For almost 40 years, Del Palmar has been jetting around North America. As a buyer for a large American retail chain, Mr. Palmar has racked up a staggering amount of frequent flyer points. During that time, Mr. Palmar watched the decline of the multi-billion dollar industry.
The main complaint he has with the airlines is continental connections, forcing flyers to fly to a hub instead of a direct flight to their destination. Continental connections are used to protect the bottom line of the airlines, forcing flyers to adjust their itinerary to suit the needs of the airlines and filling extra-large airplanes with travelers who are not going to their intended destination.
Mr. Palmar asks North American airline companies to look at European airlines, and their business model. Smaller airplanes are used on Europe’s many less popular routes, decreasing the need for continental connections and hub airports. The airlines have more routes to accommodate it’s clients, whose conveniences are not taken into consideration. Mr Palmar would like to see more routes within continental North America, and less flights with connections.
He also suggests that the level of service be maintained or increased, and since clients don’t mind paying more for services, airlines can charge more per seat and protect their bottom line, instead of charging for incidentals like luggage, or $5 for a beer.
How will the current economic downturn affect the airline industry? Mergers and companies going under will further limit the flyer’s options, and more hubs will be used. Smaller airports may become obsolete as the airlines merge their services and condense it’s workforce and overhead, and jobs would be cut. A timeshare agreement between airlines and affiliates would see a further reduction in jobs are the companies share the workforce required to maintain the dwindling fleet. Timeshares for airlines would be undetectable by travelers, however the staffs would be working on a skeleton crew.
A redesign of the business model as prescribed by Mr. Palmar would keep jobs safe as there would still be the requirement for labor to accommodate the routes.
Instead of complaining about the continental connections flyers are forced to go through, airlines should follow Mr. Palmar’s suggests North American airline’s business models adjust their business model and emulate European airlines: smaller planes and direct routes. Budget airlines in Europe frequent smaller airports and destinations while navigating throughout the continent, without many connections for flights. And while your itinerary may not remain loyal to a specific airline, the itinerary meets the needs of the traveler and the direct flights are used more often than not.
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