Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Culture of Demand Chapter 3. The Passenger Demands Value


The first two chapters have reported the juggling evolution of making profits from the manufacturer to the Airline. The goal is profit and not the customer. The caveat is pricing convinces passengers to buy an airfare over any other considerations for the limitations inherently offered by airlines. The incentive of riding in so many cubic feet becomes a passenger acceptance for any ticket purchased for a flight anywhere. 

I did say I would mention the South West Airlines and its "Cattle Call" in this chapter. I got to the ticket desk first and bought seat 6A which allows me to line -up with customers from row 1-10. I received a Blue boarding pass, cool, huh? Next came the announcement for those with a Blue boarding pass may now load to your respective seats. Civility ended on the word "respective". The cattle stampede to board was on. The dust settled when the yellow boarding pass announcement was blared over the terminal to those passengers with carry-on lunch bags.

Image result for Value meter

Airlines are rapidly eliminating First class into Business class “suites”. An airline suite is defined as any space with direct aisle access, privacy screens and lie flat features. It would include seating space greater than 20” wide and a seat recline feature. Economy or premium economy would not feature most of these minimum standards.

The passenger has been conditioned into some substandard airline world and accepts it because of price. People want to fly, but can’t afford airplane space of the business class. Airlines realize this and offer a sweetener called Premium Economy showing promise to the passenger of something that once was but has gone the way of bell bottom jeans.

The passenger demands value and the airline reply becomes “and your point is?" In fact passengers are dumb-down into thinking premium economy class escapes the torture of cramping. It could be a worse sentiment, warning passengers having an economy seat. 

The economy seat incentive is the predictable $99 ticket economy ticket. It could be worse, premium economy cost $199. The old Wendy’s commercial proclaimed “where is the beef”. The latest airline commercial can’t even muster a “Where is the value” shout out from its Ad execs. Boarding airplanes become a ritual worthy of praise by Lemmings in Alaska. A lemming simply turns right and jumps into a sea of passengers. 

The value is found in deep vein thrombosis when departing from economy to the hospital, affordable care act kicks in. If an airline offers real value then will the manufacturer have to respond in-kind. The manufacturer is chasing metrics. The airplane can fly farther on less fuel than the other guy. It is quieter and more efficient getting there and that’s where the real value is located.  The passengers just don’t get it that value is in the air frame. The airline doesn’t get it that value is in its seats bolted down. The manufacturer doesn’t get it that value is in the folding wing and so forth.

Value for the travel culture has become the biggest lost art since outhouses were torn down in back yards everywhere. The culture emerges from metrics called pitch, width and Wi-Fi channels. Pitch is that erogenous zone from your knee cap to the small of your back. People brag about the pitch when talking to friends they are visiting with in Europe. Passenger culture speaks, “I only fly with a 34” pitch- 30” inch pitch is for losers, do you agree?” The next passenger had Wi-Fi and gets the terminal waiting area’s attention, “I’ve got 2,459 movies and a google movie pass to boot.” Even those standing in line at the Ryan Air Kiosk turned and looked at the braggart’s Wi-Fi proclamation.

The final straw was the guy who had a 54” waist line smugly pushing his way to economy plus seat at 18.5 inches wide saying, “ It sucks to be in economy at only 17” wide and no back of seat map pockets.” The passenger has been dumb-down by cheap tickets, no first class and having an Economy Plus seat as its reward for a traveling culture made via the travel brochure advertisement.

The true value comes when there is no economy plus segregation as all seats past row twelve are a standard Economy Plus specification. There is no first class since that type of class term is so Victorian. Instead the appropriate value term would be “Stateroom Cabin” good for both business and pleasure travelers looking for value for the buck.   Take it from cruise ship travel companies, steerage is where Titanic movie extras slept.