If we ran an airline...

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by ericb, Sep 12, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. ericb

    ericb Silver Member

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    So this is meant to be a thread for productive conversation and brainstorming - not to vent!

    There's always a lot of talk about how airlines treat their customers/employees/shareholders poorly. However, given all the community knows here, I'd be curious what types of policies you'd institute if you ran a major airline (keeping in mind that you're still trying to make a profit).

    Here's a few I'd push for if I were in charge:

    1) Upgrade Policy - blend of AA and the other legacies. Make it a published benefit for top-tier, and then if space is still available follow the UG battlefield process that DL/US/UA does. This resets a lot of customer expectations from "darn - missed another upgrade" to pleasantly surprising a customer that wasn't expecting an F seat.

    2) Replace the carts with a VX or even WN style of service where orders are taken, then brought back by FA or ordered on touch screen. I'd be interested to know whether VX saves money on drinks because many passengers are asleep or decide not to bother ordering (could also use 2L bottles vs cans)

    3) Collaborate with a furniture manufacturer to design FAA-approved comfortable seats that don't look like they were designed for military aircraft. Clearly improvements are coming around the corner with lie flat F/J seats and the slim-line Y seats, but I think cool things would come out of Herman Miller having a hand in seat design (like foam cushioning and sensible headrest pillows!)

    4) Contract with local or national food service providers to offer sandwiches/salads with brand recognition/some semblance of quality. Granted, I've noticed that Y food has improved on some carriers, but can still be inedible, completely insensitive to time of day or not in stock.
    Is there any reason why we can't have Quizno's or Panera Bread onboard? According to some crew friends, it seems like a lot of gate caterers are notorious for shoddy delivery/inventory management. Perhaps an experiment giving the business to a company that can handle demand management responsibly and tends to taste pretty good might be worthwhile. If someone just dropped $300 on a flight, I wonder what the cross-sell rate for an $8 sandwich would be, assuming volume discounts and better SLAs?

    5) Elite drink chits that don't have strange economics or expiration dates - I took many a crack o' dawn flights on DL and love the perk they give Golds-on-up (a free drink or snack box if they print their BP). Except that it can't use used on perishable items that are cheaper than a snack box or alcohol and expire a day later (so if I wanted 2 drinks on the return I was SOL). I remember trying to explain to several FA's I'd like to use my chit to pay for someone bloody mary at 7am, if they could buy me a parfait. Way too complicated :( - How bout "This voucher is good for up to $7 in value on all in-flight dining and does not expire"

    6) Obviously wifi, Personal Video on Demand and standard A/C outlets - I'd be curious if you could compare passenger-crew incidents/complaints with the installation of these features. My guess is people tend to complain less if they can just goggle in to hulu or netflix on a transcon.

    So post your ideas! I'd be curious what you and the community at-large would do if it attempted to run an airline. I'm sure collectively there are great ideas not only on the customer experience side, but some of the technical aspects like aircraft leasing, booking systems, buying fuel, pricing algorithms, award availability, maintenance, routing, crew seniority and tenure etc. Sky's the limit!

    Like I said, keep it productive :)
     
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  2. Jett Rink
    Original Member

    Jett Rink Silver Member

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    I think you've vented here. :confused:
     
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  3. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    If I ran an airline I would be out of business within a week!
    My generous 40 inches of seat pitch economy and full three course meals on every flight is just the start.
    Add no baggage fess, fully refundable tickets and complementary limo and maybe staying in business for a week is optimistic! :eek:
     
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  4. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    :D beat me to it ! Just what I was thinking if this community ran an airline.
     
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  5. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Many airlines outside the USA use full-size bottles for drinks, even from the cart. Lufthansa always pours juice from a quart(-ish; I'm sure it is metric)-sized container and many pour booze from full-size bottles instead of minis.
     
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  6. gpaya
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    gpaya Gold Member

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    I'd put in a First Class for which someone would pay.
     
  7. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    ;)
     
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  8. livefastdiefun

    livefastdiefun Silver Member

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    I'd re-engineer the boarding process.

    First- Back row window seats
    Second- Middle of the plane windows
    Third- front of the plane windows
    Fourth- back of the plane middle
    Fifth- middle of the plane middle
    Sixth- front of the plane middle
    Seventh- back of the plane isle
    Eighth- middle of the plane isle
    Ninth- front of the plane isle.

    Seems logical.
     
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  9. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    That would make sense; except there would be no room left for the carry on bags for the ppl in the front of the plane.
     
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  10. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Actually not the quickest though. ;)
    http://boardingarea.com/blogs/thewa...-bestest-airplane-boarding-sequence-or-is-it/

    And, when you take into account that most passengers aren't going to line up in advance to board in the prescribed order and that elites are going to strut their stuff it gets even harder.
     
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  11. livefastdiefun

    livefastdiefun Silver Member

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    That's the one I was trying to emulate. I couldnt remember the name of the guy or the study so I did my best to recreate it.

    Still boggles my mind that EVERY airline has turned him down.
     
  12. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Not me. It might work great in theory but when you deal with people actually arriving at the gate at different times and with things like elite pre-boarding all the algorithms in the world devolve into crap.
     
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  13. livefastdiefun

    livefastdiefun Silver Member

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    load the elites/first class passengers first
    then load people with "Group1" on their boarding pass - are all back of plane windows (in any order)
    then Group2 - middle plane windows etc....

    they do it now but its designated by row and no row/seat
     
  14. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Ah, it appears the FA's of my airline have arrived. Hello......

    [​IMG]
     
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  15. iterfacio12

    iterfacio12 Silver Member

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    - Wi-fi complimentary in business/first class, with a reasonable purchase rate for economy class.
    - capability to recharge computer/iPad/Kindle, etc, on every seat. If for electrical reasons that's not feasible, then have it provided with business/first, and once again have a charge for economy. Or limit a number to each class, and sell as an additive to the ticket at purchase.
    - A bottom level tier for frequent flyer program that's actually useful and worth seeking out, like an extra checked bag or after 10 round-trips with that airline, you get an UG to business for a reasonable additional cost.
    - A mid-level tier that provides useful benefits for things frequent travelers actually want (UG's for a reasonable cost and points combo, extra free checked baggage, front line boarding, BETTER meals.
    - Never have the audacity to charge hundreds upon hundreds of dollars per flight for special fuel charge's. That is the cost of doing business for an airline. That's like a lawyer drawing up a will, then adding a $600.00 ink surcharge to your bill. It's not as if transcon tickets are cheap.
    - I could literally bring an old school TV microwave dinner, frozen, onto the plane, have the FA's heat it up in the microwave, and have the same culinary experience as eating what is served. Contract a successful mid-tier restaurant to provide meals (Applebee's, Chili's, Panera Bread, Boston Market); it's not that difficult to do. They'd likely jump at the chance.
     
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  16. gleff
    Original Member

    gleff Co-founder

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    My airline would have hedged fuel at under $40 far into the future.
     
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  17. secretsea18
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    secretsea18 Gold Member

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    Meaning forever??
     
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  18. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    No only until the spot price of oil falls below that price :p
     
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  19. secretsea18
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    secretsea18 Gold Member

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    But in what universe would that happen in?
     
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  20. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    The same universe where I'd be allowed to run an airline.
     
  21. secretsea18
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    secretsea18 Gold Member

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    Ah.... of course.... it has to be an airline for profit. :)
     
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  22. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    Mine would sell one-way tickets for exactly half the price of round trip tickets.
    I'd also have a tip/donation jar as you exit the plane, funds to help the airline stay profitable and make up for all the loss from the combined suggestions we have made.
     
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  23. cvsara
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    cvsara Gold Member

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    Not much doubt about a profit, IF fuel is $40 or under, AND all the fares and fees are at today's rate.
     
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