Monday, July 09, 2007

The air travel nightmare continues

The media has a certain fascination with the airline industry.

The press has not been good this summer.

Here is a link to the Denver Post detailing the misery of air travel

The Philadelphia Inquirer has some tips on how to fly and survive this summer.

The Chicago Tribune has a front page article about flying the angry skies.

And the Chicago Tribune companion article about 2007 being the worst year ever for air travelers.

We recently flew Southwest to Las Vegas. Somehow despite the problems of other airlines, our Southwest flights arrived on time, were 90% filled, the planes were clean, the seats were not broken, the rows have more room than other airlines, and Southwest managed to serve everyone a drink at no charge and a small box of snacks. Which brings me to the Southwest paradox. How did this airline, the greyhound of the air, become the market leader? They steadfastly avoid assigning seats causing passengers to line up hours before the flight leaves to get a "good seat." Although there are rumors of a change in boarding policies. They set the prices in any market they serve. Their recent fare increase was matched immediately by their competitors and their soon to announced sale fares will be matched as well. Southwest airlines employees are genuinely friendly and seem to like their jobs.

And Southwest airlines is profitable, but that profitability is being threatened by higher fuel costs and increased competition.

Hopefully the things that make flying Southwest more attractive today, won't disappear as a result of the squeezed profitability and increased competition.