Cranky on the Web (October 26 – 30)

Continental Joins Star Alliance TomorrowBNET
Continental is in no-man’s land as they end their SkyTeam participation and prepare for Star Alliance.

Ontario’s Air Traffic Glut Draws Anger Toward LABNET
Ontario’s traffic keeps dropping, and the solution might involve kicking LA World Airports to the curb.

Airlines Show Concerns About Winter Demand LevelsBNET
Sales are starting to come out fast and furious, and the pricepoints are low. This may be a long winter.

US Airways Walks Away From Las Vegas, Slashes JobsBNET
US Airways has put the final nail in the coffin in Las Vegas, but more importantly, a lot of people are losing their jobs. Not good.

JetBlue Has Big Plans for BostonBNET
JetBlue is ramping up Boston big time. Giddyup!


15 Responses to Cranky on the Web (October 26 – 30)

  1. Bobber says:

    I just booked a United itinerary for the 12-15th Nov that involves a codeshare flight on CO out of Houston for the return to London. Haven’t flown CO in 12 years, so will be interested to see what it’s like. It was one of the cheaper options (booking via the UA website) but not as cheap as connecting via EWR (no thanks, and a 757 over the atlantic, again no thanks).

  2. CF says:

    Bobber wrote:

    I just booked a United itinerary for the 12-15th Nov that involves a codeshare flight on CO out of Houston for the return to London. Haven’t flown CO in 12 years, so will be interested to see what it’s like. It was one of the cheaper options (booking via the UA website) but not as cheap as connecting via EWR (no thanks, and a 757 over the atlantic, again no thanks).

    While I certainly agree with avoiding Newark at all costs, you might be surprised at how nice Continental’s 757s are. Both the 777s and 757s have full Audio/Video On Demand throughout the airplane and there are two power outlets for every three seats in the entire coach cabin. The 767s, on the other hand, have personal TVs but with just a few channels that rotate movies. They also have emPower power outlets but only in a handful of rows.

    Houston – London is on a 777 so you definitely made the right move, but given the choice of a 757 or 767 on Continental, I’d take the former.

  3. Bobber says:

    Hi Cranky,

    I’d always chose a 777 over a 757, and in this case I’m straight into work the next morning so I figured I just might get a better ride over in the 777. The emPower outlets will still be tested, though – I paid Apple an arm and a leg for my power adaptor and I get precious little opportunity to use it on UA!

  4. CF says:

    Bobber wrote:

    Hi Cranky,
    I’d always chose a 777 over a 757, and in this case I’m straight into work the next morning so I figured I just might get a better ride over in the 777. The emPower outlets will still be tested, though – I paid Apple an arm and a leg for my power adaptor and I get precious little opportunity to use it on UA!

    You won’t need it – the 777 and 757 have regular power. Only the 767s have emPower.

  5. Darkwater says:

    In the Ontario article on BNET you linked to a PDF from ~2005 discussing the activities of one of the later principals in Braniff (II) at San Bernadino Intl. Has the FAA and the airport allowed his participation at San Bernadino to continue?

  6. CF says:

    Darkwater wrote:

    In the Ontario article on BNET you linked to a PDF from ~2005 discussing the activities of one of the later principals in Braniff (II) at San Bernadino Intl. Has the FAA and the airport allowed his participation at San Bernadino to continue?

    Well, I don’t think the FAA has any say in the matter because of the way this thing is structured. Here’s a good article on it:
    http://www.redcounty.com/sanbernardino/2008/04/airport-authority-nobid-contra/

  7. Bobber says:

    CF wrote:

    You won’t need it – the 777 and 757 have regular power. Only the 767s have emPower.

    Great. Anyone want to buy a barely used laptop airline adaptor for a MacBook Pro?

    Grrrrr

  8. Some good articles there, BNET’s new to me, Thanks

  9. Dan says:

    Crank,

    When did LAWA divest itself of PMD? That was done very quietly… wikipedia doesn’t show anything on it, and I don’t recall you covering.

    The fly-away shuttle from VNY has double its fares in two years. You used to be able to ride the thing for $6 rt. It’s $14 now. Wow.

    WRT ONT — hard to say what the right answer is on that one. I can see the costs irritating the airlines, but if those are going to be passed on to the consumer, then who cares. Consumers in that part of town will eat $10 extra in PFC’s before they drive 60 miles in crappy LA traffic to/from LAX. So, I’m going to call the cost issue a red-herring, no matter what the PR people say. When I lived in Van Nuys, I flew out of ONT once and only once… ’cause I got a good fare. And I’d never consider it if it wasn’t for the fact that I had an early departure and late arrival, missing traffic.

    One could point to the huge drop in traffic relative to the other airports and claim that something other than the economy is influencing that. But something else to consider — east of ONT was part of the true real estate bubble. At one point, I had heard that Riverside County was the worst in the country in terms of foreclosures, and right shows up on a list of “worst housing markets in 2009″ that I just googled.

    To sum it up… maybe the traffic at ONT was a bubble just like the housing market, and popped right along with it. I just can’t believe that an extra $10 in PFC’s is driving all of this traffic “away.” ONT is worth at least $10 more to the locals to spare the drive to/from LAX.

  10. Darkwater says:

    CF wrote:
    Well, I don’t think the FAA has any say in the matter because of the way this thing is structured. Here’s a good article on it:
    http://www.redcounty.com/sanbernardino/2008/04/airport-authority-nobid-contra/

    Ooh, sneaky!

  11. CF says:

    Dan wrote:

    Crank,
    When did LAWA divest itself of PMD?

    It’s been about a year, and surprise surprise, no new service.

    WRT ONT — hard to say what the right answer is on that one. I can see the costs irritating the airlines, but if those are going to be passed on to the consumer, then who cares. Consumers in that part of town will eat $10 extra in PFC’s before they drive 60 miles in crappy LA traffic to/from LAX. So, I’m going to call the cost issue a red-herring, no matter what the PR people say.

    I’ll disagree with you on this one. I’m working on a more in-depth post right now that looks at specific numbers, and they’re quite damning. JetBlue was going to make Ontario its SoCal focus but they couldn’t get costs down to a place that would make them comfortable. If passengers would really just gladly absorb $10 extra per ticket, then every airline in this country would be profitable. This whole business is built on razor-thin margins, and cost reductions can make a big difference.

    When I lived in Van Nuys, I flew out of ONT once and only once… ’cause I got a good fare.

    Living in Van Nuys, I can’t believe you ever flew out of ONT. You have Burbank and LAX sitting much closer, so that must have been a heck of a fare. People who live near LAX are almost never going to go to ONT, because the service at LAX is much better. But people near ONT would love to fly out of ONT but often fly out of LAX because they can fly nonstop or fly for less.

    To sum it up… maybe the traffic at ONT was a bubble just like the housing market, and popped right along with it. I just can’t believe that an extra $10 in PFC’s is driving all of this traffic “away.” ONT is worth at least $10 more to the locals to spare the drive to/from LAX.

    Yes, that area has been hit very hard. There’s no question about that. But you have to remember that the Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario MSA) has more than 4 million people living there. That’s more than Seattle or Minneapolis. It’s about the same as Dallas or Washington DC. There are a ton of people out there.

  12. Dan says:

    I’ll disagree with you on this one. I’m working on a more in-depth post right now that looks at specific numbers, and they’re quite damning. JetBlue was going to make Ontario its SoCal focus but they couldn’t get costs down to a place that would make them comfortable. If passengers would really just gladly absorb $10 extra per ticket, then every airline in this country would be profitable. This whole business is built on razor-thin margins, and cost reductions can make a big difference.

    Ok… but are the “costs” more than just the PFC’s that get passed directly on to passengers, which the airlines don’t pay if the seat isn’t filled? Landing fees and gate fees are a different ball of wax — IIRC they’re fixed no matter how many butts are in seats.

    As far as absorbing $10 goes, it’s all relative. These days, I live within a stone’s throw of IAD. When my fiancee and I were doing the long distance thing, I sometimes bought tickets out of BWI. Here’s the rub — I’d do it because the savings was $100+. There’s no way I’d make that drive to save $10.

    Living in Van Nuys, I can’t believe you ever flew out of ONT. You have Burbank and LAX sitting much closer, so that must have been a heck of a fare.

    I was a Northwest freak back then, and IIRC, I couldn’t get a good fare on them out of LAX. But see, much like you can’t believe I ever did that, I can’t believe that people are willing to drive from the ONT area to LAX to save a measly $10.

    People who live near LAX are almost never going to go to ONT, because the service at LAX is much better. But people near ONT would love to fly out of ONT but often fly out of LAX because they can fly nonstop or fly for less.

    Also, don’t forget better schedules. NW out of ONT had only two flights per day to MSP. Nothing else. LAX? Lot more choices. (And voila… now you have your chicken and the egg thing going on.)

    Yes, that area has been hit very hard. There’s no question about that. But you have to remember that the Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario MSA) has more than 4 million people living there. That’s more than Seattle or Minneapolis. It’s about the same as Dallas or Washington DC. There are a ton of people out there.

    But how many people travel *to* the Inland Empire?

    The last I checked, the DC Area has about 5 million people. It’s really interesting to compare air service in LA to DC. To me, LAX is the clear “winner” with BUR being useful, for the most part, for short haul flying. I’d fly out of it all the time for intra-CA and LAS trips, but never midwest/east coast trips. SNA is useful if your destination/origination is Orange County. (I used it once when I lived down in Long Beach for a short time.)

    Yet, in DC, there are three airports — none of which I consider to be inferior to the others in terms of air service. (To put it another way, no airport here is crying for lack of air service, and there are no hordes of upset constituents.) Nobody drives from IAD to BWI or v.v. for better schedules or non-stop flights, although some may do it for cheaper fares.

  13. CF says:

    Fun discussion here.

    Dan wrote:

    Ok… but are the “costs” more than just the PFC’s that get passed directly on to passengers, which the airlines don’t pay if the seat isn’t filled? Landing fees and gate fees are a different ball of wax — IIRC they’re fixed no matter how many butts are in seats.

    Oh yeah, this isn’t a PFC issue – this is about excessive operating expenses that contribute to an excessively high cost structure.

    But how many people travel *to* the Inland Empire?

    Yeah, I’m not saying they’re equal here, but I think there should still be plenty of room for more service above and beyond what they have.

    The last I checked, the DC Area has about 5 million people. It’s really interesting to compare air service in LA to DC. To me, LAX is the clear “winner” with BUR being useful, for the most part, for short haul flying. I’d fly out of it all the time for intra-CA and LAS trips, but never midwest/east coast trips. SNA is useful if your destination/origination is Orange County. (I used it once when I lived down in Long Beach for a short time.)
    Yet, in DC, there are three airports — none of which I consider to be inferior to the others in terms of air service. (To put it another way, no airport here is crying for lack of air service, and there are no hordes of upset constituents.) Nobody drives from IAD to BWI or v.v. for better schedules or non-stop flights, although some may do it for cheaper fares.

    Yeah, it’s 4.1m in the DC/VA suburbs. Another one million are up in the Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg area. (They are two different MSAs under the fed definitions.)

    Ontario is also a good airport for reaching Orange County. I think there are two huge differences here between DC and LA. The best-located airport in DC is severely restricted so people can’t get all the service they want from there. Also, the best airport in LA is way over on the west side, so it’s incredibly inconvenient for those on the other side of town. LAX to Long Beach isn’t actually that far, but LAX to Ontario will take you forever.

  14. CF says:

    Just posted another in-depth article on Ontario’s problems – thought you’d be interested:
    http://industry.bnet.com/travel/10003975/ontario-airports-high-costs-showcase-missed-opportunity/

  15. Bobber says:

    So, I totally blame what’s been written on these pages over the past months about the supposed quality of service that Continental Airlines offers!!!

    My curiosity got the better of me. I’ve just flown them as part of a Star Alliance codeshare (booked through United), and they TOTALLY sucked. OK, the plane was nice and new, and the FA’s were very polite (and marginally younger than on UA), and I suppose 3-3-3 is the better of two evils in terms of seating configurations. However, the flight was 2 hours late (in 10 years of flying United, 3 x transatlantics/year, they have always been on time), no information given, lousy check-in at IAH, crap food, crap seats (I had 17F – a ‘good’ seat), crap leg-room, a dodgy AVOD that flattered to deceive. Knock UA all you like, but I haven’t had service this bad, ever, with them.

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