MaverickM11
Topic Author
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The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 7:59 am

http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2005/04/16/airline_woes/

Apparently in Alex Marhsall's world, the Sun still revolves around the Earth.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
Birdwatching
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:08 am

Since deregulation unleashed the carriers' talons in the late 1970s, they have stuffed us into smaller seats and smaller planes

Wrong, planes are bigger now. Back then, it was mostly 707, 727, 737, DC9 in the US.

charged us capriciously and exorbitantly

Hey, tickets are cheaper NOW!!!

routed us through cities we never wanted to visit

More direct flights TODAY than THEN!
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
AirWillie6475
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:08 am

Airlines are doing bad because of Osama Bin Laden not because of deregulation. By the way, where is Osama?
 
Birdwatching
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:17 am

That's why many planes in the sky today are dangerously old

Are we talking about certain DC9s here? Generally speaking, this is wrong!

Several studies have, in fact, concluded that prices on average have decreased 30 percent since 1978.

3 minutes ago, he claimed the opposite.

Before deregulation, U.S. airlines bought a new fleet of Boeing planes every few years

Oh come on.

which gave Boeing the freedom to innovate and compete commercially.

Oh come on!

And the title - "Crash and Burn"...

No comment!
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:19 am

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 2):
Airlines are doing bad because of Osama Bin Laden not because of deregulation.

Terrorism is not hurting the industry today. Traffic is at pre-9/11 levels and has even grown to some extent.

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 2):
By the way, where is Osama?

It would make zero difference to any anti-terrorist efforts if bin Laden were to be captured. Al-Queda cellular nature is highly decentralized, there is no "head" to take-out. Keep your politics to yourself, please.

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 1):
Wrong, planes are bigger now. Back then, it was mostly 707, 727, 737, DC9 in the US.

And now many carriers are misusing regional jets on routes once served by mainline aircraft. DEN-ATL on a UAEX CRJ?? While I agree this article blows so bad it shouldn't even be a point of contention, planes are getting smaller
 
AirWillie6475
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:33 am

"Terrorism is not hurting the industry today."

I wasn't talking about traffic, I was talking about the state of the airlines. And yes, terrorism did hurt the industry.
 
DfwRevolution
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:36 am

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 6):
I was talking about the state of the airlines. And yes, terrorism did hurt the industry.

Did it, yes. Is it, no.

9.11 was only one of several factors, not even the greatest, that led to our current predicament.
 
FriendlySkies
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:37 am

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 6):
And yes, terrorism did hurt the industry.

The industry was on a down-turn either way...9/11 just greatly expedited the fall, and caught most airlines off guard as they were still reeling in the profits from the '90s. But the problems with US Airways, United, Delta, etc...those were in the works well before 9/11.
 
SonOfACaptain
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:37 am

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 2):
Airlines are doing bad because of Osama Bin Laden not because of deregulation.

Deregulation started tons of problems in the industry today.

-SOAC
Non Illegitimi Carborundum
 
nwafflyer
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:41 am

Oh please, we don't 'almost have him' nor are we likely to -- but, he is not the cause/culprit for the flying situation we have today either. Yes, the US airline industry was a bit innocent, and terrorists did a major job on the world trade center. No way do I want to down rate what happened there.

However, we need to look at a new future, and that does not need to be terrible from either an airline nor a passenger perspective if we all use a bit of intelligence. Right now, the airlines are fighting a major fuel cost battle, and yes, those costs should be absorbed by us, the passengers. After all, if you drive your car from NYC to LA, you'll pay the fuel costs, why would you not expect to if you fly????????
 
MaverickM11
Topic Author
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:08 am

Drop the Osama nonsense. Stick to the article.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
mtnmanmakalu
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:31 am

Quoting Nwafflyer (Reply 10):
After all, if you drive your car from NYC to LA, you'll pay the fuel costs, why would you not expect to if you fly????????

The 1st intelligent comment on a thread full of Bush ass-kissers and Bush bashers- Right on the $$$$$$
I do, I don't, whatever.......
 
bond007
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:34 am

Yeah, there's always some reason...

9/11...

Fuel Costs...

Fuel accounts for around 10-15% of operating costs for the airline, so perhaps we should worry about the other 85%....the 85% that the airline does have control over...like how the company is run.

Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
UAcsOKC
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 10:32 am

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 13):

Fuel accounts for around 10-15% of operating costs for the airline, so perhaps we should worry about the other 85%....the 85% that the airline does have control over...like how the company is run

True, carriers need to work on cost. But even the Giant gorilla Southwest would not have posted as good a profit if they hadn't hedged fuel. The fact is that ticket prices could stand a modest increase to offset fuel costs, but all the Wal-Mart shoppers think about is that Airline A's prices are $10 lower than Airline B's, despite the fact that Airline B offers better service. Thats just the way poeple think, and it doesn't help the situation.
I love the rumble of a 727 takeoff in the morning!
 
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aerorobnz
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:00 pm

Most of the airlines that are in dire straights now were in dire straights before 11 September 2001. It became a convenient scapegoat for what in actual fact was incompetence by management.

Even the fuel prices now are being used as an excuse for huge debts. All airlines are suffering the same prices, it's just the airlines in the shit are using it as another excuse for why they continue building debt.

Quoting UAcsOKC (Reply 14):
But even the Giant gorilla Southwest would not have posted as good a profit if they hadn't hedged fuel

That's what they call investing while the going is good, not treading water desperately to stay afloat as UA/DL/US are doing...The fact is either way a profit would have been made....
Flown to 120 Airports in 44 Countries on 73 Operators. Visited 55 Countries and counting. Wanderlust is like Syphilis, once you have the itch it's too late for treatment.
 
MaverickM11
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:13 pm

"One of that cartel's worst innovations was the "hub" system, in which airlines route many or most of their flights through a single city. At first, it's difficult to understand the benefits of hubs to airlines. After all, whether you're flying or driving from Omaha, Neb., to Kansas City, Mo., the quickest and cheapest way to go is in a straight line. It would cost airlines less on fuel to fly people directly to major cities because such flights generally use larger planes "

Discuss.
E pur si muove -Galileo
 
RDUDDJI
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:01 pm

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 16):
"One of that cartel's worst innovations was the "hub" system, in which airlines route many or most of their flights through a single city. At first, it's difficult to understand the benefits of hubs to airlines. After all, whether you're flying or driving from Omaha, Neb., to Kansas City, Mo., the quickest and cheapest way to go is in a straight line. It would cost airlines less on fuel to fly people directly to major cities because such flights generally use larger planes "

That whole second page about airline hubs was quite possibly the dumbest thing I've ever read. It was almost humorous
Sometimes we don't realize the good times when we're in them
 
mrniji
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:28 pm

Som,ehow, I could not retrieve the article.

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 2):
Airlines are doing bad because of Osama Bin Laden not because of deregulation

While I agree that 9/11 was horrible for the industry, deregulation has caused overcompetition on some sectors, pushing the airlines back. Deregulation is a good thing, but needs to be applied more carefully. Overcompetition --> drop of prices --> drop of revenue --> big problem for some carriers

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 16):
One of that cartel's worst innovations was the "hub" system, in which airlines route many or most of their flights through a single city.

Nonsense. Hub- and Spoke increases the network of each airline, helps to fill up planes etc.. especially the transformation of hub and spoke networks in bigger network (keyword airline alliances) is interesting
"The earth provides enough resources for everyone's need, but not for some people's greed." (Gandhi)
 
jacobin777
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:33 pm

is it salon.com or salon.bomb...me wonders... Confused
"Up the Irons!"
 
n844aa
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:36 pm

Quoting Jacobin777 (Reply 19):
is it salon.com or salon.bomb...me wonders...

Well, to be fair, their imminent demise has been predicted for six or seven years now. They must be doing something right, though this article isn't one of those things.

Do they still run "Ask the Pilot"? I always enjoyed that column.
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
 
acidradio
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:39 pm

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 16):
"One of that cartel's worst innovations was the "hub" system, in which airlines route many or most of their flights through a single city. At first, it's difficult to understand the benefits of hubs to airlines. After all, whether you're flying or driving from Omaha, Neb., to Kansas City, Mo., the quickest and cheapest way to go is in a straight line. It would cost airlines less on fuel to fly people directly to major cities because such flights generally use larger planes "

Discuss.

No problem! I'll just get in my George Jetson space car that flies directly from point to point. It must cost near next to nothing in this author's world to operate a turbine-powered aircraft and there must be some huge overabundance of said aircraft somewhere that I'm totally overlooking.
Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
 
iwok
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 3:52 pm

Just look at the source of the article, and it all becomes clear.

Salon Media Group, Inc.
101 Spear Street, Suite 203
San Francisco, CA 94105
Telephone 415 645-9200 | Fax 415 645-9204

The amazing thing, is that you actually have to watch an add to see the whole article.  bomb  It is astounding how lame the article is, and yet there are true believers out there whole will take it all in like its the gosh-darn truth! banghead 

-iwok
 
VHXLR8
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 6:33 pm

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 2):
Airlines are doing bad because of Osama Bin Laden not because of deregulation

Airlines (at least in the USA) are doing badly, because of the complete lack of service you receive on them! Why fly a legacy carrier when they serve you in just the same crap manner as the low cost carriers??
Too many US airlines use terrorism/security etc as excuses for poor service; just get off your asses and do your job if you want the custom.
 
jafa39
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 7:24 pm

Quoting DfwRevolution (Reply 4):
Keep your politics to yourself, please

Seems a bit of a harsh comment dude, was a cheery flippant and globally relevant comment and not politically loaded at all.

Maybe you haven't hit your caffeine levels yet but it would be really dull if humour, observation and a bit of human nature was censored out of a.net.
We, the undersigned, do hereby consent.....
 
flugente777
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 7:47 pm

Reply:
AirWillie6475
Where is Osama?

-Well, I`m not quite sure, but I think i saw him last week
at out BurgerKing... ...buying some `99ers...
 scratchchin 
Don`t cry for me Argentina...
 
GE90110B1
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:22 pm

Quoting N844AA (Reply 19):
Do they still run "Ask the Pilot"? I always enjoyed that column.

Yes, here it is:
http://dir.salon.com/topics/ask_the_pilot/
 
jwenting
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:34 pm

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 12):
Fuel accounts for around 10-15% of operating costs for the airline, so perhaps we should worry about the other 85%....the 85% that the airline does have control over...like how the company is run.

Unionised workforces walking out whenever they don't get a 30% raise twice a year you mean?

Quoting Flugente777 (Reply 24):
-Well, I`m not quite sure, but I think i saw him last week
at out BurgerKing... ...buying some `99ers...

hmm, thought he was living in the Netherlands as a political refugee. As he's being persecuted for his beliefs he would have gotten immediate entry and residence permit here.
I wish I were flying
 
hz747300
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 8:48 pm

De-regulation was obvious that it had to be done--prior to that airlines with bad business models could make money. Competition only helps the consumer, not businesses. Think about this way: What is an airline's primary purpose?

a. To transport people from A to B
b. To offer live television broadcasts
c. To offer warm meals
d. To offer people a place to nap

If you answered anything other than "a", then if you were running an airline, it will eventually fail. Southwest and Ryanair are not profitable because offer live TV, cooked meals, or blankets and pillows. They are profitable because they focus only on the primary reason why people fly--To Get Somewhere!
Keep on truckin'...
 
jonty
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:35 pm

Quoting HZ747300 (Reply 27):
De-regulation was obvious that it had to be done--prior to that airlines with bad business models could make money. Competition only helps the consumer, not businesses.

I agree, people say that de-regulation caused problems but having regulated industry creates artificially high prices and allows problems to grow in the sense that businesses that are run craply (sorry for the made up word) still make a profit, whereas in a world of free market economies the companies should be streamlined, only what is necesarry is there and they can cut out all of the unnecesarry crap that causes high costs! Its a good thing, it makes the industry customer centred which is what the majority of people want, not airline centred, and although some say it added to the downfall of Pan Am and others, it did not, thye did that themselves, if they had been managed properly after de-regulation then they would have been fine! A business should not be protected from itself by regulatory bodies so that it can be wasteful, be badly run and still make profit through high costs!
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but thats just how I see it - de-regulation didn't cause problems, it just uncovered the problems that were already there!
Just my 2p, as many people on here like to put it!
 
DAYflyer
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Wed Apr 20, 2005 9:58 pm

Quoting UAcsOKC (Reply 13):
True, carriers need to work on cost. But even the Giant gorilla Southwest would not have posted as good a profit if they hadn't hedged fuel. The fact is that ticket prices could stand a modest increase to offset fuel costs, but all the Wal-Mart shoppers think about is that Airline A's prices are $10 lower than Airline B's, despite the fact that Airline B offers better service. Thats just the way poeple think, and it doesn't help the situation

Define modest. I think they need to increase rather dramatically for the airlines to survive. If oil stays where it is, even Southwest will have to increase price once the hedges are gone.

Quoting Bond007 (Reply 12):
Fuel accounts for around 10-15% of operating costs for the airline, so perhaps we should worry about the other 85%....the 85% that the airline does have control over...like how the company is run.

Yes, let's start with the overpaid people at the top......and then fix operations from the bottom and work up, not down.

Quoting Acidradio (Reply 20):
and there must be some huge overabundance of said aircraft somewhere that I'm totally overlooking.

Yes, it is called US Airways!!
One Nation Under God
 
LMP737
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 12:58 am

Beware airliners.net members, Mr. Marshall is watching.  Wink

"Go to airliners.netand you can see my name dragged through the mud. According to these guys, my declaration that airline deregulation failed, in my Salon article this week, Crash and Burn, was "the worst aviation article ever written!" Or something like that. I tuned in ready to digest their criticism, but I found it pretty thin. Mostly off the cuff comments and name calling. Thus is the way of the world, and the web.
Posted by: Alex Marshall"
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
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alberchico
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 1:27 am

I can't get the article !!!
short summary of every jewish holiday: they tried to kill us ,we won , lets eat !
 
Scorpio
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 1:30 am

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 30):
Beware airliners.net members, Mr. Marshall is watching

Well, in that case... let's address Mr. Marshall directly, shall we? I'll start with the first one:

Mr. Marshall, you described 'many' planes in the American skies today as being, and I quote, 'dangerously old'. Would you care to explain:

a) which aircraft you are talking about? (airlines, types, you know, examples)
b) what constututes a 'dangerously' old plane in your opinion?

I'm sure the others here have some similar questions...

Heck, I'll go with one more:

Would you care to explain to us how an airline is supposed to run a profitable flight between small town A and small town B, when there are only say 30 people willing to fly directly between the two cities on a daily basis, WITHOUT using a hub?

You can mail your answer to nico_vaes@hotmail.com and I'll post your reply here if you care to respond...

How about them apples  Wink
 
n844aa
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 1:51 am

Quoting LMP737 (Reply 30):
Go to airliners.netand you can see my name dragged through the mud. According to these guys, my declaration that airline deregulation failed, in my Salon article this week, Crash and Burn, was "the worst aviation article ever written!" Or something like that. I tuned in ready to digest their criticism, but I found it pretty thin. Mostly off the cuff comments and name calling. Thus is the way of the world, and the web.

Hilarious. In a past life, I was a journalist, and though I was usually tempted to respond to whatever angry reaction an article of mine garnered, something about actually doing so always struck me as kinda ... lame. Not to mention unprofessional.

It's foolish to claim that airline deregulation failed. Yes, seats are smaller and meals are scarcer than they were in the 1960s. But look at how much a ticket would have cost you in 1960 in inflation-adjusted terms, and look at the economic growth made possible in other sectors by a competitive airline industry.

Truth be told, I tried to read that article and found it pretty thin. It sounded to me like a lot of baseless bellyaching. But let me try to assuage Mr. Marshall's ego  

Since deregulation unleashed the carriers' talons in the late 1970s, they have stuffed us into smaller seats and smaller planes, taken away perks ranging from meals to pillows, charged us capriciously and exorbitantly, routed us through cities we never wanted to visit, and instituted ridiculous requirements like mandatory Saturday-night stay-overs.

Well, those perks cost money and time and time again, travellers have voted with their pocketbook and chosen the airline with the cheaper ticket. So don't blame the airlines, blame the public. And if you don't want to stay over Saturday night, simply buy an unrestricted ticket (with a price in-line with what a coach ticket would have cost in the halcyon days of regulation.) No one is forcing you to stay over Saturday. Besides, aren't the airlines moving away from Saturday stay-overs? Not particularly timely criticism.

They thought this would give consumers lower prices, more direct flights, more airlines to choose from, and simpler ticketing and flying requirements. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I can fly direct between most everywhere I want to go. Additionally, I can buy a ticket online right now, from a slate of airlines vying for my business on the route and days I wish to travel, pick the lowest fare or my preferred carrier, drive to the airport, swipe my credit card in a kiosk, pick up my boarding pass and pass through security and get on the plane. Dead simple, in my opinion.

But contrary to predictions, deregulation has actually led to fewer direct flights, fewer airlines, less predictable prices, costly restrictions -- and, not incidentally, the financial ruin of nearly every major carrier.

I will ALWAYS take the less predictable prices that are frequently lower than the fares that I know will be predictably high. Yeah, it sucks not to book that $99 transcon and then to see later that it's $575. But it's better than it being $600 day in and day out. Besides, the legacy carriers haven't fully adapted their business models to post-deregulation realities. So what if the industry has lost money? There have been many profitable post-deregulation airlines. The legacies' losses proves the author's thesis ... how exactly?

Analysts estimate that the airlines have collectively lost more than $50 billion since deregulation began. True, consumers have gotten lower prices on some flights, but only at the cost of astronomical prices on others and a rash of new restrictions and conditions.

My God. Talk about a mischaracterization. Please point me to an airline where in the good ol' days I could buy a walkup fare for a transcontinental flight for less than $600. But today, this is a reality (and one of the airlines known for such a fare is, guess what, profitable!) And if you don't want to fly with restrictions, pick one of the many LCCs offering restriction-free fares for less than the cost of a regulated ticket.

It was meant to spawn more airlines like Southwest, a company that predates deregulation, and at first, the idea seemed to work. I remember flying from my hometown of Norfolk, Va., to New York City in 1984 for $19 on People Express, which introduced the novel technique of collecting payment onboard. But the larger airlines managed to kill off that consumer-friendly airline with predatory pricing.

Wasn't PE in its death throes in 1984? Anecdotal evidence does not an argument make. And didn't the shuttles allow on-board payment, until security concerns made it impossible? I mean ... I'm actually kind of amazed/appalled. There is no substantivity whatsoever to the assertions in this paragraph. "I once flew really cheap. Plus I think it would be kinda neat to show up at the airport and pay onboard. Who cares if the flight is full, lol."

It would cost airlines less on fuel to fly people directly to major cities because such flights generally use larger planes (which consume less fuel per passenger), not the smaller, less fuel-efficient (and less comfortable) planes that tend to be used to and from hub airports. So why do airlines like hubs? Because they enable them to carve out regional monopolies and then charge higher fares. Airlines essentially conquer a major airport, and then keep out competitors.

OK, so let me ask, what does it take for an airport to qualify as a fortress hub? (This is an honest question, not a rhetorical device.) Does DFW count? I grew up there and I never felt terrorized by AA. I fly in and out of there all the time, and I'm always able to find reasonable fares. I don't think his is a particularly compelling argument against the hub system. Plus, these "smaller ... (less comfortable)" planes is a matter of opinion. I myself prefer the MD-80s and smaller mainline jets frequently found serving as hub feeders.

Perhaps I'm dwelling too much on the negative. For people who live in or close to cities like Houston and Phoenix, where low-cost carrier Southwest dominates, flying is often pretty good. And in other cities, if you can jump through all the airlines' hoops, you can often get some decent prices. Several studies have, in fact, concluded that prices on average have decreased 30 percent since 1978.

With this I can only pound my keyboard in frustration. lkdsfja;lfjas;ljfa;ljfa (See?) So... prices ON AVERAGE have gone down 30%. Other than the computer industry, I don't know where else that might be true. Yet this is a BAD thing? Those free drinks and hot meals and L-1011s flying between Buffalo and St. Louis cost money. People are not willing to pay for them. The market has slowly but surely adapted to these conditions. And deregulation is a failure??

The problem is, averages mask the absurdly high fares many fliers are forced to pay. More important, such analyses don't calculate costs other than ticket prices resulting from deregulation -- such as the very real cost of millions of passengers having to spend Saturday nights away from home unnecessarily, of not being able to make last-minute plans, of shrinking legroom (and the attendant medical effects), of unused nonrefundable tickets, or of driving far from home to get a decent fare. Not to mention how unpleasant flying has become.

If you don't like the restriction, BUY UNRESTRICTED TICKETS. That's the best advice I can offer. Yeah, unrestricted tickets are expensive, but regulated tickets were expensive as well.

That's why many planes in the sky today are dangerously old.

You use this word dangerously, but I do not think you know what it means.

I suspect that's also why Boeing has declined as a company in recent decades, while the European conglomerate Airbus has thrived. Before deregulation, U.S. airlines bought a new fleet of Boeing planes every few years -- which gave Boeing the freedom to innovate and compete commercially.

Three words: Seven Eight Seven. Innovation herself wrought in composites. And ... this is absurd. You know why Airbus wasn't thriving until a couple decades ago? IT DIDN'T FUCKING EXIST. Grrr.

Although regulating the airlines would be an easy way out of this mess, that is probably not politically feasible, at least until voters change the president and the composition of Congress.

I am a life-long, committed Democrat, but even I recognize in no way, shape or form can President Bush be blamed for this state of affairs. This assertion is ridiculous and needlessly partisan. I'm ashamed that there are so many people in my party who use the president and the Republican Congress as a catch-all for everything bad that happens in this country. And let's decode "regulating the airlines": that means nothing other than raising the prices of all tickets. This is a political loser because it's not what people want.

U.S. Airways, Delta and all the rest may soon crash into the hills of financial ruin, or they may right themselves to some wobbly version of fiscal health. But their passengers won't get a better ride until our nation decides to manage air travel more assertively -- and not leave it all to the market.

No sir. The legacies are struggling because they haven't adapted to the new realities of regulation, even now after 25 years. They are moving -- lurching -- in that direction, but some of them aren't going to make it. But the market is working and the skies are more accessible to Americans than they ever were during regulation.

In conclusion, I'd suggest to salon.com that you assign future aviation articles to Patrick Smith and no one else  

[Edited 2005-04-20 18:53:39]
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
 
n844aa
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 2:39 am

By the way, LMP737, where did you see those comments from the author? I have a few choice words I might like to share with him Big grin
New airplanes, new employees, low fares, all touchy-feely ... all of them are losers. -Gordon Bethune
 
Junction
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:01 am

Quoting MaverickM11 (Thread starter):
Apparently in Alex Marhsall's world, the Sun still revolves around the Earth.

Agreed...I've seen 7th grade research papers given a "D" mark with better content accuracy then this story. I feel sorry for all the people who can't get quality work published knowing something like this can slip through to print. Just goes to show you can't trust everything you read.
 
galapagapop
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:02 am

This article looks like it was written by a total outsider who looked at and airline route map. Hubs work, they may not be convenient but they do actually work otherwise each airline has no ground and people would be unable get anywhere unless they lived in New York, L.A., Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago. This article is absolutely humorous though...
 
nrcnyc
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:44 am

The joke of the article is that under deregulation, only the people who fly pay for the operating costs of the airline. What he wants, is the industry to be regulated( or subsidized to some degree, regulation does cost money whether to directly pays for the service or for the bureaucracy that actually does the regulation) so that everyone will pay a little bit to make his flights better whether they fly or not. Flying is not a right, and therefore we should not tax people who dont fly in order for this man to have a better seat.

-Nate.
 
LHMark
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 3:56 am

It'll be interesting to see whether Patrick Smith addresses this article in friday's "Ask the Pilot" column on Salon.com. He has upbraided bad aviation writing before, but I've never seen him do it to a fellow Salon contributor.
"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller
 
havaloc
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 6:25 am

It's funny to hear Salon complain about business practices. After all, they only burned through $80 million in capital. For an online magazine!

http://www.answers.com/topic/salon-com

[Edited 2005-04-20 23:28:17]
DC-9
 
zotan
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:16 am

Quoting LHMark (Reply 38):
It'll be interesting to see whether Patrick Smith addresses this article in friday's "Ask the Pilot" column

I hope he does. That article was terrible. I wanted to email him, but couldnt find an address.
 
LMP737
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 7:19 am

N884AA:

Mr. Marshall has his very own website, alexmarshall.com.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
LeanOfPeak
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 8:54 am

That article is so full of misunderstandings and flat-out falsehoods that I feel compelled to address some of the more grievous ones.

I won't quote much, since they want you to watch their little commercial, but you should be able to tell what I'm responding to.

First off, it sounds as though Mr. Marshall is about a half-step away from advocating a state airline. Yeah, because we all know that Amtrak is a model of efficient, passenger-friendly transportation and is rolling in profits...

As for People Express...If their selling point was, "flying from my hometown of Norfolk, Va., to New York City in 1984 for $19," I question whether People Express was the victim of predatory pricing, or whether they were attempting to be the perpetrator of it, and ran out of money first.

Mr. Marshall's understanding of the hub system is also sorely lacking.

Hubs for regional monopolies...

No, no, no. It's called a route network for a reason. You get BIGGER planes with a hub-and-spoke system, not SMALLER. It also allows airlines to provide service to smaller airports. Want to fly from Podunk? The airlines could offer a direct flight from Podunk to Nowhere, but the load from Podunk to Nowhere would not support anything more than a Cessna 172, and because you'd still have to pay some relatively fixed per-flight costs, the prices would be outrageous. Conversely, if you move ALL the traffic from Podunk (Regardless of whether the destination is Nowhere, Middle-O-Nowhere, or YouAreHere) to, say, Cleveland, maybe it'll support a CRJ or a DHC-8, and then you can fly another DHC-8 to Nowhere, because all the Nowhere traffic is going to Cleveland. Unless, of course, you want to have to drive half a state on both ends of your flight to find airports with loads that justify more than a Saratoga.

Mr. Marshall's Charlotte fare comparison is, on the surface of things, compelling. However, there are some intricacies involved that are not readily apparent. For starters, SOMEONE is paying that price, or that wouldn't be the price (The price would come down until someone paid it). And why are they paying that price? For a non-stop flight. Charlotte is big, but it is not huge. Is there anyone who sincerely believes that a regulated industry would produce four reasonably-priced daily non-stop narrowbody Airbus flights between Charlotte and LAX? If you want to go from Charlotte to LAX and are dissatisfied with US's price, you're free to look elsewhere (Northwest offers, through a variety of connections, a multitude of flights on aircraft ranging from DC-9's to 757's to CRJ's to ARJ's). The only way US can justify four narrowbody Airbus flights between Charlotte and LAX is because they funnel traffic from other airports (Like Greensboro) through Charlotte. THAT is the hub system. Without the hub there, you'd see maybe 2 CRJ's nonstop to LAX, and the prices would still be absurd. Though you'd still have the option to fly Northwest on bigger planes with a stop.

Averages masking absurd fares some are forced to pay --

No, not forced to pay. Forced to pay if a non-stop flight is worth that to them. Otherwise, check with another airline (Northwest alone has TWELVE ways to make that trip with a single stop). And before you say you shouldn't have to choose another airline or accept a stop, Mr. Marshall's proposed "solution" would mean ONE airline would serve that route (No choice there), and in all likelihood, that would not be a significant enough market to even justify a nonstop route.

Forced stopovers...

...If they want the nonstop flight and a low fare...

Don't you think there's a reason for encouraging a stopover? It looks to me like it's about load-balancing. If you get some passengers to fly off-peak through offering an economic incentive, you can make the traffic on peak flights lower and the traffic on off-peak flights higher, making ALL the flights more economically efficient. Mr. Marshall seems to have the idea that this is just some sadistic canard by the airline CEO's, which it assuredly is not.

shrinking legroom --

I'm still trying to figure out what deregulation has to do with trying to put more passengers on an airplane. If anyone else can figure out a link, I'd be thrilled...

Quote:
or of driving far from home to get a decent fare.

Or just accepting a stop in the trip.

Prices falling faster 20 years pre-deregulation than 20 years post-deregulation --

1958: Douglas DC-4/6/7
1978: Boeing 747

1978: Boeing 747
1998: Boeing 767

Relevance of comparative ticket prices?

Frequent replacement of airplanes --

1958: Douglas DC-4/6/7
1978: Boeing 747

1978: Boeing 747
1998: Boeing 767

Relevance of purchase of new aircraft?

Purchases --> freedom for Boeing to innovate --

Confusion over cause and effect here. If you're flying a DC-4 and your competition is flying an L-188, you have a problem. Likewise an L-188 vs. a 727. The state-of-the-art has not advanced (Over at Airbus, either, Mr. Marshall) at such a rate in recent years that a 737-300 puts you at a dire competitive disadvantage compared to a 737-700.

Price controls --> Prying open the hubs? I don't get it... If another airline thought there was demand for $1000 direct tickets between CLT and LAX (Seeing as those would be competitively advantageous vs. the $2000 ones), don't you think they'd do it? Seems profit-packed, no? So perhaps there's more to it than meets the eye? Yes...

Mr. Marshall seems to have fallen into the trap of believing that he should be able to go between any two airports on a whim at any time on a big airplane at inexpensive prices. While this is, on the surface, something of a siren's song, it is NOT a model that is supported by the basic operating economics of the airline system. He is apoplectic about the difference between the maximum price he can find and the minimum price he can find. If he doesn't like the maximum price he can find, his options are to change airlines and accept a stop or to stay over a night and help the airline with its load balancing. Neither of those seems a tremendous concession to me.

There is a reason for all of the restrictions put in place, and it's not just because, "Look at what we can make these peasants do by hiking up the prices arbitrarily based on random variables." They make the system more efficient. If you let people walk in and say, "I want to fly from Podunk to Nowhere nonstop on a 747 in ten minutes from now, and I want to pay a buck and a half" you lose all the operating economics and the cost of the system as a whole shoots through the roof. The current system is not perfect, but "solutions" to "problems" are not always what they appear to be.
 
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Aloha717200
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Thu Apr 21, 2005 12:42 pm

Honestly, I don't think this guy's article is even worth our time.

We know that he's completely off the mark. And even if we very clearly prove him wrong on this site, a) No-one but us will read it (salon.com readers aren't likely to come to this thread), and b) The guy himself probably won't listen to a word we say anyway.


This guy believes he's right. No matter how much we try to prove him wrong, (not hard to do), he's not going to cave and admit it.


I say ignore him and his article. Don't give him any attention. Attention, whether positive or negative, just makes him look more credible than he really is, plus exposes this sad example of journalism to more people that it would have reached, anyway.


That's my opinion.
 
LHMark
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RE: The Worst Aviation Article--Ever

Fri Apr 22, 2005 9:31 am

Quoting ZOTAN (Reply 40):

I hope he does. That article was terrible. I wanted to email him, but couldnt find an address.

aviateur@askthepilot.com
"Sympathy is something that shouldn't be bestowed on the Yankees. Apparently it angers them." - Bob Feller

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