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jacobchoi
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Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:02 pm

Hello all! I've been around on anet for a while, sometimes responding, but mostly browsing. It's my first time starting a new thread so please bear with me. I've often seen some 'what if' hypothetical scenarios on the forums, and I'll just like to share personal ones of mine. As for the questions, it's just a collection of queries that has been bothering me for a while, and I thank you in advance if you could take your time and respond.

Realistic or not?
1) EK and KE joining oneworld whilsts QR quits
2) Flights between Australia and South America (E.g. MEL-GRU)
3) AA launching JFK-FRA and/or relaunching some India service
4) Will TK outgrow EK?

Some random questions:
1) I know/heard that people are either loyalists for Star or oneworld, but I rarely hear any supporters for Skyteam. In my opinion, they are the most disintegrated and least quality-wise of the big 3 alliances
2)Is frequency really better than capacity?
3) Why is it in Asia that we have so many wide-bodied regional flights? (CX has about 15 HKG-TPE wide bodies a day) when I am sure the US3 could do the same in routes such as LAX-JFK - It makes the route more appealing.
4) I get like a decent meal service on a 3 hour flight from HKG-PVG on KA. Could one of the US3 not copy this - Are people not willing to pay for a premium for this?
5) I've been on lufthansa's A346s and they have their Y lavatories/chill area below the main cabin. I found it a really good idea. Why doesn't anybody else emulate this? If the 77Ws wanted to carry more passengers, surely they could configure it such that there is more space upstairs whilst decreasing its cargo capacity by a bit.
 
aviationaware
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:43 pm

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
2) Flights between Australia and South America (E.g. MEL-GRU)

Increasingly realistic, though Brazil specifically has faced extreme ups and downs in the past years with phases of economic growth and extreme currency fluctuations, so initial growth on Oceania-SA will probably be elsewhere.

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
3) AA launching JFK-FRA and/or relaunching some India service

Pretty unlikely. Delta is flying that route and though they are upgrading from 763 to 764 now, they are still on the lower end of service. USA-India is just too long to be attractive for the airlines right now.

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
4) Will TK outgrow EK?

No, due to several reasons. First, there is space constraints (though those will be alleviated in a couple years). More importantly though, TK has no access to Australia (it's too far) which has been crucial for EK's growth.

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
2)Is frequency really better than capacity?

It's a matter of price elasticity and can't be answered by a blanket. It has a lot to do with the passenger mix on a given route. The more business travelers come into the mix (who are less elastic) the greater the upside for frequency becomes.

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
Could one of the US3 not copy this - Are people not willing to pay for a premium for this?

It's an interesting phenomenon that if none of the competitors is offering it, there is no incentive for any player to offer it. You can see this with PTVs on short haul aircraft too. Every airline in America has them, but none in Europe. It's an all or nothing phenomenon.

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
5) I've been on lufthansa's A346s and they have their Y lavatories/chill area below the main cabin. I found it a really good idea. Why doesn't anybody else emulate this?

It cuts cargo capacity, and cargo tends to have better yields than passengers. So again, little incentive to change.
 
tortugamon
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Wed Jun 10, 2015 9:55 pm

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
Realistic or not?
1) EK and KE joining oneworld whilsts QR quits

Just today Sir Tim Clark said the US3 are as outdated as Alliances. EK does not need an alliance. They will broker deals where they see fit like they do with B6 and QF.

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
4) Will TK outgrow EK?

Its really hard to grow fast when you primarily operate narrow body aircraft while EK only operates widebodies.

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
2)Is frequency really better than capacity?

In some markets. JKF-LHR its key. For others, especially very long haul its not as critical.

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
3) Why is it in Asia that we have so many wide-bodied regional flights? (CX has about 15 HKG-TPE wide bodies a day) when I am sure the US3 could do the same in routes such as LAX-JFK

US has airports with many runways and hundreds of gates and a very advanced ATC with not a lot of restricted airspace. These things are not the same all over the world nor are the economics.

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
4) I get like a decent meal service on a 3 hour flight from HKG-PVG on KA. Could one of the US3 not copy this

Probably not on a 3-hour but a 5+ hour, I could see it. The Mint service on B6 has solid food JFK-LAX/SFO and soon to launch BOS. I think we will see differentiation in the US market now that the airlines are making money. I believe the tide is turning.

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
5) I've been on lufthansa's A346s and they have their Y lavatories/chill area below the main cabin. I found it a really good idea

Or the crown space on the 747!   I like these ideas but unfortunately airlines have been slow to adopt them for a number of reasons. I stay hopeful but I am not optimistic.

tortugamon
 
aklrno
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:01 pm

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
4) I get like a decent meal service on a 3 hour flight from HKG-PVG on KA. Could one of the US3 not copy this - Are people not willing to pay for a premium for this?

Lots of people think there should be meals on short flights, but few seem to remember just how horrible those meals were. Yes, it was food, and it seemed to be free (it wasn't) but in reality most people can go 3 hours without a meal (many in the US should go much longer). I can get a better meal in the airport where I usually have at least a half hour to kill. I often stop at a deli (or my local Whole Foods) and get a really nice sandwich on the way to the airport and have something I enjoy.

Back in the good old days of free airline food when I was taking 2-4 transcontinental flights a month I remember stopping at KFC for a box of chicken so I didn't have to eat airline food.

I have a few guidelines I try to follow when choosing a restaurant. One is to avoid any restaurant that moves in any way, or that is higher then the second floor from the ground. Airplanes violate both of those rules. NZ does nice long haul premium meals, but it is a rare thing.
 
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dennypayne
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:44 pm

Quoting tortugamon (Reply 2):
I think we will see differentiation in the US market now that the airlines are making money. I believe the tide is turning.

Doug Parker said as much in the press conference announcing LAX-SYD the other day. He believes in the current climate of profitability that the US3 are going to have to start to distinguish themselves by service, like it used to be in the old days.

Quoting aklrno (Reply 3):
Lots of people think there should be meals on short flights, but few seem to remember just how horrible those meals were.

However, I agree with aklrno, I don't think it makes sense to bring back sub-par food as a way to distinguish by service, now that "real" restaurants are available in most airports, and people are used to bringing food on the plane.
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Byrdluvs747
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Wed Jun 10, 2015 11:26 pm

Quoting dennypayne (Reply 4):
He believes in the current climate of profitability that the US3 are going to have to start to distinguish themselves by service, like it used to be in the old days.

As much as I prefer AA, if that's the case then they're in trouble. Doug is more concerned with tripping over dollars to pick up pennies, and the rest of the management lacks any ability to innovate.
The 747: The hands who designed it were guided by god.
 
Gemuser
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:04 am

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
2) Flights between Australia and South America (E.g. MEL-GRU)

These exist already. LAN operates SCL-AKL-SYD, QF operates SYD-SCL & NZ will start AKL-EZE later this year. Non stop flights between Australia/NZ and Brazil are not yet technically/economically feasible. More services can be expected in coming years as markets develop.

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Viscount724
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:16 am

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
4) I get like a decent meal service on a 3 hour flight from HKG-PVG on KA. Could one of the US3 not copy this - Are people not willing to pay for a premium for this?

Exactly. In North America air travel has largely become a commodity and price always wins over service, especially in Y class. Look at the various failures of efforts some years ago to increase seat pitch (AA and TWA come to mind). Nobody was willing to pay more for the extra space to offset the seats that had to be removed and the seats were put back in.

And who needs a meal on a 3 or 4 hour flight? I would much rather eat before leaving or wait until I get where I'm going and have a decent meal, not airline food.
 
jacobchoi
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:24 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 7):
Nobody was willing to pay more for the extra space to offset the seats that had to be removed and the seats were put back in.

Makes me wonder whether JL will join the 787 9 abreast Y gang

Quoting tortugamon (Reply 2):
Its really hard to grow fast when you primarily operate narrow body aircraft while EK only operates widebodies.

I do believe there is a certain element of pride in calling yourself an airline with a wide body only fleet
 
chrisp390
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Thu Jun 11, 2015 1:28 am

4) Will TK outgrow EK?

I actually believe it is highly likely but not for many years however, certainly not until the new airport is up and running. TK has a strong fast growing economy behind it, whereas EK is relying on the gulf and a lot of connections to India. Once airlines figure out how to serve India nonstop better I imagine EK will have it much harder. TK's diverse fleet has allowed it to serve a vast number of small to large destinations worldwide and I think the breadth of their network + star alliance membership will drive a lot of growth in traffic for them.

3)
Delta in particular is in fact flying many domestic routes now with wide body aircraft. The U.S. Has went through a period of low cost carriers appear, legacy airlines lower cost to compete, they lose money or barely make any, bankrupcy, etc. however I believe they are now leaders in the industry balancing profit/service as they are becoming much more disciplined with capacity and have learned how to work alongside low cost carriers, so we will see I would say a pretty crazy transformation of many of the U.S. Major airlines over the next 5 years. I believe Asia now is in fact falling into the period the U.S. Was stuck in for many years with low cost competition popping up and causing many national carriers to be unable to compete effectively & make money. So I see many Asian carriers having trouble in the years ahead financially & possibly service deteriorating but hopefully they can learn how to work alongside low cost competition as the American Airlines have done.
 
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Thu Jun 11, 2015 4:06 pm

Quoting JacobChoi (Reply 8):
a wide body only fleet

Sounds like my former wives...   

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 7):
And who needs a meal on a 3 or 4 hour flight? I would much rather eat before leaving or wait until I get where I'm going and have a decent meal, not airline food.

In general, I agree. I think we as PAX have voted over the years, many times, for this to be the case. Having that been said, there are times, here and there, where it would be appreciated, e.g., tight connections that don't allow for food purchases and/or late running meetings/occasions that have the same effect. While some airlines handle that with a BOB, for the most part, these are overpriced and very limited where choice in concerned.

Quoting chrisp390 (Reply 9):
Delta in particular is in fact flying many domestic routes now with wide body aircraft.

They are, but from a quality standpoint (which more than capacity seems to be the reason for its mention here...) they may as well not be. Take a domestic (or even int'l) config'd 763 or 77L domestically and then a B6 mint back. To me there's simply no comparison. I keep hearing rumors that the 321s they have coming may address this, but that's still in the "we'll see" box since I haven't read anything substantial about it yet...
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global2
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Thu Jun 11, 2015 5:31 pm

Quoting dennypayne (Reply 4):
Doug Parker said as much in the press conference announcing LAX-SYD the other day. He believes in the current climate of profitability that the US3 are going to have to start to distinguish themselves by service, like it used to be in the old days.

...by attempting to degrade the meal service in (domestic) First Class???

Quoting Byrdluvs747 (Reply 5):
Doug is more concerned with tripping over dollars to pick up pennies, and the rest of the management lacks any ability to innovate.

  
 
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christao17
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RE: Unrealistic Dreams And Stupid Questions

Fri Jun 12, 2015 3:01 am

Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 7):
And who needs a meal on a 3 or 4 hour flight? I would much rather eat before leaving or wait until I get where I'm going and have a decent meal, not airline food.

But with tight connections in a hub, you can end up going a full day without a chance to eat anything. Seems to me that offering a proper meal on a 3+ hour flight, not some preservative-filled box of snacks, is a reasonable idea. Even if just a cold option like chef salad or sandwich.

Quoting JacobChoi (Thread starter):
3) Why is it in Asia that we have so many wide-bodied regional flights? (CX has about 15 HKG-TPE wide bodies a day) when I am sure the US3 could do the same in routes such as LAX-JFK - It makes the route more appealing.

There are a few structural differences that drive this. You could compare HKG-TPE to flights between the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas. Similar distance, but compare the rough population and the number of airports in each area:

TPE - about 7 million in larger area, 2 airports to HKG - 7 million population, 1 airport
LAX - 18 million in the larger area, 5 airports to SFO - 7 million in larger area, 3 airports

There is inherently going to be more fragmentation in the US routes so smaller aircraft will be used. And even using the LAX-JFK example you give, there are 3 airports on the New York end so there will be fragmentation there, too.

Also, in Asia you are seeing the rise of low cost carriers so you are seeing fewer widebodies on routes between cities like BKK, KIL, and SIN which used to be 100% widebody.
More than a dozen years flying in and around Asia...

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