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. Now 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.