Airlines’ business practices never cease to amaze me. It appears that the “extra fees” (read blankets, ear buds, movies, baggage, change fees etc.) now make up ~10% of total revenue according to an article in the NYTimes. The data is actually from a survey from hopper.com – full data here. All this while the quality of “service” continues to be awful at best. Read and weep.
Consultants are of course painfully aware of the awfulness of flying. The fact that airlines seats have become smaller and more uncomfortable over the last 50 years will not then come as any surprise.
What was surprising was the fact that airlines may only be part of that problem. Airline seat widths, pitch have apparently declined ~10% over the last ~50 years, while (ahem) our seats / weights have increased by ~20% over the same period.
It’s hard to believe, but a recent survey from Kaiser suggests that there are industries out there that are more hated than airlines. Apparently just 44% of people have a negative view of airlines, vs. ~50% for health insurance, pharma and oil companies. I’m sure this will warm the hearts of airline execs this holiday season.
I found this letter in last weeks’ Economist funny.
I see that United Airlines, facing huge competition, has appointed a railroad executive as its new boss (“The chairman’s flight”, September 12th). I am sure his experience with cattle cars will serve him well when squeezing passengers into planes.
It would be unfair to single out United, however. I think none of the US carriers (with maybe the exception of Virgin) know the meaning of service. Sad.
Most consultants travel a lot. I thought it may be interesting to share a nice article from the New Yorker on the history and design of first/business class seats.
A few points caught my eye:
- Birtish Airways was the first airline to offer fully flat beds, but not till 1995
- New first class seats cost ~$500k each
Worth a read (and perhaps weeping over, when you are stuck in seat 22B).