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Interesting Editorial on Customer Friendly Strings to Put on any Airline Bailout on

Interesting Editorial on Customer Friendly Strings to Put on any Airline Bailout on

Old Mar 16, 20, 11:26 am
  #1  
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Interesting Editorial on Customer Friendly Strings to Put on any Airline Bailout on

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/16/o...e=articleShare

“Before providing any loan relief, tax breaks or cash transfers, we must demand that the airlines change how they treat their customers and employees and make basic changes in industry ownership structure.

Beginning with passengers, change fees should be capped at $50 and baggage fees tied to some ratio of costs. The change fees don’t just irritate; they are also a drag on the broader economy, making the transport system less flexible and discouraging what would otherwise be efficient changes to travel plans. We should also put an end to the airlines’ pursuit of smaller and smaller seats, which are not only uncomfortable and even physically harmful, but also foster in-flight rage and make the job of flight attendants nigh unbearable. Finally, we have allowed too much common ownership, permitting large shareholders to take a stake in each of the major airlines, creating incentives to collude instead of compete.”
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Old Mar 16, 20, 11:30 am
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As this is a general editorial of the airline industry and only specifically mentions AA, will move this to a more general travel forum

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Old Mar 16, 20, 11:33 am
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Never ever going to happen. They will just hand cash to all the US carriers with no stings attached.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 12:37 pm
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"Foster in-flight rage"????

So, self control and personal responsibility are off the table then?

I raised 3 daughters, two years apart, which included having all 3 of them as teenagers for WAY too much of my life. They would come home from school and complain that someone hurt their feelings, or someone made them mad, etc, etc.

I taught them that no one can *make* you feel anything. Your feelings are *your* chosen response to a situation, and therefore your responsibility. My youngest daughter came home one day crying because her "best friend" said she was a ...... I said "Are you? If she called you a piano, would you be a piano?"

Anyone who believes that seat pitch, or reclining, or not being offered a pre-flight beverage, or just generally being uncomfortable, entitles them to *choose* to not control their behavior, or to respond physically, is pointing the finger in the wrong direction. If someone chooses to be a "jerk" on your flight, it's up to you how you respond.

Beyond that, the article is stupid and ill-informed.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 2:04 pm
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Airlines have only themselves to blame for this problem

People want to travel. Rather than spend this whole year hiding under the bed, people are taking road trips. They are booking hotels. They are not making new airline reservations for one reason alone, the arrogance and inflexibility of the industry. If you have to set your plans in stone months ahead of time, you're not going to risk losing your airfare because your summer convention might be canceled or your intended theme park might be closed. You're going to drive there, even when it means spending two days each way on the road, because driving plans can be changed without undue penalty.

I'm not in favor of bailing out the airlines for a problem that is all their own fault, but if the politicians find this irresistible, let's dictate a rational set of consumer-friendly business policies. For just one example, take the issue of flight credit. When I buy an airline ticket in October for a trip in May, the carrier is benefiting by positive cash flow, getting paid now for a service to be rendered much later. Every other business dreams of being in that situation. So if I find that I can't make the trip, there is no reason to charge me any sort of change penalty unless it's too close to flight time for the carrier to resell the seat. I'm not expecting a refund under ordinary circumstances; I just want to be able to park the flight credit until I can rebook for about the same time next year. When I do so the airline has free use of my money for another whole year. I don't expect to be screwed out of my credit by that arbitrary one year from purchase rule, which guarantees that most flight credit never gets used.

For years, airline managements have been used to getting together every few months over squab and cigars to jerk the rules leash on travelers a little tighter, finding some new way to double- and triple-sell the same seat before flight. No other business gets away with being able to collude like that. If we're going to do a bailout, let's impose our own set of rules on them for a change. Otherwise, I would rather have them go broke and sell out for pennies on the dollar to Southwest.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 3:13 pm
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Generally agree with the article. Airlines (like banks) want capitalism and deregulation in good times, and then socialism and bailouts in bad times. That's not how it should work. If a business is necessary for the public interest, it should be subjected to stronger regulation and consumer protection laws. If it's not, then let capitalism run its course.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 3:20 pm
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At the end of 2019, AA had 128,900 employees worldwide. That is a lot of jobs to write off over self-entitled whining about seat pitch.

The OpEd is ill-informed and typical of an ivory tower academic with tenure who does not have to worry about getting his hands dirty.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
At the end of 2019, AA had 128,900 employees worldwide. That is a lot of jobs to write off over self-entitled whining about seat pitch.
Employee morale at AA was at an all-time low before this crisis ever existed. AA execs never cared about their employees, only increasing its stock price for shareholders. That behavior shouldn't go rewarded. I think you missed the point of the article -- it's not that we shouldn't help airlines, it's that we shouldn't do so without strings attached.

By the way, since you care about workers, I assume you're in favor of government benefits for all the staff at bars, restaurants, hotels, and the dozens of other sectors affected by this crises?

Edit: LOL it's even better after you read the title of the article -- "...We must change how they treat their customers and employees"
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Last edited by _fx; Mar 16, 20 at 4:07 pm
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Old Mar 16, 20, 3:32 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
At the end of 2019, AA had 128,900 employees worldwide. That is a lot of jobs to write off over self-entitled whining about seat pitch.

The OpEd is ill-informed and typical of an ivory tower academic with tenure who does not have to worry about getting his hands dirty.
If you read the comments on this article in the WSJ (apparently not behind the paywall, at least for me) you'll see that your view is shared by a tiny minority:

Airlines Seek $50 Billion Coronavirus Aid Package


https://www.wsj.com/articles/airline...=djemalertNEWS
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Old Mar 16, 20, 3:39 pm
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Airlines can't expect to extract monopolistic, rent-seeking fares and fees when times are good, and then be protected as a regulated utility when times are bad.

Sorry AA - if you've got $15,000,000,000 to buy back shares then you had plenty of cash to put aside to weather the hard times

Last edited by nerd; Mar 16, 20 at 3:45 pm
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Old Mar 16, 20, 3:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
At the end of 2019, AA had 128,900 employees worldwide. That is a lot of jobs to write off over self-entitled whining about seat pitch.

The OpEd is ill-informed and typical of an ivory tower academic with tenure who does not have to worry about getting his hands dirty.
Who is the author and what is his/her/its institutional affiliation?

BTW, I wish the strictly enforced prohibition of ESAs (pets, not genuine service animals) had been included on the list.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 3:57 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
Who is the author and what is his/her/its institutional affiliation?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Wu

Just a random guy at Columbia with no real-world experience or credentials whatsoever.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 5:41 pm
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I have no sympathy or support whatsoever, to see another bailout for an industry who has had no remorse for taking every opportunity in screwing passengers for their profits. Having flown AA for almost 4 decades and been subject to every conceivable means to squeeze every last dollar from me (starting with Crandall's cutting salad olives), packing us into smaller seats and planes, to diluting the perks and status we used to have flying AA, I have no desire to use my tax dollars to allow these practices to continue. Without concessions from the airlines of how they are going to make changes that benefit the public and make customer service a higher priority than profit, let them fail.
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Old Mar 16, 20, 5:47 pm
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Originally Posted by _fx View Post
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Wu

Just a random guy at Columbia with no real-world experience or credentials whatsoever.
Endowed chair tenured professor at Columbia Law School. Former candidate for governor. Zero common sense.

https://www.law.columbia.edu/faculty/timothy-wu
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Old Mar 16, 20, 6:38 pm
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Originally Posted by _fx View Post
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Wu

Just a random guy at Columbia with no real-world experience or credentials whatsoever.
Just your typical expert!
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