On 3/12/2003 12:16:44 PM eolesen wrote:
I have more respect for WNP's droning than I do Joe B's...
Amen to that! Joe Brancatelli's column is full of the half-truths and hyperbole that misinformed journalists love to cite over and over in an attempt to give their statements credibility.
Let's look at some of the whoppers this intellectual giant came up with:
The Big Six have no moral or financial obligation to continue serving smaller communities. In fact, smaller cities are being cut from Big Six route maps with blinding speed. Since 9/11, government statistics show, small communities have lost Big Six flights twice as fast as other cities.
Joe, do you advocate hastening the cancellation of service to these small communities by letting the "Big Six" go "Tango-Uniform", then? And do you suffer from the delusion that Southwest, jetBlue, or any other "airline du-jour" will fill in the void? Puh-leeze! Small communities have suffered because everyone in those small towns is willing to drive 2 hours or more to cities with lower prices. The loss of traffic drives up the prices at the small community even more, until the major finally pulls out.
Shortly after 9/11, the Big Six claimed they were spending $1 billion a year on security. At last count, since the federal government assumed most passenger-security functions, the Big Six has contributed only about $300 million of the $700 million they were supposed to pay.
But the reason the security costs are hurting is that your $98.00 super discounted ticket looks a lot more like $120.00 after the taxes get added on. This keeps price-sensitive, discretionary travelers at home, costing the airlines billions.
The airlines are right about this one. Even with aggressive price hedging, the Big Six are doling out millions more every day on fuel costs. But guess what? So are you. So am I.
Yep, but I'm relatively certain that neither of our cars needs upwards of 7,000 GALLONS for just one trip. Kind of makes a difference, doesn't it?
they continue to destroy their businesses by using a Byzantine fare structure and repulsive customer-service practices that depress both legitimate business-travel demand and discretionary leisure travel
And believe me, we'd LOVE to change the pricing model. However, (as I posted in another forum) the problems of the pricing structures aren't based solely on the walk-up, last-minute fares being too high.
It's also that many of the advance-purchase, Saturday night stay required, "travel after 10pm on days starting with 'T' while wearing a green tie and a red sock" fares are much too low.
There needs to be a middle ground, where people pay more than just $99.00 for their coast-to-coast travel but the last-minute folks don't have to apply for a second mortgage to get a ticket, either.
Unfortunately, the pricing structure won't get fixed until the economy rebounds. The reason is that the airlines are doing everything they can to entice every last passenger to fly, and the name of the game right now is low fares. Scheduling, amenities..those factors all go right out the window if a different carrier can get a customer there for a dollar less than the competition.
For the Big Six to embrace a new pricing model would mean they'd have to be willing to tell some customers, "We don't want your business if it means taking a loss on each seat." And unfortunately, that simply won't happen in the current business environment.
Airlines have conditioned the public to only buy tickets when there's a big sale going on. Like Pavlov's dog, consumers salivate and open their wallets each time an airline starts a price war. The problem is that the fares have gotten so low that they can't distinguish between "normal" fares and sale rates.
The dog just doesn't know when he's supposed to salivate anymore.