Continental Connections Should Be Removed from Flight Plans Complains Retiree

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Continental connections for North America are such an inconvenience for the traveler that they’re frustration extends beyond complaints to a love to hate relationship with flying. The airlines force its clients to make connections on continental flights just because the airline’s best interest is in protecting their bottom-line, instead of offering convenience to the average business flyer.

The airline industry is operating on a dinosaur business model that hasn’t adapted since the 80’s. The airlines pack passengers into some of the largest planes on the market and fly to the airline’s hub forcing the passenger to make a continental connection. A hub is an airport where a specific airline sends all of its flights and passengers must change planes to get to their destination. The airline then offers few direct flights unless you happen to be traveling to that hub’s city.

The arrival of timeshares or timesharing in flight plans came with the introduction of continental connections. Timeshares when referring to airports and flight times has to do with finding a time for a once-delayed flight to take off. Having already missed its narrow window of opportunity to depart for whatever reason, the airline must find a new time for the plane to depart. Often an airline is affiliated with an alliance of airlines, and the alliance will find an upcoming departure of one of its flights and arrange with the airport tower to timeshare the departure time with the two flights. The tower doesn’t complain about the timeshare agreement because it earns the airport a commission from the transfer of the missed departure time to the timeshared departure time.

The timesharing agreement is done to avoid having to pay the airport to assign a new departure time for the flight, a costly expense with time at a premium at continental airports. While there have been no reported aviation accidents due to timeshare flight plans, the danger of something happening exists because the two timeshared flights take off so closely together. The passengers rarely, if ever know about the timeshare agreement for the flight plans. At the risk of sounding ominous, a crash is almost inevitable if the airlines maintain the practice of timeshare departure times from delayed continental connections. Without continental connections on flights within North America, the instances for delayed flights will decrease and the timeshare agreements for flight times would in follow the same pattern. My complaints to the airlines would also stop if continental connections ceased to exist.

Larger planes have a lower cost-per-passenger for the airline when the flight is fully booked, and the airline must sell each seat for the flight to be profitable. The margin is for profit is extremely tight when the airline uses the massive Airbus and Boeing super jets that sending a flight with less than 80% occupancy is a loss for the airline.

It was the 1980s when the airlines began to streamline operations and adopted the practice of continental connections through hub airports. The death of direct flights in continental North America and the appearance of connections gave birth to my complaints, like a phoenix rising rising up from the flames.

Continental connections in North America shouldn’t have to be the norm. One only has to look to Europe and see how the continent’s many airlines operate. Few airlines in Europe operate on the hub system and continental connections, giving passengers more direct flight options and fewer continental connections. Probably no complaints from Europe’s frequent flyers, especially the business traveler with multiple flights weekly and few if any continental connections.



Continental Connections are Death of Airlines Complains Retiree

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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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