Topic of the Week: Vision’s Ongoing Sales

Once again, Vision Airlines has extended its fare sale for its new routes from the Florida Panhandle “due to overwhelming response.” I think we all know what that means. At the same time, some routes have been cut before they even began, like Birmingham. Is there hope for this airline?

14 Responses to Topic of the Week: Vision’s Ongoing Sales

  1. bruce pearl says:

    I can never find a flight I actually want when I search their booking engine, they fly the dumbest times on the oddest days. Probably a reason for that

  2. Andrew says:

    No. They are going to make Skybus look like a success story.

  3. John B says:

    Is there hope for Vision Airlines? I keep cheering for them, but in a word, NO!

  4. Michael says:

    There is never a shortage of airline “founders”. I guess it’s the dream to be another Howard Hughes or Juan Tripp.

  5. Dan says:

    “due to overwhelming response” should be “due to overwhelming LACK of response”.

    I’m curious how Southwest got its start back in the day, and how Allegiant and Spirit seem to be doing fine as the ultra-low fare carriers du juor.

    • As to how Southwest got it start, that is one of the great business stories of our time.

      The legend is a cocktail napkin with a sketch of a triangle connecting Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. (to this day still prominently referenced on the Southwest web site)

      The reality is that the founders were likely very familiar with both the Eastern Shuttle in the northeastern US and PSA’s intrastate operations in California. They shrewdly adopted the best features of each and translated them to an under-served market they were familiar with.

      Which is, of course, exactly why so many other airline start ups fail miserably: lack of focus, lack of understanding of the market, failure to adapt the product to the local market, etc.

      • Randy says:

        A group of PSA management (the original) flew from San Diego to Dallas and consulted with Southwest to get them off the ground. Some of WN’s original manuals literally just had a sticker over the Pacific in Pacific Southwest Airlines.

        Southwest remembered the lessons and kept their focus and Paul Barkley (PSA’s last CEO before the US Air merger) kept trying to make PSA more like United, a big mistake.

    • Jimmbbo says:

      Allegiant succeeds for a number of reasons:

      1) Their early move to enhance ancillary revenues via ala carte pricing. The airline side of the business is a small part of the total picture – alliances with hotels, car rentals, packaged trips, reserved seats, priority boarding all add directly to the bottom line.

      2) They maniacally control costs

      3) They do in depth market research to enter a market, but if it doesn’t work, they pull out. (Airlines are a business, and G4 is run as a business that happens to be a travel company)

      4) They fly a reliable, low capital cost airplane, and own all but a handful of their aircraft.

      5) The marketing strategy is nearly bulletproof and relatively recession proof – low frequency into smaller “flyover country” markets at very low costs and ticket prices that are a bargain for those cities. NWA tried to go head to head DSM-LAS using an RJ, but could not compete due to the relatively high cost/ASM. Besides, who wants to ride an RJ seat for three hours?

  6. Tim says:

    I agree with bruce pearl, they chose a really odd schedule. I am sure they tried to maximize aircraft usage, which is important, but that also needs to be weighed with travel demand.

    One example of poor schedules:
    Atlanta to Ft Walton Beach, they have a 737 flying on the worst travel days of the week (Tuesday and Saturday) and flying at an offpeak hour (9pm). I can’t imagine these two flights are very full from ATL and certainly not a good yields.

  7. Travelnate says:

    I handled fares/scheduling for 2 recent airlines – and while some of the posters statements may be true, I can attest that we have extended fare sales because they WERE successful.

    One airline, we’ll call it “STAY” (I don’t want to get sued), did a really dirt cheap, rock bottom price sale. We had only 2 to 4 seats at each flight on STAY on the typical off peak days (Tue/Wed/Sat & SUN AM) and we sold almost every single one of those suckers in 2 hours. We were then flooded with complaints from everyone because we had tv commercials, radio commercials, and print ads touting these fares, yet none were available. so I had to go thru and open up more inventory. The complaints kept coming in, so we extended it by 3 days. This was STAY’s most successful sale as we had sold nearly 50,000 seats at the cheap fares.

    Interestingly enough, we also had to extend it because of our full content agreements with the GDS’s. ATPCO only has 3 domestic fare uploads, and one of the GDS’s kicked out the fare because they thought it was an error. So our lil 24 hour fare sale at STAY ended up becoming a 4 day fare sale because “unnamed major GDS” didn’t call me to verify the fare.

    • CF says:

      That’s a completely different story – and it may have been a legal issue at that airline if you didn’t have enough seats available and kept advertising after they were gone. (If not, I still wouldn’t have extended it.)

      But in this case, it was a several day sale that was extended by another three. To me, that says that it simply wasn’t getting enough traction and they need to fill more seats.

      • Travelnate says:

        Was just reading some of the comments on another forum and these guys are just trying to get publicity out of it. The more you can be in the news for free, the better. so extending a mediocre launch-fare sale is the way to do it.

        However, the problem with these low fares is now people are going to expect it forever. I know at “STAY” we had that problem – the day after every fare sale, our sales were flat. We’d still get GDS bookings trickling in, but our res office was so quiet you’d think everyone was asleep. I hope that VISION doesn’t fall into the same trap and do more $19 fare sales like this.

  8. frankly, BHM to VPS never made sense, you can drive that in 4 hours. as for the rest of their route map, if there is anything we can learn from allegiant (and even southwest from many moons ago), it’s that people from small and midsized heartland cities like nonstop flights to vacation places like vegas and florida.

    is the relatively sparsely populated and spread-out NW florida gulf coast ideal for this type of service? is VPS even the ideal airport in this area? vision thinks so and at least they are following a somewhat proven business model.

    fraknly, vision’s vision makes a lot more sense than skybus which was, basically, let’s fly from airports that never really had any passenger service before (st augustine and punta gorda fl) to a place nobody really goes anyway (columbus oh).

  9. juries says:

    There’s no better flight than to have a direct flight, getting away from time wasting stop overs. But its never too late for Vision Airlines to do their job perfectly.

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