WalMart, etc

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W:EXCH:INVOL

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Aug 20, 2002
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KCFlyer showed a comparison table that, other than the pretzel line was mostly about fares and fees. When comparing airlines and the services they offer, are money issues the deciding factor? Or do assigned seats, preferred check-in and boarding, better FF programs, upgrading opportunities, etc, etc come into play at all?
Please-I''m not starting another WN bash here, I just find it hard to believe that someone with your knowledge and active flying schedule chooses airlines based on $$ alone.
Also-re the quote about cater to the poor and grow rich...if we were to eliminate the services mentioned above and did, in fact, cater to the poor, would you fly us? Would Tom? Would Art?
INVOL
 

AtlanticBeach

Senior
Aug 20, 2002
341
2
Among other routes, I fly JAX-BWI every 5 to 6 weeks.

US connects through CLT. WN has 3 non-stops a day
US 90% of upgrades clear WN - what upgrades?
US travel time 3:30 WN travel time 1:50
US Club except Sunday AM WN no space to work pre-flight
US Preferred check-in WN allow extra 30 minutes

Who do I fly?

When I can get a reasonably low fare, I'll travel US every time, even if it is slightly more expensive (and there are usually three traveling).

If it is last minute, WN is less than half the cost of US, so I'll save the $550 per person.

Loyalty is one thing, but wouldn't you make the same choices that I do?
 

Busdrvr

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Aug 20, 2002
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KC,
I'll bet your other car is a 10 year old FORD truck.
 

KCFlyer

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Aug 20, 2002
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[P]
[BLOCKQUOTE][BR]----------------[BR]On 10/14/2002 5:41:33 PM W:EXCH:INVOL wrote:
[P]KCFlyer showed a comparison table that, other than the pretzel line was mostly about fares and fees. When comparing airlines and the services they offer, are money issues the deciding factor? Or do assigned seats, preferred check-in and boarding, better FF programs, upgrading opportunities, etc, etc come into play at all?[BR][BR]Please-I'm not starting another WN bash here, I just find it hard to believe that someone with your knowledge and active flying schedule chooses airlines based on $$ alone.[BR][BR]Also-re the quote about cater to the poor and grow rich...if we were to eliminate the services mentioned above and did, in fact, cater to the poor, would you fly us?  Would Tom? Would Art? [BR][BR]INVOL [/P]----------------[/BLOCKQUOTE]
[P]Short answer - yes. I have never flown for a meal and I have never flown for a movie. Living in the middle of the country, you can't get either on a flight anyhow. I used to think that assigined seats were a must. Indeed many, many years ago, I would not have considered Southwest precisely because they didn't have assigned seating, and I read and heard all the horror stories about cattle car seating. Then an employer forced me to fly them. And I discovered that the horror simply didn't exist. As a matter of fact, the flight was actually a bit more enjoyable than what I was accustomed to. [/P]
[P]Bottom line, price and convenience rule my purchasing decision. Quite frankly, I don't find any of the other services worth an extra cost. [/P]
 

Dea Certe

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Aug 20, 2002
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I remember when US Air started first class. Our instructor told us that a survey had been done and our FF's wanted More. Naturally, we had the class on how to do a first class service that included linens, glassware, better meal choices, etc.

I'm beginning to think that fancy survey got it wrong or our management misunderstood it. As we can see from these boards, our pax want Better. Better fares, better service (on time, friendly) and a better travel experience altogether. Can you blame them?

Simplify the fares! Don't punish the people who fly on us with confusing rules. Accommodate where and when we can.

And for Heaven's sake, send some of those in our upper management to charm school. I'm still embarrassed by the way our new fare rules were presented to the public.

Evolve or become extinct.
 

resconcerns

Member
Sep 11, 2002
26
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AMEN DEA
I still cannot imagine how our leaders could have fumbled the handling of our fare rule changes. New leadership, new vision, new ...new...new...
But the same ole thing.
Dave's new folks are getting their feet wet at our expense.
 

KCFlyer

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Aug 20, 2002
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[P]I'm beginning to think that fancy survey got it wrong or our management misunderstood it. As we can see from these boards, our pax want Better. Better fares, better service (on time, friendly) and a better travel experience altogether. Can you blame them?[BR][BR]Simplify the fares! Don't punish the people who fly on us with confusing rules. Accommodate where and when we can[/P]
[P]That, in a nutshell, is the answer. People want Value. It doesn't have to be filet mignon at bologna prices. Airlines have begun an adversarial relationship with their customers, and the change fees and use it or lose it are perfect examples. [/P]
[P]Here's an example of what I mean by value INVOL. There are 20 of us going on a cruise over spring break. That's 20 people who will need to fly to Tampa to catch the ship. I don't care who flies what to get there, but my family is flying Southwest, and even though I can't book yet, I will still fly Southwest, even if a cheaper fare is available on U or DAL. Why? Because at least I know that should my plans change for any reason, I will still get credit for 100% of the money I've already paid applied to any new fare. And a lot of things can change in 6 months time. On another airline that might have a fare that's $20 less than Southwest, I'd face the risk of paying a hundred bucks per ticket to make a change. Southwest offers me VALUE for the travel dollar. And after having watched my 78 year old mother hand over a total of $300 to Delta, Continental and American because of unforeseen changes, for NOTHING in return, after watching my brother in law and his buddies hand over $600 to Northwest, for NOTHING, I want the odds in my favor. FWIW, the other folks traveling with us are some of those who got burned with Change fees. After I told them SWA doesn't charge change fees, they found the airline that they are going to fly.[/P]
[P] You can keep preferred check in and boarding. You can keep upgrade opportunities. You can keep your better FF programs. Give me value and I'll give you business. Simple as that. [/P]
 

FrugalFlyer

Senior
Aug 20, 2002
254
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[blockquote]
----------------
On 10/14/2002 5:41:33 PM W:EXCH:INVOL wrote:

KCFlyer showed a comparison table that, other than the pretzel line was mostly about fares and fees. When comparing airlines and the services they offer, are money issues the deciding factor? Or do assigned seats, preferred check-in and boarding, better FF programs, upgrading opportunities, etc, etc come into play at all?

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

For me the price of the ticket is a major factor, but there are other things to consider as well. For short trips, say up to 2 hours, the price will usually be the deciding factor. For longer trips, the price is still a consideration, but other things such as direct flights vs connections and toys such as audio/video become more important - especially if traveling with children.

Some people expect royal treatment at greyhound prices - which is stupid.
Most people just want simpler pricing structures and a gentler screwing when travel plans change.
 

TomBascom

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Aug 20, 2002
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Price is important. I have to justify it to my employer/customer. They're not stupid -- they know what it costs to fly SWA so if I'm way out in left field somewhere I need a very good reason for it.

But price isn't everything.

Assigned seating isn't very interesting. There isn't much of a gaurantee on the advance seat assignment and the SWA approach isn't that bad. OTOH I doubt that it really costs squat to provide. I can't see paying a premium for it.

Preferred check-in is important. A smooth check-in, even at the last minute, (or perhaps especially then) has value. Of course for that to have value it needs to be consistently well executed. And right now it isn't -- there are way too many times when the line stalls because people have issues at the counter. I'm convinced that the vast majority of those issues are driven by overly complex rules. (Yes, I got stuck in line again this morning -- two agents, two stalled customers. Probably 15 minutes of wait time.)

Preferred boarding has value. I think the aged, infirm & small children should go first. Then the F cabin. Then CP. Then Gold & Silver. Jump the line and fly with the bags... It shouldn't be a free-for-all as it all too often is. It might help if boarding actually started 30 minutes prior to departure rather than the 20 (or 15) that seems to be the rule these days.

The laptop power ports are a biggie -- this makes it possible to work on the plane. If the Boeings are going to stick around they should be retrofitted. The RJs need them too.

MRTC is a biggie -- oops, wrong airline... too bad though. If we're going to be copying other airlines this would be a good place to start. (E+ is a loser. It's a half-wits attempt at MRTC. Don't copy that -- go for the real thing.)

The clubs are nice. But I don't think they count -- they have a membership fee (which is waived for some but not all CPs) so they can't really be called a benefit of preferred status. In small airports the airport runs a lounge and SWA fliers are welcome -- so it isn't much of a differentiator...

Upgrades. This is big -- but I can't base a business decision on it... I don't need a 100% upgrade rate (although I won't object to it...) but my success should refelect my status and it should be a painless and worry free process. Stressing out over it sort of defeats the whole thing. The finery is optional -- I like the linens but they're not the key part of the experience. Decent food is important. It doesn't have to be over the top. Just respectable. The snack basket is over-used and under configured. A muffin, bagel or cinnamon bun in the am, a fresh cookie in the pm would go a long ways. Bring back the hot towels...

The preferred 800 numbers are a great benefit when stuff happens. They're the only way to handle rerouting unless you just happen to be at the ticket counter when you discover that your flight has been canceled... But I've got to believe that they save the airline more money than they cost in that role. The 800# is very helpful when you need to book an award too. On the other hand there really isn't much of an option then either. For ordinary transactions I don't find that there is any advantage to the 800 number -- I just book it on the web.

I'm sure I've missed a few things...

All in all -- a full service airline is worth more. Maybe 25% over basic transportation. Possibly 50% with certain strong execution on the differentiators. Until you factor in the negatives -- nickle & dime fees, sky high add/collects, use it or lose it, no-stand-by and on and on. Add those in (or subtract them out...) and there is a solid case for going with the low-fare alternatives.
 

mrman

Senior
Sep 10, 2002
436
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Price is not the only reason one might choose WN over US including:

No RJ's walk to terminal etc.
Free booze in coach (Note no booze in commuter)
Great FF program, Companion Pass one of the great FF perks out there
Frequency
Price
Overhead bin space No if ands or Props
No walking across tarmac or bussed to your plane
No change fee
FF rewards fully transferable
No expidite fee, etc on awards
If you live in a non hub city, most likely have a NS flight or direct
No sitting in a hub city waiting 30 minutes to take off
No waiting for gate to open up, no waiting for ground crew to show up
Great people at customer touchpoints (flight attendants, gate agents, reservations)
Better food in coach. No food in coach on US
Miss your flight, no big deal there is one in 30 minutes. No use it or loose it.
No capasity controls on award tickets, if there is an empty seat its yours

I could go on.....
 

drifterreno

Veteran
Aug 21, 2002
611
3
[P]KCFlyer--I just have to jump in here and say one thing in defence of your mother. She chooses to fly DL or US or UA or whoever she chooses to fly for one simple reason and I don't think you understand. At her age if she needs assistance in getting to another flight the MAJORS will be happy and able to help her with assistance. I had a customer the other day who is using a cane and is legally blind. Asked Southwest if they would provide wheelchair assistance--opps forgot who I was talking to--and they said as we used to with Metrojet--it is on request at the airport and we cannot guarantee that it will be available. That one single reason is why your 80 year old mother would choose to fly US. I do agree Southwest is good for down home traveling when you dress in your shorts and flowered shirts on the way to a cruise but think 2x when you use your mother as an example. US employees always are kind and gentle with the old folks.[/P]
[P]Good luck with your trip and enjoy the cruise. [/P]
 

KCFlyer

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[P]
[BLOCKQUOTE][BR]----------------[BR]On 10/15/2002 1:59:21 PM drifterreno wrote:
[P][BR]KCFlyer--I just have to jump in here and say one thing in defence of your mother.  She chooses to fly DL or US or UA or whoever she chooses to fly for one simple reason and I don't think you understand.  At her age if she needs assistance in getting to another flight the MAJORS will be happy and able to help her with assistance.  I had a customer the other day who is using a cane and is legally blind.  Asked Southwest if they would provide wheelchair assistance--opps forgot who I was talking to--and they said as we used to with Metrojet--it is on request at the airport and we cannot guarantee that it will be available.  That one single reason is why your 80 year old mother would choose to fly US.  I do agree Southwest is good for down home traveling when you dress in your shorts and flowered shirts on the way to a cruise but think 2x when you use your mother as an example.  US employees always are kind and gentle with the old folks.[BR][BR]Good luck with your trip and enjoy the cruise.  [/P]----------------[/BLOCKQUOTE]
[P]drifterreno, sorry, my mom would have flown SWA except that she lives in Dallas and was going to visit her sister with cancer in Cleveland. This little thing called the Wright Ammendment precluded her from doing that. For what it's worth, her trip to Canton, Ohio (flew into CLE) was on CO. When plans changed and the $100 change fee plus additional fare came out to costing more than a one way ticket from CAK to DFW on Airtran. She flew Airtran home. I actually had to dissuade her from flying DAL-OKC-STL-CLE on Southwest. My mother chose the airlines she chose because of price. As far as SWA not guaranteeing gate assistance - haven't seen that one. I HAVE seen agents (not skycaps) waiting at arrival gates at DAL to assist elderly passengers. And don't forget to tell the elderly that the skycap taking them to their next flight will have his/her hand out for a tip. Finally, Delta has pretty much eliminated preboarding for anybody, old, young, families with kids. The only ones who get to preboard on them are the medallion passengers. I've taken my sister in law, travelling alone with two children in car seats (travelling full fare I might add) that were not permitted to preboard. There's some value service for you. [/P]
[P]As for US employees being kind and gentle with old folks...perhaps they are...just don't let them be curmudgeonly. My wife was on a U flight to AVL, an elderly lady (who helped herself on board) had a cane that she refused to store in the overhead bin. The FA had to be a bit firm with her, not that she didn't deserve a little firm treatment, but don't always say always. [/P]
 

kkcwd

Newbie
Sep 5, 2002
6
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Why didnt your mom travel on a medical emergency fare.Ther would have been no penalty to change,unless her rate was that much cheaper without it.
 
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