Learn to Fly
7 day IFR Rating
Note from Darren: I'm happy to
welcome "Captain Anonymous" to the pages of cfidarren.com for his
second article. The
Captain is a pilot for a major airline which is considered by many to
be the largest in the US. He holds the position of Captain in a
widebody jet, just a few years from retiring, and is now getting things
off his chest.
He is considered a very senior pilot at his airline and holds a
schedule which has him traveling approximately 11 days per month.
The rest of the month, he spends thinking about the things he now
writes here. A little warning... he can come off as a little
opinionated and abrasive. I would expect nothing less from a true
gentleman who's been flying for 36 years. I am not responsible
for his opinions and they may not represent my values or opinions.
Capt Anonymous: Race to the
by Captain Anonymous
Remember last month I said we're in a race to the bottom. I still
haven't gotten everything off my chest. About these ticket
prices. Smith makes a point in one of his articles, Chasing the Dream, about costs
yesterday versus today:
it cost $600 round trip Florida to California. Today it
costs $99 each way if you buy on sale. How is it that every other
cost has gone up but airline fares have gone down? In fact
had you purchased something else for your $600, today that same service
would cost over $1500 adjusted for inflation.
So instead of charging you the real price for the service provided, we
are going to nickle and dime you to death.
We're charging $2 a bag to check luggage at the curb. No more
pillows and blankets for you (remember the soup nazi?). Extra
service charge to call your
airline by phone to buy the ticket. Overweight bags,
$50-100. No meals. If your connecting airline is a
different carrier, there will be a transfer fee, unless the airline is
part of the same airline alliance like OneWorld, Star Alliance,
SkyTeam, etc. Want a meal? Or a $3 snack box? We're
also charging extra for aisle seats or exit row seats, and
charging to travel on an earlier flight. Its annoying.
Particularly the charge for standing by for the earlier flight.
My airline has hourly flights to some of its destinations. If you
arrive early to the airport, you might actually be able to go on an
earlier flight. And you'd like to go on this earlier flight and
there is space for you! My airline could give you that empty seat
and it doesn't cost them a thing. But my airline is going to
charge you to stand by for an earlier flight to the same place on the
If the earlier flight
leaves with the 3 empty seats, that's potential revenue lost
forever. We should be begging you to take the earlier flight
rather than have an empty seat. That is a benefit to the airline
more than the passenger! We would get to earn our revenue earlier
and at the same time build extra capacity into our
system. Well we're not going to let you stand by for the earlier
flight for free. As a result, you stuck with your original flight
which was 100% full.
Here's the kicker. Downstairs at the ticket counter, there's a
guy who needs to go to the same place you're going. He is
willing to pay full fare just to go on the 2pm
flight. We don't have any room on the 2pm flight because we
didn't let you stand by for the earlier flight. Imagine
that! There's no room for the really profitable ticket we could
sold. Instead the passenger books a $127 ticket on SouthWest also
leaving at 2pm.
Let's put an end to the foolishness. We should allow our
passenger to travel on the earliest flight of the
day for their day of travel. By the end of the day the last
flight might have 50 extra seats that we have the opportunity to take
overflow from other airlines or as a buffer for delays
(weather/ATC/etc). We should never be taking volunteers (giving
them compensation, meals, hotels) on the last flight of the day.
I fail to understand how airlines survive with demands for lower and
lower fares, rising fuel prices, and increased security expenses.
Soon you won't even see flight attendants, and we'll be down to one
pilot per flight. Well, you got what you wanted. Deal with
it. It clear to me that safety and service don't drive this
industry. You've got us so starved, its all about money and its
going to get a lot worse.
Next month, I will show
you how we've screwed ourself as a country. You'll be amazed.
Well that's it for this month... lets spool up these engines and get
the hell out of here.