Why you should fly the big airlines

Steveair

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The future of American air transportation rides in the cabins of the nation’s big airlines. For more than 70 years, airlines like American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines have proudly served the interests of American travelers. Along the way, they have helped businesses earn trillions of dollars, worked with the government to secure our borders, and given travelers a way to explore the wonders of the world.

And what have they gotten in return? Travelers have taken advantage of airlines’ willingness to maintain competitive fares and repaid it with fleeting loyalty and indifference. At the same time, selfish labor unions have drained the big airlines’ coffers and predatory upstart carriers have poached their routes.

In other industries, consumers build mutually beneficial relationships with providers of goods and services. Wal-Mart shoppers won’t shop anywhere else, just as BMW owners won’t let anyone else service their $70,000 vehicles. These consumers are fiercely loyal, no matter their income bracket.

But when it comes to air travel, consumers toss loyalty aside in search of a better deal. I call this the “Southwest Effect” — the naive idea that the best deals will be found on Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, and other low-budget carriers, as well as on third-party Web sites. Not only do these better deals not exist, but this greedy strategy is wreaking havoc with the U.S. air travel industry.

In my opinion, it’s un-American.

Whenever travelers fly a low-cost carrier, they disrespect the contributions that the major carriers have made to the United States of America. Failing to repay the debt of gratitude we owe the major U.S. airlines is unpatriotic.

Why should we reward the major U.S. airlines?

Without the major U.S. airlines, my neighbor would not be able to visit her brother twice a year in Israel; she would not have been able to explore Central and South America, taking time to become fluent in Spanish. Without the major airlines, many Americans would be unable to share Thanksgiving and Christmas with their families.

During the past 10 years, the airline industry has been in turmoil. In that time, we lost several great American companies, including TWA, Pan Am and Eastern. Chock it up to competition — that’s the American way. The remaining big airlines have answered their challenges with innovation and reinvention — that’s also the American way. Responding to market conditions, the airlines have whittled their cost structures and profit margins to the lowest in any industry.

At the same time, the full-service airlines have continued to serve the American public with pride, especially in times of trouble and hardship. When America was terrified by the events of 9/11, the big airlines responded quickly and got passengers on their way. When winter storms pummel the Northeast, the major carriers still take you anywhere in the world. When Americans become displaced by harsh hurricanes, the major U.S. airlines offer their services and ferry those in need to safe ground.

During such difficult times, major airlines also waive their usual change fees, rebooking rules, and refund policies. Unlike other businesses, the big airlines typically forgo opportunistic practices in order to serve their customers’ needs.

Think about it. At a time when gas prices make it more expensive to drive than to fly, airlines have done their best to maintain low fares (and they have high fuel costs, too). In fact, today you can fly from coast to coast and stay in a five-star hotel for less than it costs to drive the same distance.

The major airlines are big contributors to charity, too — and not just in times of national tragedy. In fact, they routinely donate miles and services to such causes as the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the American Red Cross, cancer victims and their families, and many other worthy causes.
What is the problem here?

The scourge of the big U.S. airlines is their labor costs. Even after running the automotive industry into the ground, highly bureaucratic labor unions have yet to realize that their services are obsolete. Northwest Airlines rightly stood up to the unrealistic demands of its mechanics union, filling open positions with readily available, highly qualified mechanics with an average of 20 years experience servicing airplanes.

The striking mechanics did not have an opportunity to vote on Northwest’s final offer before union officials called the strike. Their union has no strike fund, and the workers’ last paychecks were paid weeks ago. Currently, workers are without health benefits, and these hard-working Americans are now struggling to make ends meet because the egotistical union leaders cannot see through their own foggy thought.
Forcing airlines into bankruptcy in order to renegotiate an antiquated labor contract is un-American. Relying on the courts to handle a company’s labor woes is bad business. Supporting this type of behavior is clearly not in the best interests of a free capitalist marketplace economy.

I say to the labor union: Remember the Reagan years and the air traffic controllers’ strike.

Where is this all going?

To those who think that the new low-cost carriers like Southwest and JetBlue are the future of the U.S. airline industry, I say: Think again. Will they get you to Des Moines to see Grandma at Christmas? I think not.

But Delta will.

In fact, the major airlines have maintained many unprofitable routes to responsibly serve their customers. Southwest and JetBlue cherry-picked their routes, offering limited service and poaching customers from the big carriers. With the major U.S. airlines, you can fly anywhere in the world. Southwest and JetBlue take you only where they want to go. Is that the kind of company you want to do business with?

The reality of the current U.S. airline industry is that the big airlines are shrinking their operating costs while the so-called low-budget carriers are increasing theirs. David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue, expects JetBlue to operate more than 275 planes by 2010; those planes will include many new Embraer 190s to go with JetBlue’s current fleet of Airbus A-320s (the company doesn’t even buy American!). This plan will more than triple JetBlue’s fleet and workforce. Sounds like a lot of added costs to me.

I fear for Northwest and for the economy. Losing yet another major airline will hurt our transportation industry badly. It is time to reward airlines that have graciously withstood economic recessions, terrorism, high oil prices and labor disputes.

Showing support for the backbone of the U.S. airline industry shows support for the ideals of America. Don’t let labor unions rob the United States of well-paying jobs with their inflated demands. Instead, fly an airline faced with a labor dispute, and keep flying even when the carrier faces bankruptcy.

My advice? Commit to one major airline and let their planes fly you anywhere you need to go. You’ll be better off for it, and so will America.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9342052/
 

Always deferred

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waaaa! not fair!!! waaaaaah

What an amateurish article. Reeks of desperation. Esp about JetBlue not buying American planes...what about NWA and all their Airbusses?

::shaking head::
 
Last edited:

SiuDude

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I don't have a grandma in Des Moines.
 

MELIT

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enough
Steveair said:
The future of American air transportation rides in the cabins of the nation’s big airlines. For more than 70 years, airlines like American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines have proudly served the interests of American travelers. Along the way, they have helped businesses earn trillions of dollars, worked with the government to secure our borders, and given travelers a way to explore the wonders of the world.

And what have they gotten in return? Travelers have taken advantage of airlines’ willingness to maintain competitive fares and repaid it with fleeting loyalty and indifference. At the same time, selfish labor unions have drained the big airlines’ coffers and predatory upstart carriers have poached their routes.

In other industries, consumers build mutually beneficial relationships with providers of goods and services. Wal-Mart shoppers won’t shop anywhere else, just as BMW owners won’t let anyone else service their $70,000 vehicles. These consumers are fiercely loyal, no matter their income bracket.

But when it comes to air travel, consumers toss loyalty aside in search of a better deal. I call this the “Southwest Effect” — the naive idea that the best deals will be found on Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, and other low-budget carriers, as well as on third-party Web sites. Not only do these better deals not exist, but this greedy strategy is wreaking havoc with the U.S. air travel industry.

In my opinion, it’s un-American.

Whenever travelers fly a low-cost carrier, they disrespect the contributions that the major carriers have made to the United States of America. Failing to repay the debt of gratitude we owe the major U.S. airlines is unpatriotic.

Why should we reward the major U.S. airlines?

Without the major U.S. airlines, my neighbor would not be able to visit her brother twice a year in Israel; she would not have been able to explore Central and South America, taking time to become fluent in Spanish. Without the major airlines, many Americans would be unable to share Thanksgiving and Christmas with their families.

During the past 10 years, the airline industry has been in turmoil. In that time, we lost several great American companies, including TWA, Pan Am and Eastern. Chock it up to competition — that’s the American way. The remaining big airlines have answered their challenges with innovation and reinvention — that’s also the American way. Responding to market conditions, the airlines have whittled their cost structures and profit margins to the lowest in any industry.

At the same time, the full-service airlines have continued to serve the American public with pride, especially in times of trouble and hardship. When America was terrified by the events of 9/11, the big airlines responded quickly and got passengers on their way. When winter storms pummel the Northeast, the major carriers still take you anywhere in the world. When Americans become displaced by harsh hurricanes, the major U.S. airlines offer their services and ferry those in need to safe ground.

During such difficult times, major airlines also waive their usual change fees, rebooking rules, and refund policies. Unlike other businesses, the big airlines typically forgo opportunistic practices in order to serve their customers’ needs.

Think about it. At a time when gas prices make it more expensive to drive than to fly, airlines have done their best to maintain low fares (and they have high fuel costs, too). In fact, today you can fly from coast to coast and stay in a five-star hotel for less than it costs to drive the same distance.

The major airlines are big contributors to charity, too — and not just in times of national tragedy. In fact, they routinely donate miles and services to such causes as the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the American Red Cross, cancer victims and their families, and many other worthy causes.
What is the problem here?

The scourge of the big U.S. airlines is their labor costs. Even after running the automotive industry into the ground, highly bureaucratic labor unions have yet to realize that their services are obsolete. Northwest Airlines rightly stood up to the unrealistic demands of its mechanics union, filling open positions with readily available, highly qualified mechanics with an average of 20 years experience servicing airplanes.

The striking mechanics did not have an opportunity to vote on Northwest’s final offer before union officials called the strike. Their union has no strike fund, and the workers’ last paychecks were paid weeks ago. Currently, workers are without health benefits, and these hard-working Americans are now struggling to make ends meet because the egotistical union leaders cannot see through their own foggy thought.
Forcing airlines into bankruptcy in order to renegotiate an antiquated labor contract is un-American. Relying on the courts to handle a company’s labor woes is bad business. Supporting this type of behavior is clearly not in the best interests of a free capitalist marketplace economy.

I say to the labor union: Remember the Reagan years and the air traffic controllers’ strike.

Where is this all going?

To those who think that the new low-cost carriers like Southwest and JetBlue are the future of the U.S. airline industry, I say: Think again. Will they get you to Des Moines to see Grandma at Christmas? I think not.

But Delta will.

In fact, the major airlines have maintained many unprofitable routes to responsibly serve their customers. Southwest and JetBlue cherry-picked their routes, offering limited service and poaching customers from the big carriers. With the major U.S. airlines, you can fly anywhere in the world. Southwest and JetBlue take you only where they want to go. Is that the kind of company you want to do business with?

The reality of the current U.S. airline industry is that the big airlines are shrinking their operating costs while the so-called low-budget carriers are increasing theirs. David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue, expects JetBlue to operate more than 275 planes by 2010; those planes will include many new Embraer 190s to go with JetBlue’s current fleet of Airbus A-320s (the company doesn’t even buy American!). This plan will more than triple JetBlue’s fleet and workforce. Sounds like a lot of added costs to me.

I fear for Northwest and for the economy. Losing yet another major airline will hurt our transportation industry badly. It is time to reward airlines that have graciously withstood economic recessions, terrorism, high oil prices and labor disputes.

Showing support for the backbone of the U.S. airline industry shows support for the ideals of America. Don’t let labor unions rob the United States of well-paying jobs with their inflated demands. Instead, fly an airline faced with a labor dispute, and keep flying even when the carrier faces bankruptcy.

My advice? Commit to one major airline and let their planes fly you anywhere you need to go. You’ll be better off for it, and so will America.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9342052/


" selfish labor unions" that is you! Unions are the problem. They sure helped the NWA mechanics didn't they.

LATE!
 

mdanno808

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Yeah, those damn demanding mechanics. The scabs are a much more honerable bunch (and evidently experienced). What a load of shi!t.
 

MaxPilot

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This is one of the poorest essays I have ever read. Where does the author back up his thoughts with any evidence? Is this guy paid by MSNBC to write for them? I hope not.
 

coolyokeluke

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Yea blame labor. We are obviously the problem. Northwest wanted to ousource a huge percentage of their maintenance and extract huge concessions from the reamining mechanics, and those "greedy" mechanics said no. I've read that most if not all the airlines would've turned profits in 2005 were it not for the spike in fuel prices.
 

Junkflyer

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I do fly Northwest from LAX to DTW. They have a $200 fare. They also have a $500 fare and a $700 fare on the same route. The only reason for the low fare is Spirit Air flying it too. Thanks Spirit.
 

Goose Egg

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Steveair said:
To those who think that the new low-cost carriers like Southwest and JetBlue are the future of the U.S. airline industry, I say: Think again. Will they get you to Des Moines to see Grandma at Christmas? I think not.

But Delta will.
Actually, Delta "Connection" will. So much for the "unprofitable route" theory.

Edit: Why you should fly small airlines: How else would TopGun-Mav get to P-town?!

-Goose
 
Last edited:

mdanno808

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I encourage each and everyone of you to write an email to the author telling him what you think.
 

Ben Dover

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Steveair said:
But when it comes to air travel, consumers toss loyalty aside in search of a better deal. I call this the “Southwest Effect” — the naive idea that the best deals will be found on Southwest Airlines, JetBlue, and other low-budget carriers, as well as on third-party Web sites. Not only do these better deals not exist, but this greedy strategy is wreaking havoc with the U.S. air travel industry.

In my opinion, it’s un-American.

/
When I got to this part about competition being "un-American" I couldn't read any further. Pure garbage!
 

Dizel8

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Huh?
"It's all about ME"!

The writer does not give a hoot about his fellow americans who works for the airlines, he simply cares about getting a low cost ticket to Des Moines. "Screw labor, where is my cheap ticket", of course, he is to braindead to realize, if there were no competetion, it would be very expensive, like pre-dereg days.

I am sure he also complains about gas prices as he fuels his Suburban Assault Vehicle.
 

ATRCA

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I had a dickhead at the poker table last night tell me that unions were to blame form Delta's problems and that the most successful airlines like JB and SW were nonunion.

When I informed him that Delta only has one union (ALPA) and that SW was the most heavily unionized carrier in the nation he went on a right wing Carl Rove like tiraid........I tuned out.
 

WhiteCloud

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[QUOTE/]Failing to repay the debt of gratitude we owe the major U.S. airlines is unpatriotic[QUOTE/] You've got to be kidding? The major airlines need to compete for the business of the fare paying passengers. That's the American way.
 

Geronimo4497

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Capiltalism does not equal corporate welfare. If the pig can't produce, kill it. Just my OPINION. I hate to see anyone out one the street, but we have survied after shutdowns before.
 

Steveair

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Well, I thought the article had some good points but also wasn't entirely "accurate," as is anything the news media has to say about aviation.


I do agree with the author on the vicious cycle - New, discount airlines will keep popping up and people will jumpseat to those since they're cheaper and it will just keep going on and on. There's another article out there, "Flying on bankrupt airlines without a pillow," that brings out some good points too. The days of dressing up and have a delicious 7 course meal will only come back with higher fares; fares that are adjusted for the times.... fares that will actually cover the cost of operating the route!


I also liked his stab at JetBlue. I am willing to bet they'll be out of business in 10 years when labor costs, maintenance costs, and aircraft lease payments all come do.... and hence the vicious cycle continues!
 

GogglesPisano

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"In fact, the major airlines have maintained many unprofitable routes to responsibly serve their customers."

This guy is a complete whackjob.
 

Phaedrus

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>>Joel Widzer is an expert on loyalty and frequent flier programs. He is the author of "The Penny Pincher's Passport to Luxury Travel," a guidebook on traveling in high style at budget-friendly prices. E-mail him or visit his Web site. Want to sound off about one of his columns? Try visiting Widzer's forum.<<

This guy may be the largest tool with armed with the most fallacious arguments that I've ever read.

>>I fear for Northwest and for the economy. Losing yet another major airline will hurt our transportation industry badly. It is time to reward airlines that have graciously withstood economic recessions, terrorism, high oil prices and labor disputes.
Showing support for the backbone of the U.S. airline industry shows support for the ideals of America. Don’t let labor unions rob the United States of well-paying jobs with their inflated demands. Instead, fly an airline faced with a labor dispute, and keep flying even when the carrier faces bankruptcy. <<

>>The future of American air transportation rides in the cabins of the nation’s big airlines. For more than 70 years, airlines like American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines have proudly served the interests of American travelers. Along the way, they have helped businesses earn trillions of dollars, worked with the government to secure our borders, and given travelers a way to explore the wonders of the world.
And what have they gotten in return? Travelers have taken advantage of airlines’ willingness to maintain competitive fares and repaid it with fleeting loyalty and indifference. At the same time, selfish labor unions have drained the big airlines’ coffers and predatory upstart carriers have poached their routes. <<

The way he paints it, the legacies are the Mother Theresas of the industry, doing nothing but good for goodness' sake. I never knew the extent of altruism among the elite carrieres until I read this article! Wow! I'm sure profit and keeping competition out had no motivating force. Please.
I encourage you to "sound off" on his forum.
 

Yank McCobb

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Steveair said:
I also liked his stab at JetBlue. I am willing to bet they'll be out of business in 10 years when labor costs, maintenance costs, and aircraft lease payments all come do...
I see you are as "accurate" as that article when it comes to getting YOUR facts straight.

By the way...it's come "due". Yep. When JB starts having to pay for their maintenance, aircraft, etc., then they will be out of business. Man, hasn't that horse been beaten to death and that bandwagon all but abandoned?

I guess not.:rolleyes:
 

SWA/FO

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I emailed him and he responded.

I wrote something like this: I disagree with your article and think you have no idea what is going on in the airline industry etc...

His reply was: I have 2.5 million miles on 1 carrier and I have flown 200,000 miles this year alone!!!!

I replied, that maybe he should fly on more then 1 airline if he wants to talk about "airlines" or he should just talk about the 1 airline he flys on.

I say we give him hell!!!
 
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