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United to Furlough 700 Flight Attendants

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United Airlines, the world’s second largest airline, announced Tuesday it will furlough over 700 flight attendants. The flight attendants who will be impacted by the move are on the United Airlines side of United Continental.... (www.frequentbusinesstraveler.com) More...

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If consolidation of majors, resulted in them thinking they can increase their fares without repercussions, this will be the first of many furloughs. Temporarily high profits will be followed by ever-shrinking enterprises with ever shrinking work forces, and worker concessions.

Other airlines that are willing to provide better service at a lower cost will continue to grow at a rate faster than the industry overall.
jshhmr
josh homer 3
"Other airlines that are willing to provide better service at a lower cost will continue to grow at a rate faster than the industry overall."
It wasn't that long ago that you got a meal and good service when you flew. Then customers began opting for peanuts and cattle calls, which forced legacy carriers to compete. Now, when people fly on a legacy carrier they wonder what happened to the service. There's no such thing as service anymore, unless you have the money for business or first. Consumers did this to themselves.
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Many airlines that have cut back economy offerings to match the marketplace demand, are now also adding a premium economy section that adds back the additional legroom, meal and sometimes entertainment that have been cut in the back.

If everyone doesn't want an airplane meal, and don't want to pay for it; makes sense for the market to provide passengers the option to choose.
ChrisMD123
ChrisMD123 1
Point well taken, if the market is fair and consumer demand is somewhat resistant to change. However, that semi-utopian version of capitalism doesn't really exist because those two assumptions are wrong. The market is not fair because there is a power imbalance between the service providers and the consumers.

That unfairness is created and perpetuated because consumer demand can be modified with advertising in the broad sense - not just ads, but changing the names of products, "unbundling," etc.

Put these factors together and you have a situation where the powerful companies will race each other to the bottom, kept in check only by the rate at which it can change things without a consumer revolt.
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This assumes that consumers are stupid, easily manipulated, and incapable of making a good decision after weighing the options.

I would not suggest that consumers who choose an airline with lower fares, no airplane food and pleasant service are not being stupid and are not eroding the foundations of our civilization.

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Point of fact is that fares are much lower than they were decades ago. In fact, if the fares of old were adjusted for inflation, they'd be greater than business class fares in most cases and even higher than some first class fares.

This folks who want the fancy pants service has the choice if paying for F and J. For everyone else they still gave lots of service options when booking Y and Y* class fares at much more affordable fares that have allowed millions to fly that would not otherwise have been able to do so.

I have no sympathy fir folks that collectively bargain themselves and/or the colleagues out of jobs, then conplsin when the world doesn't cooperate with their greedy plan.

I suggest that people making decisions that they decide are in their own best interest is a good thing.

ChrisMD123
ChrisMD123 1
Again, fair enough. But there still remains a fundamental power imbalance between individual consumers and the corporation deciding which services to offer. More significantly, the hidden costs of changing the way that airlines do business are tremendous and in some ways unpredictable.

Look at the way that we've had to realign our air traffic system to deal with hub and spoke, and how the consumers who are getting "great deals" on their airfares compared to a generation ago now need to make a greater number of flight connections. Factoring in the cost of time, missed connections, and overall the greater degree of coordination required in today's US air system, it is difficult to say if we are really getting a good deal for our "cheap" flights. Scholarly research is split on the subject because it is hard to draw the line of where to stop quantifying these indirect effects.

As for the claim that consumers are not easily manipulated, I have but one word: Furby.
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My response to Furby:

More expensive fare and bad airplane food vs. lower fare and no airplane food (or a choice to purchase on board)

I think most people xsn safely handle that decision. Most passengers will not be unduly influenced to make a decision that is against their best interest. (Loyalty frequent flyer programs may make some passengers make seemingly unexplainable flight purchase decisions. But most other people will make a decision mostly free of coercion.)
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* most people CAN safely handle that decision

Higher price, bad food vs.
Lower price, no food (or choice).
RRKen
That same thought occurred to me. The American Consumer has done so much to themselves since the 1960's, to the detriment of their communities, neighbors, and even family members. Once we send out the signal we will settle for less, at a higher cost, we end up being our own worst enemies.
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In aviation, passengers generally settle for less, but usually for markedly lower fares.

Those airlines that offer less for more will shrink over time. Likewise, those that offer more for less will continue their current faster growth, higher profits, and better financials and better job stability.
Moviela
Ric Wernicke 3
Merger 101 outlines for students how you lie to the shareholders and employees how they will benefit from the business combination. Then you learn about the "synergy" that will make savings out of nothing. As soon as you close the deal, you smile at employee meetings about how wonderful life will be soon, while sharpening the knives in the board room to eliminate staff made redundant by only one administration taking charge, and the cutting of routes formerly in competition.

Since they usually "furlough" (sounds nicer than layoff) by seniority, it means folks on United/Continental will be flying with Great Grandma's now.
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An airline should fly every flight that they can find passengers to keep it reasonably full, and fly profitably.

Any flight not meeting the requirements should be considered for elimination.

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