The Federal Government Should Run the Airlines

September/28/2009 19:41PM
7 interesting comments, join the discussion
Please follow and like us:

Once, many years ago the US airlines knew how to do marketing. They differentiated their airline from the competition by good marketing. Delta treated their employees so well they even bought the airline an airplane paid for by employee contributions. Those days are long gone. The bean counters have taken over the airlines. They have made each into a commodity provider.

Back when airlines knew marketing I had a neighbor who flew to San Diego from Chicago and back every week. He usually flew American. American had him in their computer. Someone would check when he didn’t book and if he was flying a competitive airline, America would call and offer him a seat in first class if he flew them instead.

Braniff tried to cut into Southwest’s low fares between Dallas and Houston. It was a marketing case study. Southwest knew that 80% of that traffic was business traffic on expense account. They offered a free bottle of top shelf liquor to everyone who paid their normal price or they would match Braniff’s price, no booze. Braniff threw in the towel in less than 6 months.

That’s all gone now. They are all competing to see who can give the worst service, strand passengers the longest, and gouge the most. Profits were up this quarter for most. Why? The baggage charges that just don’t seem to go away even though fuel costs have gone back down.

Every year I buy 12 tickets to fly between Chicago and Jacksonville, Florida and back at Thanksgiving. Buy more than ten tickets and you qualify for what the airlines call their bulk rates. You might as well call the bulk desk, since you can’t buy more than 8 tickets on line in one transaction from anyone.

So, I called the United bulk sales desk. The recording said, no lie, “due to the heavy traffic your wait may be up to 26 minutes”. Let’s see, bulk buyers would seem to be important customers. Does it make sense to make them wait 26 minutes to buy tickets? Southwest was only 10 minutes, and US Air was 5 minutes.

Once you get through to United you would presume you would be talking to someone who was very experienced and proficient in doing this type of ticketing. No such luck. We had to spell every name, even Tim. It took 40 more minutes to finish the deal. Savings, none, really. Plus, they take pride in telling you you can’t use free miles on bulk tickets. Even left a second phone message to make sure I understood what little value United puts on anyone buying 12 round trip tickets.

The way I see it the airlines have become Amtrak. So, let’s just let Obama take them over, fire the CEO’s, and let some czars run them. Or, sell them to the Chinese who seem to have a better feel for marketing than many US companies, especially airlines.

No wonder everyone just goes to Orbitz and buys the cheapest flight. They have done it to themselves.

Please follow and like us:

Other Articles You Might Enjoy:

Leave a Reply