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Would You Fly My Airline?

Wed Oct 06, 2004 3:21 pm

There have been a number of threads of late complaining about airline service, respect, cost, etc. I think it is time to put this to an unscientific test.
I am going to give you a scenario. You must answer A or B to the question, then justify your answer with why you feel that way. There are no right or wrong answers here. Just your honest feelings about a given airline scenario.
OK? Here goes:

I have $100 million to build an airline. I am going to put in a transcontinental service between LAX-JFK operated by an existing airline, wet leasing the aircraft. In fact, you will not know what airline it is, because the aircraft will be painted into my livery and branding. The aircraft being used will be a brand new 757-200ER

There will be two classes of service: Premium and Economy. The Premium Cabin will seat 36 passengers, feature bed seats, IFE, five course gourmet meals, four cabin attendants (1:9 ratio), a frequent flyer program (fly 10 get one free). You will have your own check in area and boarding area separate from the rest of the aircraft. In fact, you will be boarded last, so you can finish up your work while your coats and hand luggage are taken to the plane (at your choice, of course).

In Economy, there will be 130 seats, with a 33 inch pitch, IFE in the seat, a choice of hot entrees along with a separate dessert service. The seats will be a soft leather with a controller for the IFE with a telephone. the FF program will feature one flight free for every 20 flights. There will be two cabin attendants, plus two floaters from Premium to assist with the meal service as needed. Note: one is always in the galley during meal prep and clean up.

Just an operational note: The economy meal service will be served after First Class is finished (about 1/3 of the way through the flight). There will be a total of six flight attendants on board the aircraft.

The fares in Premium will be $1000 one way and in Economy, the fares will be $500 one way. Everyone will pay the same fare. If you buy your ticket in advance, the only incentive is that you will receive a better seat assignment than the guy who walks up at the last minute.

I am competing with Airline B. Airline B operates with a 737-700 configured for the same 130 seats in Economy, no premium product. They do not show movies or provide meals and they charge $5.00 for a drink and maybe throw you a bag of peanuts. They do not have seat assignment in advance, you are given a number when you check in and you board when your number is called.
By the way, the fares range from $99.00 21 days in advance to $350 one way walk up fare.

Here are the two questions:
a) who would you fly? Carrier A or B
b) why would you select that carrier?

Please leave your post with the a) as a A or a B and b) as the explanation behind your decision. I will leave this post up for seven days. At the end of the seven days, I will tally the results and post them on a new thread for discussion. Note: Please do not ask questions regarding the scenario, as I will not answer them as it may skew the results.

Time to vote....
Let's see who wins!
Thanks for participating!
David L. Lamb, fmr Area Mgr Alitalia SFO 1998-2002, fmr Regional Analyst SFO-UAL 1992-1998
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RE: Would You Fly My Airline?

Wed Oct 06, 2004 3:43 pm

For business purposes: airline A (if my employer pays it). I will get to my destination much more relaxed and more productive, so I will be able to fulfill my work assignments better.

For private purposes: airline B. The money I have to shell out for additional and unneccessary comfort during this relatively irrelevant amount of time (5 hours each way?) on airline A can be spend for much nicer things at my destination.

However, since I know, how cheap my boss is, I would most likely end up on airline B for my business travels, too. Big grin

[Edited 2004-10-06 08:45:43]
Homer: Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!
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RE: Would You Fly My Airline?

Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:11 pm

Interesting thread. I'd fly airline A-the service plan sounds excellent.

By the way the 757-200ER like all 757 models is going out of production. I think the last 757 was already delivered. You'll have to wait for the 7E7-3, or use the A321, Tu-204 or used 757s.

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RE: Would You Fly My Airline?

Wed Oct 06, 2004 6:26 pm

Airline A - no question  Smile

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RE: Would You Fly My Airline?

Wed Oct 06, 2004 7:16 pm

Airline B for sure, the price differences are too big, even at the last minute you would save $150 on the economy fare, whereas in real life its not the case, in most cases the full service carriers are getting closer to matching the prices of Lcc's.
For example half the time it's only $15 more to fly QF over DJ on MEL-PER, a 4 hour flight, you get food and IFE on QF and in most cases a 767 or A330, or a 737 with DJ no IFE and you gotta pay for anything you want to eat or drink.
We remind passengers all flights are non smoking, if you are caught smoking you will be asked to sit outside on the wing
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RE: Would You Fly My Airline?

Wed Oct 06, 2004 7:45 pm

I would probably pick airline B for leisure travel, b/c of the lower fare. I have to admit I absolutely love the "constant fare" idea (used by Helvetic and Germania Express in Europe, for example). It does make things a lot easier for frequent travellers since you can always be sure of the price. You don't have to roam the Net searching for cheap flights on alternate days, because the lowest fare for the flight you actually want to take is €800. However in order for the "flat fare" to work it has to be competitive. If I know that the competitor's fares range $99-350, I would always choose them over your airline charging $500. I don't think I'd buy a Y-class ticket knowing there are cheaper Y-class offers around. The product quality obviously plays little role in this situation. If you'd drop your fare to $200 that would make much more sense. I would then know that I can get excellent service for $200 any time, while the competitor offers a no-frills product that can cost me upto $350.

This is just my personal choice, however I perfectly understand your idea. I've been thinking about this myself lately: can you position/market an airline as "high-quality" nowadays? Not just say "we have slightly better quality at slightly higher fares than the LCCs", but really tell the customer "you are high-class and so are we". This is what you are trying to do and I wonder how people will respond to this thread. I think there could be a niche for such an airline on some routes. You competitors would then be J-class service of major airlines rather than LCCs. The airline is still 2-class though, since even premium customers don't always have to travel J-class and would pick Y-class for leisure travel if the service is good. Like I said, there COULD be a niche.

[Edited 2004-10-06 12:49:12]
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RE: Would You Fly My Airline?

Wed Oct 06, 2004 7:48 pm

It would have to be "A." I couldn't do a trans-con in a 737-700 cattle car; and stuck in the center seat, no thanks. I'll pay the extra money for the comfort. It is not the IFE, it is not the leather seat, it is not the telephone either; it is being able to sit in my seat without having to be in a pilates position. That is for me personally, but jetBlue is making a case for the "B."
Molon Labe - Proud member of SMASH
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RE: Would You Fly My Airline?

Thu Oct 07, 2004 1:46 pm

Nope. I refuse to fly a 757 transcon. I did it once and never again.

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RE: Would You Fly My Airline?

Fri Oct 08, 2004 12:04 am

I wouldn't fly your airline becasue I am sure I could find a much lower fare on another airline. Those amenities are great but not willing to pay that much more for it. If the price was close to other airlines ($50 more at the most) I MIGHT be swayed to take your airline.
I don't mind flying any plane transcon, I even prefer to make a connection on such a long trip.
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RE: Would You Fly My Airline?

Sat Oct 09, 2004 5:54 am

The aircraft being used will be a brand new 757-200ER

...well, considering that there's no such aircraft, I'd have to say I'd rather avoid an airline that doesn't know what equipment they're using to operate.  Laugh out loud
Faire du ciel le plus bel endroit de la terre c'est impossible sans Concorde!
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RE: Would You Fly My Airline?

Sat Oct 09, 2004 6:14 am

I'd have to go with Airline B. Sorry!

With the higher price, and the additional luxuries, there come the possibilities that:

A. The FAs are rude and surly (By flying Airline B I'm not paying for service, just to get there)

B. The food is bad or I get food poisoning (By flyling Airline B, I'm not paying for food; and I LOVE peanuts!)

C. The FF program would require me to fly the route 10 times to get a free trip. That's $5,000.00, and I get a free ticket that's only good on the LAX-JFK route, since it'd be your only route.

D. I'm not THAT desperate for IFE. If I can fly MIA-LIM flights with no IFE, I should be able to survive an LAX-JFK route. And it'd really suck if my PTV was broken and the airplane was full. (Happened lots of times. Grr!)

E. If I was a pilot, I'd be glad to fly for your airline, though!

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