Ps76
Topic Author
Posts: 1015
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 7:52 pm

Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Sun Jul 08, 2012 10:23 pm

Hi!

One of the things I like doing when in a city (most of the time for me it is London) is visiting airline offices. Although I like doing this I wonder if they are becoming a thing of the past and with the internet and everything becoming kinda redundant and a waste of money. Here in London Emirates have a nice office in Gloucester Road near Kensington. The staff in there seem to be on the phone a lot but I rarely see people walking in. They even have little destination booklets and travel class booklets which are great and very old school! I'm pretty sure Iran Air and Aeroflot and Air France and Korean Air also have offices on Green Park and I think JAL used to have an office near Oxford Street next to a Japanese department store. I have never really noticed any of these places being very busy these days. Also Air New Zealand used to have a big office near Piccadilly but I don't know if it's still there as I haven't been there for a while.

So my question is really for anyone who knows anything about the airline industry either from working in it or as an enthusiast. Do you think these offices have a place in today's World? Do they still provide a vital function (like changing dates on people's tickets?) or could the same thing be done at the ticket desk in the airport or on the internet. I can't imagine what the rent is or how much they could make by selling them because most of the offices at least in London are in some very expensive areas.

Please don't get me wrong I love airline offices in cities but I just wonder if they are hugely uneconomical in today's age of internet and high fuel prices and stuff.

Any thoughts welcome.

Many thanks,

Pierre
 
Metjetceo
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:27 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:47 am

I would suspect that there is a large population (older) that will always prefer to have face to face contact and may not know how to use the internet. In large population centers like London, NYC, etc. I would assume that they generate enough traffic to justify the location.

At the very least, they are a constant advertisement to everyone that drives and walks past.
 
AirAfreak
Posts: 694
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:20 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:02 am

I'm not older, but I still miss the Delta City Ticket Office at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. A plane ticket and then a short stroll to Trader Vic's for a Scorpion Bowl!!!! (And then a dodgy 5 minutes drive to my home) haha

Here in Los Angeles, a Korean Air City Ticket Office still exists as of today.
Do you lead an Intercontinental life?
 
heysfo
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:31 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:06 am

TACA still has the only airline office left in SF , as a street level walk-in ticketing location
 
Ps76
Topic Author
Posts: 1015
Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2004 7:52 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:28 am

Hi!

Quoting heysfo (Reply 4):
From a USATODAY 2007 article

Many thanks for the article. Made for an interesting read.

Quoting heysfo (Reply 4):
And they'll remain important to airlines, he says, as long as some people don't use computers and continue to pay for tickets with cash or checks. About a third of outbound overseas tickets — average price: $1,400 — are purchased that way, he says.

That is very suprising. I'd never have thought that a third of overseas flight were purchased manually.

Quoting heysfo (Reply 4):
US Airways has one at its Tempe, Ariz., headquarters.

Although I can't imagine it costs very much to run I would think having an office in Tempe would be more of a gesture than a big money maker.

Many thanks,

Pierre
 
ben175
Posts: 523
Joined: Wed Jul 02, 2008 12:44 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:42 am

A lot of airlines still have offices in Perth's city centre: EK, MH, SQ, QF, TG and even Batavia who haven't launched services yet!
 
User avatar
TWA772LR
Posts: 3709
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:12 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:29 am

Does anyone know if the TACA office in Houston is still around?
Beauty is watching a 787 bank to make a short final. Bliss is watching that 787 with a good beer. Nirvana is all of that with a beautiful woman on your side.
 
User avatar
KGRB
Posts: 644
Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:19 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:35 am

Quoting Ps76 (Reply 4):
US Airways has one at its Tempe, Ariz., headquarters.

Although I can't imagine it costs very much to run I would think having an office in Tempe would be more of a gesture than a big money maker.

I don't think that's still true. I have been to the US Airways Tempe HQ and, as far as I know, you need employee credentials to access the building, except for the company store (where I am almost certain you cannot purchase tickets).
Flown on 9E/AA/AL/CP/DL/EV/HP/MQ/NW/PT/OO/OH/UA/US/XJ/YV/YX/ZW
 
Wingtips56
Posts: 746
Joined: Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:26 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 4:39 am

City ticket offices used to make more sense when paper tickets were the rule: some airlines only operated at the airport at midnight, so the city offices provided ticketing during business hours. And you don't want to be waiting to check-in at the airport stuck behind some guy doing his 7th complex international ticket reissue.

But I do remember walking the length of Picadilly St. from the Green Park to Picadilly Circus, looking in all the airline office windows. It certainly was for prestige along with any hint of customer service response. I did chuckle at the then-Soviet Aeroflot office, with a full-size cut out of one of their .. uh... striking air hostesses sporting white socks. And the cut-away view models of the airplanes and all.

But they are an expense, and the first thing cut by many of the airlines when the economy turned. And now, almost all ticketing is electronic, and you can have those complex international reissues done over the phone.

Progress..... :|
Worked for WestAir, Apollo Airways, Desert Pacific, Western, AirCal and American Airlines
 
User avatar
Schweigend
Posts: 464
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2010 8:47 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:22 am

A lot of U.S. airlines still have City Ticket Offices in foreign cities, but most or all of their domestic CTOs were closed in the wake of 9/11, etc. United may still have one in NY-Penn Station, but I don't know for sure. I used to be able to check in there for flights from EWR before getting on the NJT train from Manhattan.

Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 6):
Does anyone know if the TACA office in Houston is still around?

According to the Houston Yellow Pages dated May 2012, TACA has an office at 5821 SW Freeway. Aviateca and Pakistan Airlines also are shown with CTO addresses. No others....
 
User avatar
RWA380
Posts: 4451
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:51 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:34 am

At one time or another UA had two different ticket offices here in Portland Or, one by Lloyd center on NE Multnomah, and downtown on SW 6th Ave around Madison IIRC. But there used to be AA, CO, WA, AS, LH (before they flew here) But all are gone, At one time SW 6th Ave used to be the place to have a ticket office. I love going overseas and visiting CTO's.
Next Flights: PDX-HNL-OGG-LIH-PDX On AS, WP & HA
 
FlyingSicilian
Posts: 1383
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2009 7:53 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 5:45 am

Quoting heysfo (Reply 3):
TACA still has the only airline office left in SF , as a street level walk-in ticketing location
Quoting TWA772LR (Reply 6):
Does anyone know if the TACA office in Houston is still around?

IIRC it is on Bellaire Blvd (just east of City of Bellaire in Houston's gulfton area just before sharpstown surrounded by pupusa places and 10,000s of Salvadorans). Driven by it several times recently.

Qatar has one in Downtown Houston.
Emirates is on westheimer near Galleria in Houston.
Saudi Arabian has one in Houston (even though they only fly cargo to Houston)

Continental (RIP) had the one Downtown Houston in the HQs.
Aeromexico has one near IAH.
Air France did have a regional sales office in Houston, not sure if it is still there or downtown.
Volga-Dneipr has an office in the Woodlands
“Without seeing Sicily it is impossible to understand Italy.Sicily is the key of everything.”-Goethe "Journey to Italy"
 
klwright69
Posts: 2349
Joined: Mon Jan 17, 2000 4:22 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:01 am

At one time CO had 3 ticket offices in Denver. One on the 16th Street Mall, and 2 different ticket offices in the Denver Tech Center. Talk about relics of a bygone time.
 
gigneil
Posts: 14133
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2002 10:25 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 6:07 am

Quoting heysfo (Reply 3):

ANA also has one.

Quoting klwright69 (Reply 12):

At one time CO had 3 ticket offices in Denver. One on the 16th Street Mall, and 2 different ticket offices in the Denver Tech Center. Talk about relics of a bygone time.


United had 6 that I can remember. There was one across from Cherry Creek Mall as well as one by the Brown Palace and another the escapes me on top of two near DTC and one in Jeffco.

Not to mention one in Colorado Springs.

NS
 
lukeyboy95
Posts: 1058
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 7:07 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:12 am

I am a massive fan of airline offices. For the most part in developed countries, they are obsolete (most have internet and know it is the cheapest way).

But they are excellent for publicity, and can be a good reflection on the airline. TK have an excellent office in Nairobi. Oh, that is another thing, in many cities they have the offices in very highbuildings...

So nip up, pick up the IF magazine (most stock this), a hard copy of the timetable (some have this) and enjoy the time.
Breaking down the stereotypes - one by one
 
Bongodog1964
Posts: 3072
Joined: Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:29 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:22 am

Whenever I have walked past the Iran Air office in Picadilly, it has always given the impression thatits been shut down since the revolution, Many shades of grey and a model of an early series 747 in the window.
 
zrs70
Posts: 3313
Joined: Sun Dec 10, 2000 4:08 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:24 am

In the mid 80's, I would go to Boston/Logan once a month. Alternatively, mid-month I would go to the Park Plaza Hotel and the Statler Office Building in the Back Bay where most airlines had offices. In addition to the carriers serving Logan, many foreign carriers that didnt serve Logan had offices there. Always felt exotic. I would update my timetables and move on.
17 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2016
 
ltbewr
Posts: 12390
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:51 am

I recall the glory days of city ticket offices in NY City along or just off 5th Avenue and elsewhere in the city until they started to disappear in the 1990's and almost all gone by 2001. You had the displays of posters of destinations, aircraft models, signs posting fare deals. Many were quite elaborately decorated and finished to give an air of quality and to sell their airline and sometimes their home country. The existence of the UN headquarters in NY City was probably a key reason for these offices, but as NY was a key destination, many airlines wanted to put on the show with a city ticket office for publicity and pride.

I recall buying 'standby' tickets for flights from NY area airports from BA at 44th Street and 5th Ave, they, PA, TWA, others used to post the price that day for 'standby' tickets in their 5th Avenue stores. I recall buying in 1989 tickets from Qantas (next door to BA's offices). Along of just off 5th Avenue I recall the offices of Aeroflot, TWA, El Al, Japan, JAT, Pakistan, Pan Am and many others. The Pan Am building at 200 Park Avenue had a large office of course on 44th Street for PA. You also had ticket centers on 7th Ave at 40th Street (garment district), offices in the lobbies of 120 Broadway, the WTC towers (CO, others), near Grand Central Terminal a 2nd floor office for VS, UA and others. Air India, Tower and others on Park Avenue. bought or picked up paper tickets from some of those city offices. I recall in the 1990's buying VS tickets in their records stores in NYC and London.

One sad reason for the shutting down of storefront and other city offices was that some were targets of terror attacks with bombs placed in front of them as well as protests in front of them by unionized airline workers, political and human rights protesters. Of course, changes in how tickets were sold to, especially with the Internet, the use of agents, the need to make cuts in overhead costs as well still having the ability to buy tickets at the airports many them redundant.

From my recall, Swiss, Pakistan, AF and few others still had storefront/street offices in NY City. They probably continue them as may serve destinations in Africa, Asia or countries where a paper ticket may be necessary, a need for someone to speak other than English, or for corporate ego.
 
User avatar
mats
Posts: 544
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2003 11:20 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:23 am

Grupo TACA has kept ticket offices for a different reason: many of their passengers pay in cash, so they need a mechanism to sell tickets in person. Their office in San Francisco, for example, is in the Mission District, not a prestigious location in Union Square.

The Iran Air office in Paris still makes my jaw drop. There are still some others with chic locations there, but the Iran Air office on a corner is especially prestigious. Continental use to have a very swank office in the Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro; I'm sure that office is long gone.

Delta used to have a nice upstairs office in a pretty old building in Microcentro in Buenos Aires, but I also imagine that this is also gone.

Tel Aviv is actually filled with city ticket offices for unusual carriers. Belavia, Air Moldova, among others. There is still the Beit El Al (in tragic disrepair), and there is a huge Turkish Airlines and Israir office on the other side of the street.
 
slvrblt
Posts: 272
Joined: Tue Dec 28, 2004 11:19 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:57 am

In Miami, American still has two: One is at the American Airlines Arena (home of the NBA champions Miami Heat!)
and the other is in Coral Gables, at MCLA sales HQ
..everything works out in the end.
 
elmothehobo
Posts: 967
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 11:10 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:20 pm

There are still a handful in DC. ANA has a sales office up 16th Street, 2-3 blocks north of the White House, Qatar Airways has one on K Street and TACA has an office across the street from IMF and World Bank headquarters in Foggy Bottom (also 3-4 blocks from the White House).
 
nomadic
Posts: 347
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2004 1:56 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 12:38 pm

Back in the day, TWA had CTOs in all of their overseas destinations. IIRC the one in Paris was their largest and most elaborate. When travelers from the U.S. first started visiting Europe by air in large numbers in the 50s and 60s, the offices with the big red 'Trans World Airlines' sign were comforting reminders of home. Behind the counter there was always somone who could speak English. There were maps and guide books and sometimes even a day-old copy of the New York Times. These CTOs certainly sold a good quantity of tickets but they also serevd some of the same functions of an American Express office.
 
User avatar
exFWAOONW
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:32 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:00 pm

Even lowly FWA rated a UA CTO until circa 1979.
They still exist because not every passenger has internet or a credit card.

When I worked many international tickets wouldn't price automatically what with all the stopovers and special fees at different locations, etc and required a lot of time and had to be manually entered before printing (by hand or computer).
Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
 
goosebayguy
Posts: 554
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:12 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:19 pm

I recently walked past the offices along Green Park in London and the aircraft models in Iran Airs office were ancient! All looked very tired too! However it is a shame that so many have been lost over the years with their large metal models and promises of far off exotic places!
 
HBGDS
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2009 2:09 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:21 pm

I can offer experience from Geneva, where I grew up. It used to be fun to "tour" the offices expecially along a couple of main arteries spanning from the train station down to lake Geneva. AIrlines were loaded with postcards, posters, and if you were lucky or a pain or both, you might "score" an airline pennant... Aeroflot was famous for handing out pins. Qantas had little, but the posters were great. Etc...

When airlines were flag carriers, this was a kind of "prestige" issue, but also the only way to sell the "product" in question. It was also the only way to get real-time info about ticket availability (you could try it over the phone, but airlines often doubled as travel offices for some of the countries they served, which is why you wanted to go in prson to help book your trip).

From the mid 90s onward, I watched all these offices close or relocate to the airport (i.e. consolidate), because all business was done on the internet or by phone, or through travel operators. The only airlines left are mostly from the Middle East. It is both a cultural issue and one of technology: Travellers prefer to deal with a living person, and the internet is not as widespread (for reservations, that is-- tweets are a different issue). You still see some of the old neon adverts on building (Kuwait Airways). It's also the case in France and Germany, but I'm sure "locals" can speak to this better than I can.

As for the US where I now live, same deal: close down everything except for a couple of major offices, because it is cheaper, and more efficient. SIgh... Now Igotta battle on eBay to get a postcard, or hope for a nice airline convention not too far from home!
 
mattdell
Posts: 71
Joined: Sun Sep 14, 2008 11:42 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:26 pm

I always wonder why Air Malta has an office near my house in Putney (a borough on the cusp of suburbia in London).
 
jsnww81
Posts: 2297
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 3:29 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:36 pm

CTOs were the *best* for timetables (still are in some cities). Up until the late 2000s, Frankfurt was the best city for timetables on earth. You could usually pick up anywhere from 20-40 at the airport and then finish out your collection in less than two hours walking among all the CTOs near the railway station. Much easier than Paris or London where multiple Metro/Tube transfers were required to hit all of them. Naturally this isn't the purpose of the CTO, but it was a nice side benefit. By the end of the day my bag would be so heavy with airline loot, I'd have to carry it with both hands.

I was just in Santiago, Chile about four days ago and saw the American Airlines office on Paseo Huerfanos (a very busy pedestrian mall downtown.) I popped in to check it out - it was tiny and very crowded and not very nice inside. No copies of "American Way," no advertisements, just two desks and a couch.

At home in the US, I remember American Airlines opened a CTO in my hometown of Carrollton, Texas in 1996. The internet was around there but online ticket sales were just starting up and most people weren't sure if it was going to happen. AA opened a lot of CTOs around Dallas during the early/mid 1990s, and shut them all down just a few years later.
 
theginge
Posts: 488
Joined: Wed Oct 25, 2006 1:53 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:49 pm

Some airlines will have offices in City Centres so that they are near to their corporate customers.
 
Super80DFW
Posts: 857
Joined: Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:03 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:50 pm

American Airlines has a ticket office in central Santiago on a pedestrian only street named Huerfanos. Myself and fellow a.netter mhkansan visited SCL in May, and we visited the ticket office to purchase ZED passes!
"Things change, friends leave, life doesn't stop for anybody." -- EAT'EM UP EAT'EM UP KSU!!
 
User avatar
ramprat74
Posts: 1324
Joined: Wed Dec 17, 2003 6:01 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:55 pm

Quoting RWA380 (Reply 10):
At one time or another UA had two different ticket offices here in Portland Or, one by Lloyd center on NE Multnomah, and downtown on SW 6th Ave around Madison IIRC. But there used to be AA, CO, WA, AS, LH (before they flew here) But all are gone, At one time SW 6th Ave used to be the place to have a ticket office. I love going overseas and visiting CTO's.

We had our City Manager, and Sales office at the 6th street location. We also had CTO's at Mall 205, and Washington Sq.
 
VC10DC10
Posts: 605
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:56 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:14 pm

Ethiopian Airlines has a ticket office on -- I think -- Duke Street in Alexandria, VA (in Old Town).

I have heard that one reason for airlines to continue to maintain city ticket offices in some markets is for the benefit of passengers who prefer to pay in cash.
 
1stfl94
Posts: 1082
Joined: Fri May 12, 2006 12:33 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:25 pm

Went past the Syrianair office in London at the weekend, the office is deserted but I was very tempted to grab the 747SP model they have in the window (if it disappears now it's not my fault!)

Given the price of real estate in some city centres I'm really surprised that some of these offices have survived given the growth of e-tickets, especially in a city like London.
 
JU068
Posts: 2094
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:23 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:33 pm

Quoting heysfo (Reply 3):

Don't they have an office in Washington DC, right across the IMF?

In Nicosia we have so many different airlines, Bulgaria Air, Emirates, Jat Airways, Royal Jordanian, Gulf Air, British Airways, Aeroflot, Lufthansa (Swiss and Austrian Airlines) and the most interesting one is the Air France/KLM one, it is interesting because they do not fly into LCA. It is strange that so many airlines have their offices in Nicosia since Cyprus has a population of 830,000. I guess it is a high yielding destination.

I know Jat Airways has its offices in Australia and in the US open (in addition to most European cities), mostly because Serbs tend to purchase their tickets via travel agents.
 
skycub
Posts: 318
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:49 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:57 pm

Quoting Schweigend (Reply 9):
but most or all of their domestic CTOs were closed in the wake of 9/11, etc.

Ironically enough, and correct me if I am mistaken, but did not a bunch of US carriers have city ticket offices located INSIDE the World Trade Center towers?
My opinions are my own. They are not representative of my employer, my union or my co-workers. They are all mine.
 
SmithAir747
Posts: 1667
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2004 3:30 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 9:57 pm

Quoting exFWAOONW (Reply 22):
Even lowly FWA rated a UA CTO until circa 1979.

I'm from Fort Wayne (FWA); where was this UA CTO located?

SmithAir747
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... (Psalm 139:14)
 
N62NA
Posts: 4006
Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2003 1:05 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:17 pm

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 2):
I'm not older, but I still miss the Delta City Ticket Office at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. A plane ticket and then a short stroll to Trader Vic's for a Scorpion Bowl!!!

And sadly both the ticket office you described as well as the real Trader Vic's are no longer at the Beverly Hilton.
 
EIDL
Posts: 786
Joined: Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:11 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:21 pm

Prior to going bust, MA had a sales office in my medium sized suburb - a street level office in a shopping centre. Quite some distance from the city centre, and not particularly cheap office space either. Never understood the logic for that.
 
Flightsimboy
Posts: 1408
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2005 12:49 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 10:45 pm

Why wouldn't they? Who wants to a travel to a surburb to book a ticket or make a reservation. Etihad had an office uptown, but are now in the heart of downtown Toronto. I basically don't ever use a ticket office, but recently had to make a payment at the local Etihad office and it helped to be able to walk to it practically from work.

Quite frankly I have no idea where other airline offices are, because they don't seem to be right on street level with large windows displaying planes. They are probably somewhere in the midst of many offices on a floor of a highrise office building, that too behind large shut wooden doors, and a name plate on it and are all in the main downtown core. It's mainly the travel agents, cruise operators that are on street level luring people in to book their quick getaways. Flight Centre comes to mind.

When l lived in Karachi, it was always a pleasure to pass by the cluster of airline office with their large windows displaying the huge aircraft models inside, Thai Airways, Lufthansa, Swissair, Cathay Pacific were just some examples and still exist till today. Even the airline I worked with had an huge cutaway 747 and an A340 in the office windows on the ground level.
 
Maverick623
Posts: 4636
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 9:13 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Mon Jul 09, 2012 11:00 pm

Quoting KGRB (Reply 7):
I don't think that's still true.

Correct. The CTO closed 2 or 3 years ago. The office still exists as an employee travel center, but that too will likely close once ZED fares go fully electronic early next year.
"PHX is Phoenix, PDX is the other city" -777Way
 
Viscount724
Posts: 18974
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 7:32 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 12:59 am

Quoting FlyingSicilian (Reply 11):
Qatar has one in Downtown Houston.

Carriers that still maintain CTOs are often carriers for which profitability doesn't seem a very high priority.

For example, in GVA Qatar Airways is one of the very few remaining carriers to maintain a CTO, and in one of the highest rent areas of the city. It must be the only new airline CTO to have opened in GVA in the past 30 years. Almost all other carriers serving GVA that once maintained expensive CTOs have closed them.

One main GVA street used to have British Airways, El Al, Iran Air, Air India and Lufthansa CTOs almost side by side, and Air France and Aeroflot offices were nearby on the other side of the street. They're all gone now except Iran Air, and IR no longer even serves GVA. Air India also maintained their expensive CTO for years after they dropped GVA from their network.
 
ltbewr
Posts: 12390
Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2004 1:24 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:24 am

Quoting skycub (Reply 33):
Quoting Schweigend (Reply 9):but most or all of their domestic CTOs were closed in the wake of 9/11, etc.
Ironically enough, and correct me if I am mistaken, but did not a bunch of US carriers have city ticket offices located INSIDE the World Trade Center towers?

I recall that Continental and other airlines had CTO's or actually counters in the lobby of one of the towers, I suspect they got cut way back after the 1993 Bombing, maybe only CO's at the time of the 2001 terror attacks.
 
skycub
Posts: 318
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:49 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:44 am

Quoting ltbewr (Reply 40):

I recall that Continental and other airlines had CTO's or actually counters in the lobby of one of the towers, I suspect they got cut way back after the 1993 Bombing, maybe only CO's at the time of the 2001 terror attacks.

Out of curiosity, I wanted to see....

So I checked some random timetables from after the initial 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.....

American Airlines (effective July 2, 2001)

City ticket office located in: One World Trade Center

Continental Airlines (effective December 12, 1997)

City ticket office located in: One World Trade Center

Delta Air Lines (effective April 1, 2001)

City ticket office located in: Five World Trade Center

United Airlines (effective April 1, 2001)

City ticket office located in: One World Trade Center

US Airways (effective July 8, 2001)

City ticket office located in: Five World Trade Center
My opinions are my own. They are not representative of my employer, my union or my co-workers. They are all mine.
 
nyc2tlv
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:34 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 1:56 am

I think sometimes you can't tell whether the office is the actual airline or just signage for a GSA. For instance, in TLV there are tons of offices downtown (4D, A9, AF, B2, IB, J2, LY, RJ, TK, TO etc.) J2 particularly stands out as they are a stone's throw from the beach, an area that is prime real estate not just for developers but for tourists. How is it that they maintain a storefront? I think that in many cases these are GSAs who have other business.

In the US though, I have often wondered why the Gulf carriers have the exact opposite approach of everyone else. For instance, EY is in Rockefeller Center in NYC and the John Hancock Tower in CHI. QR is in the Trump Tower in NYC. I don't get it.

One World took the opposite approach in NYC and consolidated the carriers into one space.
 
codc10
Posts: 1760
Joined: Sat Jul 08, 2000 7:18 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:17 am

United is down to two, both of which are former CO offices. The first is at NY Penn Station on the 8th Avenue concourse near the Amtrak counters, close to the ClubAcela (United Club members have access). The other is at the Ala Moana shopping center in Honolulu. Both offices apparently do brisk business, especially the HNL location.
 
User avatar
exFWAOONW
Posts: 369
Joined: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:32 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:30 pm

Quoting SmithAir747 (Reply 34):
I'm from Fort Wayne (FWA); where was this UA CTO located?

It was in the Berry St lobby of the FWA National Bank Bldg. I was very young then, but I remember meeting my dad for lunch when he got to work it one time. It really wasn't a storefront office per se, like you would expect, more like a secure cubicle with a counter in the public area before you entered the bank proper. It was crowded for two agemts to work it at the same time.

Anyone remember the NWA CTO in Mall of America?
Is just me, or is flying not as much fun anymore?
 
VC10DC10
Posts: 605
Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2006 9:56 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:41 pm

Quoting exFWAOONW (Reply 44):

Anyone remember the NWA CTO in Mall of America?

I sure do! When I was a kid, walking past it, I always wanted to go in and collect some timetables, but my parents had "real" shopping to do.
 
tommy767
Posts: 4658
Joined: Sat Aug 09, 2003 12:18 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:48 pm

AA had quite a few back in the day. They used to have one in Paramus, NJ of all places.
"KEEP CLIMBING" -- DELTA
 
User avatar
STT757
Posts: 13200
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2000 1:14 am

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:49 pm

Quoting tommy767 (Reply 46):
AA had quite a few back in the day. They used to have one in Paramus, NJ of all places.

CO had one near me in Freehold, they also had them in the former Continental airlines arena.
Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
 
goosebayguy
Posts: 554
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:12 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:17 pm

If you look at Saudi Arabia where they quite literally have only had the internet for 9 years then I guess airline offices remain vital to Saudia?
 
Senchingo
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 9:59 pm

RE: Why Do Some Airlines Keep Offices In City Centres?

Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:48 pm

Excuse me for not reading all posts above me, but i can at least tell you from personal experience about two cases:

CX actually has two city offices in Frankfurt. One is located in a huge atrium, housing the personnel department. The other one is in the actual city center (near the main train station) and there's administration.
Same goes for HKG - CX has a huge (and by huge i mean "Cathay City" with more than 1,3 mio square feet) complex including HDQ, shopping centres,restaurants, training centre and the Headland Hotel, exclusively serving CX personnel near the airport and a ticketing office in Tsim Sha Tsui.
For those interested, check out pics of Cathay City here: http://www.jaunted.com/travel-photos...y,+Cathay+Pacific%27s+Hong+Kong+HQ

NH also has a city office in FRA, where their administration is located (like personnel, financial etc). The main operation is going on at the airport (also in sister station MUC), but the admin is sitting in Frankfurt city.

City offices for me do make sence if the airline is not serving a specific airport but wants to atract customers by being there (i.e. flying to MUC and FRA, but having sales offices in DUS, FCO, VIE, BER etc).

I don't really get the sence behind city offices in areas where the airline also has airport offices, but i guess airlines like it as i know about a whole lot more of them having operations at the airport but planning/administration in the city (KE, JL, UA, SQ to name a few).

Just my blind guess about this:
Airports have limited space and offices and those who are there cost a hell lot of $. So why rent office spaces for passenger service, cargo department, personnel department, financial department, HDQ, sales & reservation, strategy department, marketing department etc etc if you can put passenger service in the terminal and cargo department in the cargo area and the rest is put in the city, where there's space available and you pay the standard rents?