Flight Blog

Apr 07 2010 Catch As Catch Can BY adminTAGS Customer Service

 

Several items of interest today...

Spirit Airlines says it's going to start charging a fee for carry-on bags. Yes, you read right. The airline plans to charge $45 for each piece of carry-on luggage, starting in August. Let's pause for a moment to let the steam blow out your ears...

Feel better?

Spirit was savaged this morning on the network news programs, with anchors making one disparaging remark after another. And, well, who can blame them? I suspect they spoke for anyone who flies. We all understand that the airlines need to make money, but at what point will they get serious about CUSTOMER SERVICE? When will they start making the customer a priority?

Will other airlines follow Spirit's lead? Depends on how much heat Spirit gets. If it's minimal, the other airlines will probably follow.

Meanwhile, European airline Ryanair is reportedly working on a scheme to charge customers for using the lavatory. That's leading to such headlines as, "The Ultimate Airline Insult: Pay to Pee!"

The business press has been busy the last couple of weeks reporting on increased revenue for domestic airlines. It's missing the flip side of the story: "Solid Worldwide Airline Growth Trends Continue in April, with the Exception of North America." The report from OAG contines, "All regions, except North America, continue to show solid growth in capacity and frequency."

Aviation analyst Mike Boyd reinforces the point:

"...the 3Q will be strong for the US airline industry because they are not adding capacity. Plus, most have safety valves to pull down capacity if the recession deepens (yes, deepens - who's kidding who? with 9.7% unemployment, close to 20% under-employment, higher taxes in the wind, jive-time "job creation" stats that are bulked out with census workers, and $85+ oil, this isn't a robust picture of the future. Any credible passenger forecast must consider these factors.)

No doubt about it, the aviation news today is not warm and fuzzy.

 

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Mar 23 2010 Carry-On Crunch BY adminTAGS Customer Service

 

You're not the only one who hates the fees for checked bags. Flight attendants do too. Or at least that's what one union says.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA says it recently conducted a survey of its membership,  "in which one out of two flight attendants witnessed carry-on items falling from overhead bins in the previous 60 days. The survey validated anecdotal reports that carry-on baggage is out of control, mostly due to recent fees to check luggage...According to the survey, over 80 percent of flight attendants sustained injuries over the past year due to dealing with carry-ons in overhead bins. The most common injury being strained and pulled muscles in the neck, arms and upper back."

The union has set-up a website dedicated to this subject.

 

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We've got good news, good news, and some more good news. It's good news in spades.

Let's start with Delta. Beginning June 10 the airline restores our service to Detroit and Minneapolis. We got word earlier this week in a face-to-face meeting with Delta's general manager for network planning. Our airport lost service to those cities during the depths of the recession. The fact that they're returning is testament to the tremendous growth our airport has seen over the past year.

Delta says the Minneapolis service well probably be seasonal (meaning a summer schedule only), unless it sees strong advanced bookings for the fall season. On the subject of Detroit, the airline says its "intent" is to make the service year-round. Delta plans to add several western routes out of Detroit, including Honolulu, Sacramento, and Phoenix. So that means Springfield customers will have more options for connecting West.

Allegiant good news! The airline's summer schedule is out and it is, in a word, awesome.

 

 

Take a look at this graph:  The blue bar represents 2008. Red is 2009. Gold is 2010. The number on each bar shows the number of Allegiant flights in the given month. Look at July.

In July 2008  Allegiant flew 50 flights from Springfield. This July the airline plans 102 flights. That's more than a 100% increase over the same month in 2008! No doubt about it — Southwest Missouri loves Allegiant and Allegiant loves Southwest Missouri.

Now we're to the spades. Our 2009 momentum, that made us the only airport in the region with positive growth numbers, continues to roll!  In February the airport's total passenger numbers were up 5% over the same month last year. It's our 14th consecutive month of positive or flat growth, and we did it with 16% fewer flights (in February).

 

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Just four months after predicting a $6-billion loss for the world's airlines in 2010, the International Air Transport Association has changed its mind. IATA now says the loss will be more like $2.6 billion. Why? IATA says, "The improvement is largely driven by a much stronger recovery in demand seen by year-end gains that continued into the first months of 2010. Relatively flat capacity translated into some yield improvement and stronger revenues. "

Here's the translation from Aviation Speak:  the world economy is getting better faster than expected. And since airlines have cut the number of seats in the air, they've lowered their operating costs. And since there are fewer seats in the air, the airlines can charge higher fares.

 

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We came across an unusually lucid piece of business reporting the other day. The Secrets Behind Crazy Air-travel Prices cuts through the muck and gives a very good overview of how airlines price tickets. Read it once, then read it again. You won't like it, but it will start to make sense. Here are some important takeaways—if you don't remember anything else, remember these points...

  • Operating an airline is very expensive
  • Its source of revenue, the airline seat, is highly perishable. The moment the plane takes off, that revenue opportunity is lost forever. It is often compared to a rotting banana
  • Your seat might look the same as the guy's in 15F, but he actually bought a different product. Most likely, so did everyone on the plane
  • The landscape is littered with failures

 

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