You might not want to hear about my airport observations but you get one more nonetheless.
Why was there heightened security at Tampa Airport? There were K9 patrols and TSA swabbed my hands for analysis. Yet the TSA personnel again outnumbered the passengers! Could that be cause and effect? Could the fact that the flight experience at every level - security theater, fees, lines, x-rays, tiny seats, and inconvenience after inconvenience* - have left the airlines in financial trouble? To many, it seems like the airlines have an unsustainable business model. Would you agree?
Airlines are a lot like telecom companies in so many ways. Both charge extra fees for everything, lots of taxes, poor customer care, me-too product set, no differentiation, and commoditization. Both are riddled with union and pension responsibilities that they want to end or wipe away.
Both only work on cost cutting, which only goes so far. The 737 I flew on yesterday was falling apart - literally! Pieces of the overhead cargo bins were falling off. If the inside is poorly maintained - what about the outside and the engine? If airlines keep losing money, is safety and maintenance the first to get cut? I wonder if Virasb Vahidi understands that the brand is hurt by dilapidated planes?
All these companies work on is cost cutting. How about raising organic revenue? Is it really THAT hard?
Why don't airlines let frequent fliers trade miles for gift certificates good towards drinks, baggage fees and seat upgrades? Is just because the extra fees are the only real revenue?
In my experience, there are very few loyal fliers but Delta seems to have most of them. One reason is that Delta goes most places. Apparently, AA and US Airways are merging to complete the map of routes. Shouldn't they work on loyalty? Build that tribe?
One thing that gets me is the delay in boarding and exiting the aircraft due to carry-on luggage. Why do they charge for baggage check? Is it to cover the union labor for baggage? Wouldn't it be better to board faster and exit quicker for plane turn around and on-time stats?
The airlines like telecom are in need of some serious retooling. It might be time to bring in outsiders to run these companies like GM did recently and IBM did years ago. Since there really aren't any C- level execs with big wins in either industry, it might be time to look outside the industry. The same thinking that got you here (in this mess) and all that.
I noticed recently that there are a bunch of management shake-ups but when the new guy gets the job, he brings "his people" with him. How is that helpful? He is surrounded by loyal people that owe him for their job. Has this "team" hit a home run before? Unlikely. So we just keep shifting the personnel from company to company expecting different results. That's the definition of insanity.
In the case of the airlines, bankruptcy is part of the culture - and so are bailouts. This is not an industry that has shaken up the business plan no matter how many times it has spun into a hole. Insane.
*Does anyone actually get a sense of security from the boondoggle of $3B that is TSA? Personally, I don't feel safer, just annoyed that my liberties are being stolen inch by inch.