3 Links I Love: The Rise of Flight Shaming, OC Cuts, Connecting to a Bus

Links I Love, Southwest

This Week’s Featured Link:

Flight shaming hits air travel as ‘Greta effect’ takes offThomson Reuters Foundation
Flight shaming is real, and we haven’t seen the full impact of it by any stretch. Just take a look at this article with some really interesting stats. In particular, Scandinavia has been seeing the biggest hit. Domestic passenger traffic within Sweden is down 9 percent this year. This isn’t going to go away, and the industry needs to make sure there is a focus on this before it’s too late.

Image of the Week: I attended the roll-out of American’s new Stand Up To Cancer plane a couple weeks back, and I forgot to post a photo. Those arrows are all made up of more than 20,000 names that donors to SU2C put on the airplane.

Two for the Road:

Southwest to scrap Orange County-Cabo flights, trim other service at John Wayne AirportOrange County Register
Southwest has continued to see its share of holdings at Orange County diminish as others have become more interested. I didn’t quite realize how dramatic the pulldown had become until I read this. When next year’s allocations come into effect, Southwest will be down from 18 destinations to only 6 with flights to Dallas and Houston ending as well as the last international flight down to Cabo. That leaves Oakland, Sacramento, San Jose, Denver, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. Wow. It’s amazing what a misguided noise policy can do to kill quality service at an airport.

On Sun Country, your connection could end up being on a busTPG
I love me some multi-modal action. While this isn’t seamless — you still have to go through security when you get off the bus and enter the airport — it’s far more connected than most services would be. And you can buy it directly through the airline as if it were a connecting flight.

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43 comments on “3 Links I Love: The Rise of Flight Shaming, OC Cuts, Connecting to a Bus

  1. Regarding flight shaming I saw a statistic a while back that was interesting. Of the total # of people in the US that fly the vast majority was people that flew only one r/t annually. Second largest group was two r/t. For me this year my flying has been light and I’m only at about 30,000 miles and 11 r/t which puts me into the top single digits of frequent flyers. Sure, I can cut back a flight here or there but for the masses that do that ONE trip to Orlando per year I highly doubt Greta is going to shame them. Last I checked the back of the plane was full.

    I do find it ironic your other story is about SY bussing pax instead of flying them to their final. Maybe that’s the solution…

  2. Flight shaming is a Europe thing. Their leaders have climate hysteria. So far we are safe here.

    1. Says old-guy David-in-Florida, who of course is magically immune from the rise of sea levels and increasingly destructive hurricanes.

      Instead of climate hysteria we have fake-news-hysteria or this side of of the Atlantic. And we (*) believe in idiots instead of scientists.

      Reduced air travel, just like global pollution levels will impact the US as well. Less demand for travel will hit the airlines and the air framers.

      (*) too many, not all

      1. HAHAHAHA. Best comment of the day. And so true. I find it ironic so that so many of the climate deniers chose to retire in God’s waiting room. Let’s just hope that David mixes in some aqua aerobics with the shuffleboard and golf!

        1. Well, I’m not that old and I actually have an academic background in climate and meteorology and I generally agree with David-in-Florida. Global temperatures have been rising since the most recent ice age and may well continue to do so. The climate models showing catastrophic results haven’t changed much in 30 years when they said global temperatures would rise by 2.5 deg C by 2000 (they rose by 0.1 deg C).

          Basically, what I’m saying is that the globe IS warming somewhat, though not nearly as much as hyped. It’s fairly gentle and one big volcanic eruption would more than offset it And yes, some of it is man’s fault but most of it is not and it’s neither going to kill people nor will it drown huge swaths of land. Nor will Euros skipping flights do one bit of good while China and India crank out the CO2 unabated. Those 2 countries are your issue now – if you’re actually concerned about CO2.

          Take what little rich idiots like Greta or big rich idiots like Al Gore and divide it by 50 and you’re closer to the truth.

        2. Ever notice how liberals like Oliver love to start out their comments with an insult? “Old-guy” is not a pleasantry, and I’m surprised that Oliver didn’t say something about the color of David’s skin!

          Greta’s act makes for great television coverage and social media content, aka clickbait. Two-and-a-half months from now, she will be just another item during TV’s “The Year in Review.”

          Here’s my bottom line. I’m 63 years old & I grew up in a college town. All my life, I’ve heard about how all of us should park our cars & take public transportation. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT AIR TRAVEL IS ! ! ! Get a clue, people!

      2. Oliver

        How has Greta reduced air travel? Read this link


        So… let’s do the math.

        Assume that her “zero emissions” yacht has a crew of 5 (typical for a yacht that size).

        The 5 crew members FLEW back to home.

        Additionally 2 new crew members FLEW to New York to sail the yacht back.

        Most all of us that read this blog know the weight equals FUEL.

        So 7 people flew so that 1 light weight teenager could make a point?

        How does that reduce flying?

        On top of that, she doesn’t know how she will get home (want to bet she will have to fly?).

        Additionally the “no emissions” yacht took two weeks to get to New York with NO running water and NO bathrooms on it.

        If you want to travel that way be my guest.

        She stayed in polluting hotels in New York and rode in polluting transportation to and from the United Nations and will be using polluting transportation to a climate conference in Chile.

        If Greta REALLY wanted to make a statement against climate change, she could have done it via video conferencing. All she needed was a PC with a camera and the electricity to run it.

        I hope you see the hypocrisy in this!

        Talk about being

        1. Looks like my math was a little off.

          The crew of Greta”s “zero emissions” yacht was actually 8.

          So 10 (8 on the cruise over and 2 to crew the yacht back) people FLEW so that Greta could have her 15 minutes of fame.

          If Greta keeps this up, the airlines will have a banner year!

  3. So United does something similar with bus connections from Newark to Allentown, except it looks like this Allentown connection departs and leaves from gate C130 at Newark. I’m assuming that it would have to arrive in the secure area at Allentown? United doesn’t offer much more information about this but if this is indeed the case, I’m curious what they do to keep the bus secure in between airports…

    1. Matthew – Once the bus leaves the secure area in Newark, it would no longer be secure and would just drop people off anywhere. It doesn’t have to stay secure unless it’s going back into another secure area at an airport.

    2. The “United Bus” (I’ve taken it many times and will again in 2 weeks) terminates at ABE (Lehigh Valley International, they try to call it). I am not aware of anyone making a connection at ABE from the bus ride. If they did, they’d have to go through security again (like 5 minutes in Allentown on a busy day). They will check your bags in Allentown and load them on the bus, but security is in EWR. Coming back to Allentown your bags are loaded by United. It’s really pretty convenient. Plus, as a semi-infrequent flyer family likes to get status updates which are “flight level 0 speed 65” for the first 70 or so minutes. It is often amusing for first timers to try to get into their assigned seat (none are really assigned) as United prints a number and letter on your boarding pass.

      1. I had some work in the Poconos around ten years ago and stumbled on the bus connection during my flight search. I considered taking it. Not knowing much about it, I opted to fly into ABE instead. Now, I wish I would’ve opted for the bus just for the novelty of it.

  4. Regarding the last paragraph in the TPG article, I’m always surprised that more isn’t done by airports to promote airport bus/shuttle services, as you really have to seek them out to know that they exist, as as those types of bus services would really help to reduce landside congestion at airports and surrounding highways. For example, I didn’t realize I saw it just now that that some of the “commuter buses” I see every weekday running from NH to the Boston area are going not to downtown Boston but rather to Logan.

    I have used an airport shuttle service (15-passenger vans) to and from ATL to a small town 70 miles away, which (for lack of commuter parking lots) stops at a hotel parking lot in my family’s town, and that works quite well for $30 or $40 each way.

    If you’re 30-70 miles from one of the dozen or two busiest airports in the US, odds are good that there’s an airport shuttle service making regular stops within a 10-20 minute drive from your home, and if there isn’t, there probably should be. Sure, the airport bus services are not as convenient or time efficient as an Uber/Lyft/black car/relative picking you up, but they are generally much cheaper (the ones I’ve seen serving BOS and ATL are ~$0.50/mile, or roughly what it costs to operate a personal car, per the IRS, and that’s before tolls, parking, etc), and some of the coach buses offer free WiFi, free water, free/dirt cheap parking at their pickup locations, etc.

    1. Many of the commuter buses from New Hampshire as well as the rest of eastern to central Massachusetts often go to both Logan Airport as well as South Station (downtown), serving both air passengers as well as commuters. It works well in Boston because the airport and downtown are close together by road, but it might be possible and may already exist in some other places as well.

  5. Greta needs to wake up and include car-driving shaming or riding-the-bus shaming or taking-the-train shaming. How about using wasteful plastic products shaming ?

  6. Why does Flight-Shaming work in Europe?
    There are alternatives as you can connect the capitals of (almost) all european countries within 1.5 days either using a combination of day-night trains, long diistance coach or high speed trains.
    Some rail connections apparently beat flights (e.g. Paris-London, Brussels-Frankfurt) by times and are competitive by price as well (of course depending how central your final destination happens to be).
    Spot the difference to the US :) .
    Are there numbers on passenger numbers in the D.C/Baltimore/Philadelphia/NYC/Boston area since Acela is in place? (Pure O/D traffic of course)

  7. So what’s the most likely endgame for SNA? The great minds in OC had a nearly-ready-made airport in the old El Toro MCAS, but they were like, “No, what we need is a big Great Park!” Just seems like another example of California hatin’ on supply and demand.

    1. California – Well, there is an increase to the passenger cap coming in the next year or two, so that will help a bit. But ultimately, Orange County travelers will just have to keep driving long distances to get better service. They did this to themselves when they voted El Toro down multiple times.

    2. All NE/west coast coastal US airports are at or near caps whether because of runway or terminal capacity. SNA might have a cap that is below their capacity but they would be one of the few major non-interior US airports that has significant capacity to grow.

      The result will simply be higher fares and concentration of the industry around players that did secure their place in those airports. WN just happened to show up early at an airport where SNA won’t allow them to hold all capacity forever. Slot controls are inherently anti-competitive and SNA has figured out how to make sure there is access for newcomers which is federally required.

      Ground transportation including intercity trains and buses need to be developed but CA has proven that they can’t manage a project like the train at budget levels that are competitive w/ other forms of transport including aviation.

      Larger planes can work which is part of why regional jets will start to be phased out in coastal cities first and why carriers like AS and DL which do use regional jets do not use 50 seaters at their west coast hubs. Access is too valuable.

      1. The difference between ‘natural’ caps based on capacity and artificially-imposed and designated caps or slot restrictions is that for the former, supply and demand is still at work, so that airlines will want to operate their more profitable flights and other carriers will move in if they don’t, and to some extent airports can expand (for example Seattle building a 3rd runway, Los Angeles’ TBIT expansion, Atlanta’s concourse F). As soon as slots are put in place, competition becomes blocking your competitors out rather than running an efficient and profitable operation.

        1. …except at SNA, WN is losing flights because other airlines want to expand and WN has been free to use those slots until someone else comes along. SNA’s slot system does a better job of not allowing incumbents to hold onto slots than at many airports where incumbents hold onto their slots and flight times as long as they use them.

          Yes, I agree that slot controls inhibit competition but most west coast airports are near capacity anyway. LAX is in a unique position in having room unused airfield capacity but many west coast and NE airports have very little or are effectively full based on the frequency of ATC delays.
          I also believe SEA already has a 3rd runway; they are building out their terminals but they are pushing the limits of runway capacity esp. if weather is less than ideal.
          ATL, like DFW, is the type of airport that has very high abililty to grow – but both are also not on the coasts.

          1. It’s not so much of slot control at SNA it’s passenger count. The airport can’t go above 10.8 mil this year or next year from 2021 a extra million seats will be released to all the Airlines that want it. Southwest isn’t the only one cutting back there. Alaska also is cutting back their flight schedule by 2 flights a day. SNA -SJC is being dropped. There aren’t any new flights that I know of being added there. If anything they are cutting back because they are growing too fast. They need to get amend and change the 1985 Settlement Agreement. The airport doesn’t even have any more international flights except westjets YVR daily flight.

  8. There’s nothing wrong with the general idea to use the most effective and efficient transportation mode to get around. For most people, and most trips, the most effective and efficient choice is one’s personal automobile. The vast majority of trips are made by using one’s own personal conveyance. That’s always been the case and it’s not going to change. What has changed, and what will change is how these conveyances are powered.

    As for mass transportation options, the ones that will usually draw the most riders are those that are the most effective for a particular trip or set of circumstances. That’s not going to change either. In much of Europe and Asia, high-speed rail makes sense because population centers are close enough to make it competitive with air travel. Here in the U.S., the northeast corridor air shuttles flown by Delta and American have faced stiff competition from Amtrak and have shrunken to some extent. There’s no reason I can think of why Airlines, rail passenger carriers, and bus operators can’t codeshare more widely or even form joint ventures. In this country, expanded multimodal codeshares could be an alternative to the Essential Air Service program in some areas. Obviously, it would depend on the circumstances in the particular areas.

    Done properly (and that’s always a concern), expanded intermodal cooperation can be both more energy and operationally efficient as well as more cost-effective.

    1. Owning a car is an economic disaster if there is anything else going. Forget the depreciating lump of steel in the driveway, even the tax, registration, fuel and insurance costs will pay for a hell of a lot of Hertz and zipcar., if you have any kind of access to transit…

      Personal car ownership is a massive con. Asset utilisation is king, rideshare and mass transit is so much cheaper than personal car ownership and fully autonomous mobility as a service will blow it out of the water. The marginal convenience benefit of having a car in the drive way over having an Uber driver turn up in five minutes is not worth the cost.

  9. Southwest cut all their LGB to LAS flights, I presume because of the slot reductions there as well. I would have thought they would keep them for the connection options but something had to give. Unfortunately drives me to Ontario as JetBlue’s prices are up without the competition and SNA usually is always at a premium.

    1. They are still flying them a few days a week using temporary slots on tues, wed, thurs, sat, and sunday. And at the end of this month Delta starts LGB-LAS two or three times a day depending on the day. Seems like way too much capacity for that route. I wonder how long that will keep going.

      1. You are right, they do have a few flights left I hadn’t noticed. Looking at the calendar it keeps changing though, December doesn’t have Wednesdays, January Thursday goes away and Wed comes back, by Feb though I’m just seeing two a day on Saturday and Sunday only. Good to know about Delta though.

        As to capacity I feel like its been the same for years just keeps moving around. jetBlue used to do 5 flights daily then dropped to 3, southwest picked them up, now it seems they gave it to Delta.

  10. Airlines don’t offer through-ticketing on ground transportation because they don’t want to be accountable for ground transportation delays. If an airline sells you a combined bus->flight ticket and the passenger misses the flight because the bus wasn’t on time, then the airline is expected to handle it and do whatever it needs to do to get your to your destination promptly. If you bought a separate bus ticket and your bus was late, then the airline would tell you “Sorry, you should have been on an earlier bus” and maybe fly you on standby if they have room. Airlines don’t want to be in the business of running their own buses, but they also don’t want to be held accountable for operational mistakes made by partner companies or contractors.

    From the airline’s perspective, the only solution to this is to build in a lot of schedule padding between the ground transportation arrival and the flight departure so that it’s really unlikely that passengers would be late enough to miss a flight. The padding unfortunately makes the bus connection unattractive for passengers.

    As an example: When Norwegian was flying to SWF they had a deal with Coach USA to run buses to and from NYC to connect with those flights. Those buses were timed to arrive a full 3 hours before the flight. This is great from Norwegian’s perspective (no risk of passengers missing the flight) but terrible for a passenger who doesn’t want to take a half day to leave work early just to spend 2.5 hours sitting around a tiny airport waiting to depart.

    In a similar vein, United seems to enforce a minimum ~105 minute connection time between Amtrak trains flights from EWR, which is better than 3 hours, but still unpleasant from a passenger perspective, especially if the passenger has TSA Pre and isn’t checking a bag.

  11. RE SNA

    Limiting passengers seems bonkers. Its too bad there cannot be a more fair metric — like decibel increase that would allow for larger planes, or better technology for more quiet planes. I’m always amazed when people buy a house near an airport and then are shocked, shocked I’ll tell you!, that there is jet noise and suddenly its the airport’s fault.

  12. SNA’s limits seem crazy to me. I would think something like SJC where you can’t fly in or out between 2330 and 0630, but there are really no other limits makes a lot more sense.

    These days, planes are actually a lot more quiet than they used to me. Gone are the days of 727s and DC10s (except for some cargo) and in are the A220s and other GTFs. It’s such an improvement.

  13. These eco progressives are too much. The first thing they should do is BAN all private jets. Now I am definitely NOT for something like that. It cracks me up when these total hypocrites blathering on about climate change, they used to call it global warming but that doesnt really fit their narrative now, in Davos and they got there on their fleet of private jets.

    China will build more coal burning plants in the next couple of years than the USA actually has!!! I would love to see these people go to the main source of pollution, China. but the again they wouldnt dare. china would not be so accomdating. In fact they just might find themselves on the business end of a police baton-or worse!!!!!

    1. Absolutely China is a bigger emitter but the US is a bigger per capital emitter (and my country Australia is and never bigger per capita emitter)

      Truth is we all need to do our part and no one is doing enough.

      Climate change, global warming, global heating, climate crisis are all synonyms, the langue does matter, the crisis is real and we need to dramatically reduce global emissions. This includes China and everyone else.

  14. Rather than play around with allocating seats, Orange County should just raise landing fees. Here’s why: With a limited number of seats, airlines are only going to schedule the most profitable flights, then charge the highest fares that would fill the available seats, making a handy profit. If instead landing fees were raised, airlines would schedule only as many seats as they can sell at a fare that makes a profit with the higher fees. The end result is the same flights and fares as before, but with the excess profit going to the airport (and ultimately the county) rather than the airlines.

    I realize real life is a bit more complicated that the ECON 101 picture portrayed above, but the basic idea still holds. If OC residents want to limit the number of passengers to 10.8 million (or however many they want), there’s no need to mess with seat allocations to airlines. Instead, they should devise a model of what fee structure would result in the number of passengers they want, charge those fees, and then let the airlines figure out for themselves how they want to serve the airport with this fee structure.

    1. Agreed,

      Orange County could cap the number of seats, and then auction off the rights to airlines (whether landing fees, $x per pax, whatever) to get to that approximate number. Take the money and buy land for parks with it, pay for noise abatement improvements for the NIMBYs, CO2 emission credits, etc, whatever they want.

  15. Thanks for bringing this up, it’s a challenging topic for aviation but totally necessary.

    I’m a private pilot (glider) and even though my income has risen steadily over the past years, my spending on airfare has actually dropped a ton due to environmental issues.

    The problem likely is solvable, but it will take research investment on battery electrics, hybrids, alternative fuels, etc.

    We should keep publicizing airlines that are making serious efforts such as Harbour and Cape Air (plans to introduce large amounts of electrification to their regional fleets).

    1. United is heavily touted its bio fuel program. I believe they flew their first flight using bio fuels not that long ago.

      Evidently they will be reducing their carbon output during the next 20 years or so.

      I am certainly no expert but there might be issues in developing bio fuel. For example, ethanol takes corn and you need more water to grow more corn. Maybe the eco progressives have a beef with that.

      1. One of the issues in Asia was farmers in Indonesia, amongst other places, converting rice plantations to plant rapeseed for bio fuels, because they got paid more. Aside from the annual smog that engulfs Singapore, Malaysia and other areas due to the burning of fields for converting to rapeseed oil production, they’re actually helping contribute to a shortage of a basic staple food in Asia. Pollution is trans-boundary, and the solution is multi-lateral, but try telling newly minted Middle Classes in India and China that they shouldn’t fly as much because we Western types, having travelled all over, now think it’s a bad thing…

  16. Flight shaming? What a joke. The only place it has an opportunity to make any impact is in full-on socialist countries with populations particularly full of self-loathing, which is why Sweden was the perfect incubator. Elsewhere where “The Big Lie” hasn’t become the de facto national religion, supply and demand takes care of everything and keeps the seats full.

    The real message to airlines is to be careful about openly going all-in with the political left, as so many airlines in the west have done. By toeing the line and going along with the program, they don’t leave themselves with much room for argument when the government inevitably decides to start adding new environmental taxes on your product. Regardless of whether you are a climate screamer or not, most can agree that taxes, regulation, and consolidation of un-elected power are the tools in the toolbox. The choice is to either face the farce head-on and defend your interests and liberties, or pull a Neville Chamberlain and accept your ultimate fate. It’s past time for airlines and other private entities to start pushing back.

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