FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - Why is there such as disconnect between PL and Polaris in-flight?
Old Mar 23, 19, 4:46 pm
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: SFO
Programs: UA GS 1.9MM / UC / AS Gold 75K / Bonvoy Plat / Hilton Diamond
Posts: 614
Iíve mentioned this in another thread, but the airline has made a conscious choice to invest in things it can capitalize on the balance sheet (seats, aircraft, lounges, app development, branding) versus operating expenses (all staffing costs, fuel, food, beverages, etc) . This drives overall income and allows them to exceed analyst/investor targets. Basically, they are trimming every operating expense possible to the bare bones.

The Polaris Lounge is unique in that they construct it and capitalize the cost of doing so, then outsource its daily operation, and squeeze the vendor providing the service within it. Itís a relatively lower op ex run rate than the onboard services ó the staff at the SFO PL are on $12 per hour with no benefits; the Galley FA on board $50+ per hour plus benefits and per diems. Also, it has a REVENUE stream associated with it due to the charges they levy on other *A passengers per visit. My executive side of my brain gets the approach, even though I donít like it.

Personally, I spend little time in the Polaris lounge because I fly everywhere direct from SFO and donít get there early enough to focus on it. Sleep is a priority from EWR/IAD and shorter TATL flights, but out of SFO pretty much everything is 10+ - 17h of flying, so the soft product matters much more ... and the cuts are more noticeable. Add on to the fact that 80% of my international flying is on a non-PL suite for the time being, itís not yet a fully competitive product and the cuts are premature ... but itís easier for execs to make money in the good times than the bad.
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