Time for a revenue model change!!

Aug 20, 2002
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You just discovered this information?? Have you ever paid for a ticket?

How about this cost-cutting idea: eliminate non-rev flying.
And don't tell me that seat would go empty anyway. With the added weight of that non-rev flyer how much more fuel are you going to burn?

Non-rev is acceptable to position crew members. That's it.

The other day an airline proudly announced they were removing one of two coffeemakers from the aircraft to save weight and fuel costs. Tons of money saved they figure.

How much does your arse weigh?
 

Oliver Twist

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This is my opinion, take it as you see fit.
Our industry''s revenue generating process is broken and should be discarded. The first place we should make drastic changes is in our pricing policies. The fare system in place today can only be called ridiculous. Tue Wed fares with Sat stayovers at $98.00 round trip vs. $1900.00 walk up fares for the same flight. Where is the sense in that? Wearing a red hat on Tuesdays may get you a lower fare, but be advised you cannot change anything unless you want to pay $100.00 for the privilege. Does that make any sense to anyone? I bet 99% think as I do and the whole system needs to be scraped like the garbage it really is. Crandall (AA) had the right idea and the guts to try it. Have 4 or 5 fares for a route- that’s it! What could be simpler? Think of the man-hours, the phone calls, the confusion and the COST a simple fare structure will do away with. I know the nay Sayers are chomping at the bit to kill such an idea, but hear me out. The lines would be shorter and move much faster. Passengers would be far less confused about what they get for their money and on our side the hassles would be 90% less and the stress would be 99% less for both sides of the aisle.
Look at this simple illustration of what it could be like going from ALB to MIA in coach. First class would carry a $50.00 each way premium and be for fare 1-3 only. FOOD would be served on any flight over 1 hour.
1. Business fare- Walk up: $275.00 each way
2. Business fare- 7 day advance $220.00 each way
3. Leisure fare - 14 day advance $175.00 each way
4. Leisure fare - 21 day advance $150.00 each way
5. Leisure fare - 30+ day advance $125.00 each way
What are the rules you ask? Simple - I like the KISS principal myself.
Rules:
1. Totally refundable for 1 year- voucher after 1 yr.
2. Changeable without penalty - No name changes permitted.
3. Purchase dates written in stone - no waivers.
4. Standby permitted anytime during the ticketed day if fare class is full.
5. DM rules remain in effect.
6. Stopover rules remain in effect (hidden cities, short checking etc.)
This is where the nay Sayers will go nuts I''m sure. But think of it this way. Imagine the shear relief of all passengers knowing it was not a use it or loose it ticket. Knowing that if they screw up the dates, all is not lost. I dare say we at USAirways would have full planes galore with folks paying real money for a real ticket and not taking advantage of the business passenger as it works now. Let us remember one thing, the business passenger has been paying the family vacations way for decades. Lets give everyone a break. How comforting would it be to our passengers knowing they get all the frills of US (seat assignments, DM, FOOD, drinks, interlining bags, and all the rest) without having to follow stupid and insane rules? Imagine what our public image would be like and the number of complaints vs. compliments. All the regular rules not listed above would apply such as the INVOL policy, etc. The only thing that changes is the cost structure. The above fares are for example only, I don''t live in either place so I''m can''t say what is a fare price, but I suspect we have folks in Crystal City who could.
What about the no shows?? Glad you asked. Since ALL fares allow standby or change at NO cost, I suspect our now show factor would not be an issue. When one doesn’t show, one does to replace them. If our goal is to put butts in the seat, then let''s give them a reason to sit there and NOT hassle them. Air travel is hard enough as it is without insane rules making it worse. I suspect the load factors would rise and the work for all would be so much nicer. When the employees AND passengers are happy, money flows in by the boatload.
Since we would have fewer and shorter lines and calls to rates etc, the obvious question is, do we need all the folks we have now? The answer is YES, most deffinatly YES. They may not answer as many calls from agents, but they would instead answer far more calls from passengers making reservations. The gate and counter agents would have MORE people to process at a faster and simpler rate. FA and Pilots would fly MORE planes that are fuller and mechanics and cleaners would service more planes. What does it mean? It means we do not cut but EXPAND!!!!!! More planes and more jobs and NO reason to cut salaries or keep sucking it up for 6.5 more years. Let the company take the high road and open contracts before 6.5 yrs and reward us for our hard work instead of slamming the door on careers because of the lack of paying passengers. The above will bring them to us in droves
For once I would like to see US make the first move instead of following all the time. Do I want us to be a SW clone? NO. Do I want my company to make it? YES. Let''s take the bull by the horns and pray someone who can make it change reads this and other suggestions and LISTENS.
I may have missed a few points, but the concept is sound I believe. Thank you for your time.
 

KCFlyer

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[P]You know, there's one airline that is trying my idea. America West. Yes, their costs are lower than U's. But not too long ago, they were on the rape and pillage bandwagon with all the rest of the big boys. They've changed. Right now, an advance fare on them from PHX to COS is $265. A walk up fare is $567. That's only a difference of $302 from their lowest to their highest fare. On a U flight of similar length (CLT-MCI), advance fare is $265 and walk up is $1,202...a difference of $937. Now don't look...AWA hasn't made a profit (yet), but their losses have been steadily decreasing. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with their fare structure, could it now? And AWA has SWA camping out in their biggest hub airport. Yet they are stemming losses. U could, too. If they'd just TRY. [/P]
[P]And if anyone in U's IT department reads these boards - your website is one of the most user unfriendly airline sites I have ever seen. Want to make a change, you can't. You literally have to retype [A href=http://www.usairways.com]www.usairways.com[/A] and start all over from scratch. I'd imagine a lot of folks who use the web will give up on trying to book thru your website. It really makes it difficult, and I'm pretty proficient at booking flights on the web. [/P]
 

UAL777flyer

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whatkind,

I've got news for you. If airlines eliminate non-rev flying for their non-crewmember employees, you have no idea how many people will pack it in. Nobody works in this industry to get rich. For many, the flight benefits are the #1 reason they stay at the airlines and put up with the yo-yo business cycles and grief. I think there are better ways to minimize costs and improve revenue than taking away the #1 perk for your employees. That is what's known as one step forward and two steps back.
 

Oliver Twist

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[blockquote]
----------------
On 10/29/2002 3:29:11 PM whatkindoffreshhell wrote:

You just discovered this information?? Have you ever paid for a ticket?

How about this cost-cutting idea: eliminate non-rev flying.
And don't tell me that seat would go empty anyway. With the added weight of that non-rev flyer how much more fuel are you going to burn?

Non-rev is acceptable to position crew members. That's it.

The other day an airline proudly announced they were removing one of two coffeemakers from the aircraft to save weight and fuel costs. Tons of money saved they figure.

How much does your arse weigh?


----------------
[/blockquote]


What-

Where did that comment come from? In case you had NOT noticed, my idea isnt new- I referred back to Crandall of AA as the originator of the concept or at least the first of the majors to try it. As for my rear end, it has nothing to do with the idea. If a plane is FULL, I stay behind. Simple as that!

You apparently MISSED the whole concept of bringing rationality to fares for ALL concerned, passengers AND employees to make flying less of a hassle and cheaper for all. Go back and read it again before you unload with an idea that has nothing to do with what was said.

By the way, I take great offense to your language, clean it up!
 
OP
whatkindoffreshhell
Aug 20, 2002
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Didn't miss anything Oliver. And lose the outraged attitude. Wasn't asking about your particular arse anyway.

My question remains: when have you had to budget for and buy airline tickets?

Uncle Bob attempted that rationalized fare structure a few years ago, until the boys at MSP decided they won't play.
Do you remember what Crandall said in response?

Fact remains that airlines are the biggest public-works project in recorded history. Nothing wrong with that, just quit trying to pretend your a for-profit enterprise, like that junk the Postal Service tries to feed us.

Speaking of which, there is your next candidate for a major wake up call to market reality. Beware of the yellow German trucks!

And UAL777 -- if airline employees choose to remain working for an airline because of the free flights, well, they should find another career. Of course you should enjoy the perk, but don't let that dictate career paths.
 

mga707

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Aug 19, 2002
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[blockquote]
----------------
On 10/29/2002 3:29:11 PM whatkindoffreshhell wrote:

How about this cost-cutting idea: eliminate non-rev flying.
And don't tell me that seat would go empty anyway. With the added weight of that non-rev flyer how much more fuel are you going to burn?

Non-rev is acceptable to position crew members. That's it.

[/blockquote]

Man, do I detect some jealousy here!
Why would anyone begrudge airline folks this one measly benefit, which often as not is nearly unusable anyway?
Why not just make a friend in the industry, and then you can discover the joys of non-revving as well?
 

UAL777flyer

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Aug 20, 2002
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Tom Bascom,

I think your comments are overdoing it a bit. I'm reasonably confident that many airline employees (management employees among them) already know how lousy the revenue passenger experience has become. I know I certainly do and I'm a management employee. It doesn't take a genius to figure it out. The few chances I get to non-rev make that painfully evident. However, airline senior execs are so hung up on cost elimination right now that they can't see the forest for the trees. Believe me, the majority of airline employees are just as frustrated as you are.

And airlines do have to budget for tickets. When employees travel on positive space for company business or other reasons, such as a death in the family, that comes out of the person's departmental budget.
 

TomBascom

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[blockquote]
----------------
On 10/29/2002 3:00:39 PM Oliver Twist wrote:

This is my opinion, take it as you see fit.

Our industry's revenue generating process is broken and should be discarded.
[/blockquote]

Something along these lines has to happen. Airlines that don't move in this direction will be airlines of the past sooner than they expect.

[blockquote]
----------------
...
Look at this simple illustration of what it could be like going from ALB to MIA in coach. First class would carry a $50.00 each way premium and be for fare 1-3 only.

1. Business fare- Walk up: $275.00 each way
2. Business fare- 7 day advance $220.00 each way
3. Leisure fare - 14 day advance $175.00 each way
4. Leisure fare - 21 day advance $150.00 each way
5. Leisure fare - 30+ day advance $125.00 each way

[/blockquote]

1) Why differentiate between business & leisure at all? Creating such distinctions and then trying to enforce them through fares & rules is what led to the current mess...

2) Why stop anyone from paying for (or otherwise obtaining) an upgrade? So what if they're a leisure pax that planned ahead? That's no reason to refuse their money. Next week that person might be your last minute walk-up fare. Which airline are they going to walk-up to? The one that put them in back on vacation?

[blockquote]
What are the rules you ask? Simple - I like the KISS principal myself.
Rules:
1. Totally refundable for 1 year- voucher after 1 yr.
[/blockquote]

The only problem with non-refundable is the airlines insane idea that it means we get to pocket your money without flying you anywhere. The pre Black Tuesday policy was ok although it could use some work to make it more friendly. It was basically an in-store credit which is a reasonable and understandable policy familiar to most consumers (other than VPs in CCY...)

[blockquote]
2. Changeable without penalty - No name changes permitted.
[/blockquote]

Why shouldn't name changes be permitted? Tickets ought to be fully fungible. Check out SWA.

[blockquote]
3. Purchase dates written in stone - no waivers.
[/blockquote]

What does this mean?

[blockquote]
4. Standby permitted anytime during the ticketed day if fare class is full.
[/blockquote]

Presumably you meant not full??? Why restrict it to fare class? Any empty seat is an empty seat -- why make the rule more complex than it needs to be?

[blockquote]
5. DM rules remain in effect.
[/blockquote]

Good thinking :)

[blockquote]
6. Stopover rules remain in effect (hidden cities, short checking etc.)
[/blockquote]

Why are these needed? If the fares are rational there would be little if any benefit in engaging in any of these practices and therefore little revenue to be protected by them. The rules would then only serve to prevent people from doing unusual, but useful, things like making very long connections in the face of poor schedule choices.

[blockquote]
For once I would like to see US make the first move instead of following all the time. Do I want us to be a SW clone? NO. Do I want my company to make it? YES. Let's take the bull by the horns and pray someone who can make it change reads this and other suggestions and LISTENS.

I may have missed a few points, but the concept is sound I believe. Thank you for your time.
----------------
[/blockquote]

It needs to be done. The sooner the better.
 

TomBascom

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[blockquote]
----------------
On 10/29/2002 5:17:05 PM whatkindoffreshhell wrote:
... Uncle Bob attempted that rationalized fare structure a few years ago, until the boys at MSP decided they won't play.
Do you remember what Crandall said in response?
----------------
[/blockquote]

The environment was very different then and he didn't give it a chance. Nor did he try to find anything other than a fare war to argue back with.
 

TomBascom

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[blockquote]
----------------
How about this cost-cutting idea: eliminate non-rev flying.
[/blockquote]

[blockquote]
Man, do I detect some jealousy here!
Why would anyone begrudge airline folks this one measly benefit, which often as not is nearly unusable anyway?
Why not just make a friend in the industry, and then you can discover the "joys" of non-revving as well?
----------------
[/blockquote]

Airline people (especially management) are totally out of touch with regards to the revenue passenger experience. A big part of the reason is that they never have to budget for tickets or deal with any of the associated insanity.

Flight benefits don't have to be eliminated -- but making the costs and the value explicit would go a long ways towards making the depth of the problems a whole lot clearer to insiders.
 

TomBascom

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JonC said (in another thread):

[blockquote]
The problem with cheap fares is that they are subsidized by the higher ones. The reason why an airline can offer $99 New England to Florida specials is because there are people paying $800 for the same trip. Now that everyone wants the $99 special, we have a big problem.
[/blockquote]

This is not true.

Everyone does not expect to pay rock bottom prices for every flight. We want to pay reasonable prices. There's nothing remotely reasonable about $1.00/mile. Nor is there anything unreasonable about charging in the neighborhood of $0.10/mile -- other airlines offering a very comparable product seem to be making money at that level.

If you're going to charge me 10x what you're charging someone else then I expect to have a very comfortable bed, pjs, a 7 course meal that I'd tip the chef for, personal video, a very nice wine list and hot towels. And I expect to be picked up in a limo and taken directly to my destination while someone takes care of my luggage. And you had best be holding that flight for me if I'm running late. And I don't expect to have to wait for a jetway operator so that I can get off the plane.

Since none of those things come with my full fare I'm thinking that maybe I'm being just a wee bit overcharged.

I don't want to fly from New England to Florida for $99 (although I will if you offer it to me). $200 would work just fine. $300 wouldn't kill me either. Give me an incentive to buy those fares and I will. The current system of rules and restrictions is not an incentive -- it is a hairball of dis-incentives. The distinction is subtle but very, very important.
 

KCFlyer

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[P]
[BLOCKQUOTE][BR]----------------[BR]On 10/29/2002 5:49:00 PM UAL777flyer wrote:
[P]However, airline senior execs are so hung up on cost elimination right now that they can't see the forest for the trees[/P]
[P]----------------[/P][/BLOCKQUOTE]
[P]That's called tunnel vision in most other industries. [/P]
 

KCFlyer

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[P]
[BLOCKQUOTE]
[P][BR]----------------[BR]On 10/29/2002 5:26:22 PM TomBascom wrote:[/P]
[P][BR]The environment was very different then and he didn't give it a chance.  Nor did he try to find anything other than a fare war to argue back with.[/P]
[P][/P]
[P]----------------[/P]
[P]Bob's mistake was that he was gonna teach them all a lesson and joined in the fare war. He should have just opened his thesaurus, found a synonym for *%&$@ them and kept the fares in place. [/P][/BLOCKQUOTE]
 

Oliver Twist

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If I am correct in reading the responses here, everyone thinks the current revenue generation model is the pits. I hope someone in CCY is reading this thread. Have some guts and put something similar into effect. What have we got to loose? Not much from where I sit. If the passengers like the idea of simple straight forward fares and rules, then the flood gates will open and revenue will soar.

Tom, I hear what your saying and so far is seems we don't really disagree on much and agree on the concept. As an agent (yes What I DO occasionally buy tickets if it's critical I get somewhere and I find the cheapest thing I can and follow the same stupid rules you do) I find the stress level in dealing with passengers far higher than it needs to be. Flying should be fun and rewarding for both sides of the counter. I don't have all the answers and Tom may be right in some respects. I'm not a hot shot in the Crystal Place so some of my rules may not be needed such as the no name changes. As long as the fare is totally refundable then what does it matter? As far as the FC upgrades Tom, my aim was to give the ones who pay the most and travel the most the best shot at getting FC. I gave the classes Business and Leisure for lack of a better choice of words. I needed to call it something. I don;t claim to have all the answer's but I do hear all the complaints from both sides of the counter. I am as sick as you are of stupid rules that seem to have no basis in real life.

The reference to dates written in stone simply meant that if it's 6 days in advance, you can't get the 7 day advance fare. There would be no chance to waive that rule. I don't really think it's that difficult to deal with. Especially if one has an emergency, the highest fare may be $250-$300 as opposed to $1000 or more one way. As I mentioned in my original posting, the fares are made up and so is the market involved. It's the concept that counts. $100 coast to coast is too low and $1500 is too high. Find the middle and stay within a reasonable range. But any fare that passes $500 one way is too high in the US market. We don't need to gouge our customers. Give them simple rules and fair pricing and it will work.

Find fault with the application, not the concept. In case those of you who post are also our customers, please note, I'm on your side on this one!

ps. I hate to say it, but some of the posters here are jerks and I won't respond to them anymore. If you have a thoughtful and serious response to make, I will respond. If your aim does not make a point without an insult I won't waste my time. And please keep on the subject.

Thanks for your time.