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MAIN DISCUSSION THREAD - Hawaiian Airlines Basic Economy [Discussion/Questions]

MAIN DISCUSSION THREAD - Hawaiian Airlines Basic Economy [Discussion/Questions]

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Old Dec 12, 18, 4:38 pm
  #1  
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MAIN DISCUSSION THREAD - Hawaiian Airlines Basic Economy [Discussion/Questions]

Dear Mr. Ingram --

we had high expectations when you took over from Mark Dunkerley. Now, there are rumors that you are considering United's ill fated Basic Economy concept for HA. Don't. Basic Economy is simply cruel and barbaric -- HEWA. Just how much can HA economy service be stripped further?

Take inspiration from Gordon Bethune: "Listen to your customers, even if your competitors aren’t."

Basic Economy is infuriating, deceptive, simply not Pono. Please remember, when customers select an airline: "An ounce of humanity can outweigh five hundred tons of metal."

Last edited by Alex909; Dec 12, 18 at 5:12 pm
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Old Dec 12, 18, 5:13 pm
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The Basic Economy was first considered during the previous administration:

https://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/...c-economy.html
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Old Dec 12, 18, 6:02 pm
  #3  
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Why on earth would you refer to UA's BE as "ill-fated"? It is doing quite well and its use is being expanded. The same for AA & DL.

So, apparently customers are quite happy with it, even if you are not.
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Old Dec 12, 18, 6:15 pm
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"Doing quite well", economically, for these carriers doesn't make it pono.

Flying in economy is already stressful and fee choices abound. Turning HA into another LCC is not the answer.

But let's see what everybody else here feels.



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Old Dec 12, 18, 9:49 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Alex909 View Post
"Doing quite well", economically, for these carriers doesn't make it pono.

Flying in economy is already stressful and fee choices abound. Turning HA into another LCC is not the answer.

But let's see what everybody else here feels.



What details about the product have you so concerned?
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Old Dec 14, 18, 1:11 am
  #6  
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Azj, sorry for the delay, it took me some time to gather my thoughts.

My deepest concern is that there is a potential for a further increase in dangerous "Air Rage" incidents. Modern air travel is already a situation in which human status is highly visible. Studies have shown that, in people, status stress can actually be dangerous to health. A UK study of air rage and class published two years ago suggested that economy passengers feel the most rage when they walk through first class: it reminds them of their diminution. Interestingly, first-class passengers weren’t any calmer: those subjected to the indignity of having the "unwashed" walk through their space, rather than boarding out of their sight though a middle door, were even angrier. Basic Economy would further carve up the cabin, adding more fuel to the fire. I think it is the "whole" concept that is inhuman, not necessarily individual "parts" or details of an individual airline implementation.

I also think that Basic Economy concept is like a fare sale with loads of fine print. Most passengers are simply totally unaware of just how minimal some of the individual offerings can be -- for example, zero free access to overhead bin. When they find out, more potential for "$12 blanket" like rage incidents.

Lastly, I don't think it would be a smart competitive move right now, given that all eyes are on SWA starting their service soon. CEO Kelly spoke publicly against Basic Economy. More recently, he said he doesn't believe in "carving up the cabin" and that, "Southwest values its reputation". A move into Basic Economy might undermine HA value propositions around "Your Hawaii Vacation Starts Here" and Sharing Aloha just when it is most vulnerable.

Last edited by Alex909; Dec 14, 18 at 2:09 am
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Old Dec 14, 18, 11:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Alex909 View Post
Azj, sorry for the delay, it took me some time to gather my thoughts.

My deepest concern is that there is a potential for a further increase in dangerous "Air Rage" incidents. Modern air travel is already a situation in which human status is highly visible. Studies have shown that, in people, status stress can actually be dangerous to health. A UK study of air rage and class published two years ago suggested that economy passengers feel the most rage when they walk through first class: it reminds them of their diminution. Interestingly, first-class passengers weren’t any calmer: those subjected to the indignity of having the "unwashed" walk through their space, rather than boarding out of their sight though a middle door, were even angrier. Basic Economy would further carve up the cabin, adding more fuel to the fire. I think it is the "whole" concept that is inhuman, not necessarily individual "parts" or details of an individual airline implementation.

I also think that Basic Economy concept is like a fare sale with loads of fine print. Most passengers are simply totally unaware of just how minimal some of the individual offerings can be -- for example, zero free access to overhead bin. When they find out, more potential for "$12 blanket" like rage incidents.

Lastly, I don't think it would be a smart competitive move right now, given that all eyes are on SWA starting their service soon. CEO Kelly spoke publicly against Basic Economy. More recently, he said he doesn't believe in "carving up the cabin" and that, "Southwest values its reputation". A move into Basic Economy might undermine HA value propositions around "Your Hawaii Vacation Starts Here" and Sharing Aloha just when it is most vulnerable.

An interesting study, but full of methodological flaws, sloppy databases, and confounds. BTW, it was conducted out of Canada, not the UK.

Curious about the use of F vs. Y distinction. Most of the world has done away with the F concept, and J is the premier cabin. Would have thought that the authors would have known about this.
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Old Dec 15, 18, 3:04 am
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747FC, yes, Canada, sorry for the typo. The research paper was subsequently critiqued in Crede et al., but the authors wrote a fairly detailed reply. Did you see this reply? Just checking.

What do you mean by "sloppy databases"? The study is limited to one (major) airline’s data, and it’s possible that broader surveys might show more subtle relationships, if any.

The study I cited is not the only research evidence out there. A more recent "content analysis" based study of Air Rage found some corroborating evidence for "status inequality", but says increasing airline "greed" is an even stronger contributing factor: Overcrowding of planes, boarding procedures, and unfriendly service. (Along with other passengers' behavior.)

If mid-air fights are something you'd like to avoid, the research is not comforting, and Basic Economy is only making it much worse.

Last edited by Alex909; Dec 16, 18 at 2:18 am
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Old Dec 15, 18, 6:51 am
  #9  
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OP said that the product was "ill-fated". It is not. It is quite profitable. That is what for-profit companies do.

Consumers appear to like the product and are purchasing it.

So, if the buyer and seller are pleased, what else is there other than a bunch of pseudo-science flawed research which does not even apply to the US market?
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Old Dec 15, 18, 9:50 am
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Five out of the six largest U.S. carriers have Basic Economy or have announced its introduction. Spirit/Allegiant/Frontier have it, too, and are growing at faster RPMiles rates than the legacies. Basic Economy works in the U.S. market. If you don't like it, don't buy it.
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Old Dec 15, 18, 10:11 am
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Originally Posted by Alex909 View Post
747FC, yes, Canada, sorry for the typo. The research paper was subsequently critiqued in Crede et al., but the authors wrote a fairly detailed reply. Did you see this reply? Just checking.

What do you mean by "sloppy databases"? The study is limited to one (major) airline’s data, and it’s possible that broader surveys might show more subtle relationships, if any.

The study I cited is not the only research evidence out there. A more recent "content analysis" based study of Air Rage found some corroborating evidence for "status inequality", but says increasing airline "greed" is an even stronger contributing factor: Overcrowding of planes, boarding procedures, and unfriendly service. (Along with other passengers' behavior.)

If mid-air fights are something you'd like to avoid, the research is not comforting, and Basic Economy will only make it much worse.
The variables selected for study were interesting, but are a small part of the atmosphere on an aircraft. It would have been great to access the airline's HR database and see whether the age, experience, disciplinary actions or job performance evaluations of the working crew accounted for more variance than the variables discussed. Having a self-important FA hurrying people through F/J likely sets the tone much more than the boarding location. But, these are testable hypotheses awaiting future research.

Just for fun, perhaps a viewing of this video would be helpful:


Last edited by 747FC; Dec 15, 18 at 10:23 am Reason: Added content
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Old Dec 15, 18, 7:28 pm
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Again... how about we wait and see what the details are before we pull the the class-warfare/air rage card.
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Old Dec 16, 18, 3:06 pm
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Azj -- Please allow one question: What is the purpose of introducing a "Basic Economy" program at HA? What problem is HA trying to solve?
Just for fun, perhaps a viewing of this video would be helpful:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ft0hPIH75iU
The video is HILLARIOUS.
Thanks for posting.

Last edited by FlyinHawaiian; Dec 17, 18 at 5:06 am Reason: consecutive posts merged
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Old Dec 17, 18, 1:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Alex909 View Post
Azj -- Please allow one question: What is the purpose of introducing a "Basic Economy" program at HA? What problem is HA trying to solve?

Why does there have to be a problem? It's simple... the competition has it and HAL has had to price match those basic fares. It's HAL falling in line with its peers to further offer a variety of pricing options for the guest while not leaving $$$ on the table. It appears "Main Cabin Basic" will not mean reconfiguring the airplanes or stripping away of the onboard amenities. Sounds like it will be a cheaper fare with more restrictions, no advanced seat assignments until the check-in window and no bonus miles earned. Hardly class warfare, shaming of the non premium flyers and an instigator for air-rage.

Last edited by azj; Dec 17, 18 at 7:54 pm
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Old Dec 18, 18, 12:26 am
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Originally Posted by azj View Post
Why does there have to be a problem?
It's simple... the competition has it and HAL has had to price match those basic fares. It's HAL falling in line with its peers to further offer a variety of pricing options for the guest while not leaving $$$ on the table. It appears "Main Cabin Basic" will not mean reconfiguring the airplanes or stripping away of the onboard amenities. Sounds like it will be a cheaper fare with more restrictions, no advanced seat assignments until the check-in window and no bonus miles earned. Hardly class warfare, shaming of the non premium flyers and an instigator for air-rage.
OK, so this is mainly a competitive reaction to the majors. Thank you, I really appreciate the clarification.

With "problem" I was alluding to Southwest Service coming to Hawai'i. If I think competitive environment, and if the economy class service level of a given HA economy ticket at a particular route and price point ends up slipping below Southwest service level, then why wouldn't many customers looking to buy at that price point just choose SWA over HA? Just wondering if that's being really considered. Not that long ago, Southwest Airlines was considered a relatively no-frills airline, at least when compared to the other major carriers. Then all the competition started charging for checked bags, introduced heavy change fees etc,. while Southwest says it’s given “no thought whatsoever” Main Cabin Basic might simply confuse passengers when they are trying to decide between HA and Southwest. It has the potential to dilute your brand and goes against your messaging of, "we provide a meal" and "Hawai'i starts here."

The move to Basic Economy alone probably won't lead to class warfare. But consider the totality of what airlines have done to economy flyers over the last few years. Basic Economy might just be the one thing that breaks the camel's back. Just how much can the HA economy service be stripped down even further before more passengers "break" and you will see a rapid escalation of Dr. Daos and $12 blanket/"take someone behind the woodshed" situations?

Why not wait until Southwest is here and until the competitive environment between the carriers has settled? Oil prices are dropping into the 40ies again -- operating costs might be lower for a while -- so why the rush to implement this now?

Last edited by Alex909; Dec 18, 18 at 9:34 am
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