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Looking for some opinions

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Are we cleared to land???
May 23, 2002
I was just curious how others felt about low cost carriers such as Southwest, Frontier, or Jetblue. They definately have a strong market niche today and possibly for quite some time down the road. Does anyone foresee the industry going back to the way it was, or will these low cost carriers continue to hold on to or gain strong market holds like they are presently doing?

Just curious what others thought....
Southwest has been around for 30 years now, and they've made profit for all but one of those years I beleive. I'd say they are here to stay. When the majority of the flying public buys a ticket, price and availability are their primary considerations and I don't think that will change. There will still be other carriers that have business and/or first class because that market, while small, does exist. But I think that Southwest et. al. have permanently changes the face of the industry. The market demands low fares much more than it demands meal service, movies, or hot lemon-scented towels.
Low-cost carriers

I think they're here to stay. The public at large cares more for lower fares and a reasonable quality of service than being pampered with filet mignon in Coach. The higher-fare airlines depend heavily on business travel, which has dropped considerably during the past year. I saw on TV news last night where fewer business travelers are flying. They say that flying is too much of a hassle now and are driving to their destinations.

Not to incite a war here, but the emergence of lower-fare carriers have impacted pilot salaries and labor relations, and will continue to do so.
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As a consumer I look at the total ticket cost.
I just purchased a ticket from DEN-MSY round trip.
Cost of the ticket was $150.00, which I didn't think was too bad at all. To fly myself there would cost much more than this. Here is where it gets sticky. The additioanl fees were $50.00. From my point of view that is a 33% tax.

My point here is that not only is there price pressure from other airlines to lure and please consumers, there is the issue of the taxes/fees that should be of concern to airlines for fear of pricing themselves out of the reach of consumers ability to want to pay.

I realize that airlines have no control over the fees/taxes, but from a consumer point of view, a 33% tax on a service that is already time consumming and a hastle might just be enough to convince consumers to look elsewhere.

Just one more item to consider.
JetBlue and Southwest pilot salaries seem pretty lucrative to me. and JetBlue doesn't even have a union.
There are big changes ahead for all airlines. Fees and taxes are likely to increase with the cost of new infrastructures to take care of security screening and what not. The formulas that the major airlines have followed in the last 20 years probably will not srvive. (i.e. high labor cost, high fleet cost, high route structure cost, etc) There is an interesting article in Time magazine 8/26/02 issue that talks about the state of the airline industry and the restructuring plans that US Airways is undertaking. I hope no one is getting into an airline/aviation career to make it rich. The ones who can control their cost, find niche markets, and be lean and mean are the ones who will survive and continue to provide jobs for those who wish to be in this career. It may also mean there will be fewer airlines, fewer jobs, higher fare prices and more regulation. It seams deregulation worked for the consumer and briefly for for start up airlines but ultimately bad for the industry in general.

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