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Author Topic: Good News on Traveling  (Read 5819 times)

debra

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Good News on Traveling
« on: January 28, 2004, 01:48:57 pm »

In Claire's latest blog entry, she says that someone "...suggested that everybody who flies -- especially you highly prized frequent flyers -- should not only boycott, but noisily boycott, U.S. airlines." The result of which is that the airlines will fight bitterly to keep their customers, vanquish the feds, and all will be well in the Land of the Free, Home of the Brave ....  (cue patriotic music).

In theory, this would work. In theory.

BUT (and it's a big "but"), the frequent fliers are almost all business people, primarily salespeople employed by corporations.  And I can tell you from personal experience that there is NO corporation in the world that will say, "Okay, we're not flying our sales people anywhere because it's degrading."  They won't do that for the same reason that airline execs would (theoretically) fight the feds: "They don't want to be the ones all the stockholders point to as the value of their shares plummet. "

No, if the salespeople refuse to fly, they get canned and someone else gets brought in who will fly. And there will continue to be plenty (in fact, a majority) of people who feel that flying is NOT degrading, even if they're stripped and tied into their seats, because it's "for security". Or they don't give a damn if it's degrading because "look at the money they're paying me for this!!" Or they agree it's degrading, but don't want to give up the job for something as silly as principles.

So, much as I'd like to buy into this kind of grassroots-revolt scenario, I just don't see it happening.  :(



 
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Claire

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2004, 02:16:27 pm »

Believe me, I'm never optimistic. If you know me (as you do, Debra), you know optimism is against my religion.

But the thing is, it doesn't take a majority, or even a significant minority, of flyers to quit flying. What if just five percent refused to put up with the TSA/CAPPS II abuses -- and wrote scathing letters explaining why?

Definitely, a lot of business flyers are going to continue to fly and must continue to fly. But already, those who make frequent, but relatively short, flights are discovering that the extra hours in the airport make driving to many appointments a more realistic choice. And no doubt some frequent flyers could also persuade their bosses that they could get a lot of work done while Amtraking it from city to city, particularly in the east where things are closer together. Teleconferencing could save a lot of money over flying in some circumstances -- and $$ is always an argument that appeals to business managers.

So you're right: Mass desertion of the airlines probably isn't going to happen. But if a few exit the air ... and do so very noisily ...? If they write lettes to the airlines and to their local newspapers ...?

Five percent? Ten percent? Just think what that would do to the airlines' bottom line. And if done very loudly, think what it would to do the airlines' reputation and the reputation of the TSA.

 
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Scarmiglione'

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2004, 02:16:47 pm »

debra, you are absolutely right.

Many business travelers do have some say in what airlines they fly, but the simple fact of the matter is that all the business travelers I know are so used to the humiliation of flying that "being processed" is automatic for them.  They don't even feel it anymore.  I know one traveler who makes 6 figures a year and is a stand-up single father, but when he travels he has a set of shoes he can easily slip on and off, personal tools stored in easy to check compartments in his luggage, and keeps a checklist on him on where to put things so that he can get through security without hassle.  He has a checklist to make sure he complies.  He's easily a Platinum level traveler.  Frequent travelers are conditioned by exposure and habit to accept a level of intrustion most of us find abhorrant.  And, very seriously, they are the test bed by which the airlines determine what their customers are willing to put up with.  Where the frequent fliers go, the rest of us will be expected to follow.
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Scarmiglione'

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2004, 02:22:39 pm »

Quote
Believe me, I'm never optimistic. If you know me (as you do, Debra), you know optimism is against my religion.

But the thing is, it doesn't take a majority, or even a significant minority, of flyers to quit flying. What if just five percent refused to put up with the TSA/CAPPS II abuses -- and wrote scathing letters explaining why?

Definitely, a lot of business flyers are going to continue to fly and must continue to fly. But already, those who make frequent, but relatively short, flights are discovering that the extra hours in the airport make driving to many appointments a more realistic choice. And no doubt some frequent flyers could also persuade their bosses that they could get a lot of work done while Amtraking it from city to city, particularly in the east where things are closer together. Teleconferencing could save a lot of money over flying in some circumstances -- and $$ is always an argument that appeals to business managers.

So you're right: Mass desertion of the airlines probably isn't going to happen. But if a few exit the air ... and do so very noisily ...? If they write lettes to the airlines and to their local newspapers ...?

Five percent? Ten percent? Just think what that would do to the airlines' bottom line. And if done very loudly, think what it would to do the airlines' reputation and the reputation of the TSA.
From what I understand, the airlines have refocused their business over the past year.  As a direct result, business travel is increasing, not decreasing, as the airlines figure out how to minimize traveler discomfort and as travelers themselves become more comfortable with the security process.  The airlines have already taken their hit from this.  

In addition, the airline industry recently managed to ram through some deregulation that will allow them to leverage even more and gain back the people they have lost over the past three years.

 
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TANSTAAFL

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2004, 03:35:22 pm »

One thing to note, having been in sales and management for many years---at  least half the flights I took were either not really neccesary but doen for "face time"  and could have been either handled remotely or scheduled to coincide with other meetings.

I was the Natl Sales Manager for a large software co--I could have easily reduced my sales force total travel by 50% or more for at least few months with no detrimental effects.

Airlines are operating at such thin margins now they ARE at risk from any loss of business.
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Claire

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2004, 03:42:31 pm »

Quote
From what I understand, the airlines have refocused their business over the past year.  As a direct result, business travel is increasing, not decreasing, as the airlines figure out how to minimize traveler discomfort and as travelers themselves become more comfortable with the security process.  The airlines have already taken their hit from this.  

In addition, the airline industry recently managed to ram through some deregulation that will allow them to leverage even more and gain back the people they have lost over the past three years.
Scarmig, it appears you've been watching the airline business closer than I. But the frequent flyers I hear from don't say anything about being more comfortable (although some, I'm sure, are getting conditioned to the TSA insecurity process).

That the airlines have already taken *a* hit from the hijackings and the security abuses, nobody could doubt. But that doesn't necessarily mean they've taken the only hit they're going to be hit with. If people have a reason to be ticked off at the airlines, and if there are reasonable alternatives for travel, they could still desert.

You're probably right. I agree, that travelers will put up with almost anything and that the airlines are using PR to pull back reluctant customers. But also, about the only thing you can say about business increases and decreases is that the trends change. Today's up trend might be next year's slump.

Five percent of passengers getting fed up is enough to cause that slump. Five percent of passengers getting ticked off enough to write angry letters to the airlines and the media is also pretty powerful (even if they continue to fly).

But as I say, I'm no optimist ...
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When faith ceases to be a challenge to the standards of polite society, it is no longer, or has not yet become, faith. -- Donald Spoto, Reluctant Saint:  The Life of Francis of Assisi


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Misfit

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2004, 05:09:07 pm »

I haven't flown since Spring 2001...
Never much like the way they treated passengers like cattle, cramming us into little seats, and losing my luggage. After 9/11 I figured that was enough...and I certainly wasn't giving my consent to be shot down by F-16s if I were to be hijacked.
Since then I've driven across the country three times, 2,500 miles each way.
Up until this CAPPS stuff I figured I'd have to fly in an emergency situation, but I'm even beginning to rethink that. There's not much that can't wait 2 to 3 days for me to get there.    

H.M. WoggleBug, T.E.

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2004, 08:03:17 pm »

Like Misfit, I, too, flew my last commercial flight in the Spring of 2001. I will not put up with the gestapo imbeciles violating my bubble.

For me, it was easy, perhaps. I am a large person, in height and girth, and the seats on aircraft were uncomfortable at best, dangerous at worst. Somehow, though, I was always qualified for the exit door row so I could have 3 extra centimeters of leg room.

Though I am not licensed currently, perhaps I will have to return to Cessna and Piper for my aircraft choices.

The airlines will get none of my business in the foreseeable future.

I have to drive to New Hampshire - my future state - this year. Since I live in Oregon, that will be quite a trip. It will be difficult, by I think my RV is up to the task. In addition, I won't give Cendant enterprises any of my business, either, since I won't require motels, rental cars, or airlines.

'Bug
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Hasher

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2004, 08:49:15 pm »

I currently only have to fly 4-5 times a year. I have MY solution for dealing with the security issues.

You see when I travel I am always accompanied by 30+ Air Force Academy cadets in full uniform. We are traveling on orders. Even though I am a civilian I am on those same orders. You would not believe how easily we slide through the procedures and how nice even the TSA wennies are to us. Of course you may not be able to do this so YMMV.

Other than that I drive everywhere for all personal travel. Period.

Hasher
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Ian

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2004, 09:13:00 pm »

I've been driving for long trips as well, ever since I bought my car. And I don't use motels...I do my resting at Rest Areas. Not only is it cheaper, but waking up freezing cold is an effective way to get an early start in the morning. :P

In any case, I'm using carrying too much luggage (and way too many guns) to fly even if I wanted to.
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mantispid

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2004, 10:53:07 pm »

Quote
So you're right: Mass desertion of the airlines probably isn't going to happen. But if a few exit the air ... and do so very noisily ...? If they write lettes to the airlines and to their local newspapers ...?
 
Oh....?

Anyone want to join in a venture for the first American intercity bullet train network?

If you could pull that off... watch the airlines beg for mercy.

Chicago to St. Louis - 1 hour by bullet train.  
Chicago to Indianapolis - 30 minutes by bullet train
Indianapolis to Washington DC - 2.5 hours by bullet train.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2004, 10:57:35 pm by mantispid »
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Vydunas

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2004, 11:30:48 am »

Their website is down (out of business already?) but www.execconnectamerica.
com was offering last year half a dozen round-trips daily  Cleveland to Pittsburg for $129, in less time than the plane + security check takes, with better-than-first-class accomodations.

http://www.metro-magazine.com/7_most_innov.pdf is an article, including pictures of one of their coaches.
 
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Mostly Harmless

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2004, 03:04:10 pm »

Have you noticed how the recent crop of suspect flights inbound from Europe have all been non-US airlines?

I was idly wondering whether that was an attempt to get people to continue to fly the US airlines instead of BA, Air France and Virgin Atlantic.

I flew to England November 2002 for my mother's 80th birthday bash (somethings a Dutiful Child™ can't avoid). Flew Virgin, very nice flight under the circumstances, but I'm not doing it again. Told mom, that I wasn't going to fly again until either they stopped treating us like a bunch of naughty children or she hits 100.

 
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kbarrett

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2004, 05:11:30 pm »

Quote
Have you noticed how the recent crop of suspect flights inbound from Europe have all been non-US airlines?

I was idly wondering whether that was an attempt to get people to continue to fly the US airlines instead of BA, Air France and Virgin Atlantic.

I flew to England November 2002 for my mother's 80th birthday bash (somethings a Dutiful Child™ can't avoid). Flew Virgin, very nice flight under the circumstances, but I'm not doing it again. Told mom, that I wasn't going to fly again until either they stopped treating us like a bunch of naughty children or she hits 100.
Or use direct Toronto-London flights.

I wonder if Lufthansa has a polar Vanc. BC to Hamburg flight.....


 
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Daniel Boone

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Good News on Traveling
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2004, 01:12:47 pm »

Have you noticed that the news media sometimes reports on the decline in passenger-miles by talking about the people who are "still afraid to fly"?  

Bushwah.

I'm one of the many who hasn't flown since 2001.  And my purpose is boycott, although it's a quiet one.  The airlines have stood timidly by and allowed the destruction of the cheapest and most efficient long-distant transportation system in history.  And they are the only ones with the money and influence to fix it.  I'll do my best to avoid giving them a thin dime until they do.

Since my purpose is to punish the domestic airlines for their political meekness, I'm still willing (in theory) to fly on foreign carriers.  But I'm deeply reluctant to submit to the phony security degradation, and the overriding need to do so hasn't come up.
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