A couple times each year vendors come together to show off what’s new for airlines in the form of seats, entertainment, connectivity and jut about everything else. Aircraft Interiors Expo is probably the largest of those events and this year Seth was at the show in Hamburg along with a few of the usual suspects, scouring the show floor for ideas and insight into what we can all expect to find. Here’s a special episode of DLD chatting with that crew about what the future holds, both good and bad.
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Huge thanks to Mary Kirby, John Walton and Jason Rabinowitz for joining in the recording. And if you want to read more about it lots of stories from the group on Runway Girl right now.
First off-great episode with the crew from RGN. I have a few comments that I have been saving up from previous episodes:
1- Whatever happened to Seth’s flight from Bangkok to Montreal on Qatar Airways? How was the economy experience? This was the ticket that was cancelled (because you had also booked a ticket on an OTA since the Qatar site would not accept your credit card) and rebooked that I am thinking of.
2-Did Seth book a return ticket from England to the USA on Icelandair or on Norwegian? This was talked about in the context of the Farnborough air show I believe. This happened a few episodes ago.
3-What did FOZZM think about transiting the Berlin airport (he mentioned he would go through there on an award ticket)?
4-You need to just list the twitter handles/contact info on the website rather than just speaking it at the end of the episode
5-This specific podcast would benefit from images of the seats you discuss with a label on which seat it is.
6-This is a callback to the previous episode: Seth, I also have a jetblue bias (when I was on the east coast I flew them as much as I could). However, now on the west coast, Alaska is the best airline to fly out here and is as nice/nicer than Jetblue. If Alaska can keep the quality and expand with the Virgin acquisition, that is good news for all flyers in the US. To me, it is not so weird of an acquisition because I lament the overall lack of trans-continental flights that Alaska has.
7-I have a couple of topics that would be great if you could talk about on the podcast in the future:
7a: discuss quality of flying experience in competing airplane classes: i.e. 737 vs A320, 787 vs a350, etc. I guess the perfect airline to compare is Qatar as they fly both 787 and A350.
7b: I would love to hear what your group thinks about pricing of tickets, how it fluctuates over time and with amount of tickets sold on the plane (and by ticket classes). I cannot think of many goods which have such fluctuations in price. Can you imagine variable pricing at McDonald’s during lunch? I feel like the airlines would have you believe it is “free-market economics,” but I have to believe the pricing of airline tickets is uncompetitive by design (by allowing such fluctuations). It remains frustrating that there can be severe shifts (20%) easily in price. Nowhere else can I think of that happening in consumer oriented industries (outside Uber for example).
7c: I am not sure that I will have any sadness at the passing of the loyalty programs. I am from the opinion that if you get great service, affordable premium fares make sense from a customer perspective. Fly one airline one week, another the next week, etc. I say that because the only good US carriers (Jetblue, Alaska, and Virgin) do not have enough reach that one could reasonable fly to Asia, Europe, SA, etc on them. By default, you will be using other carriers (and if you are listening to this podcast, the other carriers will be foreign owned for the best service, newest planes and best price). Also, I don’t believe that any of those carriers are in Star alliance or OW or Skyteam. They have partnerships and interline agreements of course, but that is not the same. I would genuinely look forward to either of them joining an Airline alliance, and that would probably change my mind in regards to loyalty programs. Any thoughts on if/when those two (Alaska and Jetblue) would join a proper alliance?
8:..anyways that was a long comment but I am a huge fan of the podcast. I can’t wait to hear the gang talk about the Alaska/Virgin merger.
That’s one helluva comment, Travis! I’ll answer what I can. 🙂
1) Flew home BKK-KUL//overnight//KUL-NRT-DFW-LGA. Got sick somewhere along the way and it was all I could do to not make a complete mess of myself for the 20ish hours en route. I succeeded, in large part thanks to the help of the pharmacy in Narita airport and the kind woman working the counter who spoke English and pointed me to the correct drugs. Just across from the sex toys. I really don’t mind flying Y all that much and in this case I just slept the whole way, save for DFW-LGA.
2) Not booked yet. And now seriously considering Thomas Cook from MAN-JFK if I can schedule a couple extra meetings in on the jaunt.
4) We’ve got some contact info on our about page. We also have a list in Twitter for our hosts and our guests.
5) Completely understand. But hard to justify the effort sometimes as most folks just listen rather than visiting the site. Win some, lose some. For the seats see my Coach Confidential column on Runway Girl Network for more and better details/images. Even have a video there of some of them.
6) I’m yet to be convinced that the merger will keep all the transcons. :/
7) We’ll add these to our list and see what we can work in to the next few shows.