Cranky on the Web (April 22 – 26)

In the Trenches: Finding the Right EmployeeIntuit Small Business Blog
Now the search is on for a new employee, but it’s not as easy as I might like it to be.

The Alaska Formula: How the Airline Changes and Keeps Customers HappyConde Nast Daily Traveler
Alaska announced it was adding seats to airplanes this week, but the way it’s doing it means there are real benefits to the traveler.

US Airways ups change fee to $200USA today
I was asked about whether US Airways matching United’s change fee increase meant others would follow.


14 Responses to Cranky on the Web (April 22 – 26)

  1. Do I sense a Cranky Jackass Award for US Airways in the future?

  2. chris says:

    From my calc Alaska is adding 474 seats to the fleet and in seat power for $100 million. That is equivalent to three 737-800 of seats which would be $150 million, and these seats don’t need any more crew.

    Great Business decision Alaska…

  3. I’ve heard these new thinner seats are not very comfortable, but it’s not about comfort for the passenger, just a way of putting more seats on a plane.

    • MeanMeosh says:

      I’ve flown in the thinner seats once on AA. They are definitely lacking in the area of butt support, and leave you with a noticeable case of saddle sore after a 2-3 hour flight.

      • The thinner seats on WN are DEFINITELY less comfortable on long flights, although I did feel like I had the tiniest bit more room between my body and the seat in front of me although I might have just felt that way because I knew about it in advance. My wife did not notice any difference except the more uncomfortable seat cushions.

  4. This is a complete aside, but Sabre has been advertising for their http://www.letthemarketfly.com/ a bunch here. (I realize that CF doesn’t select the specific ads in most cases, but they’re getting selected for the blog.)

    It seems that this is really disingenuous. (Giving an example of a 6 year old sitting in different rows from their parent.) It appears that they’re trying to argue their relevance and to gain greater access to airline’s info… CF do you have a take on this?

    • CF says:

      Nick – Oh yeah, these make me bristle. I really can’t stand the premise, which is that airlines should be forced to sell all of their ancillary fees through third parties. Sabre wants to get access to all of this without having to go through a commercial agreement discussion with the airlines. If the government mandates it, then the airlines lose any leverage they have against Sabre. And of course, the airlines really want to sell their ancillary services through third parties. They just don’t want to pay the massive development costs that are required in some of these old systems. And they want to work with third parties that actually are going to be good partners.

  5. Loved the CN piece on Alaska, nice to hear how the others do business even if we can’t fly them from where we live. The smaller, more agile carriers like B6 and AS set the pace that Parker et al should strive to follow.

    Check out the juxtaposition between the AS and US news this week. Alaska does something innovative like this while the big brains at US (the biggest of which was interviewed by this very blog although the topics of their class-lagging in-flight services and worst-in-the-biz fee structures probably won’t come up) matched the absurd $200 change fee hike initiated by UA and reinstated their wine and headset service for econ class pxs on x-atl and south american flights, something already done by every other major airline that flies internationally not named Ryanair or Spirit.

    Does Doug know that the only thing keeping most of us on his airline(s) along with UA and DL is simply that they provide service in our markets to destinations we need to go to? That on those few occasions when we really have a choice, many of us happily out of our way to avoid his airline(s) and the other legacies by travelling to different airports, connecting in lieu of flying nonstop or even paying more just to fly AS, B6 or international carriers?

    Do these execs know that the only things keeping us on their airlines is their route map? We’re not their clients or customers, we’re basically their hostages.

  6. And now for something completely different…

    Brett, why employees? Why not independent contractors? Might make it easier for you to identify talent, provide flexibility for your employees/contractors, attract a more diverse pool of candidates and also, depending on locations on schedules, provide more Cranky coverage during more of the 24 hour day.

    • CF says:

      Bill – Well, it’s really more of a legal issue than anything. There are a silly number of rules and regulations around how someone can be considered an independent contractor. For this particular role, I’m not able to justify it.

      • I have a lot of experience in employee vs independent contractor classification from a tax perspective and, as long as your IC has “other” things going on, you should be OK. If yours was his/her only source of income, you would likely have issues with the “control” requirement. Let me know if you want to discuss more via email or offline.

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