Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Travel Topics > Air Travel
Reload this Page >

American airline companies: They just don't care

American airline companies: They just don't care

May 24th, 2011, 04:59 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 583
American airline companies: They just don't care

We just got back from Europe. Had 8 flights, 2 international with United (my past experience with most of the European airlines has been MUCH better in all aspects), the rest were domestic flights: 2 with Czech Airline, 4 with KLM City-Hopper. Those domestic flights were between 45 minute each and 1:45. In each and every of the domestic flights we were fed large-size sandwiches, brownies or large cookies and choice of soft drinks, coffee or tea. Couple months ago my daughter flew Chicago to San Francisco, a 4-hour flight, and was offered a tiny bag of pretzels and soft drinks.

They just don't care about us anymore, those American airline companies, so it seems. It's all about their bottom line. Too bad.
mamamia2 is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 05:38 PM
  #2  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,877
Actually I disagree. The American public has been quite clear in what they want, and the US airline companies have responded well deliver.

Number one priority for the American public is low fares. Period. Remember AA's "More room in coach?" They removed several rows of seats to give everybody more room. Their competitors were able to fly 12-18 more people on each plane and therefore offer lower fares. Nobody was willing to pay more for the extra room so AA responded by adding back the 2-3 rows on each plane and squishing the seats closer together.

You mention the bottom line. Do tell us. How much excess profit have airlines made over the last 5 years? 10 years?
J62 is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 07:12 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,491
I also disagree with OP and would like to pose a question: how did your daughter select the airline she used for her flight? There are a number of airlines flying ORD to SFO. Did she go with the lowest price or use some other criteria?

I agree with J62. Any company, even an airline, must pay attention to its bottom line. And it must attract customers in order to stay in business. In the US that means it must stay competitive because the flying public has said loud and clear that their (i.e. the flying public's) bottom line is price and the lowest price will win out the majority of the time.

Americans want to pay budget-airline prices. Of course, irrationally, Americans also want "large-size sandwiches, brownies or large cookies and choice of soft drinks, coffee or tea" along with all the other amenities the full-service airlines used to offer.

Personally I miss AA's "More room in coach." I willingly paid extra.
julia1 is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 08:40 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,485
<>

Personally I've never found fares in the US particularly cheap especially for the large carriers, including Southwest. If you compare fares from the no frills airlines in Europe with what you get in the US, the European airlines such as Ryanair, really do/can offer ridiculously cheap basic air travel.

The US airlines are struggling for a variety of reasons, providing free drinks & food would not be one of them. I read somewhere that American Airlines saved around $30 million a year when they scrapped free food on domestics, how much cheaper does that make your fare based on the number of flights/passengers they service.
Geordie is offline  
May 24th, 2011, 10:28 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 63,579
"so it seems. It's all about their bottom line."

Well duh . . . It is ultimately about the bottom line w/ EVERY company. Otherwise they wouldn't stay in business.

Does the lack of meals mean an airline survives or not - who knows. But whether you are talking about Macy's, or In'nOut Burger, or CBS News, or Target, or an airline -- the bottom line is what matters.
janisj is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 04:29 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-0...ilets-standing...

DISAGREE... some euroeconos are FAR worse than US carriers

RyanAir in Europe wins the it is all about the the bottom line

with their pay loo and fly standing up plans.

Aeroflot comes in second where the pilots drink vodka

and they call the autopilot the "designated driver"

Honorable mention to Spirit though for charging for the

overheads although I can still slip my bag under the seat

for free. For a couple of bucks I can bring my own sandwich.

Not sure that makes all US Carriers the worst in the world.

Going downhill defintly though...
qwovadis is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 04:38 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 12,269
Most of the US carriers have started charging for their food
to help profits taking their lead from the euroeconos.To be
fair your daughter could have done this at any time.No sure
that means US Carriers "do not care".Personally think the quality/selection of the food has improved A LOT since they
have done this on most carriers.
qwovadis is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 05:48 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,158
I have eaten the 'food' offered on both KLM and Czech Airlines. You'll excuse me if I don't lament the fact that US airlines don't offer similar for free.

Personally, I prefer the innovations offered by the US carriers, like in-flight wifi and live tv, to bad airplane food. I also like the presence of first class, rather than coach seating with the middle seat blocked, like European carriers offer. If I want food, I can bring it with me. I can't bring the internet, live tv, or a bigger seat.
travelgourmet is online now  
May 25th, 2011, 05:48 AM
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 583
A. America is not the only country struggling. Europe is struggling too, paying maybe even more for jet fuel than Americans.

B. Sure, Ryanair is cheap and bad. So? I am comparing regular scheduled EU airlines to ours. Apples to apples.

We ALL, at least most of us, buy the lowest airfare. That's true in Europe too. I could compare how much we paid to both KLM and Czech Airline per mile flown, and I'm SURE it would show LESS, than what we're currently paying here in the US:

For a 45 min flight one way (FRA-PRG) we paid $140 RT.

For a total of 2:45 hours flying time (2 flights) FRA-Nice via AMS, one way -- we paid $200 RT.

I don't think those European airlines are losing money. I think USA airlines are smiling, doing well, while we're all getting squeezed. There's a way to do business, and there's a way.....
mamamia2 is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 05:50 AM
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 583
Correction: The 45 min. flight on Czech Air was $114.- not $140.- RT.
mamamia2 is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 05:59 AM
  #11  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 9,877
Great info mamamia2. Thank you.

The $114 FRA-PRG fare for the 254 mile flight (508 RT) translates into 22c/mile.

FRA-PRG = 254 miles
ORD-SFO = 1846 miles

http://www.travelmath.com/flight-distance/

For ORD-SFO that would equate to a fare of over $800 round trip, which is not what the US public is willing to pay.

I did this in a hurry, so maybe my math on cost per mile flown is wrong - so please show us your cost per mile flown calculation that shows it is LESS in Europe.
J62 is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 06:07 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,158
I don't think those European airlines are losing money.

Czech Airlines is an economic basket case and had to be bailed out by the Czech government a couple of years ago.

Air France-KLM made money in their most recent fiscal year, but lost some €1.5 billion the year before. They were also handed the keys to dominant positions at the 2nd and 5th busiest airports in Europe and, generally, operate in a much less competitive space than the US airlines do. With increased competition from LCCs at home, and the Middle Eastern airlines taking increasing share of their long-haul traffic, I suspect that they have a rough few years ahead of them.
travelgourmet is online now  
May 25th, 2011, 06:10 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 24,158
For a 45 min flight one way (FRA-PRG) we paid $140 RT.

For comparison, BOS-JFK, a similar length flight, prices at $119 RT in June.
travelgourmet is online now  
May 25th, 2011, 06:36 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 583
I'm not an expert in economics. Sure not having high culinary demands. The sandwiches we got on our European domestic flights were fresh and tasty. Good enough for us, hungry travelers on an early morning flight......

If I compare the last, travelgourmet's post, we're comparing shorts flights, apples to apples. We paid $114. Comparable length BOS-JFK is $119. We got food and drinks. BOS-JFK travelers do not. That's my comparison.
mamamia2 is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 07:23 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,651
Sorry, I think it's apples and oranges, or maybe it's just about a sandwich? Unless you want to do a really careful and accurate study about the differences between American and European airline companies, this kind of post, and the title itself, is just plain silly.
socaltraveler is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 09:15 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
Americans all say "we want service" and then they book thier flights on ONE basis... COST! It's been tried and it didn't work....

Remember "more room through coach" American Airlines did a study... we CLAIMED we would "pay" for more leg room. So AA took out seats requiring them to raise prices..... and what did the traveling public do. Book another carrier with "less room in coach" but cheaper fares.... AA gave in, put in more seats, lowered fares....

American airlines have been bleeding red ink for years. would the OP perfer they cut the "inedible" sandwich or maintenance? (And I have had the sandwich on those European airlines... it was inedible there too!)
CarolA is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 12:35 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 583
This thread is a simple comparison between the service we've been getting in domestic flights here in the USA, and comparable flights in Europe. This is based on MY EXPERIENCE of 6 domestic flights in Europe. It is not meant to be scientific, just the comparison of us, travelers.

So I'm not sure why I need to "do a really careful and accurate study about the differences between American and European airline companies".... To me THAT sound silly, and I have no intention of making this issue into a scientific study.
mamamia2 is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 01:16 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,049
I take it you are not going to put your experience to use by opening your own airline?
clevelandbrown is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 02:22 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 3,847
The original post makes it sound like you care about the food and drinks more than anything. I don't think this is a sound basis in choosing a flight IMO unless you really love airline food.

Recently I paid 233 euro RT Athens-Santorini. Not a cheapo airline and certainly not cheap!


Recently I paid $212 RT DFW-BUR American Airlines. Bargain, I'd say. Oh, plus about 5 bucks for my sandwich.
soogies is offline  
May 25th, 2011, 03:03 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,525
As someone who works for one of those US airlines I must respond to your topic. You do know that most oversea airlines are subsidized by their respective country? Thats what makes this topic apples and oranges!
dutyfree is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:01 AM.