Cranky on the Web – Reviewing the Year, More on Hidden City Ticketing, Delays on the Tarmac and on Southwest

Fares, Government Regulation, Southwest

In the Trenches: Reviewing the Year and Preparing for 2015Small Business Center
I take a quick look back on 2014 and talk about 2015 priorities for Cranky Concierge.

Why airlines hate when you book a hidden city airfareFox News
George Hobica had a good in-depth piece on hidden city ticketing that also references my post earlier this week.

Passengers stranded on tarmac for a day bemoan rulesBloomberg
I had a long-ranging talk with this reporter about tarmac delay rules, and it’s funny that the one quote that made it in here makes it sound like I might support the idea. I don’t.

Southwest’s on-time rates: Better but not bestChicago Tribune
A good article on Southwest’s improvement in on-time performance since August. I wrote about the change in September and there’s no question that things are better than they were. But as the title says, they’re not at the top of the pack.

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6 comments on “Cranky on the Web – Reviewing the Year, More on Hidden City Ticketing, Delays on the Tarmac and on Southwest

  1. Just a quick note – the Chicago Tribune article is behind a paywall – you might want to add one of those “Subscription Required” headings to the title like you do when you link to a Plane Business article.

    Anyway, my personal experience on Southwest has been a mixed bag. They’ve done a better job of cleaning up unrealistic connections, but still seem to have an issue with unrealistic turn times. A good example – I was waiting for a nonstop to PHX where the plane was coming from BHM. It arrived on time, but it had only a 30-minute turn, and by the time the plane was cleaned and ready to go, we boarded about 10 minutes late, and of course, our arrival into PHX was about 15 minutes late. But the onward flight to LAS (we weren’t on it) had a 45-minute turn, and they were able to make up almost all of the delay with no problem.

  2. Southwest lost me after multiple flight delays, not because of the delays but because of how they were handled. Flight staff tried to make it seem unimportant and light-hearted. I now avoid Southwest, taking them only when other alternatives are not available.

  3. So award booking brings in more business than flight monitoring? How does your award service compare to other options, like those of Gary Leff or Lucky? I know they focus on high-end luxury travel. What is your selling point?

    And small business is great, but what about big business? I work for a large employer, where people book on their own and the rules are fairly flexible; there’s a handful of contract travel agencies (including one online) but we don’t have to use them, and many people just book directly with airlines and hotels. I don’t know if flight monitoring is an allowable expense. Is this a market you’re interested in?

    1. Ron – Well, my statement about award travel being bigger than monitoring is
      a bit misleading. Flight monitoring is much less expensive than award
      travel so the award travel revenue is higher but the number of people who
      sign up just for flight monitoring is higher. (Also, everything we do
      includes flight monitoring, which is a differentiator vs any other award
      travel service.

      When it comes to other differentiators, most importantly, we’re a travel
      agent so we can compare and pair with paid tickets which is great for
      clients. We’ve really been growing the small business service with that
      feature, since plenty of small businesses have points they could burn but
      they just don’t think about it. That’s the part of award travel that I
      want to really grow.

      As for big business, it’s not an area we’ve really been interested in.
      When you get to these big companies, it becomes all about contracts and
      compliance. These big agencies are set up to provide reporting and manage
      contracts. If you’re at a company where you’re encouraged to book on your
      own, then you’re lucky. We could certainly help in companies like that.
      We can also offer flight monitoring as an add-on service for people who
      book elsewhere even in a corporate environment. Those are areas we might
      explore more in the future. For now, we have our hands full!

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