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Old 07-23-2011, 12:55 AM
 
Location: Rochester
94 posts, read 216,576 times
Reputation: 60

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Why don’t people respect the airline industry?

The airline industry seems to be the most criticized industry in America. They are disrespected (I have seen while in airports travelers treat customer service, flight attendants, and even pilots with disrespect). Yes, planes aren’t always on-time. Your bags get lost occasionally. But its not the airlines fault most of the time. Here starts my rant. Note: I don’t work in this industry but hearing people complain while sitting next to them on flights has set me off.
  • People complain about airfares as if they are too expensive. But lets remember that airfares are one of the only products (along with technology) not to increase in cost over the past thirty years. Post deregulation, airfares have plummeted and this luxury service (compared to slow cars or busses) has become a service of the middle-class. As a result of these airfares, many things have happened.
  1. The margins are the lowest of any industry. As a result, hundreds of carriers have collapsed over the past thirty years. So before you complain about your $200 airfare sold on a negative or barely positive margin, complain about the $2 shirt sold at Walmart for $20.
  2. You get what you pay for. People complain about small seats or no meals or no free baggage. But the airlines are doing you a favor. They are trying to win your business since the only thing Americans care about is the cheapest ticket. At one point, airlines tried to distinguish themselves by offering great service knowing people would pay more for quality service. But now, that is gone. I have no problem with people choosing the lowest fare. But when they complain about the direction of the industry (towards bare-bones service), when it is THEIR decision which airline to fly, they lose my sympathy. After all, if people truly wanted steak dinners and large seats, the airlines would give that to them. But they aren’t willing to pay for the extra costs of taking seats out of an airplane (look up American More Room Throughout Coach) or providing them with expensive meals (a meal which requires a contract with a catering company, paying extra employees to load the food on, paying by making turn-around times longer, paying in fuel burn for carrying the extra weight, paying to have extra people take the food waste off…pretty soon a five dollar meal becomes really a twenty dollar meal…again not a problem but when an airline offers this, somebody else undercuts this airline and the consumers choose that airline). Consumers, not companies, decide what will be provided to them, through their purchasing decisions.
  • The playing field is unlevel. I love when people constantly hit on the legacy carriers (American, Delta, US Airways, United). Well, these carriers have much higher costs (labor, fuel, network costs associated with convenient yet expensive hubs, operating first class). It would be like GM having the UAW workers and Ford having non-union workers then both companies trying to compete.
  • My favorite comment was on website which said that they used to like Jetblue until they raised fares. Now, they love Virgin America. Of course, they fail to realize that Jetblue’s costs go up when airplanes get older and the employees pay goes up. Of course, in ten years when Virgin America’s prices go up, they will complain about them too and try and find a new savior.
  • Those employed in the industry, one of the few high skill industries in America, are paid little. They also work in the most volatile industry in the world.
  1. Take the pilots, most of whom paid over $40,000 to train themselves in expensive airplanes. Many also did so at a University flight school which costs at least $20,000 a year on top of training costs. After four years, they are over $100,000 in debt. Yes, the top pilots pull in over $200,000 but most pilots these days fly for the regionals or the low cost carriers I just mentioned, making GASP $20,000 a year. Yup, they could make almost as much at Mcdonalds. Little pay given training costs which approach law school or other professional programs. No wonder banks don’t loan money to aspiring pilots.
  2. Or the flight attendants whose pensions and pay have been cut as well. Yet, they try to smile when getting (on a good day) not yelled at by at least a few travelers.
  3. Or airplane mechanics, who are very skilled yet have seen pensions and pay dramatically reduced. Many work overnight shifts.
  • There are a lot of layers in this industry that work for your air travel. There is the management and the corporate people like any company. Then, there is the people checking you in, the people at the gate, the customer service people for lost luggage, the airline people who help those who need it (finding a gate, disability, children), the baggage handlers, the flight attendants, the pilots, the cleaning crews (if they aren’t outsourced), the mechanics…A little more complex than the person behind the counter at Starbucks who pushes a button, coffee is made, and then they hand it to you.
  • Much more can go wrong in this industry than say Starbucks. Weather can hit, airports delayed at “rush hour,” bags fail to make it on the flight (it could be the airlines fault if they screwed up a connection but it could be the travelers fault, who checks in twenty minutes before the flight then expects everything to work out)…
  • Many fail to realize that the air travel is safer than being in a car! It would be nice if we could thank the highly trained pilots, mechanics, air traffic controllers, and airline dispatch. But most don’t care until something happens to them.
I’m not asking you to love this industry. But at least understand how hard it is to be make money in the airlines, how many people work for your flight, how truly affordable air travel is, and how many things can go wrong. So before you hate on the airlines, look at the industries that have it easier...

Next time a thunderstorm occurs, don’t yell at the customer service agent. When the flight attendant hands you no snack, don’t give them a look. They are all working hard for you.
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:33 AM
 
Location: The Raider Nation._ Our band kicks brass
1,854 posts, read 8,745,163 times
Reputation: 2308
Many people mistakenly believe that airlines are Government entities, and that we are Government employees paid by taxpayer dollars.


We are the only private industry with so much Government regulation that they actually have a hotline for people to complain about lost bags, and late arrivals.

Imagine what it would be like if the fast food industry had a Government hotline for people to complain about cold fries, slow service, or the wrong order.
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Old 07-23-2011, 06:39 AM
 
Location: Orlando, Fl
492 posts, read 1,241,509 times
Reputation: 452
[quote=MINresident;20139639]Why don’t people respect the airline industry?[list]

I’m not asking you to love this industry. But at least understand how hard it is to be make money in the airlines, how many people work for your flight, how truly affordable air travel is, and how many things can go wrong. So before you hate on the airlines, look at the industries that have it easier...

Hard to make money? Southwest has been doing it for Years......
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:41 AM
 
14,262 posts, read 24,004,620 times
Reputation: 20084
[quote=lcole07;20140746]
Quote:
Originally Posted by MINresident View Post
Why don’t people respect the airline industry?[list]

I’m not asking you to love this industry. But at least understand how hard it is to be make money in the airlines, how many people work for your flight, how truly affordable air travel is, and how many things can go wrong. So before you hate on the airlines, look at the industries that have it easier...

Hard to make money? Southwest has been doing it for Years......

Southwest makes money for a number of reasons.

First, they have adopted a completely different business model - one that excludes the failed "hub and spoke" system. They have adopted a model similar to many other industries -one that prizes efficiencies and employee productivity.

Second, unlike the other airlines, they have defined their product pretty well. You always know what you are going to get and they nearly always deliver.

Third, because they manage their business well, they have had the available cash to do what MOST corporations do - hedge their raw material purchases. For years, they have been able to control their fuel costs. You cannot do that if you are always on the verge of bankruptcy.
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Old 07-23-2011, 07:53 AM
 
4,399 posts, read 9,062,662 times
Reputation: 2352
Quote:
Originally Posted by South Range Family View Post
Many people mistakenly believe that airlines are Government entities, and that we are Government employees paid by taxpayer dollars.


We are the only private industry with so much Government regulation that they actually have a hotline for people to complain about lost bags, and late arrivals.

Imagine what it would be like if the fast food industry had a Government hotline for people to complain about cold fries, slow service, or the wrong order.
THe Airline industry has been bailed out constantly by the federal government and pretty much would not exist without these bailouts.
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:00 AM
 
14,262 posts, read 24,004,620 times
Reputation: 20084
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdm2008 View Post
THe Airline industry has been bailed out constantly by the federal government and pretty much would not exist without these bailouts.
Especially when you include all the trips to the various US Bankruptcy Courts,
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:02 AM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
8,598 posts, read 11,085,198 times
Reputation: 10308
Southwest makes money because of the routes they run and the fleet they fly. You use one type of aircraft, you save on economy of scale in training, parts, etc.

Of course if you want to go anywhere other than the continental US, you're out of luck if you have a Southwest business model.
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Orlando, Fl
492 posts, read 1,241,509 times
Reputation: 452
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyyc View Post
Southwest makes money because of the routes they run and the fleet they fly. You use one type of aircraft, you save on economy of scale in training, parts, etc.

Of course if you want to go anywhere other than the continental US, you're out of luck if you have a Southwest business model.
That will change next year.
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Old 07-23-2011, 09:38 AM
 
Location: The Raider Nation._ Our band kicks brass
1,854 posts, read 8,745,163 times
Reputation: 2308
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdm2008 View Post
THe Airline industry has been bailed out constantly by the federal government and pretty much would not exist without these bailouts.
When you say bailouts, do you mean Government backed loans that were paid back in full with interest?

That certainly doesn't make us Government employees.


Atsb Sells US Airways/America West Loans — Civil Aviation Forum | Airliners.net


[/quote]
The Air Transporation Stabilization Board (ATSB) loan program, which was open to all airlines in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, was created as part of the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act. This Act was put into place to stabilize an industry vital to the nation's economy at a time when the private capital markets were closed as a result of terrorist Acts of War against the United States.

US Airways Group Chairman, President and CEO Doug Parker said, "Today's announcement signifies the payoff of both the former America West and US Airways government-backed loans. Not only has the government received full payment of its original loans, with interest and fees totaling approximately $180 million, taxpayers also received an additional $116 million earlier this month when the ATSB sold warrants associated with America West's original loan.[/quote]
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Old 07-23-2011, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,411 posts, read 26,246,787 times
Reputation: 16497
I have no problems with the airlines, I am the last person to complain about any airline company. (besides AA, I just don't like them), but airlines have to do what they have to do, and I think for the most part they make things VERY accommodating for all passengers. Unless you're flying an airline like Air India, the customer service is generally friendly if you are respectful, and FA's are generally nice.

The airline business is one of the most competitive businesses out there , and most of the companies are struggling for survival. They have to profit somehow, just like charging for bags or making those fees. Companies need to profit to make it, people think that they are ENTITLED to everything when that is far from the case. America, and the world in general has turned into a complaining society that feels the world owes them everything they don't work for.

What do I know though.. just my .02
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