USAirways in 1st place - WSJ article [Merged Thread]

 
Old Jul 21, 08, 8:18 pm
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USAirways in 1st place - WSJ article [Merged Thread]

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1216...s_inside_today
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Old Jul 21, 08, 8:54 pm
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Yup, I told folks that at least Parker and Isom were going to make the planes run on time this year. Of course, all the naysayers said it would never happen.

The theory is that people will "veto" an unreliable airline. But if US gets you there on time almost every time, you will choose them regardless of meal service, luggage fees, baggage fees, IFE, frequent flyer benefits, etc.

That's the theory. So far, there's no financial evidence to the contrary.
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Old Jul 21, 08, 9:05 pm
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We'll see whether US can keep up the on-time stats once the fat is removed from the schedules:

After last summer's debacle, US Airways did move to cut flights to build more cushion into its schedule, slimming down in the peak hours and holding a couple more planes back to use as spares. More minutes were added to some trips to more realistically reflect airport delays and congestion.
With things going better, US Airways is moving back to cost-savings moves to "optimize" its schedule, taking some of the cushion out of the schedule that was dropped in last year, because the airline thinks it's no longer needed.
As US admitted a few weeks ago, buying that schedule reliability is very expensive. If the employees can keep it up once the schedules are trimmed, that will be a real accomplishment.
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Old Jul 21, 08, 9:34 pm
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Kudos to Mr. Isom for improving operational performance. It's hard to argue with the on-time metrics he is delivering.

Looking at the bigger picture, I'd say the 92% drop in stock price (vs. 76% AMR, 50% UA, 71% CAL, 70% DAL ) over 12 months is at least a little bit of financial evidence that being on-time didn't overwhelm all of the negatives.
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Old Jul 22, 08, 12:23 am
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Whether the schedule is padded or not - they are starting to do something better. Even PHL received a JD Powers award for best domestic airport. I have been on several US flights this year as an UA 1K. The flights have all landed on-time or earlier and I have gotten my luggage.

Let's give them a little credit for making some huge improvements during the past few months.

I would love to see them survive and yes remain in *A.

This bitterness to somehow punish Parker also means thousands of really good people would lose their jobs. And right now, ain't nobody got the money to either buy them or buy their hubs. Best beat if foreign ownership and LH coming in.
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Old Jul 22, 08, 12:38 am
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I agree mainline is better.....BUT the express operation is in shambles. I have not had an express flight land on-time in over a month. Most of them were delayed three hours or more and some never actually went. After this experience (I am stuck with Express), I have taken my business elsewhere....Last week finally got the best of me.....

I did a flight today on Northwest Airlink and both segments arrived early.

I fly a lot and reliability of the WHOLE operation matters....not just mainline...
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Old Jul 22, 08, 12:48 am
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That's fabulous for mainline.

I fly express carriers, so why do I care if the A320 next to me leaving on time when my E170 flight next door is delayed another hour?

I've also had my last shuttle flight canceled and the next one delayed (my only mainline experience this year after 14 Express). I redeemed some miles to fly my friend out to see me. Her only mainline flight was also canceled and put on the non-stop (Express) which didn't have any saver availability when I tried to book it.

My next trip is already ticketed on NWA. Call me when I can get more than 850 miles for a 4 segment $400 ticket.
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Old Jul 22, 08, 7:09 am
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Agreed and this is good news for US but I'll echo what a few others have said....Express is just a mess....

Now, if US would only focus on the overscheduled CLT hub, then we may have a winner.........
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Old Jul 22, 08, 7:16 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Yup, I told folks that at least Parker and Isom were going to make the planes run on time this year. Of course, all the naysayers said it would never happen.
They may be running more on time than the other majors, but running at 80% isn't all that impressive. Having the best on-time performance of a disastrous group isn't something I'd hang my hat on.
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Old Jul 22, 08, 10:52 am
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
That's the theory. So far, there's no financial evidence to the contrary.
I'd say the paltry 1.6% mainline unit revenue increase in the second quarter is convincing evidence to the contrary, given that it's a smaller revenue increase than the other five legacy airlines.

I'm certain there's a silver lining for some in posting nearly flat unit revenue growth despite CASM increases of 13.6% during the same period.

Sure, there's "no financial evidence to the contrary." Keep telling yourself that.
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Old Jul 22, 08, 2:23 pm
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Methinks you give both yourself and Mr. Parker too much credit iahphx.

Parker and his buddy Travis are what screw US and it's pax inside-out last year. Not much of a revelation on Parker's part that he had nowhere to go except upwards after he takes operations into the muck and mire in 2007.

Mr. Isom is indeed due credit because he's a pure ops guy who comes in to fix DP's mess and he cuts through the factionalism and stagnation which Tempe allows to fester with its employees. Isom has indeed done a good job making US function like a real airline. But remember, the employees and not DP are at the heart of US becoming a better performing airline.

The WSJ article is a just reward for the effort put forth by lots of folks at US.

The airline is still at the bottom of the industry in customer complaints filed with the DOT. Mr. Isom thinks that's the result of major policy changes at US Airways that fuel complaints, such as adding fees for checked baggage, reducing mileage paid to frequent fliers for short flights or charging $2 for soda. In addition, complaints typically lag in turnaround.
I prefer to wait and see on the above observation by Isom as I would contend that pax are presently mad at every airline for higher costs and baggage fees. Pax generally won't complain to DOT unless they've got a lost bag or an operations misconnect or other such SNAFU. As to the angry FFers, perhaps US should stop touting DM as the best/most generous product out there. Elites are tired of the decptive double speak and empty hubris; like everyone else, they want to get from A to B on-time and with bags.

"We've done a good job of training our customers to complain because we've given them lots of reasons to complain," he said.
I would have preferred that Isom would have said "conditioned" instead of "trained". The former lays it square at US's feet for it's confused product, poor execution, & inattentive management.. The later makes it sound as if flyers are trained circus animals who make their own mess or lack the intellect to know service from failure.

US is indeed perfroming much better and I'm glad for it. The next step is to continue to stay focused upon performance and product and to avoid merger mania or reactive half-thought-out measures while all airlines try to navigate these difficult times. I give US credit for it's accomplishment. But you're only as good as your next flight and that is a fair measure of any airline. I'm comfortable with Mr. Isom pulling the levers, but it will take me quite some time to put much faith into DP as anything but a dealmaker who won't fess up when he's caught in the act.

Enjoy the success and hope that it continues.

Barry
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Old Jul 22, 08, 6:19 pm
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Still Not Convinced?(An open message to all US FTers)

Again this another articles for you US haters on this board, the media is finally taking notice of US's turnaround and you guys should too. Seriously, if hate US that much, stop complaining and fly someone else or write to someone who can do something about it. Crictism is ok and board like this are perfect for telling others about bad experience, but sometimes I get the feeling that dissatisfaction has turned into rage. Thing like good on-timeand baggage handling are part of the customer experience and this what I exepect when I fly. US has no pretension of being an upscale brand. They've never advertised like that in fact the ad they did make were repackaged version of America West's "Get on Board" campaign, which was probably it will be more like America West around here. The industry needs to right istelf again, so you can have choice. We may not like the thing they do and it may be painful, but we must understand. This is air travel circa 2008, not 1998 The fees are minor headache, and they'd price them into the fare if they could. Therefore, you'd pay more either way.
It was hard to admit the problem because they were in the throes of their early success They paid dearly for that mistake as you guys can attest. However, once they realized they got to work on it. They hired more people, and directed resources to fix the problems. They are not putting a big for sale on the company like Glenn Tilton is doing with United. Once their assumptions on considlation did not work Parker was humble enough to qualify those views and actually get back to running to the company. Parker and company actually engage their employees allowing them be heard uncensored. He also know how to pick battles as evdienced with his superhuman patience with the pilot episode(pun intended) He was also humble enough to do not another forced asslimitation. Parker and company did the very hard work of combining operations and procedures . They did not assume their way was the best. The emphasis on history is include all employees.( It would have not made much sense otherwise. )
Change does not happen overnight You also have to look at what they had to work with Those who have ben with US since before the merger probably forget how terrible it was(Philly Christmas meltdown or the costantly revolving management,anyone ) I am pretty sure US's turnaround at Philly contributed to PHL's winning the JD Power award because US' is their largest tenant. If you're thinking I'm drinking Kool-Aid, so be it. Just don't attack me because I don't share your taste and preferences or your anti-Doug Parker views.
http://online.wsj.com/article/the_middle_seat.html
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Old Jul 22, 08, 6:41 pm
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The existing thread wasn't good enough to post in?
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=847302


Originally Posted by nyc2phx View Post
Again this another articles for you US haters on this board, the media is finally taking notice of US's turnaround and you guys should too.
You mean we should start saying things like:
- "Kudos to Mr. Isom for improving operational performance. It's hard to argue with the on-time metrics he is delivering."
- "Whether the schedule is padded or not - they are starting to do something better."
- "I agree mainline is better"
- "That's fabulous for mainline."
- "Agreed and this is good news for US"

We/they did.

Perhaps all of the apologists that should equally admit that the USAir approach to passenger management/customer loyalty is worst in class. Being worst in customer complaints even with the best record of getting from A to B on time is hard to do.

And don't forget that the overall brand, flying under many other airline's control, is still a mess and having your 1st mainline leg on time and your second Express leg two hours late doesn't really make it all better. I get to spend yet another night in an unplanned hotel on Sunday and the fact that is was Republic didn't make it all better.

Having elite status and typically flying without checking a bag, having drinks on board, checking-in at the counter, etc., the on-time performance has stopped me from actively avoiding US. They're back in the "best price, best schedule" pool. The FF decimation still is a problem, so my goal is to squeak in the 30 segments to get fees waived for my and my family's travel next year, and try to accumulate real miles elsewhere with the remaining flights.
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Old Jul 22, 08, 7:28 pm
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Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
Perhaps all of the apologists that should equally admit that the USAir approach to passenger management/customer loyalty is worst in class.
I think we ALL agree on this, at least on the loyalty end of things. In fact, I think we all know what the bet is - and we simply differ on whether it's going to have an impact one way or another.

Being worst in customer complaints even with the best record of getting from A to B on time is hard to do.
In the July Air Consumer Report, US wasn't the worst - DL was. Interestingly, US and UA both posted improvements from their dismal year ago performance, while DL plummeted. Taken together, I'm still not sure that tells us anything that amounts to a hill of beans.

And don't forget that the overall brand, flying under many other airline's control, is still a mess and having your 1st mainline leg on time and your second Express leg two hours late doesn't really make it all better. I get to spend yet another night in an unplanned hotel on Sunday and the fact that is was Republic didn't make it all better.
... and therein lies what I think is probably the single biggest failure in the way US runs today. To paraphrase Jim (?) - they've become an express carrier with some mainline feed. I don't understand why they can't put more focus on those issues and/or enforce performance standards for contracted flying.

IMO, the difference between "apologists" and "haters" isn't terribly profound - and most in either camp see both sides of the fence. Unfortunately, there are those with an axe to grind who will attack and insult pretty much anything. Offset only by those who can do nothing but cheerlead. There's certainly a happy medium - something I think most of us have found.
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Old Jul 22, 08, 8:19 pm
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Originally Posted by McFlyPHL View Post
There's certainly a happy medium - something I think most of us have found.
Amen, brother!

Actually as the years have progressed, I don't really hate the US haters... more so, I see them as the 'original' Titanic pax: upscale, appreciative of the finer things (relatively so these days), and certainly someone worth engaging in an interesting discussion or two - unfortunately they and their beloved transportation device suffered the 'big splash' and took them with it, but equally unfortunately, they don't seem to comprehend this...

Last edited by GaryZ; Jul 22, 08 at 8:40 pm Reason: grammar
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