Seems to me that the message that comes out loudest and clearest after all the CO
/NW-bashing chips have fallen is... The fare structures and mileage programs of the "legacy" airlines have become pathetically convoluted, to the point of creating the type of strife and discontent reflected in the replies to this and any other topic regarding the same subject. The high-cost "full-service" airlines, consistent with their behavorial patterns, have set themselves up as their own worst enemies once again -- and turned some of their best customers into their avowed enemies as well.
First, through their myopic insistence on establishing caste systems (even caste levels within the overall elite caste system), then throwing all manner of senseless, high cost
largess at the favored members of their caste systems in the interest of buying their loyalty at any cost. All of this in spite of the fact that caste systems and dividing people into haves and have nots is totally out of sync with the 21st century American viewpoint (as well as in most of the rest of the world -- the Asian nation most associated with the caste system has even banned the practice).
The "legacy" airlines thus painted themselves into a corner by turning many of what had been
their best customers into high-maintenance, high-cost, low-yield, non-profit freeloaders filling first or business class on loss-leader fares and earning bonus miles toward free travel to boot. Not a pretty picture for the airlines' bottom lines.
Having finally come to their senses concerning the high-costs resulting in negative returns on their unrestricted largess bestowed on members of their elite castes, airline management makes a profound (if obvious to most) discovery: "hey, we can sell all
of our loss-leader seats on every
flight to low-maintenance, low-cost customers on whom our loss will at least not be as much as it would be if the same fare were sold to an elite."
Thus, the lightbulb in the minds of the airline's management comes on (an all-too-infrequent occurence) and they come up with what is, to most, an obvious conclusion -- but to "legacy" airline management, a brilliant idea: Customers who expect
more should pay
more. What's more, there are more than enough customers who will gladly pay
less to receive
nothing more than safe, on-time travel in reasonable comfort between points A and B; none of the added costs of upgrades or bonus miles or preferential treatment expected or needed.
Having at long last reached their "brilliant" deduction, airline management returns to its senses and announces "modifications" to their costly, senseless giveaway programs, only to learn that it is much easier to offer something for nothing than it is to get real once again. Then follows the predictable self-serving rebuttals and threats from the freeloader elites (who the airlines themselves created) and possible backpeddling by the airlines. The airlines then thicken the smoke (as in smoke and mirrors) and shift their bait-and-switch schemes into hyper gear, resulting in still more convolution being added to an already hopelesly convoluted product, which further (and understandably) exasperates everyone and anyone who flies with a legacy airline more than 3-4 times per year. The proof is in this topic and the sum of its replies!