad

Quoting PlaneSmart (Reply 23):
Don't have recent experience with CO, but in general, my experience flying in the USA versus other parts of the World, except certain Eastern European countries, is that USA airlines don't really measure up in biz and first class.

No US domestic carrier will compare to a Western European carrier or Asian Carrier in convenience, service and attitude - particularly the Asian carriers - these days.
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND
 
ltbewr
Posts: 12427
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 9:45 am

Already many airlines have over the years made adjustments in their FF plans. Those changes include:
Raising the number of miles for a flight like from 20K to 25K minimum for domestic/48 state USA flight
Tighter limits on the number of seats available for FF claim use, especially with high leisure demand routes like to/from Hawaii
Often having 2 or more levels of claims with like for domestic 48 state USA flights, 50K for a coach seat with few restirictions and 25K for a more restricted available seat.
Reduce the miles value for cheaper tickets, like at 50% of miles value.
Reduced bonus, new flight bonus or minimum miles.
Limited the number of 1st/biz upgrades or made it more difficult to claim, worse, often by reducing the numbers of premium seats on flights and the use of more narrowbody a/c.
Capping the time miles are valid for.
Making any other major changes may start to pick off more regular pax, especially premium pax, where they have competition. There could be a difference like more miles for a JFK-LAX round trip than a JFK-MIA r/t. I have been fortunate due to more liberal plans to get 3 long round trips in the USA over the years and wish I could get some more.
As to non-rev, as fewer seats due to smaller a/c, it is already hurting their opportunites. Clearly non-rev is only for when their are only enough seats and helps to keep the employees happy, especially with less pay and other benefits. Perhaps ex-employees, their families and stockholders should have their non-rev/reduced rate tickets cut back or eliminated or their flights opportunities like a very low miles level FF seat if more costs need to be cut.
Another option that should be done is to discontinue their credit card miles programs, where one gets points for spending not for just flying. Same could be done as to miles for hotel stays, or reducing the number miles one gets or only for higher rate rooms.
 
Tango-Bravo
Posts: 2887
Joined: Sun Jun 17, 2001 1:04 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 9:50 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Thread starter):
With US Major Airlines flowing red ink (or in bankruptcy), it is obvious there is only one solution. END FREQUENT FLYER PROGRAMS. FF miles just may be the largest "currency" in the world and the airlines now have more than they ever bargained for with this "affinity" program. What has resulted is a culture of "upgrades", "beating the system" and hitting the airlines for a ton of non-rev seats, regardless of how much they try to keep bumping up the mileage requirements.

You have correctly identified what is by far and away the U.S. legacy airlines' leading nemesis. Current fuel prices are a non-factor (to legacy losses) in comparison to the costs -- both direct and indirect -- incurred by the excessive unsustainable largess and convolution of the mostrosities called frequent flyers that the legacies have brought upon themselves. Even the common-sense LCCs have not escaped some of the ravages of FF programs; but to a far lesser extent than the legacies who have painted themselves deeply into a proverbial corner with their FF programs.

It is not possible for one to grasp the enormity of the costs incurred by a typical legacy FF program unless one has worked on the airline side of the program (as I have for the past 6.5 years). Perhaps the greatest cost of legacy FF programs is one that is indirect and therefore almost impossible to quantify, even though it is an inordinate amount -- by which I am referring to the freeloader mentality the programs practically beg their members to develop, as alluded to by Remymartin11.

What's more, with the way legacy FF programs work, many of an airline's most profitable customers are rewarded to a far lesser degree than many of the same airline's most unprofitable customers. This just in: the number of miles or segments flown has no correlation to whether a customer is profitable to an airline -- yet this is the only yardstick by which award travel and elite status is determined.
 
Tango-Bravo
Posts: 2887
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 9:58 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 9):
Product is hero. With hundreds of ways to accrue miles, it is absolutely out of hand. All it does is undercut profitability. Get 500 miles for renting from Hertz - what a joke. Get 1000 miles for buying a new car?

...plus bonus miles for using the restroom in a participating restaurant or hotel?  Wink Maybe not (yet anyway). It is however a metaphor that a co-worker once suggested when we were discussing the absurdity of the countless ways that bonus FF miles can be accrued.
 
remymartin11
Posts: 73
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 10:38 am

Tango Bravo:

Amen brother......you got it
 
777STL
Posts: 2770
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RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 10:57 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 9):
STLGPH - If your product is outstanding, you dont need any loyalty or affinity programs to get or keep customers. Product is hero. With hundreds of ways to accrue miles, it is absolutely out of hand. All it does is undercut profitability. Get 500 miles for renting from Hertz - what a joke. Get 1000 miles for buying a new car? C'mon....end FF and trade up your product or service......do it right, and they will come. Why is Satellite Radio doing so well - it's a great service and it proves people WILL PAY for quality and service

And yet people have proven time and time again that they'll go for the cheaper price rather than the superior product. Look at what AA did with MRTC, it was an attempt to increase room(product) for a slight increase in price.....AND IT FAILED MISERABLY. FL and WN aren't successful because of their product, it's because of their ability to undercut the legacies. How do they undercut the legacies? With a lesser product.....

Also, off topic, satellite radio isn't doing very well. It seems a business that depends on its satellites has a heavy overhead, imagine that. Sirius has yet to be profitable especially now that Howard Stern has garnished a 100+ million dollar contract. XM isn't much better off.

I'd also argue that most FF programs are now so restricted with limits on award ticket usage, that the legacies aren't as bad off as they'd like you to believe. Plus they're still getting the benefit of brand loyalty when people will actually pay more to fly the airline where they can accumulate miles on.
PHX based
 
Boeing73G
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 11:25 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:22 am

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 22):

I'm quite comfortable, and prefer, an airline employee non-revving (or otherwise) in F. They are usually (99.9% of the time), well dressed and well mannered. It is after all still their carrier they are representing usually. But airlines will throw any meatball in F that has the appropriate miles or status. I have been called arrogant about this. I have been called a lot of things about this, and naturally, I don't care. I don't want the nasty asshole that needs a bath and shave wearing the wife-beater sitting in F next to me and propping his nasty ass unsocked feet on the bulkhead for me to look at for the thext two, three, four hours. And that's regardless of whether I paid for F or upgraded to F.

You know, I really have to agree with you. The employees HAVE to be well dressed/mannered to make the company look good! But saying that "airlines will throw any meatball into F w/ miles, status, cash, etc. isn't really true. And there's a few solutions:

Reduce the size of the F cabin. Usually, an 8-seat F cabin will always be full of either paying pax, award ticket pax, high-status flyers, and on occasion those who pay the $$$$ to upgrade.

Raise the price of an upgrade. AS charges $50 for up to 1250mi in FC. Raise the price to $75 for that same upgrade and you won't see as many upgraders.

Reduce the benefits of Silver and below elite flyers. Take away the FC upgrades for every status level but gold/platinum.

Increase the mileage required to get into first by 50%.Start by making upgrades more miles, but reduce it for flyers w/status.

There's a lot airlines can do. It's just that they are afraid to lose customers. Then, airlines can stuff more seats in Y.  crowded 

Don't you think it's practical?  Wink
 
jdaniel001
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:36 pm

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:30 am

Quoting 777STL (Reply 31):
AND IT FAILED MISERABLY

Who says....they are in the business to make money. And by adding the seats back, it lowered their CASM. You would have done the same thing. And nobody better say "well why did they do it in the first place." The same reason all airlines have a FF program. And UA has economy plus. It's all about luring the fish to the hook. Once they bite, reel them in.

Indy Air was not supposed to have a FF program. The original thought was that it would add to the cost. However, the day after ACA announced Indy Air (11/19/2003), UA sung into high gear rolling out the Around-the-World Promotion, sending letters and e-mails to it's FF members. UA was afraid that they would loose a lot of traffic to DH. So DH had no choice but to create a FF program. The entire program was put together in about 90 days. Amazing isn't it. How the competitive nature assumes the worst and adds to the cost of the competition.
We Are UNITED!
 
COfaninBOS
Posts: 284
Joined: Wed May 05, 2004 12:32 pm

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:42 am

I figure I must apologize.

I pay for first out of pocket on a majority of my flights. I also have the tendency to wear Gap blue jeans, Brooks jogging shoes, and a comfy college sweatshirt with a hood.

Rule #1 in the service industry should be... treat EVERYONE with respect because it is very likely that the least obvious is the person with the greatest wealth.
 
goCOgo
Posts: 680
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2005 11:24 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:43 am

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 5):
the airlines dont need LOYALTY....they have virtual monopoly. with more and more people flying, its not like they are "fighting" for pax like they were before deregulation

Have you tried to book travel for yourself recently? Some routes there is a monopoly, but many others there is too much competition. Most travellers will gladly connect to save a few bucks. Just because only one airline serves a destination nonstop doesn't mean there in no competition between those two points. Airlines are fighting each other, at least to a degree, for passengers and market share.

Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 8):
If you're talking about airline employee non-revving, why is it a slap in the face at anyone? If there are empty seats, and no one qualifies for an upgrade, why, as an employee of said carrier, should I NOT be entitled to a f/c seat?

If the above conditions are met, fine. But if they are not, I think the paying passengers should come first when it comes to upgrades. Airline employees on this site sometimes pretend it's their right to nonrev in first. To an extend it is true that free flights are part of your pay, but the paying passengers, who are paying your salary whether you like it or not should come first. Non-reving is a privilege, one us non-airline employees would love. I'd fly cargo if it was free. Nonreving is the airline's way of thanking their employees for their loyalty. Frequent flyer miles are their way of thanking their customers for their loyalty.

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 9):
With hundreds of ways to accrue miles, it is absolutely out of hand. All it does is undercut profitability. Get 500 miles for renting from Hertz - what a joke. Get 1000 miles for buying a new car?

Let us not forget that airline miles are a source of revenue for airlines. What do I mean? Credit card miles and they ways you mention. Do you honestly think the airlines give them out for free? If the numbers I heard are correct, airlines get about $0.02 a mile for these. If I book a flight to Hawaii with the required 35,000 miles all from a card, the airline is in essence getting paid $700, more than the current going rate for some of the Hawaii tickets I've seen recently. Companies gladly pay it because they know more people will do buisness with them if they offer miles.

Quoting 777STL (Reply 31):
And yet people have proven time and time again that they'll go for the cheaper price rather than the superior product. Look at what AA did with MRTC, it was an attempt to increase room(product) for a slight increase in price.....AND IT FAILED MISERABLY. FL and WN aren't successful because of their product, it's because of their ability to undercut the legacies. How do they undercut the legacies? With a lesser product.....

Bravo, this is exactly my thought. Many business travellers today are even forced to by coach. What is their only chance to be in first during their many segments during the year? Stay with one airline, become an elite, and get upgrades. This is good for the airlines, too, because it keeps them coming back. They can't get a first class fare out of the person, so at least they get all his coach business. Only the upper management/executives of large companies get to pay for first anymore, and that is not the majority of business travelers. And us non-business travellers? Sorry to say we are not millionaires and can't afford first either.

Some of you act as if the airlines can just go back to the way things were before deregulation. They can't because the market has changed, and the way airlines do businesses has changed with it. If the airlines go back, they will be out of step with the marketplace and will fail.
"Why you fly is your business, how you fly is ours"
 
jetdeltamsy
Posts: 2688
Joined: Tue Nov 14, 2000 11:51 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:47 am

Quoting Jdaniel001 (Reply 1):
Ending FF programs will never happen

while i don't think they'll disappear, i think we are in store for a major overhaul of how awards are earned.

i think in the near future that rewards will be based on revenue produced, the cash money a particular customer brings to the table.

the days of placing lavish awards on folks who fly on $99 fares has to end.
Tired of airline bankruptcies....EA/PA/TW and finally DL.
 
jdaniel001
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:36 pm

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:51 am

Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Reply 36):
i think in the near future that rewards will be based on revenue produced, the cash money a particular customer brings to the table.

Now we're cooking with gas!! Why didn't they think of that earlier. That's is an interesting concept. I wonder if anyone has started that yet?
We Are UNITED!
 
christao17
Posts: 903
Joined: Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:14 pm

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 12:22 pm

Abolishing FF programs might be a tad extreme: brand loyalty is valuable to a business. I've remained loyal to UA and Star Alliance even as I'm moved from SFO (a UA hub). You're right that FF programs need some fixing, though.

It seems that a reasonable way to bring some balance to FF programs would be to structure them more like the hotel rewards programs.

For example, I'm a UA 1K and also a Marriott Rewards Gold member. With UA I'm earning status and full mileage with each flight, regardless of how much I pay (or my company pays) for the ticket. However, with Marriott, my "elite" status is based on the number of nights I stay each year, but the number of points I earn is based on the dollars spent. So if UA Mileage Plus were similarly structured, I would be a 1K because of how much I fly, but maybe wouldn't be earning as many (expensive for UA) miles because my company tends to have an keen eye on the travel costs and I just don't pay full fare.

The upside of this structure is that I'm still recognized for my loyalty - Economy Plus seating, priority for upgrades, etc. - but will have fewer miles to spend on upgrades and free travel, things that cost UA money.

Now, as a 1K under the current structure of course I'd like to continue things the way they are - it's a great benefit to me! But even I can see that the program as it stands isn't as practical as it should be and, frankly, just doesn't make the best business sense.
Keeping the "civil" in civil aviation...
 
777STL
Posts: 2770
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 2004 8:22 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:09 pm

Quoting Jdaniel001 (Reply 33):
Who says....they are in the business to make money. And by adding the seats back, it lowered their CASM. You would have done the same thing. And nobody better say "well why did they do it in the first place." The same reason all airlines have a FF program. And UA has economy plus. It's all about luring the fish to the hook. Once they bite, reel them in.


Like I said, they did it to increase their product. It didn't produce the results that were desired so it was axed. I believe the demise of MRTC was brought about by a few surveys that were taken where customers pretty much stated they'd rather have lower prices than more room. Less product for less money.
PHX based
 
aa757first
Posts: 3140
Joined: Sun Aug 03, 2003 11:40 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:30 pm

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 12):
Airline employee is one thing Falcon...I agree they should get good treatment. However, one time in LIM on AA back to DFW, I was the only person in first. The next thing I know, I've got 3 AA FA's heading back to ORD coming up into first before the door closes (with plenty of seats in coach). Dont demean your premium product to those that pay for it.

How did they demean the product?

Quoting Jdaniel001 (Reply 21):
So why is Midwest surviving?

Midwest is doing just that. Surviving. They just fired all of their ramp workers and all of the MD-80 fleet is in the low cost configuration (2x3 with 32 inch pitch). Want some food? Spit up some money. They days of fine china and free champagne are over at Midwest.

Quoting Remymartin11 (Reply 9):
Why is Satellite Radio doing so well - it's a great service and it proves people WILL PAY for quality and service

Will a person spend an extra $30 a night in order to stay at a Marriot instead of a Best Western? Yes.

Will a person spend an extra $50 to drive a Dodge Stratus instead of a Dodge Neon? Of course.

Will a person spend an extra $20 to eat at an independent steakhouse instead of a Ruby Tuesday's? Absoultley.

Will a person spend an extra $40 to fly on a full-service carrier instead of a low-cost carrier? No.

How about an extra $20? Still no.

How about an extra $10? Not even two hours of work. Nope!

People for some reason just won't spend an extra two dollars to fly on a higher quality airline. They go onto Expedia, the cheapest option shows up first, and if it almost-kinda-sorta fits their schedule, they book it.

Look at the list of premium - or at least full-service - carriers:
Midwest - almost dead.
Legend - dead.
National - dead.
Air1 - dead.
Trump Shuttle - dead.
And the list continues.

AAndrew
 
USairways16BWI
Posts: 921
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 4:58 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:35 pm

ways to save the majors:
- get rid of all LCC's
- lower fuel prices
 
n844aa
Posts: 1266
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:38 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:37 pm

Quoting COfaninBOS (Reply 34):
Rule #1 in the service industry should be... treat EVERYONE with respect because it is very likely that the least obvious is the person with the greatest wealth.

Actually, a good rule for the service industry would be to treat everyone with respect, period. But that's neither here nor there.

To address the original poster's point of how to say the legacy airlines, there's only one way that can happen. (Well, two: Re-regulation would do a pretty good job of it as well.) And that's for 1-3 of them to go out of business. Eliminating FF programs is not going to do it, and would almost undoubted exacerbate the problem in the short term. I'll reserve judgment in the long-term effects.
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
 
panaman
Posts: 398
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 1999 2:24 pm

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:39 pm

Quoting Aa757first (Reply 40):
Look at the list of premium - or at least full-service - carriers:
Midwest - almost dead.
Legend - dead.
National - dead.
Air1 - dead.
Trump Shuttle - dead.
And the list continues.

And looking towards the future now...

Primaris: Dead
Sorry I moved from SXM, looking for a new house on Anguilla now!
 
N200WN
Posts: 695
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 7:09 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:41 pm

For those that may not remember, there were two interesting books published in the mid 90's about the airline industry, and both cover Frequent Flyer programs:

Title: Hard Landing: The Epic Contest for Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines into Chaos
Author: Thomas Petzinger, Jr.
Copyright 1995 Times Business Random House

Title: Airline Odyssey: The Airline Industry's Turbulent Flight Into the Future
Author: James Ott and Raymond E. Neidl
Copyright 1995 McGraw-Hill, Inc

Here's and excerpt from Airline Odyssey, Chapter 10 page 209:

"there is little evidence that these programs have stimulated travel, but there is evidence that fliers may more carefully choose the airline they fly. Now that all major carriers have competing programs, they tend to cancel one another out, but also act as a weapon against smaller and weaker carriers. This advantage may be beginning to disappear, as the leisure traveler becomes a greater factor and as price becomes a more defining factor."

and on page 210:

"...the airlines will drop them when the programs grow so massive that the airlines begin to lose control of the product."

Both are interesting reads, and it's funny that all of the industry turmoil that is going on now was going on back then as well. Here it is ten years later and industry restructuring is only beginning (grudgingly) to take shape, and the long predicted consolidations have yet to occur.
 
n844aa
Posts: 1266
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2003 10:38 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:44 pm

Quoting N200WN (Reply 44):
Title: Hard Landing: The Epic Contest for Power and Profits That Plunged the Airlines into Chaos
Author: Thomas Petzinger, Jr.
Copyright 1995 Times Business Random House

I really, really enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it to anyone interested enough in the industry to be browsing these forums. Something I took away from the book is a sense that AA's current woes are in no small part due to the departure of Bob Crandall.
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
 
User avatar
EA CO AS
Posts: 13502
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2001 8:54 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 6:17 pm

Learn for the guys who ARE making money, like Southwest. One of things they can get rid of is the ridiculously complicated pricing programs - god knows how much money it takes to run a business where every person on the flight pays a different price!


News flash - even your precious Southwest Airlines forces customers to pay different fare levels based on sophisticated inventory allocation controls. It's called Revenue Management, and it's a part of EVERY SINGLE AIRLINE.

Next time you're flying WN, ask the person next to you what they paid for their ticket. And the one next to them. And the one across the aisle.

Odds are you'll get a different answer each time, just like at EVERY OTHER CARRIER.


Now, frequent flier programs do make some money - but I'm willing to bet that if each airline eliminated them entirely, SIMULTANEOUSLY, you'd see the truly good carriers - ones that deliver good service and value - thrive while others failed.

Why? Because now they'd be competing on fares, schedules and service. Frequent flier loyalty wouldn't be part of the equation anymore.

Tango-Bravo is definitely right about the "freeloader" situation - the FF monstrosities today have created an entitlement mentality among the millions of card-carrying frequent fliers out there.

Most of them pay the same rock-bottom fares that every other leisure traveler pays, except the leisure traveler doesn't expect upgrades to First Class. Or special, dedicated 800 numbers for their use. Or special, separate lines for check-in at the airport. Or pretty little cards embossed with their names, etc.

ALL OF WHICH COST THE AIRLINE MONEY.


So if you ask me, an airline is FAR better off selling one cheap seat to 20 different people than having one frequent flier who buys 20 cheap seats - odds are they'll make more money on the 20 individual people than the one guy who flies 20 times once all is said and done.

And again, those 20 people won't act like spoiled brats demanding every perk in the world in the process.
"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
 
panamair
Posts: 3767
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2001 2:24 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 10:30 pm

Quoting Jetdeltamsy (Reply 36):
I think in the near future that rewards will be based on revenue produced, the cash money a particular customer brings to the table.
the days of placing lavish awards on folks who fly on $99 fares has to end.

Some airlines have already tried that...remember Delta's attempts to award only 0.5XMQMs (elite qualifying miles) to the lowest fare categories and 1.5 -2X MQMs for higher fare buckets?..well they just reinstituted the 1.0XMQM rule for 2005 and lowered to 1.5 (from 2)X the MQMs for First/Business travel...they decided that volume was going to be more important than just the high-revenue producers.

Quoting ANCFlyer (Reply 26):
No US domestic carrier will compare to a Western European carrier or Asian Carrier in convenience, service and attitude - particularly the Asian carriers - these days

Oh yeah? Have you tried Iberia long-haul or any of the Chinese airlines domestically? Rude f/as (IB), filthy and run-down airplanes (Chinese airlines), inconsistent or lack of schedules (schedules that change constantly - domestic Chinese flights) are not copyrighted by the U.S. carriers...
 
jdaniel001
Posts: 619
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2005 2:36 pm

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 10:37 pm

Quoting Aa757first (Reply 40):
Midwest is doing just that. Surviving. They just fired all of their ramp workers and all of the MD-80 fleet is in the low cost configuration (2x3 with 32 inch pitch). Want some food? Spit up some money. They days of fine china and free champagne are over at Midwest.

Not for nothing Aa757first, but your are incorrect on this. The MD-80's are the LCC arm of Midwest. Midwest did that and is contracting out their ramp to remain competative. Ok, so your right on one thing, they are just surviving. But they are surviving.

As everyone heard the phenomenon of the Southwest effect. That is the reason that WN and other LCC's are making money. They are luring people who would normally drive on vacation into the planes. Not a bad thing. But lets compare apples to apples. I think that most business travelers (premimum travelers) hate WN and other single class carriers because they are stuck in "cattle car class". They no longer feel important.

Good try Aa757first, your going to make a fine airline employee someday.
We Are UNITED!
 
avek00
Posts: 3160
Joined: Mon Oct 25, 2004 5:56 am

RE: Way To Save USA Major Carriers

Sun Apr 17, 2005 11:00 pm

OK, it's time to finally cut the BS that has become this thread:

1. Frequent-flyer programs are PROFIT CENTERS for the USA legacy carriers. Airlines make money by selling miles to other companies. The miles you "earn" for shopping online, signing up for a credit card, or renting a car are BOUGHT from the issuing carrier. The FF liability carried on the books means little, since less than 25% of all miles awarded are ever redeemed.

2. In the absence of FFPs, travelers would become almost entirely schedule and price-driven, which is the exact OPPOSITE of what legacies need in order to turn around their fortunes.
Live life to the fullest.

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