Cranky on the Web (September 20 – 24)

BNET, Continental, Labor Relations, ONT - Ontario, United

Continental/United Merger: How Pilots Can Resolve Their Labor StandoffBNET Headwinds
It’s all about the 90 to 110 seat jets. This should be a great framework to use.

Memo to Airlines: Looks Like You Can’t Cram Any More Butts Into SeatsBNET Headwinds
Load factors have started to level off as airlines have realized they can’t get much above where they are in terms of loads.

The iPad is the Greatest Thing in Inflight Entertainment (Or is It?)BNET Headwinds
Some think the iPad is the new giant of inflight entertainment. I think it’s just the beginning of more and better options.

All Airports Want Low Fare Airlines — but Not All Can Keep ThemBNET Headwinds
Huntsville is failing at keeping its low fare airline, which proves once again that not everyone can support that kind of service.

The Battle of Ontario: How to Mismanage a Small but Really Expensive AirportBNET Headwinds
Ontario Airport has put out a report and the findings aren’t pretty. There is a lot of cost-cutting that needs to happen.

How to Mismanage an Airport, Part II: High Overhead, Outrageous SalariesBNET Headwinds
In part II, we look at specifics of Ontario’s bloat.

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13 comments on “Cranky on the Web (September 20 – 24)

  1. For the UA/CO merger, do you think that the Bombadier CSeries would be a possible replacement? Supposedly they are supposed to be newer and better than even the E170 family, but they are a little larger (100-120) and aren’t in production yet.
    Actually, I personally like the Avro RJ aircraft which are still used all over Europe, which are much more comfortable than the smaller CRJ or ERJs, but I don’t think we are likely to ever see them in the US.

    1. I do think the C Series could be possible, but then that makes it harder to offload the army of Embraer 50 seaters. That’s the big benefit of sticking with Embraer is making a deal to trade. But then again, Bombardier is so eager to get the C Series some orders that it would probably do a trade as well. My concern about the C Series is that the numbers look great on paper but we just don’t know what they’ll look like in the air. If it lives up to its promises, it’ll be a rock star.

  2. I have just found your website, and hope you can answer a quetion for me. Four of us travelled from Newark to Paris on Open Skies Airlines this month. The flight was delayed from 6.40 p.m. to about 11 p.m. and consequently we missed our next flight from Paris to Edinburgh on Easy Jet and had to purchase new tickets. Open Skies is offering us each $65 vouchers on future flight with them.
    Since we do not routinely fly transatlantic, I have told them that there offer is not sufficient for our inconvenience and added expenses. Under the new EU Regulation 261/2004 are we entitled to compensation?

    1. Nope, you’re out of luck. This shows the hazards of booking two separate tickets. It does save money when things go well, but it also has pitfalls. The EU rules simply say that the airline needs to provide you food at mealtimes during delays and put you in a hotel if it’s overnight. If the delay is more than 5 hours, you’re entitled to get a refund if you want to walk away and not take the flight, but there is no compensation requirement for a delay.

      Since the two tickets would have to have been booked completely separately (easyJet doesn’t interline with other airlines), Open Skies has no responsibility or really, ability, to get you on another flight. The offer of $65 vouchers seems kind of arbitrary, but it’s actually more than they’re required to do.

    2. I once had an unofficial connection (two separate tickets) flying El-Al into London Heathrow followed by BMI to Edinburgh. The El-Al flight was switched to Stansted (continuing to Heathrow on a bus), and they arranged with BMI to put me on a later flight to Edinburgh. But they were not willing to put me on easyJet directly from Stansted to Edinburgh — I guess that would have cost them a lot more money.

  3. on UA/CO. Does it really cost much different per seat miles to fly the E-190/E-195 than a mainline 737-700 besides the pilot and crew saleries? Or another way if the mainline operates E-190 or a regional operates they same the E-190 is the only difference the salary of the labor union crews.

    1. Chris,

      A couple of things here:

      1. A mainline 737-700 aircraft is around 130 seats (CO configures it 12/112), and an E190 is at 99 seats (US configures it 11/88). There’s enough of a difference where the mission profile isn’t quite the same. One major difference between these two birds? At 100 seats, the FAA requires an additional flight attendant, so the 737-700 requires 3 FAs whereas the E190 only requires 2.

      2. You reference “labor union crews.” Well… I used to work for an airline, and not all staff is unionized, so I’m not sure what the question is. There are more people involved in the operation than the pilots and flight attendants, there’s ground support staff and mechanics for starters. They all start at lower rates than mainline. Another difference would be the fuel contracts that each carrier has. But prior to the run up in fuel prices a couple of years ago, “labor” was always the largest expense in operating a flight.

    2. I don’t know specific numbers, but the seat costs should be higher the smaller the airplane gets. Some of the new technology is supposed to change that. I think the Bombardier C-Series is supposed to have similar seat costs to larger airplanes, but that hasn’t flown yet so we’ll see if they can deliver.

  4. Interesting couple of posts about ONT. After a recent weekend trip to southern California that brought me through the ONT on Friday and Sunday evening, I had actually thought about pinging you about your thoughts on what’s wrong with the airport. I have never seen such a big airport SOOOOO empty at 6pm. All the concessions (stores, restaurants) were closed. No line — zero people! — at security. The 7:20pm flight on UAX to SFO seemed to have been the last one of the day out of that terminal. While taxiing, I observed two other aircraft at other gates, but that was it.

    Just sad.

    Oh, and $100k+ average airport employee salary? Seriously? How does that compare to LAX?

  5. Am I reading the details of the Ontario deal correctly? That in effect, the contracted operators are incentivised to make the airport fail because 1) They can protect their main airport from competition and 2) More costs = more revenue for them regardless of bottom line? Can I please negotiate my next contract with whoever signed that one, I have a nice bridge they might want to buy.

    1. Yep, that’s how it plays out now. It wasn’t always that way. When LAX was nearing its agreed upon capacity a few years ago, Ontario was supposed to be one of the outlets for additional growth. That was part of the whole regionalization plan which has now effectively been abandoned.

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