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DLD 115: The New(ark) World Order

on 8-04-2016 in Podcast

Newark Airport is about to get a whole bunch more flights, and we’re not so sure that’s a good thing. London City Airport will also grow and Thai Airways is looking to return to the USA.

Dots:

  • Slot restrictions were removed at Newark in April, effective with the Winter 2016 schedule launching in October. A land-rush is on and, while more airlines & competition is good we’re skeptical of the ability for the airport to cope with the inflow.
  • London City Airport is getting a new taxiway, paving the way for a significant increase in flight operations, just in time for the UK to leave the EU.

Lines:

Destinations:

  • Manchester, England has a great plane spotting platform at the airport, is small enough to explore reasonably and Liverpool right nearby if you need a day-trip away. Also, the largest naan that Seth or Fozz has ever seen at Akbar’s.

Also in this show: JetBlue‘s Mint (and possible Europe) expansion, United’s Twitter team did something stupid again, and more.

3 Comments

  1. Hi Seth and Steven and Fozz!
    -Another great episode of DLD. A few thoughts:
    I agree that Houston to Manchester is a random line. I am not a business traveler nor in the oil/gas industry so there are plenty of more interesting lines to me. There are plenty of places that are well served from the northeast but not the south. Heck, no one is as well served with flights to Europe compared to Chicago and the East Coast. For me, leisure travel would be much more interesting to begin service to unusual places, like Houston to Scotland(take your pick of cities) or Luxembourg, Lyon, Split, Prague, Budapest, Tallinn, Vienna, Sofia, etc. Admittedly they would have to find an airport that can handle the a380. Those are places that are interesting and not well served with nonstop routes, especially from the Texas region (I think). I am not Texas based, so I am unaffected by the Singapore route change.

    I would love to hear your opinion on a dilemma I face. I am PDX based and go to Europe about once a year (can’t get time off to go more frequently). I enjoy flying Icelandair and feel that they have a great value proposition. I fly their Saga class, which to me is solid product when the price makes sense. For instance, on my last trip from SEA to Glasgow it was 2800 (including taxes) roundtrip in business, and at that price point, that is good. Not great but good. That was out of SEA because the fares out of PDX are routinely around 3500-3600 RT. Their cheapest business class fares are out of MSP, and can be around 2000 USD, which really is a good value. Any thoughts about paying this much higher PDX rate? 3500-3600 vs 2800 vs 2000 for roundtrip tickets? I kind of have this moral objection against what to me looks more like price gouging than market forces. Airlines will call it market forces, but no other industry has such a large variation in price as the airline industry. The reason I ask is that my next trip is PDX to AMS and at those prices I am seeing from PDX, I would rather pay more and fly to YVR and take KLM business for 4000 USD roundtrip. That is more but at least it is “true” business and direct to AMS. Now why not take delta to AMS from PDX? Their business class is just okay (the lie flat bed is the best part). Their fare is around 3800 USD, which is not bad. I do think domestic delta is okay (behind Alaska and Jetblue in quality) but ahead of other airlines. I feel better treated on Icelandair, and so I don’t sweat the fact that their business class is non-lie flat. It is better in my mind to be at least appreciated and treated with respect (Icelandair). In your mind, what would you do? Do you have these objections of paying money to an airline you just don’t think cares enough about your experience? It is tough to spend that kind of money knowing you are going to get a pretty hum-drum experience on delta. I know you have said time and again that you would choose a direct flight over connecting ones, but the connecting experience in KEF is quite nice on FI. So, what would you do? Take delta, KLM, Icelandair? I don’t have “status” with anyone. I used to fly Lufthansa SEA to FRA, and it was okay but the value proposition was poor and economy was tight. And they used an old 747-400. Now they have put in a premium economy, but that costs around 4000 USD roundtrip for that. And that is definitely not worth it. That would not be worth it even for their a380 premium economy experience, and they are trying to sell that on a 747-400?? Come on! So to me, that is not a reality based option, i.e. I don’t know anyone who is grounded in reality who would willingly pay 4000 USD for roundtrip premium economy to Europe (ie just Frankfurt really as you would connect in loathsome economy on LH if you were going onward in Europe). Needless to say I would not spend the money LH wants for their business class because that does not make cents to me (it is just not reality based pricing)…
    Thanks in advance to that crazy question…
    Keep up the great work! I would totally watch a videocast!

    Also any follow up on the Porter Air/Billy Bishop Airport troubles? That post by DavidB was pretty amazing regarding that episode of DLD (makes mine seem tame).

    • So I have had some time to think and will briefly reply to myself. In short, I lament the lack of competition in general in smaller US airports. The lack of competition is a problem when the products offered are so sub-par or the price is exorbitant. That I would go to lengths that inconvenience my own travels just to “rebel” against the standard offering is understandable yet somewhat regrettable. However, in the USA we are not taught to settle for second best. Would I rather be ignorant of these things, and simply fly whatever was most convenient? For sure yes. But there is no going back, just acceptance I guess. Safe travels everyone.

      • Sorry for not replying sooner. Original plan was to discuss this on the next episode but we got waylaid with ridiculous stories from a guest. You’re on the agenda, though. Hopefully end of the month.