Bye, Bye, Things in the Sky (Guest Post)

For those of you who read Dan Webb’s musings about the airline industry at Things in the Sky, you might be wondering where the blog went. Well, he’s going to work for an airline, so he told BoardingArea that he would be winding things up. They took the blog down before he had a chance to say goodbye. So, I was happy to volunteer this space for him (only requiring that he give me freedom to do what I wanted with photoshop…)


Just about four years ago I was finishing up high school and decided to start writing about the airline industry. I was always interested in the business, and I had a domain name I wasn’t using, so I figured I’d give it a shot. I thought to myself that I would get bored with it after a while, but, well, here I am. Dan Webb Says ByeNow I’m a college graduate about to enter the airline industry professionally, and as a result my commentary is wrapping up — my blog is already offline, and I just recorded my last episode with the Airplane Geeks Podcast. Brett has been very kind in allowing me to share a couple of final thoughts here.

Needless to say, it’s been a very busy four years, and all of them have allowed me to learn a bit more about how this crazy industry works. What I’ve learned the most is to expect (rapid) change. I started blogging in the middle of 2008. Since then we’ve seen the Northwest and Continental brands disappear. The amount of ancillary revenue generated by carriers has exploded thanks to bag fees.

American placed a massive Airbus order and also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Southwest acquired AirTran and ordered 737s with more than 137 seats. “Ultra low cost carrier” (ULCC) has become a new buzzword as airlines like Spirit have become successful. I really can’t think of an industry that’s as hectic and constantly changing as this one, which is why tracking it can be so addictive.

But I’ve also learned that there’s a wealth of information about the industry freely available to those who are willing to to put in some additional effort. The publicly traded companies have the usual SEC filings and earnings calls, of course, but the DOT has a load of information for free — whether it be taxi times at certain airports or operating expenses by aircraft type. It truly is amazing what one can learn as long as he/she has an internet connection. If you’re an enthusiast willing to expand your knowledge, I encourage you to put in the effort — you’ll find some amazing stuff!

Before I go, I need to give a special thanks to the whole aviation social media/Internet community — especially Brett. He added me to his blogroll just after I started writing, which gave me that little extra motivation to keep writing. There are many other people I should thank — including Her Royal Highness Queen Benet Wilson, my colleages from my internships at Flightglobal, and my co-hosts at the Airplane Geeks — but the list would be too long if I put everyone on it. If you’re sitting on the sidelines of this community, I encourage you to participate. I’ve met so many wonderful people over the past few years that have become close friends and have provided me guidance and advice that has proven to be invaluable.

To everyone who read my blog or tweets or listened to my bits on the Airplane Geeks — thanks for your support.

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28 Comments on "Bye, Bye, Things in the Sky (Guest Post)"

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Courtney
Guest

It really stinks that now I’m going to have to do all my own analysis with Dan’s blog gone. What’s worse, I wasn’t the guy who hired him!

I’ll guarantee this isn’t the last we’ve heard of ‘ol DW. In fact, I’ll make a prediction that within 20 years, Brett will be awarding Dan a Cranky Jackass award for deciding to go with 26-inch pitch in his new airline’s 797 open rotor. Non-stop service to Dubai from PVD…just because.

Congrats, Dan! It’s been fun, but you’re just starting.

Ben
Guest

Dan, it has been an absolute blast listening to your antics and reading your insight into the airline business over the last few years. Best wishes with all of your future endeavors. I know you will go far.

DesertGhost
Guest

I always enjoyed reading your blog, Dan. All the best in the future. Once the airlines finish consolidating, they’ll become a bit more boring. Totally boring? Never, but a bit more rational. I like to draw comparisons to what happened in the railroad industry roughly thirty years ago. I see a lot of parallels with what’s going on with airlines now. Again, all the best. I hope you can write an “insider” blog here once in a while (that’s a not-so-subtle hint, Cranky).

SEAN
Guest

Good Luck Dan. Does this mean no Webb on the web?

Brian Lusk
Guest

Dan, if there’s one thing true about the industry and change, you ain’t seen nothin yet. Now, you get to help create some of that change, but leave SWA alone, okay? Seriously, best of luck in your new career, and we’ll always have Oshkosh 2010.
Brian

Darren
Guest

Congrats, Dan, you’ve landed exactly where you belong. Hope your career is everything you hoped for and more!

Erik Budde
Guest

Dan, watching you dive into airline financial statements over the years, I always suspected that you were a masochist. Now that I know you’re going to work for an airline, it’s 100% confirmed. Are you sure you don’t want to go into an industry that has a better chance of making profits over the long term? Like maybe U.S.-based manufacturers of inexpensive toys?

Anyway, good luck to you and happy travels.

Ted
Guest

Dan – you must not have learned too much about airlines over the past four years if you are going to put your career into that industry. :-)

marshall
Member

Dan,

Congratulations and best of luck to you! You won’t need much luck, because you’ve got the smarts and the drive to make good things happen.

MJ

noahkimmel
Member

Hi Dan,

I will miss your analysis. One of the few places on the web where data drove conclusions more than sentiment or “inside knowledge.” Whoever hired you is lucky to have you.

best,
Noah

Colin
Guest

Congrats Dan! Always enjoyed your insight. Best of luck!

Ryan
Guest

Good luck Dan! I’m glad Brett gave you a chance to write a farewell post. I was wondering what happened over at BoardingArea.

johnny
Member

Dan,

Congratulations! You impressed me the first day we met at NBTA in San Diego. Keep up the great work.

Oliver
Guest
First of all, is Dan really already graduating from college? It seems to me he just started a few weeks ago :) I’ve been following “Things in the Sky” for years and was always extremely impressed by the thoughtful and analytical posts. Lots of work went into it, that much was obvious. Best wishes for your career in the industry! Hope we hear from you — as someone above said — via guest posts. I have to admit, though, I am kind of surprised that Boarding Area basically deleted the blog. Those posts had value. Maybe they didn’t sell as… Read more »
Taylor Driggs
Guest

Best of luck Dan! Will pass on the post to the single ladies in the office.

Sanjeev M
Guest

I was wondering where Dan went the last few weeks. Best of luck with your new job! Its refreshing to see someone tell us how to use the reams of data available to us. The kind of data and open information we have in the US is unprecedented and we shouldn’t take it for granted. Thanks Dan for showing us how we can learn and enjoy.

Don’t lose your aviation geekness as you move to your airline. Best of luck!

Chris
Guest

Dan, you will be missed. I will be keeping an eye out for which airline you are going to. I hope being on the inside is as interesting as it has been looking from the outside. Look forward to guest posts and guest spots on the Airplane Geeks.

Thanks to Cranky as well for the space to say goodbye from blogging…

Ben Brooks
Member
Dan – great post. I wanted to congratulate you on your new job! I got “hooked” on the airline biz years ago in college and essentially was self-taught through research, reading and networking. I got my fix in management consulting focusing on aviation. Then…I realized the entire industry is hopeless and I moved on to do something else. But….I hope you don’t give up hope in the industry like I did. While some of the moves you referenced are big they are not truly transformational, and the industry needs a new generation of leaders to push new thinking. Best of… Read more »
keith Prior
Guest

Dan,
I always enjoyed your nlog kept me informed on the airlines sometimes even before some airline employees that I talk with. Have always been someone who loves the airlines I’m a collector and love it evert time I get to fly. My first flight was with American on a DC-6.

The best to you the airlines sure got a good guy.

Eric W.
Guest

Congrats on all you’ve done in your online aviation career, Dan, and best wishes as you start this new chapter. Your insights, perspective and wit will be missed. Can’t wait to see where you land in the industry (pun intended)! All the best!

Max Flight
Guest

We’re suffering something at the Airplane Geeks podcast that’s not unlike empty nest syndrome. The show will never be the same without you, Dan! But go focus on your career, do amazing things, and have fun along the way! I bet we’ll see (or hear!) you online again before too long.

rahsaan.johnson
Member

Dan, the Unnamed Coworker and I are happy for you and proud of you. Congratulations! Now that you’re on the inside, we can really talk and compare notes…

Stay in touch.

RJ

Rob Mark
Guest

What?

Dan Webb left the Airplane Geeks? He shut down his blog?

When did this happen?

Ah … who is Dan Webb again anyway?

Seriously, it won’t be the same without him. But aviation’s really much smaller than most folks think. He’ll be back again soon I bet.

Rob

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[…] Bye, Bye, Things in the Sky (Guest Post) – >> The Cranky Flier – crankyflier.com For those of you who read Dan Webb's musings about the airline industry at Things in the Sky, you might be wondering where the blog went. Well, he's going to w […]

Matt Falcus
Guest

Dan, I wish you every success in the future. I always enjoyed reading your blog, and hearing your contributions on the Airplane Geeks Podcast.

Steve Visscher
Guest

Dan Webb?? Yeah, I know that guy….I think.

I always said the kid would end up running an airline some day, and I think he’s just taken a big step in that direction. I look forward to the day when we can chat about Dan in an article on Airplane Geeks. That’ll be going “full circle”. Good luck Dan.

Audrey
Guest

Dan,

Congratulations on graduating! Your insights and quips have been entertaining, to say the least. Wishing you the best of luck in your new career.

We’ll have to light a candle, or encase a pink polo in glass at Oshkosh for you this year.

-Audrey

Henry Harteveldt
Guest

Dan, I know you’ll be successful in your new job. Now please go out on a date with a girl. I think you’ll like it.

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