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(BBC)   Airlines suffer 'worst year ever' in 2009, announce they're passing along 70% more misery to customers in 2010   (news.bbc.co.uk) divider line 41
    More: Stupid, airlines, airlines suffered, downturn, climb, latino, fares, price wars  
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1560 clicks; posted to Business » on 27 Jan 2010 at 5:34 PM (4 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2010-01-27 02:18:33 PM
Passengers suffer worst service ever in 2009. Passengers announce less desire to fly than ever before. Suck it, airlines.
 
2010-01-27 02:50:52 PM
passenger traffic fell by 3.5%. It seems you'd still do a better profit margin over the year when fuel was super expensive.
 
2010-01-27 02:54:47 PM
Work makes me travel a lot. I usually get to choose which airlines I fly.

I flew Lufthansa twice in 2009. It was a pleasant experience both times.

I flew United three times in 2009, the second two times on group flights that I didn't get to choose. I will never fly United again even if it means I fly for work but pay out of pocket.

I flew Southwest twice in 2009. It was a pleasant experience both times.

I flew American once. I will never fly American again.

The difference was service, not just to me but to all the passengers and to the people at the desks and the waiting areas. United was best - on an 80 seat flight to Georgia, they sold 120 seats. Overbook by 50%? Are you kidding?

One other thing. I'm sure a lot of people will say "but the planes *I* fly in are always full!"

Yeah, that's probably true. As flights emptied out in the past couple of years, a lot of the convenient flights vanished and they cut routes all over the country. Result? Overbooking 50% as you try to cram 75% of your former customers into 50% of your former flight load. Add in that a lot of direct routes are gone and people now need to connect more often than before, and you get crowded planes.

Airlines lately: Full of suckage.
 
2010-01-27 02:58:08 PM
GODDAMNITTOHELL.

Alaska and Southwest are doing JUST FINE, thank you.

They managed to create a working business model and are increasing their market and value.

All the big legacy carriers just have to die. Be reborn if they can figure their shiat out.

/It's NOT about the jobs, people.
 
2010-01-27 03:55:07 PM
Rain-Monkey: GODDAMNITTOHELL.

Alaska and Southwest are doing JUST FINE, thank you.

They managed to create a working business model and are increasing their market and value.

All the big legacy carriers just have to die. Be reborn if they can figure their shiat out.

/It's NOT about the jobs, people.


Also, Southwest us unionized.
 
2010-01-27 04:39:03 PM
AirTran would like a word with you, subby.
 
2010-01-27 05:40:10 PM
Here's the thing..I am sure that airline survival depended and still depends on business travel. With the internet,cell phones,webcams,and all the new technology. No one has to be in Kansas. The people in Kansas can have an online meeting with all their satellite offices without having to fly anyone anywhere. Just an analogy. But it is what I really think is happening to airline travel. That-too many seats..OVER PRICED..Old Jets. Having to buy your lunch/snack/dinner. Paying for drinks. I mean really where is the LUXURY of any of it. This is just going to go really POORLY if we don't enhance our rail system.
 
2010-01-27 05:52:37 PM
I hate flying. I really do. I try to avoid it whenever possible (I will drive for three days across the country just to avoid the need to fly). Why? Because I hate being crammed in a tiny little space with no leg room (I'm six feet tall, I have legs, I cannot just cut them off and place them in the overhead storage bin), and then have to deal with screaming children or getting glared at by other passengers just because I'm knitting!

Yes, that's right, knitting is now considered a 'terrorist activity' by people (thank you so much NCIS), and those of us who knit to stay calm on flights can no longer do so. Knitting needles and yarn get confiscated more frequently now, since the Christmas flight, because they can be used as weapons.

Ugg. If I want to pay someone to strip search me, demand to know what a retainer is, search my yarn for 'hazards', take my needles, stuff me into a tiny chair, offer me no food or drinks, and subject me to screaming children for several hours, I'll fly! If I want to just get somewhere, and do it on my time and on my dime, I'll drive.

/axe murderer in the back seat
 
2010-01-27 05:55:34 PM
unlikely: I flew American once. I will never fly American again.

The difference was service, not just to me but to all the passengers and to the people at the desks and the waiting areas. United was best - on an 80 seat flight to Georgia, they sold 120 seats. Overbook by 50%? Are you kidding?

One other thing. I'm sure a lot of people will say "but the planes *I* fly in are always full!"

Yeah, that's probably true. As flights emptied out in the past couple of years, a lot of the convenient flights vanished and they cut routes all over the country. Result? Overbooking 50% as you try to cram 75% of your former customers into 50% of your former flight load. Add in that a lot of direct routes are gone and people now need to connect more often than before, and you get crowded planes.


Eh, American isn't bad. They're certainly nothing compared to the foreign carriers but they're the best of the legacy carriers.

The reason your United flight was overbooked was that they changed out the aircraft at the last minute. I'm not quite sure why United does this, but it's extremely common. I'd book a ticket on a 767 and get to the airport and all of a sudden it's a 737 and the plane is significantly oversold. I was on one flight that was oversold by 100 people. The only reason I got on that flight was because I had status.

You're right about the routes though. Airlines have been canceling routes left and right for the past couple years. When I first moved to San Francisco there were tons of American flights in and out and if SFO got backed up, I could always get on a flight to oakland instead. Now the flights in to SFO are around half what they used to be and they pulled out of Oakland all together. The number of people flying is down, but capacity is down significantly more.
 
2010-01-27 06:00:34 PM
I flew American a couple of weeks ago with my wife. When we reached our places after boarding there was a blanket covering her seat, which she lifted and found had been hiding a large quantity of melted, moldy chocolate smeared all over the seat. The seat rest between our seats was held on with a single screw and the light over my seat turned on once, flashed, and stopped working for the rest of the cross-country flight. It took a couple of days to get the smell of decomposing chocolate out of my nostrils.

I won't fly American again.
 
2010-01-27 06:03:58 PM
Tachikoma: I hate flying. I really do. I try to avoid it whenever possible (I will drive for three days across the country just to avoid the need to fly). Why? Because I hate being crammed in a tiny little space with no leg room (I'm six feet tall, I have legs, I cannot just cut them off and place them in the overhead storage bin), and then have to deal with screaming children or getting glared at by other passengers just because I'm knitting!

How YOU doin'?

// 6'4, 260# with shoulders wider than airline seats
// haven't flown since Amsterdam for New Years '07-'08
 
2010-01-27 06:11:58 PM
I just smuggle gunpowder in my undershorts and light my balls on fire. That'll teach the airlines.
 
2010-01-27 06:13:09 PM
And yet, people will still fly. The airlines can be as nasty as they want, charge as much as they want, and just not care and people will still fly. We all know this, so why do we even get worked up about it or write articles about the industry? They'll do just fine.
 
2010-01-27 06:20:58 PM
Grand Poohbah: I flew American a couple of weeks ago with my wife. When we reached our places after boarding there was a blanket covering her seat, which she lifted and found had been hiding a large quantity of melted, moldy chocolate smeared all over the seat. The seat rest between our seats was held on with a single screw and the light over my seat turned on once, flashed, and stopped working for the rest of the cross-country flight. It took a couple of days to get the smell of decomposing chocolate out of my nostrils.

I won't fly American again.


You know, in the 500,000 miles I've flown on American, I've never had that happen. I've had some sticky stuff on the tray table, but the flight attendant cleaned it for me. If that actually happened and you're still mad, email their customer support. For something that bad they'll throw something like 10,000 miles your way. If not, they'll give you a decent voucher.
 
2010-01-27 06:23:18 PM
Snarcoleptic_Hoosier: I just smuggle gunpowder in my undershorts and light my balls on fire. That'll teach the airlines.

Maybe you should do a trial run at home Boobies the results; I'm sure we'd all be interested.
 
2010-01-27 06:57:47 PM
ohknaks: Grand Poohbah: I flew American a couple of weeks ago with my wife. When we reached our places after boarding there was a blanket covering her seat, which she lifted and found had been hiding a large quantity of melted, moldy chocolate smeared all over the seat. The seat rest between our seats was held on with a single screw and the light over my seat turned on once, flashed, and stopped working for the rest of the cross-country flight. It took a couple of days to get the smell of decomposing chocolate out of my nostrils.

I won't fly American again.

You know, in the 500,000 miles I've flown on American, I've never had that happen. I've had some sticky stuff on the tray table, but the flight attendant cleaned it for me. If that actually happened and you're still mad, email their customer support. For something that bad they'll throw something like 10,000 miles your way. If not, they'll give you a decent voucher.


Good idea, and I have a letter half-written I've been meaning to finish. I do have to say that they're pilots and flight crews are both helpful and nice, and I was actually willing to let one badly maintained plane slide but our return flight sealed my opinion of American. Upon landing at SFO they couldn't get the luggage container opened and after an hour or so of standing around the baggage carousel at 2AM the local manager sent us home and told us to call in the morning for our luggage. I did so and asked to have our bags sent to our house, but the customer rep told me there was a four hour window for requesting delivery after a flight (a fact not mentioned by the rep at their airport) and that he'd charge me to send our bags. I asked for his manager and he said he didn't have one, so I told him he'd lost our business forever, went to pick up my bags and now want nothing to do with the airline ever again. I didn't have a problem with the stuck door - these things happen - but to be insulted by a rep after everything that had happened was the final straw for me. I fly United a lot and USAir a fair amount and haven't had problems like this with either of them.

Sorry for the 'cool story bro' length...
 
2010-01-27 07:12:20 PM
Grand Poohbah: Good idea, and I have a letter half-written I've been meaning to finish. I do have to say that they're pilots and flight crews are both helpful and nice, and I was actually willing to let one badly maintained plane slide but our return flight sealed my opinion of American. Upon landing at SFO they couldn't get the luggage container opened and after an hour or so of standing around the baggage carousel at 2AM the local manager sent us home and told us to call in the morning for our luggage. I did so and asked to have our bags sent to our house, but the customer rep told me there was a four hour window for requesting delivery after a flight (a fact not mentioned by the rep at their airport) and that he'd charge me to send our bags. I asked for his manager and he said he didn't have one, so I told him he'd lost our business forever, went to pick up my bags and now want nothing to do with the airline ever again. I didn't have a problem with the stuck door - these things happen - but to be insulted by a rep after everything that had happened was the final straw for me. I fly United a lot and USAir a fair amount and haven't had problems like this with either of them.

Sorry for the 'cool story bro' length...


I've had luggage doors not able to open on ERJ/CRJ flights several times on a couple airlines. They're mechanical, it happens. Funny enough, I've had far worse issues with United and US-Air than I have had with any other airline. Among the stories, United stranded me in Chicago one Friday night and I ended up having to sleep in the airport because they didn't want to let me board a plane I had a ticket on.

Pretty sure that 4 hour window doesn't exist as I've never heard of it. In either case, give the 800 number a call and get someone from customer service on the line and they'll usually fix it for you. Unfortunately the main line isn't nearly as good as the executive platinum desk, but they'll still help you out... you just may have to wait 20 minutes to get someone on the phone.

If you fly 100k miles/yr or more though, there's no one better than AA that I've found in the US. The exec platinum desk will bend over backwards to get you home as soon as possible. AA gives me first class upgrades 95% of the time for free on domestic flights. When I've been delayed, AA has actually pulled a boarded passenger off a flight and given me their seat before. I literally couldn't ask for better service.

The equipment certainly is old. They need to add LCD screens and in flight entertainment like every other foreign airline, and need to get rid of the md-80's, but they're working on it. Until the gov't changes regulations and lets Singapore air fly domestic flights, they're the best I've found.

/really, I don't work for AA. I just fly them a lot.
 
2010-01-27 07:17:15 PM
unlikely: Work makes me travel a lot. I usually get to choose which airlines I fly.

I flew Lufthansa twice in 2009. It was a pleasant experience both times.

I flew United three times in 2009, the second two times on group flights that I didn't get to choose. I will never fly United again even if it means I fly for work but pay out of pocket.

I flew Southwest twice in 2009. It was a pleasant experience both times.

I flew American once. I will never fly American again.

The difference was service, not just to me but to all the passengers and to the people at the desks and the waiting areas. United was best - on an 80 seat flight to Georgia, they sold 120 seats. Overbook by 50%? Are you kidding?

One other thing. I'm sure a lot of people will say "but the planes *I* fly in are always full!"

Yeah, that's probably true. As flights emptied out in the past couple of years, a lot of the convenient flights vanished and they cut routes all over the country. Result? Overbooking 50% as you try to cram 75% of your former customers into 50% of your former flight load. Add in that a lot of direct routes are gone and people now need to connect more often than before, and you get crowded planes.

Airlines lately: Full of suckage.


I fly frequently in Europe and the only airline I have any complaint about is Ryan Air. But to hop a flight to London or Dublin is a ten minute bike ride from my house so I can put up with it.

Flew US airways over the Holidays from Charlotte - NYC - Toronto - NYC - Munich. Wasn't horrible..but definitely noticeable difference in quality compared with the European carriers.

Plus alcohol is free on flights over here, suckers.
 
2010-01-27 07:26:11 PM
ohknaks: Grand Poohbah: Good idea, and I have a letter half-written I've been meaning to finish. I do have to say that they're pilots and flight crews are both helpful and nice, and I was actually willing to let one badly maintained plane slide but our return flight sealed my opinion of American. Upon landing at SFO they couldn't get the luggage container opened and after an hour or so of standing around the baggage carousel at 2AM the local manager sent us home and told us to call in the morning for our luggage. I did so and asked to have our bags sent to our house, but the customer rep told me there was a four hour window for requesting delivery after a flight (a fact not mentioned by the rep at their airport) and that he'd charge me to send our bags. I asked for his manager and he said he didn't have one, so I told him he'd lost our business forever, went to pick up my bags and now want nothing to do with the airline ever again. I didn't have a problem with the stuck door - these things happen - but to be insulted by a rep after everything that had happened was the final straw for me. I fly United a lot and USAir a fair amount and haven't had problems like this with either of them.

Sorry for the 'cool story bro' length...

I've had luggage doors not able to open on ERJ/CRJ flights several times on a couple airlines. They're mechanical, it happens. Funny enough, I've had far worse issues with United and US-Air than I have had with any other airline. Among the stories, United stranded me in Chicago one Friday night and I ended up having to sleep in the airport because they didn't want to let me board a plane I had a ticket on.

Pretty sure that 4 hour window doesn't exist as I've never heard of it. In either case, give the 800 number a call and get someone from customer service on the line and they'll usually fix it for you. Unfortunately the main line isn't nearly as good as the executive platinum desk, but they'll still help you out... you just may have to wait 20 minutes to get someone on the phone.

If you fly 100k miles/yr or more though, there's no one better than AA that I've found in the US. The exec platinum desk will bend over backwards to get you home as soon as possible. AA gives me first class upgrades 95% of the time for free on domestic flights. When I've been delayed, AA has actually pulled a boarded passenger off a flight and given me their seat before. I literally couldn't ask for better service.

The equipment certainly is old. They need to add LCD screens and in flight entertainment like every other foreign airline, and need to get rid of the md-80's, but they're working on it. Until the gov't changes regulations and lets Singapore air fly domestic flights, they're the best I've found.

/really, I don't work for AA. I just fly them a lot.


I was as surprised as anyone to get good service out of USAir. Sorry about your United experience - I think that I've had good luck with them because I do everything in my power to avoid layovers in O'Hare, as that's where 90% of the United horror stories I've heard come from. Most of my business flying is San Fran to Boston these days and United has good non-stops for that but if I end up flying more to American hubs I might give them another shot. Thanks for the info.
 
2010-01-27 07:47:45 PM
Grand Poohbah: I was as surprised as anyone to get good service out of USAir. Sorry about your United experience - I think that I've had good luck with them because I do everything in my power to avoid layovers in O'Hare, as that's where 90% of the United horror stories I've heard come from. Most of my business flying is San Fran to Boston these days and United has good non-stops for that but if I end up flying more to American hubs I might give them another shot. Thanks for the info.

My problem with united was always getting to and from SFO actually. I avoid US Air because they never seem to clean their planes. Every single one of them I'm on is filthy. In the end though, it's personal preference. Economy plus on united is pretty decent though. The added legroom is nice.

If you fly enough to justify a club membership, the Admiral's club in SFO is fantastic. The ladies there always helped me out and knew me by name. Any time you can get an airline like that, you'll get much better service.
 
2010-01-27 08:09:23 PM
ohknaks: When I've been delayed, AA has actually pulled a boarded passenger off a flight and given me their seat before.

Wait a second. Did you let them do this or did you find out about it after the fact?
 
2010-01-27 08:10:15 PM
ohknaks: Grand Poohbah: I was as surprised as anyone to get good service out of USAir. Sorry about your United experience - I think that I've had good luck with them because I do everything in my power to avoid layovers in O'Hare, as that's where 90% of the United horror stories I've heard come from. Most of my business flying is San Fran to Boston these days and United has good non-stops for that but if I end up flying more to American hubs I might give them another shot. Thanks for the info.

My problem with united was always getting to and from SFO actually. I avoid US Air because they never seem to clean their planes. Every single one of them I'm on is filthy. In the end though, it's personal preference. Economy plus on united is pretty decent though. The added legroom is nice.

If you fly enough to justify a club membership, the Admiral's club in SFO is fantastic. The ladies there always helped me out and knew me by name. Any time you can get an airline like that, you'll get much better service.


They need a Cash For Clunkers program on planes. New ones like Virgin, LAN, etc. use are so much nicer than the ones our large carriers have. Leather seats, entertainment consoles, no moldy chocolate smells...
 
2010-01-27 08:27:07 PM
unlikely: Overbook by 50%? Are you kidding?

If my math is right, that's actually overbooking by 66%.
 
2010-01-28 12:28:31 AM
I just want to tell you both good luck, we're all counting on you.
 
2010-01-28 05:30:13 AM
Good. Maybe the airlines will start pushing back in terms of the new TSA regulations. If people get irritated enough with the TSA BS, the 3oz or less, taking off their shoes, and getting digitally strip-searched for very little reason, they'll start driving in some cases (international travel excluded, obviously) and the airline lobby will step in.
 
2010-01-28 08:17:57 AM
PPL_Wannabe: AirTran would like a word with you, subby.

Airtran is my favorite domestic carrier, however, there is always a chance you get stuck in Atlanta flying them. I do love how you can upgrade to business at a kiosk.
 
2010-01-28 08:33:52 AM
lajimi: Passengers suffer worst service ever in 2009. Passengers announce less desire to fly than ever before. Suck it, airlines.

Done in one.

That's what it boils down to. More "security" checkpoints hassling everyone, more fees for everything, less customer service.

Why would anyone want to fly unless it was absolutely necessary??
 
2010-01-28 09:35:28 AM
The hyperinflation of misery in the airlines is down to 70% a year? Things are really looking up!
 
2010-01-28 10:57:06 AM
BigSlowTarget: The hyperinflation of misery in the airlines is down to 70% a year? Things are really looking up!



thanks for deregulating the airline industry in the 80's ronnie reagan!!!


after all, the "free Market" will take care of everything..............lol
 
2010-01-28 10:59:50 AM
lajimi: Passengers suffer worst service ever in 2009. Passengers announce less desire to fly than ever before. Suck it, airlines.



thanks for deregulating the airline industry in the 80's ronnie reagan!!!


after all, the "free Market" will take care of everything..............lol
 
2010-01-28 11:02:14 AM
Further proof that dumb frkkkk americans are Owned by big business and don't even know it.


also, further proof that the "free market" myth is just that, a myth.

our markets are controlled markets. the airline cartel's get together and decide on terms and prices.


so much for your Freedom, ey america??
 
2010-01-28 11:50:08 AM
Snips from TFA:

price cuts designed to attract customers

Continued fare wars between airlines

discounted ticketing


You know, it doesn't count as lowering the price if you slash the nominal price, then pile on twice as much in fees. Sorry. The customer only cares about how much money comes out of their wallet in total; they won't magically not notice if you smear it around. In fact, it tends to annoy them. When I pay for a seat, I don't want to then have to pay for the privilege of putting both ass cheeks into it.
 
2010-01-28 12:09:57 PM
Maybe at some point the airlines will clue in and realize that they're creating their own vortex by reducing perks, and increasing fees/prices. Reducing the wait time, ensuring everyone has a smile on their face, and little things like that will do far more for business increase than more air miles.

Maybe they should try some of those things, and collectively pushing back on TSA to lighten the restrictions.

But then they wouldn't get all that free money from the government to prop up their terrible business models they currently have in place.
 
2010-01-28 12:19:05 PM
American Airlines is the black hole of suckitude. Especially out of their former hub St. Louis which was completely gutted of all the decent flights. Good luck getting anywhere without having to switch planes at the hellholes that are O'Hare or DFW.

Plus their equipment is getting friggin ancient.
 
2010-01-28 12:41:10 PM
Old joke:

Q: How do you get a small forture?

A: Start with a large forture and start an airline.

Let's see: High government regulation, high competition from non-profit sources (government run airlines, people who think it's "cool" to own an airline (think Trump here)), high unionization, high salaries, high fixed costs (the airplanes themselves), highly unstable variable costs (fuel prices), high demand swings, and one crash and your name is tarnished for good. Sounds like a greeeeaaaaaat business to be in. I suspect that since the invention of the airplane, airlines have made a net of negative tens of billions of dollars in profit.
 
2010-01-28 03:16:40 PM
Linux_Yes: lajimi: Passengers suffer worst service ever in 2009. Passengers announce less desire to fly than ever before. Suck it, airlines.



thanks for deregulating the airline industry in the 80's ronnie reagan!!!


after all, the "free Market" will take care of everything..............lol


WTF are you talking about??? Airlines were deregulated in 1978, years before Reagan took office. Not to mention that at the time small carriers like Southwest were kept out of markets by regulation. Since deregulation, airline tickets have dropped significantly. Why don't you see Pan-Am, TWA, Western or Eastern?
Because they couldn't compete when their government protection ended.
THE BIG CARRIERS WANTED REGULATION IN ORDER TO KEEP THEIR OLIGOPOLY!
 
2010-01-28 03:30:07 PM
Aah, for the days when aviation was a gentleman's pursuit -- back before every Joe Sweatsock could wedge himself behind a lunch tray and jet off to Raleigh-Durham.
 
2010-01-28 07:28:30 PM
Ball of Confusion: Aah, for the days when aviation was a gentleman's pursuit -- back before every Joe Sweatsock could wedge himself behind a lunch tray and jet off to Raleigh-Durham.

Well, your handle is apt.
 
2010-01-29 09:53:28 AM
dontforgettobringatowel: Linux



how does government regulation keep an oligopoly??

governments tend to bust trusts. not bind them together.

remember the sherman anti trust act?

now, with government pulled out of the picture (deregulation) companies get together and form their cartels where they can do as they please, which in turn, frkkkks the customer.

that is why companies hate the government. companies don't like someone looking over their shoulders when they are stealing.
 
2010-01-29 11:36:13 AM
Linux_Yes: dontforgettobringatowel: Linux


Watch episode 20.
Link (new window)
 
2010-01-29 05:19:03 PM
Sun Worshiping Dog Launcher: ohknaks: When I've been delayed, AA has actually pulled a boarded passenger off a flight and given me their seat before.

Wait a second. Did you let them do this or did you find out about it after the fact?


Found out as I was walking down the jetway and the FA was walking up with some guy and she said 'this is the guy you need to kick' and pointed to me.

For the record, he was flying standby. So even if I had known ahead of time, I wouldn't have cared. It's not like he bought a seat on the plane 3 months prior.
 
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