First Class on American

The Ft. Worth Star Telegram notes that it recently tracked the financial performance of an American Airlines flight from DFW to JFK. While margins on the route have improved over the past year, the flight is still in the red, a remarkable fact considering it has no non-stop competition from low cost airlines. Even worse, while 106 passengers flew in the first class cabin during the period studied, only ONE paid full fare. The rest were on frequent flier upgrades.

President Bush announced today that “since it has been said many times that man wasn’t meant to fly, it only makes sense that two men aren’t meant to fly together.” He then went on to ban homosexuals from airplanes.

OK, he didn’t really. But I figure it’s just a matter of time.


  1. You should keep your political comments to yourself and still to the travel industy.

  2. You should keep your political comments to yourself and stick to reporting on the travel industy.

  3. Hi Duke,

    Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. We here at OTR appreciate a diversity of opinions. For example, I think United’s TED is going to have a rough time pulling the carrier out of bankruptcy, whereas you think that I should not support civil rights. I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

    Keep those letters coming!

  4. I believe UA’s launch of TED was great timing in respect to emerging from bankruptcy.

    We have to remember that’s TED’s destinations are leisure oriented and thus have a higher cap structure than those of true lost cost carrier routes. I do like how UA had dedicated only 15% of their planes to this venture, as well has maintaining separate maintenance and flight crews from their parent United.

    At the end of the day, UA understand that traditional hub and spoke carriers can not create a low cost carrier. So they leverage UA inline methods of baggage coshare and other measures that true low cost carriers can’t or aren’t willing to provide.

  5. All true points. Yet it does 2 thing:

    1) It confuses the brand value so that you end up with a Delta/Song situation where the budget brand is actually better than the mainline brand.

    2) It takes focus away from the larger issues, a fact underscored by United’s announcement yesterday of continued strong losses.