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  1. aric's Avatar
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    #21  
    Quote Originally Posted by runukraine View Post
    Ryanair:

    You point out that Ryanair now charges to use the toilet. They charge 1 pound. An inconvenience to be sure. They also are one of the lowest cost carriers in the world. Go onto their website and play around. Choose a random date and a random flight and see how much a roundtrip ticket costs. I would gladly pay 1 pound to use the restroom if it means I'm save anywhere up to a couple hundred dollars per flight on the ticket for equivalent mileage.

    Even if you went to the bathroom 20 times on your flight and paid your 20 pounds you still likely come out ahead of what American carriers charge for a ticket.
    Yes, I did use Ryanair as an extreme example.

    Quote Originally Posted by runukraine View Post

    American Job Loss:

    Even though some of the money is repatriated to the carrier's country of origin they still have to pay for their entire US operation. All the support services that have grown up around the airline industry would still exist domestically, wouldn't it? You still need people to refuel planes, handle baggage, refill the drink carts, fly the domestic routes as pilots and cabin attendants, et al... In fact more routes and more carriers might actually produce more jobs.
    Mostly correct. I'm a pilot, so I am definitely biased and looking at these issues from a labor standpoint. Foreign carriers mean foreign pilots and flight attendants unless they actually started a US operation, which is still extremely unlikely.

    There has been a significant reduction (est. 20%) in total seats available in the US market since 2001. However, there are still industry groups that say there is still over capacity. While I'm not an expert on this, I can say that the airline labor force in total is down more than 40%. Of all the major airlines, only Delta currently does NOT have any pilots on furlough. Again, I'm looking at this from a labor standpoint.

    These reductions have come from almost every operation of the airlines, from ticket agents (moving to automatic checkins) to ground personel (contracting out to the lowest bidder) to mechanics (outsourcing major maintenance checks) to furloughing pilots and flight attendants. While that's not to say new entrants don't create new jobs, many thousands of jobs have already been lost.

    Quote Originally Posted by runukraine View Post

    Safety and Enforcement:

    How come KLM is okay to fly Americans from JFK to anywhere in Europe and not okay to fly Americans from JFK to LAX?

    I suspect that at a minimum they have to meet the existing safety regulations for domestic flights in the United States. Am I right?

    .
    Yes. I would feel fine sending my family on KLM, BA, Qantas, etc. But there are foreign carriers that I wouldn't want my family to fly on. Be it the training of their pilots or the maintenance of the aircraft, not all airlines are equal. However, there is not a single major US airline that I have reservations with flying on.

    Although the list is small, currently the EU prohibits several airlines from flying within Europe. EU Prohibits Airlines From Philippines, Sudan Over Safety Concerns | TopNews United States

    Quote Originally Posted by runukraine View Post

    Cabotage Regulation:

    To me it is protectionism, pure and simple. It is protecting the vested interests just as the system prior to 1978 protected the profits of the big boys back then by creating insurmountable barriers to entry for new players.
    It is also about accountability. But it does limit foreign ownership of American Airlines (all airlines, no the company AMR) Currently it is the law. It might change in the future. I hope it doesn't.

    Quote Originally Posted by runukraine View Post
    As you noted regulations were changed all the way back in 1978 to benefit the consumer and the industry. Why can't we do that today?

    More competition means lower prices means more people flying than ever before. Why drive or take a train from LA to SF if flying costs 30 bucks roundtrip. My only objection to that is the environmental cost, but sounds like more passengers is good for the industry as a whole.

    More competition is good for the consumer and the industry in my layman's opinion.
    Well, the consumer probably has benefited from deregulation, (see this for a counterpoint http://www.unbossed.com/index.php?itemid=563) but the industry not so much. One thing that regulation provided was stability. But it did come at a cost (high fares, limited options on carriers). Since deregulation, almost all new entrant US airlines have failed; America West, JetBlue , Virgin American are only ones I can think of right now, and America West has merged with US Airways (AirTran started as ValueJet). What I'm trying to say is the industry is anything from stable now. Since deregulation according to the GAO's report, Commercial Aviation: Structural Costs Continue to Challenge Legacy Airlines’ Financial Performance, GAO-05-834T (July 13, 2005): www.gao.gov/new.items/d05834t.pdf

    160 airlines filed for bankruptcy since deregulation in 1978, including 20 since 2000. Most airlines that entered bankruptcy have not survived. . .

    I agree competition is good, if it is from realistic competitors. Although I'm sure not one airline was founded thinking it would fail, many of the new entrants were doomed before they even started (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skybus_Airlines).

    I'm not sure if more entrants like the one above would stabilize and benefit the industry. I do believe that some sort of barrier is necessary. I'm not necessarily advocating re-regulation, but since the airlines are considered a national asset, a little stability would be nice. The industry has very restrictive labor laws because of this (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_Labor_Act) and as such, it is very difficult for everyone if the industry is in a state of extreme flux all the time.

    But, again this is from a very biased perspective. I do truly wish that we could offer the services and accommodations that people were getting in the '70's. But unless one is willing to pay significantly for it, it is just economically unrealistic today.

    It is very unfortunate that today's travel experience can be so unpleasant. It starts with the TSA, and many times doesn't go up from there! I wholeheartedly wish it was better. Maybe if the industry stabilizes some, the service's will also improve some. Sorry.
    Last edited by aric; 05/04/2010 at 07:26 PM.
  2. aric's Avatar
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    #22  
    I will point to a website that is attempting to alleviate some of the unknowns of air travel delays and cancellations. FlightCaster

    This site looks at historical data, current weather, faa delay programs and ground stops, company data, and aircraft availability to try and forecast flight status up to six hours in the future. This data might be handy if there is significant weather in one part of the country, which, although might not affect where you are, would affect your flight status.

    Unfortunately, many times the flight information from the airlines is not available until it is too late to do anything about it (ie. rebook a different flight). Flightcaster.com might be able to help.
    Last edited by aric; 05/04/2010 at 09:01 PM.
  3. groovy's Avatar
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    #23  
    Quote Originally Posted by jjeffcoat View Post
    I guess I should have been a little more specific in the original post, but I was tired & ready to go to bed.

    So...
    I HATE calling customer (no)service, talking to voice (non)recognition computers, getting cut off as soon as I reach a real person, trying to call back multiple times but getting a recording that says "your call is VERY important to us, due to heavy call call volume we are unable to take your call at this time, please go to delta.com"

    An excercise in extreme frustration which left me literally shouting at the voice (non)recognition computer after the fifth time it couldn't understand "existing reservation" ... a pretty stupid thing to do I realize, but I was at the end of my rope.

    It's morning now, I have my boarding pass, and everything is all better. :-)
    The last time I called United, they charged me a $25 surcharge to book my flight with a real person. That was just the beginning of the nickle and dime experience that ensued for the whole trip. Talk about a short-sighted business strategy: provide sub-standard automated phone service (and risk losing people in the process) so that that you can charge them a few bucks after they get fed up and acquiesce to the surcharge.

    It doesn't help that United has the absolute worst hubs. O'Hare is a nightmare's bad dream wrapped in a craphole.
  4. groovy's Avatar
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    #24  
    Quote Originally Posted by runukraine View Post
    Compare to the hypercompetitive European market where fares are much lower for the same distance routes. Service is much better. Planes are newer and generally offer nicer amenities.
    I honestly can't say that I've had the same experience. Haven't flown much domestically on BA or KLM, but neither Swiss Air nor Air France impressed me as far as planes or amenities.
  5.    #25  
    Quote Originally Posted by groovy View Post
    The last time I called United, they charged me a $25 surcharge to book my flight with a real person. That was just the beginning of the nickle and dime experience that ensued for the whole trip. Talk about a short-sighted business strategy: provide sub-standard automated phone service (and risk losing people in the process) so that that you can charge them a few bucks after they get fed up and acquiesce to the surcharge.

    It doesn't help that United has the absolute worst hubs. O'Hare is a nightmare's bad dream wrapped in a craphole.
    Atlanta is bad, too but agree O'Hare is worse.

    Actually, I had BOOKED my flight online, the problem was when I was going online to check in, print boarding pass, etc., it did not show a seat assignment OR any available seats for the OKC-MEM flight. I wanted to make sure they had not overbooked and I maybe had to be there extra early to get on top of the standby list. Fortunately they were able to assign me an exit row seat (which I'm fine with), but the hassle to actually speak to a real person to accomplish that was a nightmare. And I hate voice-recognition computers with every fibre of my being, would much rather go with "Press 1 for this", "Press 2 for that.." etc.

    As a footnote, my flight from MEM to GTR was on a 30 seat turboprop. My first time ever on that type of aircraft, and I can absolutely say that I don't like it. Noisy, bumpy, cramped, and the plane never reached the "acceptable" altitude for personal electronic devices, so I was unable to listen to any of my podcasts on drPodder. Not that I would likely have been able to hear them anyway.....
    My device history:

    - Jim J.

    (On Sprint for many years)
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