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What reduction in airline travel
Old 06-19-2009, 07:28 PM   #1
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What reduction in airline travel

Went from Philly to Indy last thrusday through monday,for granddaughters
birthday.
Plane was full both ways, USAIR runs 5 nonstops and a bunch of
one or two stop flights.
The full flights were not the main surprise though, I could hardly find a
spot to park in at long term parking, and when we returned the lot was just as full. I have traveled out of philly off and on over the past 30 years
and the lot was just as full as anytime I can remember.

So who is doing all this traveling, I really expected the lot to be much
less full.

Old Mike
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Old 06-19-2009, 07:31 PM   #2
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There is definitely a reduction in air travel.

You don't notice it because the reduction in flights is greater than the reduction in air travel, resulting in just about every flight post-9/11 being loaded to the gills and then some.

And the funny thing is: The more air travel sucks, the more people avoid it and the more they have to cut flights in response and make flying even more miserable. Rinse, lather, repeat.

Surprised about the parking, though. Is some of it closed due to construction?
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Old 06-19-2009, 07:45 PM   #3
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I heard an interesting take on why the airlines, lousy as they are, aren't screaming for federal bailout money like other major industries. Turns out the huge runup in fuel costs resulted in them slashing the number of flights, increasing baggage fees, cutting services, etc. They never saw the economic downturn coming but it happened just as they were hitting their stride on cutbacks. At the same time fuel prices dropped dramatically, just in time to save their bacon.

They didn't forsee the crash (no pun intended) but ended up making the correct moves to end up "right-sized" to weather the downturn - did the right thing for the wrong reason. Not good management, just good luck...
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Old 06-19-2009, 07:55 PM   #4
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Did not notice and construction in the lot.
I will say that the planes they use now are smaller than in the the past.
Going out 78 seats, return 50 seats,where a 737-200 would hold about 115.
We did have to pay 15 to check one bag.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:54 PM   #5
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My last two flights the planes were about half full each way. Two years ago every middle seat would have had someone stuffed in it. This recession does have some benefits.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:18 AM   #6
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Flight from Cleveland to Houston had quite a few open seats. Really enjoyable with that extra room. Unfortunately my second leg I was stuck next to an extra large person.
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Old 06-23-2009, 04:07 AM   #7
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I don't know how the airlines survive at such low fares. I always buy tickets about 3 weeks before I travel and shop around (orbitz), usually I pay less than it would cost me in gas alone to drive the same distance. I am going from Chicago to Tampa round trip non-stop on a major airline for $170 ($191 with fees/taxes). You couldn't drive a Prius to-from for that in gasoline alone, never mind the wear & tear on the car, time, food, hotels, etc. Amazing...
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:26 AM   #8
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You need to compare it with only the last few years. And any one airport won't be a reliable indicator-- Philadelphia is a main US Airways hub, so you may be seeing a retrenchment of routes back to the safer hub-and-spoke model after many smaller point-to-point routes have been abandoned. Further, you may be seeing less extravagant trips going through the hub rather than direct to exotic places. My standard route to Europe was still full this spring. The difference was that the fares were much lower to fill all the seats, a few hundred dollars to the airline for 5,000 miles. Main stream media or readers don't always make a distinction between profits and loads. The airline business model is... complex.

I live in a blue-collar town, and I see just as many large shiny cars on the road as before-- including at the local food pantry. If people have the means, many seem to indulge themselves as much as possible, and jump at things like cheap airfares. I don't know if they're about to fall off a cliff or not. My relatives in the federal government and big health care don't seem the slightest bit concerned.
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Old 06-23-2009, 11:50 AM   #9
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According to what I heard on CNBC this morning, the number of airline passengers is down 9-10% compared to a year ago. I'll get to see first hand next week if the transatlantic traffic is down as much as some report.
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Old 06-23-2009, 12:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREdreamer View Post
According to what I heard on CNBC this morning, the number of airline passengers is down 9-10% compared to a year ago. I'll get to see first hand next week if the transatlantic traffic is down as much as some report.
I think the number of planes in the air is also down around 9-10%, so occupancy is still probably the same as it was a year ago.

Regarding the OP's experience with long term parking - our local airport has 3-4 long term park and ride lots. They usually keep 1-2 of them closed except during peak demand times (to save on maintenance and upkeep costs plus park n ride bus service costs). So you could have a few lots maxed out and another lot completely vacant, if Philly is anything like my local airport.

I also noticed that airfare to Philly is dirt cheap from my particular east coast city well south of Philly. It has been the cheapest destination for months, with prices hovering around $99-119 all fees and taxes included. May be that it is a hub airport?? And served by southwest.
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:06 PM   #11
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I also noticed that airfare to Philly is dirt cheap from my particular east coast city well south of Philly. It has been the cheapest destination for months, with prices hovering around $99-119 all fees and taxes included. May be that it is a hub airport?? And served by southwest.
Being served by SWA usually has something to do with it. Also, I've noticed that for some reason, despite being longer flights, the coast-to-coast flights tend to be a lot cheaper than flying half of that distance from here in the central part of the country to either coast. You can fly from NY to LA, for example, cheaper than from Austin (or even Houston or Dallas, both hub cities) to LA or NY. It's rather irritating to many travelers in the nation's midsection.
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Old 06-23-2009, 05:52 PM   #12
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I recently flew from my little burg, to Atlanta, Salt Lake City, a little town in Washington, then back to Minneapolis, Atlanta then home. Every flight was over booked and there were no open seats to be had on any of them.
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Old 06-24-2009, 11:47 AM   #13
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We flew to Australia last week with Qantas, economy class was totally full, however they have been bombarding with specials so would imagine that is why. However, business class where the real money is made had a lot of empty seats. However, whilst our flight was crowded the terminal at SFO was empty.

Coming back we flew with Virgin. We booked about 8 hours before the flight left and we were easily able to get a good deal on seats in Premium Economy. Business class would not have been 50% full, PE was probably about the same and economy was probably close to sold out. We booked a last minute flight on SouthWest to get from LAX to San Jose and even though we only got the ticket 1 hr before the flight was due to depart we were 24/25 to board which indicates the flight was not very full which can't be good as it was at the time of day when business travellers would be returning home.

I think LAX told the story. We used to avoid the place because it was a chaotic nightmare, however there were no queues at immigration and we were able to get thru immigration, customs and change terminals to get to our domestic booking in less than an hour. Also our flight did get in early and we were accommodated whereas in years past we would have spent the time circling LAX.

The cab driver at San Jose airport told how they often wait hours for a fare and also informed us that airlines had announced further cuts to San Jose on top of cuts announced the week before.

I don't believe air travel is at previous levels, but rather we are seeing the effect of reduced flights resulting in crowding of those aircraft that do leave.
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