Is there hope for US Airways?

May 21st, 2004, 11:04 AM
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Is there hope for US Airways?

Recent developments for this airline are not encouraging. While it's commonplace for a major airline to survive one Chapter 11 filing, I'm not sure about a second.

I wonder if anyone else is confused about their newest "strategyquot; They say they're going to move away from the hub-and-spoke structure, but they also say they're keeping their (relatively new) Caribbean and Mexico flights because these are among their most profitable routes.

So if they drastically reduce the flights feeding into Philly and Charlotte, how are we small-city folks supposed to get to the Carib/Mex flights? Seems contradictory.

USAir is the number one carrier where we live and we'd hate to see them bite the dust. Is it time to use up those frequent flier miles?

cdt is offline  
May 21st, 2004, 11:22 AM
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The only thing from USAir that makes sense to me in the last 10+ years is to sell itself to United. Unfortunately, the regulators blocked that deal.
rkkwan is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 02:40 AM
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We thought it was time to use up USAirways FF miles last summer - blew through 200,000 miles last summer. We now have 150,000 more - will be booking trips for son to come home from college with these - if miles disappear, we'll just pay on another airline.
gail is offline  
May 22nd, 2004, 02:12 PM
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From what I understand the route structure will change but there still will be limited service to small markets. You'll just be flying on the new Embraer jets that hold 70 people. They have to change or go down, hopefully they'll change and regain profitabilty, I think that they have the nicest people in the industry.
wills is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 08:49 AM
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Wills - I was rendered speechless (is that an appropriate term when one is typing?) by your post. Do you mean you find USAir's people the nicest in the industry? Please don't think I'm attacking you, b/c I am not. But where do you fly from and what other airlines do you fly?
We fly USAir out of PHL and never would I describe the employees as nice. (At the airport or on the phone). Not mean, but certainly indifferent.
I had a problem that was fixed last week. My family is flying PHL to Bozeman, then Jackson Hole back to PHL in July. The flights are confusing b/c some of the seats were booked with FF miles, and we paid for one of seats through United. There was a schedule change that resulted in a 4.5 hr. lay-over in Denver. Everyone I spoke to at United explained that the computer re-assigned seats, and the humans I can call would be happy to see if we could change it to something better. They agreed a 4.5 hr. layover was excessive. But when I called back USAir, they were totally indifferent and offered no extra help. Seats couldn't be changed b/c they were FF seats and no FF seats were available on the flights I wanted. United promptly changed the seat code to get around this, at my request, since this seemed to be the major sticking point. US Air then commented that United did a nice job taking care of everything. Yeah, no thanks to them!
OK, so I'm venting. I was amazed at how helpful and polite the United people were. I am so used to the indifference of USAir.
That said, I hope USAir can survive. We appreciate the many non-stop flights we can take. But they need a serious attitude adjustment. A little kindness goes a long way in customer perception - and it costs the airline NOTHING.
karens is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 09:19 AM
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It would be a shame if the gov't doesn't help to bail out the airlines that are in trouble, it would let the terrorists win, still feeling the ripple effect from 911. My Dad just flew out from PIT-LAS rt for $189, which is less than what we paid more than 10 years ago. Certainly want US Air and all others to stick around.
travelinwifey is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 10:23 AM
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United and USAir are both failing airlines even before 9/11. Using that as an excuse to bail them out taxpayers' money make no sense.

Airlines who have high cost and make a profitable business should shut down. Period.

Give you another example. PanAm has been failing for years, and its demise is actually ACTIVELY brought upon by Flight 103. Now, ask around people. Did we really miss them, no. AA, UA, DL and others filled its role very well.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 11:05 AM
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I respectfully disagree. I also like US Air's nonstop flights. And yes, they were dnot oing too good before 911, but the event helped put the nail in the coffin of several airlines including Hawaiiain air and Americawest. Not to mention, less airlines = less competition = way higher fares.
travelinwifey is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 11:29 AM
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I don't know where you get you info from but AmericaWest and Hawaiian Airlines are alive and well.

AmericaWest is doing exceptionally well. They actually made some profit and they're quickly becoming a problem for the majors.

It's becoming very clear that 1 or 2 of the majors will disappear fairly soon. Will they disappear completely? No, of course not. Their gates/planes and many of their people will be bought u by the others. So don't think of USAir shutting down their gates with plywood when they turn off the lights. There will be some routes affected at first, but if the others don't cover them, some new upstart will. It's a natural business cycle.

As rkkwan said. At one time it was unthinkable that giants like PanAm oe Easter would disappear. They did and we could still get to any place in the world, and more cheaply.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 12:34 PM
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If the goverment bails out the airlines, then why not the car rental firms? After all, both Budget and National/Alamo filed for chapter 11 and Budget is now just a unit of Cendant, bought up for basically nothing. The hotel industry also suffered massively from 9/11. And how about all the travel industry's suppliers, such as plane and car manufacturers, airline caterers, ground handling companies etc.? Where do you draw the line??

It's actually quite simple - the goverment's role is to provide protection against major short term shocks to the economy in order to prevent a total breakdown (i.e. when the entire US civil air system was grounded). However, once these extreme circumstances end, market forces must be allowed to play again.

Andre is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 01:10 PM
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travelinwifey - If you live in PIT or fly out of there often, you should PRAY that USAir collapses, if you want lower fares. It's been well documented that fortress hubs' airfare are much higher than cities without a dominant carrier. For example, fares out of Cincinnati (DL's hub) is way higher than Nashville (AA closed its hub there), even though they are similar in size and geographically close to each other. After USAirways shuts down its hub at PIT, you'll see more low-cost, low-fare airlines flying there, and fares will go down, not go up.

And from what I'm hearing from Philly residents, they are all welcoming Southwest to their city, even though USAirway's CEO has said SW is going to kill/destroy them.

Now, if the citizen of USAirways' main hub don't care about the survivability of that airline, you know there's really no value of USAirway's existence.

If the above examples are not enough to convince you, how about BWI. It used to be a major hub of USAir until the arrival of Southwest. Well, ask people in Baltimore if they're better served by USAir or WN. Now, they get low-fare non-stop to many parts of the US, including the west coast; and BWI's is actually getting a few international flights too, which weren't there when USAir has a hub there.

I think I've proved my point that there's absolutely zero value for local residents, for other travellers, or for US taxpayers in this failing airline. Even before 9/11, its has long been the highest cost airline in the US, and I don't remember it being even profitable.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 03:36 PM
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rkkwan - I'm no fan of USAir, but this is one PHL citizen who cares a lot about their survival. Yes, we pay higher fares. But we can also fly to a ton of places non-stop, including European and Caribbean destinations. These places aren't even served by Southwest.

Southwest, while very welcome, is not the answer in Phila. Southwest's destinations are very limited compared to USAir's. And they don't offer the same travel benefits to their frequent fliers. My husband is a silver preferred FF on USAir. He can earn miles, and save them up so our family (of 4) can occasionally fly for free on our vacations. With Southwest, you cannot save up their FF awards - they must be used within a year. As a USAir FF, my husband gets free upgrades to first class, priority boarding and check-in. These don't exist on SW. While first class services isn't what it was even a few years ago, it is a nice perk. These don't affect the average traveller, but there is a business traveler segment that I think is served better on USAir.

I was super jealous to read all the super low fares being offered when SW came to PHL. Upon further research, the everyday low fare to LV isn't that much of a bargain, around $300-$400. That's not significantly cheaper than USAir. (except of course, if you're going at the last minute, etc.)

I do agree with you that the govt. should not automatically bail them out. If Southwest is making a profit, USAir needs to examine its model more carefully.
karens is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 08:05 PM
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Like it or not it's a matter of when, NOT if US Airways goes under. I agree with rkkwan that it would be best for people who fly out of US Airways hub airports if it were to cease to exist. Just look at Philadelphia, which has some fot eh highest airfars in the country because of the monopoly that US Airways has on the market. If one wants to get cheaper fares they often will go up to JFK or Newark instead, which are usually about $200 less than Philadelphia. BWI is another good alternative for Philadelphia flyers. But with Southwest in Philly, I think that they will notice significantly better fares as they expand their route network.
Lake is offline  
Jun 5th, 2004, 10:31 PM
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AAFF, I was talking about Hawaiian and Americawest doing poorly after 911

Regardless, I would rather my 35% go to the airlines which support my families travel then to a million other worthless causes which I won't go into without becoming political. And I agree, Southwest will not branch out into the Caribbean and Europe.
travelinwifey is offline  
Jun 10th, 2004, 04:42 AM
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As a person flying out of Philadephia, I don't think JFK or BWI are reasonable alternatives to flying out of PHL. I personally would not want an additional 2 hours of driving time getting home from the airport. My husband once flew out of BWI to save $ on a last minute business trip. I don't think he'll do that again - it's just too much of a hassle.

The Philadelphia Inquirer did a cost analysis of flying out of different airports. Their conclusion was that by the time you paid your extra gas, highway tolls, etc., your ticket would have to be substantially cheaper to make this worthwhile.
karens is offline  
Jun 10th, 2004, 06:47 AM
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The point Lake and I are making is that with a growing Southwest presence, Philadephians will find their airfare at PHL lower, approaching BWI level - on all airlines.

I guess we Houstonians are very lucky. We have a huge Southwest operations here to keep all fares low, even on CO. And we have CO's non-stops to lots of cities worldwide.
rkkwan is offline  
Jun 10th, 2004, 10:52 AM
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I, too, would be deeply saddened to see USAir go out of business. I began flying them 6 years ago after flying only Delta, and haven't looked back. THough I live in Columbia, having a direct flight from Charlotte to London (which I take about twice a year) is such a luxury--and comes at a deeply discounted price compared to Delta's flights through Atlanta. And all of the planes on this route are new Airbus' with the integrated "on-demand" seat back entertainment--which let me tell you, on such a long flight is a god send! Their CLT-LAX route is also one I fly about twice a year, and would hate to do without. Its just so much more timely and convenient than the offered alternatives. We soon will have a new airline, Independence Air, which is modeled after Southwest, entering Columbia, so perhaps my perspective on the LA route will change, but that is yet to be determined. Anyway--I love US Airways!
scbelle is offline  
Jun 11th, 2004, 04:33 AM
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Two comments: first, the news today is that USAir is moving 100-130 jobs from Pittsburgh to Charlotte. This suggests, maybe, that they'll pull out of Pittsburgh before they pull out of Charlotte, although the jobs are training jobs, so who knows for sure (least of all USAir)?

Second, I'm no fan at all of the hub system, but it doesn't necessarily follow that a "fortress hub" will benefit in the near or intermediate future if the dominant airline pulls out. At one time, RDU was an American hub, until American pulled out to focus on Nashville. RDU looked like a ghost airport for a while, although Midway moved in and made it a smaller-scale hub, but then Midway collapsed. RDU has been building and building to attract more traffic, but it's been very slow to fill in, esp. after 9/11, and there still are many, many empty gates. American has sort of crept back to a limited extent to join Delta (and UA which only gets us to WashDC or ORD), and there are some "new" discount airlines beginning to come in (including SW) -- but it's taken a long time, and they all have a hub somewhere else so we still have to connect somewhere to get most places.
Jun 20th, 2004, 03:05 AM
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No I don't see a great future from USAirways. They are getting out of Pittsburgh and trying to get profit through laying off about 130 Pittsburgh workers. Several years back United wanted to buy them but I believe the CEOs are too proud to give up the ship, or should I say boat, and sell it off.
Stephanie is offline  
Jun 20th, 2004, 08:24 AM
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Actually, it was just about a year ago that UA proposed to buy USAirways. It was the federal government that said it would not pass anti-trust scrutiny and blocked it. USAirways was willing to sell.

I believe Steven Wolf was CEO of USAirways at that time, and Steven Wolf's whole career in the airline industry is to turn around failing carriers TO SELL THEM. Not to run it long term. The board hired him, I believe, mainly to sell it to United, which Wolf ran for a while to sell it to UA's employees.
rkkwan is offline  

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