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ltbewr
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Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:49 pm

This is an excellent article discussing the changes in the airline business in the USA over the last 40 years from deregulation to now, how it is much worse for workers and passengers: http://prospect.org/article/unfriendly-skies
 
winginit
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:58 pm

Ah but of course. It's just so awful that I have to today sit in a lie-flat Business Class seat while connected to the internet airing my grievances about how air travel is so much more expensive, (no) less safe (no), and generally less pleasant (still no) than it was before deregulation. The horror.

Nonsense.
 
AWACSooner
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:06 am

winginit wrote:
.

I get your attempt at sarcasm and hyperbole, but the article does make a lot of valid points.
 
Georgetown
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:15 am

Aside from missing the bigger picture entirely, this article is so off base and cherry picked that it’s almost not worth discussion. I actually laughed a few times. And I am FAR from an apologist for the airlines and the current system they operate in.
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Super80Fan
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:20 am

Oh, and while there are many professionals in the aviation industry, there are also those (mainly gate/ticket agents) that are power hungry and will do everything in their power to ruin your day.
RIP McDonnell Douglas
RIP US Airways
 
L0VE2FLY
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:53 am

winginit wrote:
Ah but of course. It's just so awful that I have to today sit in a lie-flat Business Class seat while connected to the internet airing my grievances about how air travel is so much more expensive, (no) less safe (no), and generally less pleasant (still no) than it was before deregulation. The horror.

Nonsense.


You do realize that the vast majority of flyers are not as lucky as you are?!
 
fly4ever78
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:57 am

That is an interesting take on the industry that is rarely visited, or at least that standpoint anyway. Being an airline employee myself, I do agree with much of what this article reports, however, I do not think it is feasible to turn back the clock to regulation at this point. We are too far down the rabbit hole now to try and split up and regulate the airlines again. Wall Street would have no part of that because their gravy train of cash built on the backs of employees and passengers would come to a screeching halt. The Republicans would scream communism and block it before it even left the gate.
 
KRIC777
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:06 am

Notwithstanding the merits of regulation vs. deregulation, the article ignores the fact that, at least in the U.S.,the flying public has stated again and again and again, with it's collective wallet, that it will NOT pay extra for the quality and level of service that it claims to want. If Airline A started offering the level of service that so many people say they want, there would be an increase in their operating costs and their margins would be adversely affected. They would have to raise fares to maintain these margins, and then what would happen? The majority of passengers who whine about how bad service is will continue to go on Expedia or "cheapo air.com" of whatever and book the cheapest flight they can find.
 
727200
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:28 am

For those of us old enough to have lived during the regulated times: Very few destination options. Even fewer carriers to chose from. Fewer Government regulated fares. The train was the main competitor or the bus with the dog on the side. Nope, none of us want to go back to that period.
 
IPFreely
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:02 am

KRIC777 wrote:
The majority of passengers who whine about how bad service is will continue to go on Expedia or "cheapo air.com" of whatever and book the cheapest flight they can find.


You got that right. And that same majority will continue to complain incessantly about the cramped seat and poor service that they are "forced" to endure. You can see examples of it even in this thread.
 
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ua900
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:20 am

The article sounds more like a defense of the CAB first and foremost. If someone wants to bring that back, go ahead, just say goodbye to cut throat competition a la NK and the subsequent basic economy fares by the US 3. No more $39 fares for the riff raff. Not sure whether we’d ever see flat beds in 739s under the CAB though, as price controls and a set-in-stone 12% profit margin could easily reverse things like complimentary meals and liquor, flat beds, lounges and ancillary revenue from less tangible products like priority boarding.

Given my travel experiences I actually like ancillary products although I don’t consume them, I like basic economy fares although I don’t use them, and I like my flat beds. Consumers today have more options than ever to customize their user experience, even though we may have fewer carriers domestically, we also have more international carriers thanks to alliances and planes like the 787. If regulation was hard in those days, I can only imagine what a fine job the government would do in trying to micromanage boarding groups or onboard meals / BoB offerings.
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RJNUT
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:28 am

727200 wrote:
For those of us old enough to have lived during the regulated times: Very few destination options. Even fewer carriers to chose from. Fewer Government regulated fares. The train was the main competitor or the bus with the dog on the side. Nope, none of us want to go back to that period.



No kidding.. I just recently looked at a 1972 Ozark airlines timetable. There were literally dozens of flights that virtually went nowhere . They might possibly have worked in an interline itinerary back then as that was more prevalent but even then connectivity was more by default rather than by design
 
superjeff
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:29 am

ltbewr wrote:
This is an excellent article discussing the changes in the airline business in the USA over the last 40 years from deregulation to now, how it is much worse for workers and passengers: http://prospect.org/article/unfriendly-skies


Fantastic article, and the first time I've ever seen one like that. I'm old enough to remember when air travel was civilized, and the airlines made you feel welcome. Not anymore. 34 inches of pitch was the norm in Economy up to deregulation (First Class was 38 inches). Tickets were refundable, and airlines paid their employees fairly. Air travel in the United States is a necessity, not a luxury, unlike in some places where rail travel is a viabat le alternative. You could also figure out airfare, because all flights on the same day in First Class or Coach charged the same fare. No variation based on what the yield management folks say.

Forty years ago, I worked as a ticket agent for a major U.S. airline (no longer in existence, unfortunately. Today, in 2017, people doing the same job make the same amount of money, WITHOUT ADJUSTING FOR INFLATION. Result: a major downgrade in morale because the staff can't make a decent living.

In 1978, my airline had 128 seats on a 727-200. Today a 737-800 (about the same size airplane) has about 160 seats. My airline staffed that airplane with 5 flight attendants. Today, the 737-800 is staffed with 4 flight attendants; the 727 would have required 3 under government standards. The result is harder working flight attendants, more cramped seating, and lousy service. Which also carries over to the passengers.

I just flew LGA-DFW over the weekend. The guy across the aisle from me apparently hadn't bathed in days, he smelled so bad. he played a movie on his cell phone with no earphones making everybody around him uncomfortable.

At least when air travel was regulated, there was a degree of civility in airline transportation.

Those days are gone, unfortunately, forever.
 
geologyrocks
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:40 am

The majority of the article is a joke. What we have is what is all too common: a guy who wants a flat bed seat, a four course meal, a brand new plane, and he wants it all for $49. He also wants to complain that it's a felony to argue with the crew because he's also part of the same crowd that thinks they have authority when they are on board an airplane. He also wants to tell you about how awful it was that cities like Memphis got dehubbed but ignore the fact that Memphis is a disaster of a city and started becoming a disaster long before Delta left. No one wanted to visit central Florida until Walt built his park. Walt built his park and then air service followed and not the other way around.
 
commavia
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:40 am

winginit wrote:
Ah but of course. It's just so awful that I have to today sit in a lie-flat Business Class seat while connected to the internet airing my grievances about how air travel is so much more expensive, (no) less safe (no), and generally less pleasant (still no) than it was before deregulation. The horror.


This.

It's remarkable that the people constantly complaining about the alleged evils of deregulation - and especially consolidation in the last decade - are those who seem to have expectations out of step with the majority of the market. Deregulation doesn't mean that everybody gets what they want - it means that industry reverts, in essence, to the "market mean," with capital allocated to maximize efficiency and profit. And that is exactly what has - eventually - happened. Big planes fly to big cities and little planes fly to little cities. Hubs offer a level of connectivity impossible with point-to-point. Fares are higher where demand, and thus competition, are less. Service standards are in line with what the majority of customers demonstrate - through their behavior - that they're willing to accept. And the price to fly is lower. Way, way lower. Just as consumers have demanded.

Said it before, and I'll say it again - I, personally, firmly believe that we're living in a second golden age of air travel in the U.S. Choice remains relatively abundant, rivalry remains intense and fares remain competitive, and the industry is finally structured to produce reasonable returns that allow airlines to make massive investments in new aircraft, terminals and technology, allow workers to earn a decent living and allow shareholders to recover their investments. Win, win, win.
 
incitatus
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:48 am

superjeff wrote:
(...)

In 1978, my airline had 128 seats on a 727-200. (...)

I just flew LGA-DFW over the weekend. The guy across the aisle from me apparently hadn't bathed in days, he smelled so bad. he played a movie on his cell phone with no earphones making everybody around him uncomfortable.

At least when air travel was regulated, there was a degree of civility in airline transportation.

Those days are gone, unfortunately, forever.


They are not. You could have had the same service you had in 1978, with more space today, if you had bought a first class ticket - which in today's money it costs about the same as a coach ticket in the 1970s adjusted for inflation.
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AWACSooner
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:49 am

727200 wrote:
the bus with the dog on the side. Nope, none of us want to go back to that period.

We already have: they're called Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant, etc.
 
MrBretz
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:00 am

Prior to deregulation, I recall doing a few one ways between LAX and ORD. I recall, I made a reservation the night before and walked on the next AM. The fare was in the low $200 range for coach. I think I had at least 2 choices, perhaps they were UA or AA. Using an inflation calculator, that about $1000 a way now. Looks like I could get first class for that price now. It is what it is. We have to accept it.
 
DWC
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:04 am

ltbewr wrote:
This is an excellent article discussing the changes in the airline business in the USA over the last 40 years from deregulation to now, how it is much worse for workers and passengers: http://prospect.org/article/unfriendly-skies


Yes, article is excellent, even from an Economics POV : it underlines how the US3 do not go by market economy despite the rhetoric, the oligopoly has pricing power : prices are up & service quality down, with high entry barriers, the market is just not "contestable" & everyone is paying it dearly one way or the other. While the EU industry is still maturing, prices there are usually lower & service in Y is fair to good on legacy airlines like AF, LH or LX ( & excellent on TK ). Tons of LCCs offer good other options, and interestingly, not always cheaper than LH or LX.

superjeff wrote:
I'm old enough to remember when air travel was civilized, and the airlines made you feel welcome. Not anymore. 34 inches of pitch was the norm in Economy up to deregulation (First Class was 38 inches). Tickets were refundable, and airlines paid their employees fairly. Air travel in the United States is a necessity, not a luxury, unlike in some places where rail travel is a viabat le alternative.

my airline had 128 seats on a 727-200. Today a 737-800 (about the same size airplane) has about 160 seats.
I just flew LGA-DFW over the weekend. The guy across the aisle from me apparently hadn't bathed in days, he smelled so bad. he played a movie on his cell phone with no earphones making everybody around him uncomfortable.
At least when air travel was regulated, there was a degree of civility in airline transportation.


Agreed. I usually try to avoid flying through the US for any connection elsewhere due to the fact one has to recheck all luggage & be stressed by all the hysteric Robocop shebang of going through customs again & that infernal X-ray cubicle. For personal reasons I wanted to visit a friend on my way to the other side of the globe, so booked an AA flight in Y with 3 extra luggage I paid on a roundtrip ticket. I thankfully rechecked fast at JFK to another state, but the domestic flight was like Iberia in the bad days, nothing to eat but water, not even a soft drink : seems it's the same with the US3, all domestic LCCs. Because my stopover lasted a few days, AA charged me again for the extra-luggage when checking at the airport for my third leg ( on a fully paid Round trip ticket ! ). Even the manager didn't bother to come at the counter as I requested & was reaped off by another 300USD on what was already a more expensive flight for me instead of a direct one. I have not flown UA lately, but flew CO a lot & just loved the service excellence Gordon Bethune had put in place in the 1990s, but am told service is down just like in DL & AA.

So all in all, being cheap in cabin & cheap again at check-in, I am done with flying US airlines, really below world standards & elementary customer service.
 
us330
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:06 am

Interesting article with some valid criticisms but appears more to be a mish-mash of several topics that deserve essays/pieces of their own.

The major mistake that the author makes is his claim that the commercial aviation industry is unregulated. Hardly--it's one of the most highly regulated industries out there. The focus of the regulations isn't on pricing--it's on passenger safety--and this regulatory regime is arguably one of the most successful examples of the administrative state.

He really means is that the industry is no longer treated as a public utility, and for that reason the passenger experience suffers and airline labor groups are getting screwed.

Also, one should keep in mind the source of the article--the American Prospect is a left-leaning site that takes a strong pro-union, anti-Wall Street stance.
Last edited by us330 on Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
geologyrocks
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:38 am

DWC wrote:
Because my stopover lasted a few days, AA charged me again for the extra-luggage when checking at the airport for my third leg ( on a fully paid Round trip ticket ! ). Even the manager didn't bother to come at the counter as I requested & was reaped off by another 300USD on what was already a more expensive flight for me instead of a direct one. I have not flown UA lately, but flew CO a lot & just loved the service excellence Gordon Bethune had put in place in the 1990s, but am told service is down just like in DL & AA.

So all in all, being cheap in cabin & cheap again at check-in, I am done with flying US airlines, really below world standards & elementary customer service.


So your stopover lasted a few days and you're surprised that they recharged you for luggage? You know, I flew eight weeks ago and would you believe that the horrible customer service agent wouldn't buy my story that I was on a layover?
 
AWACSooner
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:04 am

DWC wrote:

So all in all, being cheap in cabin & cheap again at check-in, I am done with flying US airlines, really below world standards & elementary customer service.

I'd encourage you to try WN...other than the open seating concept, they at least treat you like a human being from start to finish (and the two free checked bags is a plus).
 
SFOtoORD
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:10 am

You lost me at:

It’s time to admit that airline deregulation has failed passengers, workers—and economic efficiency.


We have 10x the air travel at a fraction of the inflation adjusted price. And if you want a premium experience you can buy it. I can’t imagine any problems that re-regulation would solve without driving up costs.
 
TUSDawg23
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:23 am

This is an interesting article. There are a couple points I think the author is missing:

1. hub and spoke makes flying to smaller destinations viable because it is based on connections. If flying were just strictly P2P, I'd argue many more smaller destinations would go the way of the dinosaur.

2. I would argue that there is competition on many routes based on the fact that pax are often willing to make a connection to save $. If I want to fly TUS-FLL, I have 4 airlines to choose from to get me there.

Where I agree with the author is the fact that the airline business benefits the few(airline execs, loyal frequent fliers, and shareholders) while making it a pretty miserable experience for the rest of us. The quotes from some of the shareholders are pretty deplorable and show a complete disregard for the average pax.

There is no going back to regulation though so all we can do is try to make things better for those of us who do not fall into one of those above mentioned stakeholder groups. We need watchdogs in Washington that can look out for the needs of the average flying passenger and keep lobbying groups like Airlines for America at bay so they don't erode the passenger experience for the average joe anymore than they already have.
 
ltbewr
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:24 am

I first started to fly commercial in 1980 early in USA deregulation and while many of us wish we had the 'good old days' prior to deregulation, of course we don't want to pay for it. We also have to recognize that airlines are a business, deeply affected by economic cycles and for generations, USA and many international airlines often lost money for their shareholders or citizens. For sure we don't' want that again.

We also got spoiled with deregulation where passengers got in many ways pre-regulation treatment. If you wanted to travel internationally before that was deregulated you had to take charters or a few regular airlines (Tower Air) which were absolutely awful with passenger service. I am in the UK this and last week. My fare for EWR-LHR-EWR was $ 702. I purchased it online about 2 weeks ahead, didn't have to go to a travel agent or airline ticket office. It included 1 checked bag, a choice that included my preference of an aisle seat, a hot dinner of no worse that years ago and a small breakfast. Yes, it was a fully packed 767 vs a 747/DC-10 but if they were fully packed, it wasn't much different. I would note one big pricing difference is the massive rise since the 1980's of taxes, airport and security fees that can make up to 30% of the final dollar fare so base fares are truly cheaper than during deregulation. There is no doubt safety of the aircraft is far better today than even as little as 15 years ago due to computers, and other tech advances. While I bet in the old days there were plenty of drunk or abusive pax, it just didn't get seen as a security threat and as no internet or social media, far less heard about.

One problem as to International airlines is that some have much lower investment and financing costs (like the ME3) but also exploit workers with low pay, no benefits and no labor rights (especially the ME3, some in Asia and to the lesser extent of EC based ones). That has made it more difficult for USA based airliners as to international flights.

I do think people want a better balance of the past and present especially on domestic USA and internal EC flights. Reasonable seat pitch in coach. Not having to pay for one checked bag for domestic USA flights. Some food with the fare on longer flights. Fair 'living' wages for airline staff. Reasonable fees for changes in reservations. Able to sit family and friends together for the cheapest fares instead of hoping it could be arranged by an already overworked F/A and willing fellow passengers.
 
speedbird52
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:22 am

IPFreely wrote:
KRIC777 wrote:
The majority of passengers who whine about how bad service is will continue to go on Expedia or "cheapo air.com" of whatever and book the cheapest flight they can find.


You got that right. And that same majority will continue to complain incessantly about the cramped seat and poor service that they are "forced" to endure. You can see examples of it even in this thread.

It's this behavior that enrages me. The people who claim air travel is "going down the drain" are exactly the ones who are sending it there! Make your mind up now: Do you want to enjoy the experience? Or do you want to get somewhere cheap? If it is the latter, then stop complaining. You are getting exactly what you want. If you want the former, then start spending money on airlines that give you the former! Start paying for premium products.
 
DWC
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:06 am

geologyrocks wrote:
So your stopover lasted a few days and you're surprised that they recharged you for luggage? You know, I flew eight weeks ago and would you believe that the horrible customer service agent wouldn't buy my story that I was on a layover?


You don't get it. I paid for a round-trip ticket from start & paid for the extra luggage round trip. There is no reason to charge twice for the same service, plus the three weighed the same in every leg. In any case AA lost a customer & I am a FF. And will be badmouthing it forever & some friends are avoiding it too. Well done AA.
 
PayaLebar
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:29 am

AWACSooner wrote:
727200 wrote:
the bus with the dog on the side. Nope, none of us want to go back to that period.

We already have: they're called Spirit, Frontier, Allegiant, etc.


And we in Asia call it Air Asia! lol
 
PayaLebar
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:38 am

TUSDawg23 wrote:
There is no going back to regulation though so all we can do is try to make things better for those of us who do not fall into one of those above mentioned stakeholder groups. We need watchdogs in Washington that can look out for the needs of the average flying passenger and keep lobbying groups like Airlines for America at bay so they don't erode the passenger experience for the average joe anymore than they already have.


Exactly my view!
 
PayaLebar
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:45 am

ltbewr wrote:
I do think people want a better balance of the past and present especially on domestic USA and internal EC flights. Reasonable seat pitch in coach. Not having to pay for one checked bag for domestic USA flights. Some food with the fare on longer flights. Fair 'living' wages for airline staff. Reasonable fees for changes in reservations. Able to sit family and friends together for the cheapest fares instead of hoping it could be arranged by an already overworked F/A and willing fellow passengers.


For the experience, try Premium Economy.
 
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ro1960
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:54 am

IPFreely wrote:
KRIC777 wrote:
The majority of passengers who whine about how bad service is will continue to go on Expedia or "cheapo air.com" of whatever and book the cheapest flight they can find.


You got that right. And that same majority will continue to complain incessantly about the cramped seat and poor service that they are "forced" to endure. You can see examples of it even in this thread.


Groundhog day indeed.

Yet there are cities that are served by one airline only (FR for example) and where regardless of how expensive your ticket is, you get the same seat with the same service.
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ro1960
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:00 pm

L0VE2FLY wrote:
winginit wrote:
Ah but of course. It's just so awful that I have to today sit in a lie-flat Business Class seat while connected to the internet airing my grievances about how air travel is so much more expensive, (no) less safe (no), and generally less pleasant (still no) than it was before deregulation. The horror.

Nonsense.


You do realize that the vast majority of flyers are not as lucky as you are?!


Yeah, I wonder why planes have way more Y seats than C! :roll:
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MalevTU134
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:04 pm

DWC wrote:
geologyrocks wrote:
So your stopover lasted a few days and you're surprised that they recharged you for luggage? You know, I flew eight weeks ago and would you believe that the horrible customer service agent wouldn't buy my story that I was on a layover?


You don't get it. I paid for a round-trip ticket from start & paid for the extra luggage round trip. There is no reason to charge twice for the same service, plus the three weighed the same in every leg. In any case AA lost a customer & I am a FF. And will be badmouthing it forever & some friends are avoiding it too. Well done AA.

Adds nothing to the discussion, I know, but....I have been avoiding AA for 15 years now, DL for 13 and my last pre-merger UA flight was in 2000 (flew CO up until the end), and I have been a happy worldwide flier ever since. Sure, people will now tell me that I am ignorant, cause I cannot possibly know how wonderful these airlines have become since then, but trip reports, colleagues and fellow travellers' tales have convinced me that I am far better off on almost any Asian/European/Latin American airline.
 
seat24charlie
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:35 pm

This thread should be renamed: "Don't read the article and present your stubborn opinions as fact."

It's a damned good piece, well worth the read and puts forward some solid arguments based in data and hard evidence. I realize it's hard for a lot of you people to get to grips with, without seeing it as some personal slight, but flying in this country has become one of the most painful experiences for the majority of paying customers.

I used to love it, before I moved here. Now I would rather take a 4 hour train ride to New York City than endure the nonsense of American air travel.
 
commavia
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:54 pm

seat24charlie wrote:
puts forward some solid arguments


And misses (I'd say intentionally ignores) several other, even-more-solid, arguments.

seat24charlie wrote:
I realize it's hard for a lot of you people to get to grips with, without seeing it as some personal slight, but flying in this country has become one of the most painful experiences for the majority of paying customers.


It's funny, because the one pain point that some air travel consumers always seem to forget is the one when they take out their credit card. Deregulation did exactly what it was supposed to do - align the product and service offering of the airline industry with the value judgments of consumers rather than politicians and bureaucrats. By that measure, it has been a stunning success. The price to fly one mile in the U.S. remains far below where it was before deregulation.

Consumers consistently demonstrate with their behavior - not their words, but their behavior - that, as a group, on average and in general, they pretty much value three things above all else: price, safety and reliability. Beyond that, consumer behavior appears to pretty consistently demonstrate that all else is negotiable for a better price. And so, of course, airlines have naturally responded accordingly. Air travel is - for the most part - as easy, comfortable and painless as a consumer is willing to make it, and/or pay for. Almost all the alleged "hassles" and "pain" of air travel can be mitigated with some combination of (a) planning, (b) personal responsibility and (c) money. And that's how it should be - people who value less "pain" can pay for that "value" and people willing to tolerate longer lines, carry-ons or backpacks only, later boarding, and on and on, are free to do so and save some money. Just as with everything else, all of these choices are available to consumers should they want to take them.
 
jfrm18
Posts: 1
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:04 pm

That´s just Social Justice Warriors´ crap. Always up to blame firms, never up to blame regulation. Dear Lord, we are so dumb that we need government regulation to fly, otherwise we are going to lose economic effiency?! Unbelievable.
 
Bald1983
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:56 pm

ltbewr wrote:
This is an excellent article discussing the changes in the airline business in the USA over the last 40 years from deregulation to now, how it is much worse for workers and passengers: http://prospect.org/article/unfriendly-skies


This is not an excellent article. This is a piece of crap article. Many things stated, are true to a point. However, at least my perusal of the article, shows that the author left out a salient point. That point is that in those so called "glory days" air fares were much higher in real dollar terms then they are now. The reason the government could set a bench mark of a twelve percent profit on a fifty-five percent load factor was that fares were so high, that only the rich could travel by air, even in coach. The article also ignores the upgrades to premium cabins with lie-flat seats, video and audio entertainment. The article also omits the fact that there was much less air service available. In those ancient times, United was the largest carrier in the World and had a fleet of less then 200. Continental, the smallest of the trunk line carriers, had a fleet of less then sixty. By the way there was still over booking.

What de-regulation did was make air travel available to many more people. It allowed for competition, meaning the government was not deciding what niche to allow a particular airline to fill. Is it possible that one of the reasons for Pan Am's demise was that the government prevented it from having a domestic route network until very late in the ball game?

I will take todays system over the "glory days" anytime, because what de-regulation did do was make air travel accessible to many more people.
 
airzona11
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:13 pm

L0VE2FLY wrote:
winginit wrote:
Ah but of course. It's just so awful that I have to today sit in a lie-flat Business Class seat while connected to the internet airing my grievances about how air travel is so much more expensive, (no) less safe (no), and generally less pleasant (still no) than it was before deregulation. The horror.

Nonsense.


You do realize that the vast majority of flyers are not as lucky as you are?!


But it is less expensive for everyone, there are more flight options and more people are flying than ever...

Flying went from a niche/luxury product to a commoditized product for the masses. Passengers are better off, if they want to pay for better products, plenty of upgrade options.
 
Antarius
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:14 pm

Bald1983 wrote:
ltbewr wrote:
I will take todays system over the "glory days" anytime, because what de-regulation did do was make air travel accessible to many more people.


This.
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Antarius
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:24 pm

airzona11 wrote:
L0VE2FLY wrote:
winginit wrote:
Ah but of course. It's just so awful that I have to today sit in a lie-flat Business Class seat while connected to the internet airing my grievances about how air travel is so much more expensive, (no) less safe (no), and generally less pleasant (still no) than it was before deregulation. The horror.

Nonsense.


You do realize that the vast majority of flyers are not as lucky as you are?!


But it is less expensive for everyone, there are more flight options and more people are flying than ever...

Flying went from a niche/luxury product to a commoditized product for the masses. Passengers are better off, if they want to pay for better products, plenty of upgrade options.


Agree. I liken this to cell phones. Cell phones used to be a niche product for the wealthy and important. Now everyone has one right from the cheap all the way to the iPhone X. You get what you pay for, at all the available price points. Somehow, this isn't a big deal for anything but airlines. In airlines people want to pay for a cheap huawei and get an iphone X and then kick and moan if they don't.

Several of my friends are doing PhD's and residencies.. so price matters. We found 80 USD tickets to go to Denver. Our goal was to go to Denver and have fun... and 80 USD on spirit was the reason many of them could make it. Literally no one cared that there wasn't caviar served and people in suits onboard. In the age of regulation, I doubt they would be able to afford the trip.
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blockski
Posts: 690
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:41 pm

Bald1983 wrote:
ltbewr wrote:
This is an excellent article discussing the changes in the airline business in the USA over the last 40 years from deregulation to now, how it is much worse for workers and passengers: http://prospect.org/article/unfriendly-skies


This is not an excellent article. This is a piece of crap article. Many things stated, are true to a point. However, at least my perusal of the article, shows that the author left out a salient point. That point is that in those so called "glory days" air fares were much higher in real dollar terms then they are now. The reason the government could set a bench mark of a twelve percent profit on a fifty-five percent load factor was that fares were so high, that only the rich could travel by air, even in coach. The article also ignores the upgrades to premium cabins with lie-flat seats, video and audio entertainment. The article also omits the fact that there was much less air service available. In those ancient times, United was the largest carrier in the World and had a fleet of less then 200. Continental, the smallest of the trunk line carriers, had a fleet of less then sixty. By the way there was still over booking.

What de-regulation did was make air travel available to many more people. It allowed for competition, meaning the government was not deciding what niche to allow a particular airline to fill. Is it possible that one of the reasons for Pan Am's demise was that the government prevented it from having a domestic route network until very late in the ball game?

I will take todays system over the "glory days" anytime, because what de-regulation did do was make air travel accessible to many more people.


So, this is all true - but you're missing the article's stronger points. Yes, deregulation allowed for competition, but it also paved the way for consolidation, which is now eroding the competition within the industry, The arguments about common ownership and Wall Street's incentives for executives are particularly strong.

I don't find the author's nostalgia for the CAB days to be persuasive at all, nor do I find his prescriptions to be compelling. The points about airline networks seem particularly off-base.

But the exploration of the downsides of consolidation, oligopoly, and the decline in passenger rights (not just a lack of seat space, but an actual degradation of a passenger's rights) is worth discussing. Part of what gives those airline networks their power is their immense control over certain markets; and that's where there's a lot less actual competition happening today than their used to be.
 
Revo1059
Posts: 133
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:43 pm

Airline service has gone in the toilet the last decade or 2 and part of the reason is subset of people don't care how crappy the experience is as long as they get from A to B alive and don't require medical attention when they get to B.

I mainly fly AA:

Now I have to pay $80 just to select an exit row seat.
Now I have to pay $40 extra to select certain seats, not because they have more leg room but just because someone has determined they are in a "better" spot on the plane.
Now the economy seats are so tight I can barely set the tray down and use it (and I'm not a large person). Do I want the leg room that used to be standard? That will be $50 each way.
 
seat24charlie
Posts: 67
Joined: Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:34 am

Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:51 pm

commavia wrote:
seat24charlie wrote:
I realize it's hard for a lot of you people to get to grips with, without seeing it as some personal slight, but flying in this country has become one of the most painful experiences for the majority of paying customers.


Consumers consistently demonstrate with their behavior - not their words, but their behavior - that, as a group, on average and in general, they pretty much value three things above all else: price, safety and reliability.


This old chestnut again.

If I have to buy lunch, and there's three restaurants in town, all serving the same menu - those restaurants can easily justify any poor standards by saying "you voted with your wallet."

'Voting with your wallet' only applies when you have a reasonable selection of...

You know what - never mind. Pointless with you lot. Might as well argue gun control.
 
drgmobile
Posts: 989
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2006 3:06 am

Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:51 pm

L0VE2FLY wrote:
winginit wrote:
Ah but of course. It's just so awful that I have to today sit in a lie-flat Business Class seat while connected to the internet airing my grievances about how air travel is so much more expensive, (no) less safe (no), and generally less pleasant (still no) than it was before deregulation. The horror.

Nonsense.


You do realize that the vast majority of flyers are not as lucky as you are?!


One does not need to travel in business class in order to experience service as good as or better than it was in the 1970s, but one does have to pay for it. Shell out for seat selection or premium economy, priority boarding and maybe lounge access and you're still paying less than you would for an economy seat 30-40 years ago.

My sense is that the vast majority of complaints about the air travel experience today come from infrequent travellers who want to pay rock bottom prices but have unrealistic expectations about what they should get for that.
 
commavia
Posts: 11489
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:00 pm

seat24charlie wrote:
If I have to buy lunch, and there's three restaurants in town, all serving the same menu - those restaurants can easily justify any poor standards by saying "you voted with your wallet."

'Voting with your wallet' only applies when you have a reasonable selection of...


Sorry, but no. That line of argument is simply baseless. Consumers have lots of choices. Checking a bag? Fly Southwest. Like potato chips? Fly JetBlue. Want access to a global network? Fly AA, Delta or United. Traveling with just a backpack and want the absolute cheapest possible fare? Fly Spirit or Frontier. And on and on. To the extent that many of the product/service offerings in the market tend to resemble each other, this is yet again simply a natural market response to the behavior of the vast majority of consumers. In other words - it's an effect, not a cause. All the airlines pretty much offer somewhat similar products because that is, pretty much, what the vast majority of consumers have clearly communicated that they want. Airlines are just responding to consumers. The day that consumers are willing to pay more for, say, more legroom or free hot meals at every seat on the plane, that's the day airlines will rip out rows, expand legroom and reinstall ovens in the back. But, alas, the vast majority of consumers have repeatedly demonstrated that they aren't willing to pay more for those things which is, of course, precisely why airlines are now segmenting their product to tailor offerings with, for instance, more legroom for people who value it and are willing to pay for it.
 
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JannEejit
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:00 pm

Personally I feel US air travel has never been the same since they stopped having singing nuns, jive talking dudes and ladies who like their coffee black on board...sigh... ;-)
 
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MSPSXMFLIER
Posts: 235
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:07 pm

727200 wrote:
For those of us old enough to have lived during the regulated times: Very few destination options. Even fewer carriers to chose from. Fewer Government regulated fares. The train was the main competitor or the bus with the dog on the side. Nope, none of us want to go back to that period.



The culture in this country has had nearly 40 years to experience life in the world of airline deregulation. I think the verdict is loud and clear.....we like it this way! Today, a flier has so many more options for their air travel experience. From the number of airlines, to the classes of service and amenities, to the ease of getting from any 'point A' to any 'point B'. If you want to be pampered with a lie flat bed, free flowing booze, Internet connectivity, etc... you can have that experience. You will certainly pay for it, as millions do and will continue to do. If you want to haul the family to Disneyland or get away for spring break in Florida, but have a tight budget, you can also do that very inexpensively, as millions of others do. In terms of the halcyon days of air travel, there's really not much that is missed, with the possible exception of how people dressed when they boarded an airplane, compared with how a good number people dress now.
 
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pitbosflyer
Posts: 380
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:32 pm

Sure AA and UA are starting to feel more and more like Spirit and Allegiant by the day. But meanwhile its not all bad. Plenty of Happy Flyers every day. Jetblue, Alaska, and Southwest thrive on good customer service and happy customers. Then there are small rays of hope like how DL is adding back free meals for economy on certain routes. Not to mention things like streaming live IFE and internet in the air. hahah.

Honestly the worst part of flying for me is the hassle of going thru security. Which has nothing to do with the airlines.
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TWA772LR
Posts: 7347
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Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:39 pm

L0VE2FLY wrote:
winginit wrote:
Ah but of course. It's just so awful that I have to today sit in a lie-flat Business Class seat while connected to the internet airing my grievances about how air travel is so much more expensive, (no) less safe (no), and generally less pleasant (still no) than it was before deregulation. The horror.

Nonsense.


You do realize that the vast majority of flyers are not as lucky as you are?!

I would realize that the vast majority of fliers always have a neutral-to-good experience and that the ones always complaining are the 1% that happen to have a totally crappy time.
When wasn't America great?


The thoughts and opinions shared under this username are mine and are not influenced by my employer.
 
KRIC777
Posts: 297
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2002 6:25 am

Re: Article: 'Flying the Unfriendly Skies'

Wed Nov 08, 2017 6:46 pm

Bald1983 wrote:
I will take todays system over the "glory days" anytime, because what de-regulation did do was make air travel accessible to many more people.


Yep.
While there's nothing wrong with pointing out that yes, there were SOME things better 'back in the day' and some things that frankly suck nowadays...the simple fact is that air travel is now much more affordable and is no longer primarily a product of the affluent. A big part of the reason for this is that airlines have figured out how to pack more people into more efficient planes and not fly with very many empty seats and give away few frills. As a passenger, it sucks, but most people would rather pay less and deal with it than pay up for more service and comfort.

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