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10 ways monopoly airlines are actively trying to make your life miserable

WinniWoman

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So many places I want to go that require flying, but I just can't bring myself to fly after my last experience. Eventually I might have to bite the bullet, as I am not getting any younger. But I always repeat myself- right now they would have to PAY ME to fly.
 

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I'm always amused at all the carping about airline travel. Fares today are lower (including inflation) than back in the days of regulation.

If you get crappy services and high fees on the low budget airlines, people still fill the planes. Even the majors run almost entirely full. They are making money for the first time in years. If the planes weren't full, things would change but that's not going to happen.

It's a free market. If you don't like the service, don't use it or pay for first/business class fares for better service. You get what you pay for. I used to fly about 50k miles a year and survived. Now I fly much less often and it not much different than when I was a road warrior.

OTOH, it's a free country so complaining is a right that is frequently used. ;) The Salon article sounds to me like the airlines should go broke so passengers feel better. :rolleyes:

Cheers
 

x3 skier

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Checked bag fees

Here's a way to avoid checked bag fees. Been doing this for years.

http://www.onebag.com

Cheers
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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I'm always amused at all the carping about airline travel. Fares today are lower (including inflation) than back in the days of regulation.

If you get crappy services and high fees on the low budget airlines, people still fill the planes. Even the majors run almost entirely full. They are making money for the first time in years. If the planes weren't full, things would change but that's not going to happen.

It's a free market. If you don't like the service, don't use it or pay for first/business class fares for better service. You get what you pay for. I used to fly about 50k miles a year and survived. Now I fly much less often and it not much different than when I was a road warrior.

OTOH, it's a free country so complaining is a right that is frequently used. ;) The Salon article sounds to me like the airlines should go broke so passengers feel better. :rolleyes:

Cheers
Correct.

My favorite anecdote on the difference under deregulation. I was a college student in St. Louis ~1970, with family in Minnesota. Those were the days of regulated fares and routes. As a student I could fly on Braniff for 2/3 fare, reserved seat. (With most airlines student fares were half price, standby.) I paid about $90 to $100 for each leg of the flight.

To put that in perspective - I was studying engineering, and a typical salary for an engineer with bachelors degree at the time was about $14,000/yr - roughly $7/hr. So the cost of that airline ticket was about three days of wages - for an entry level college graduate to fly from St. Louis to Minneapolis, round trip.

Needless to say, I didn't make the flight very often. Flying was so expensive it was nothing but a luxury. The Craigs List of our day was the campus kiosks, and they were filled with notices of drivers looking for riders and riders looking for drivers. I also did some traveling by Greyhound.

Yes the service on the airline was very nice. But it was unaffordable.

In September of 1973 I came to the San Francisco area for grad school. In California there was this airline called Pacific Southwest Airlines, that operated solely within California and hence was not regulated by the FAA. And they flew Boeing 707s from SFO to LAX for $19 each way. SFO to LAX is about the same distance as St. Louis to Minneapolis.

That gives you some measure of how inflated air fares were when the industry was regulated. Deregulation changed air travel from a luxury item to a realistic alternative to automobile for the average American family.

******

Airline service is what it is because it is what people are willing to pay. Every major carrier that has tried to maintain some remnant of the old service standards - and try to charge a bit more to cover the added cost - has been creamed in the marketplace.

Airlines are continuing to find ways to squeeze money out of operations because the free market has brutally informed them that, no matter what people say with their voices, when they speak with their pocketbooks they want the lowest possible fares and are unwilling to pay any realistic premium for improved service.
 

WinniWoman

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I'm always amused at all the carping about airline travel. Fares today are lower (including inflation) than back in the days of regulation.

If you get crappy services and high fees on the low budget airlines, people still fill the planes. Even the majors run almost entirely full. They are making money for the first time in years. If the planes weren't full, things would change but that's not going to happen.

It's a free market. If you don't like the service, don't use it or pay for first/business class fares for better service. You get what you pay for. I used to fly about 50k miles a year and survived. Now I fly much less often and it not much different than when I was a road warrior.

OTOH, it's a free country so complaining is a right that is frequently used. ;) The Salon article sounds to me like the airlines should go broke so passengers feel better. :rolleyes:

Cheers

I guess because many of us remember the days when we did get nice services and roomy seats as standard- not having to pay for First Class to get a basic, but decent flight- with meals. First class were treated like royalty then. It's all different now.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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I guess because many of us remember the days when we did get nice services and roomy seats as standard- not having to pay for First Class to get a basic, but decent flight- with meals. First class were treated like royalty then. It's all different now.

I remember those times, too. Ahh ... the good old days, when the price you paid for a Coach Class seat (adjusted for inflation) was twice as much as you now pay for a First Class seat.

But, hey, you did get good service.
 

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So many places I want to go that require flying, but I just can't bring myself to fly after my last experience. Eventually I might have to bite the bullet, as I am not getting any younger. But I always repeat myself- right now they would have to PAY ME to fly.

They can't pay me enough to fly coach. We will only fly first class and even then it is not very pleasurable.

I was spoiled back when the airlines were regulated. Then they had to compete on service instead of price like now. I flew all over the USA, Canada, Venezuela, and Mexico as part of my job so the cost was of no concern of mine. It was company policy that any flight over 2 hours was first class. It wasn't just the service but also you could use your ticket at any airline. If I finished my work early, I would often go home on another airline using my return ticket.

The whole airport experience, etc. has caused us to start vacationing more in locations we can drive to. Fortunately there are a lot of places we like in California, Arizona, and Nevada that are not long drives for us.
 

WinniWoman

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I remember those times, too. Ahh ... the good old days, when the price you paid for a Coach Class seat (adjusted for inflation) was twice as much as you now pay for a First Class seat.

But, hey, you did get good service.

I don't know. I didn't feel like it was expensive and my husband and I were never big earners. We went to Hawaii and Florida, California and Las Vegas- always got good package deals.

Hey- remember the "junkets"?
 

WinniWoman

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They can't pay me enough to fly coach. We will only fly first class and even then it is not very pleasurable.

I was spoiled back when the airlines were regulated. Then they had to compete on service instead of price like now. I flew all over the USA, Canada, Venezuela, and Mexico as part of my job so the cost was of no concern of mine. It was company policy that any flight over 2 hours was first class. It wasn't just the service but also you could use your ticket at any airline. If I finished my work early, I would often go home on another airline using my return ticket.

The whole airport experience, etc. has caused us to start vacationing more in locations we can drive to. Fortunately there are a lot of places we like in California, Arizona, and Nevada that are not long drives for us.

Yup. That's where we are at, but we would like to do Italy/Switzerland one day (only been to Scotland- never anywhere else abroad) and some National Parks and we don't like driving more than 8 hours. (We work full time right now as well.)

Plus, we live at least 2 hours from major airports- we end up getting car service just to avoid hassles of parking going to and jet lag coming back. More $$. Just going to the airport involves a half day's time- waking up early and allowing for the two hour drive and then being at the airport 2 hours before takeoff. The whole experience is very tiring for us.

So- we are using our 3 weeks timeshares in New England, which we love anyway for now. Just throw the stuff in the car and go, 6 hours later we are there. Perfect!
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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I don't know. I didn't feel like it was expensive and my husband and I were never big earners. We went to Hawaii and Florida, California and Las Vegas- always got good package deals.

Hey- remember the "junkets"?

What year was that? If you're talking sometime after 1978 your waxing nostalgic about the days of unregulated fares.

Note that the examples I cited were all pre-1978 - the regulated era. During the days of airline regulation only the very wealthy flew to Hawaii. I recall looking at the cost of airline tickets to Hawaii for our honeymoon in 1974. Tickets were almost $500 each from San Francisco to Honolulu - it would have cost us nearly $1000 for air fare. Which would have been about 7% of my annual salary in my first job out of school as engineer.

Or to put it another way. In 1974 when I started working in California, a typical monthly wage for a clerk/typist position in an office was $550/month.

So that ticket to Hawaii was equivalent to one month's wages for a typical office assistant position. For someone in those positions, the notion of flying to Hawaii was preposterous.
 

WinniWoman

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What year was that? If you're talking sometime after 1978 your waxing nostalgic about the days of unregulated fares.

Note that the examples I cited were all pre-1978 - the regulated era. During the days of airline regulation only the very wealthy flew to Hawaii. I recall looking at the cost of airline tickets to Hawaii for our honeymoon in 1974. Tickets were almost $500 each from San Francisco to Honolulu - it would have cost us nearly $1000 for air fare. Which would have been about 7% of my annual salary in my first job out of school as engineer.

Or to put it another way. In 1974 when I started working in California, a typical monthly wage for a clerk/typist position in an office was $550/month.

So that ticket to Hawaii was equivalent to one month's wages for a typical office assistant position. For someone in those positions, the notion of flying to Hawaii was preposterous.

Yes- well- some were after 1978- BUT-

I also remember flying from NY to Puerto Rico prior to 1978- when I was around 17(?) years old-1973-I remember being in a big 747 jumbo jet with a grand piano in the back of the plane. It was awesome- my very first plane ride. Wish they could be like that now. Don't know what the airfare cost 'cause my mom paid for it, but a friend came with me and she paid for her own ticket-and believe me she wasn't rich.

We went on our 2 week honeymoon from NY to Hawaii (and San Francisco and Las Vegas) in 1977- my second time on a plane. I was 21 years old and working in a very low paying civil service job. My husband was an auto mechanic. We went on a package tour. Paid for it with some of the proceeds from our wedding.
 
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Yup. That's where we are at, but we would like to do Italy/Switzerland one day (only been to Scotland- never anywhere else abroad) and some National Parks and we don't like driving more than 8 hours. (We work full time right now as well.)

Plus, we live at least 2 hours from major airports- we end up getting car service just to avoid hassles of parking going to and jet lag coming back. More $$. Just going to the airport involves a half day's time- waking up early and allowing for the two hour drive and then being at the airport 2 hours before takeoff. The whole experience is very tiring for us.

So- we are using our 3 weeks timeshares in New England, which we love anyway for now. Just throw the stuff in the car and go, 6 hours later we are there. Perfect!

We don't work so we have all the time in the world to get where we are going. We never drive more than 300 miles in a day. We frequently drive from our home to Monterey CA to visit our son and grandkids. It is a 7 hour drive but we take 2 days to do it.

You and I appear to be on the same page on traveling.
 

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What year was that? If you're talking sometime after 1978 your waxing nostalgic about the days of unregulated fares.

Note that the examples I cited were all pre-1978 - the regulated era. During the days of airline regulation only the very wealthy flew to Hawaii. I recall looking at the cost of airline tickets to Hawaii for our honeymoon in 1974. Tickets were almost $500 each from San Francisco to Honolulu - it would have cost us nearly $1000 for air fare. Which would have been about 7% of my annual salary in my first job out of school as engineer.

Or to put it another way. In 1974 when I started working in California, a typical monthly wage for a clerk/typist position in an office was $550/month.

So that ticket to Hawaii was equivalent to one month's wages for a typical office assistant position. For someone in those positions, the notion of flying to Hawaii was preposterous.

My parents flew from Arizona to SE Florida to visit us every year and they were on a pretty tight budget.
 

klpca

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A quick search brought up this article http://www.theatlantic.com/business...50-in-30-years-and-why-nobody-noticed/273506/ It's about two years old, but most of the data (which I am assuming is correct) shows what has happened over the years.

I have no idea about the cost of airfare "back in the day" because we never flew when I was younger (except once - but my uncle worked for the airlines so I am pretty sure that we were flying as family). I'm kind of amazed that I can fly from the west coast to the east coach for about $200.
 

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WinniWoman

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We don't work so we have all the time in the world to get where we are going. We never drive more than 300 miles in a day. We frequently drive from our home to Monterey CA to visit our son and grandkids. It is a 7 hour drive but we take 2 days to do it.

You and I appear to be on the same page on traveling.


LOl! Seems that way, John!

We hope to go to Quebec City next year for a couple of days before our Vermont timeshare (which is 4 hours from there) and it is an 8 hour drive and I am trying to convince my husband to take two days for that drive!

Yeah- a lot might have to do with the fact that we work. Hubby commutes every day- about one hour and 15 minutes each way (about 100 miles) and I commute about 45 minutes- BUT- I also drive all day for my job- around 100 miles each day with the commute.

We are so sick of being in cars that we rarely even leave our home on weekends! Which is ok because we have plenty to do around the house!:D

Mary Ann
 

Ken555

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I think it's difficult to reconcile all the posts about the way it was 35+ years ago vs the conclusions of the article itself. One of the key points is:

In other words, customer dissatisfaction pays off big for airlines. The industry figured out that if it only made flying a nightmarish experience for the average traveller – one in which things like food and comfort come a la carte and at additional cost – customers would pay extra for even the most basic services. Airlines get to pretend that they’re offering customer choice, and passengers are duped into believing they’re spending more for premium service. It’s a case study in basic consumer psychology – this tendency to pay more for less and then somehow think you’re getting a deal – and airlines are capitalizing on it like never before.

This isn't the same as saying that the "airlines should go broke so passengers feel better" at all.


Sent from my iPad
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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My parents flew from Arizona to SE Florida to visit us every year and they were on a pretty tight budget.

Clearly, their budget wasn't nearly as tight as the budget my family had when I was growing up.
 

WinniWoman

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All I know is- the flying experience now is worse then it was years ago for whatever reason- however you analyze it. It simply stinks now. I am sure there are some exceptions.
 

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I also remember flying from NY to Puerto Rico prior to 1978- when I was around 17(?) years old-1973-I remember being in a big 747 jumbo jet with a grand piano in the back of the plane. It was awesome- my very first plane ride. Wish they could be like that now. Don't know what the airfare cost 'cause my mom paid for it, but a friend came with me and she paid for her own ticket-and believe me she wasn't rich.

How much are people willing to pay for those services now? What would the airlines costs be?

I like a decent, safe, on time product but do not have the need to have a piano or a 5 course meal while on the plane.
 

WinniWoman

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How much are people willing to pay for those services now? What would the airlines costs be?

I like a decent, safe, on time product but do not have the need to have a piano or a 5 course meal while on the plane.

Me, too. Agree- don't need a piano or gourmet meals.

But I would like some room to fit my body and to breathe and not feel like the ceiling is coming down on my head. I would like a meal or two on long flights and some snacks and refreshments. A pillow and a small blanket. Be able to check a bag or two without fees.

It is all about greed. Happening in a lot of industries. But- hey- if most people don't care- great for them. We all have choices. Mine is to fly as little as possible if I can help it.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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How much are people willing to pay for those services now? What would the airlines costs be?

I like a decent, safe, on time product but do not have the need to have a piano or a 5 course meal while on the plane.

Me, too. Agree- don't need a piano or gourmet meals.

But I would like some room to fit my body and to breathe and not feel like the ceiling is coming down on my head. I would like a meal or two on long flights and some snacks and refreshments. A pillow and a small blanket. Be able to check a bag or two without fees.

It is all about greed. Happening in a lot of industries. But- hey- if most people don't care- great for them. We all have choices. Mine is to fly as little as possible if I can help it.
The experience of the airlines has been that when one airline downgrades service, enabling that airline to either reduce fares or not increase fares as much in the future, the others have to follow or they will get creamed as customers select the airline that has the lower fare.

So far, the only way that airlines have been able to combat that has been with business class services. But now some airlines are providing seats with more legroom, but you pay a fee to reserve one of those seats. If that model sticks, which it seems to be doing, I expect that the next thing will be wider seats - again with a surcharge.
 

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All I know is- the flying experience now is worse then it was years ago for whatever reason- however you analyze it. It simply stinks now. I am sure there are some exceptions.

Talking about the "flying experience" being worse now, I just returned from a vacation in Sicily (beautiful) and was so disappointed with Alitalia's service. For one thing, having a bad attitude must be a pre-requisite when they hire staff. We had a female attendant who never cracked a smile and was so dismissive we were actually afraid to ask for anything. Whatever you do, do not ask for ice (Italians do not use ice), do not ask for milk/creamer for your coffee (they only offer powdered milk) and only have white sugar so bring your own packet of sweetener. I would never fly them again.
 

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The experience of the airlines has been that when one airline downgrades service, enabling that airline to either reduce fares or not increase fares as much in the future, the others have to follow or they will get creamed as customers select the airline that has the lower fare.

So far, the only way that airlines have been able to combat that has been with business class services. But now some airlines are providing seats with more legroom, but you pay a fee to reserve one of those seats. If that model sticks, which it seems to be doing, I expect that the next thing will be wider seats - again with a surcharge.

I certainly agree. Since the airlines are finally profitable, things are not going to change unless the traveling public decides it's not worth it and revenue drops. Since this has not happened, there are choices for air travel.

Take flights on Spirit, Frontier or other boxcars of the skies.
Pay more to fly legacy carriers like Delta, America, Southwest in coach.
Pay still more for better seats on legacy carriers in coach plus or first. That's my choice, BTW.
Don't fly.

Good service is available if you want to pay for it. If you don't want to pay the fare, go by Megabus. ;)

BTW, I remember paying 29.9¢ a gallon for gas. That's not going to happen again either. :D

Cheers
 
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