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SWISS and Ted

Good news for you guys who snapped up SWISS’ cheap tickets to Europe this spring: it looks like they’ll actually survive long enough to get you to Zurich. The airline announced that they have enough liquidity to make it through their slower winter months this year. Finally some good news for the airline carrier, whose CEO resigned last month following a probe into a 2002 crash.

And United now says that they will launch a few TED flights from its Chicago hub to some leisure destinations. Oh TED. TED TED TED. Allow me to get this straight: You are pulling mainline planes from your current routes to places like Tampa. These planes featured a handful of first class seats (that nobody paid for) and little else of note. You are replacing them with spacious planes with amazing entertainment systems and a wonderful choice of food. You are calling the new, amenity-laded aircraft your budget carrier. You are then allowing everyone else to pay wads of money for the opportunity to fly on the old, amentity-free aircraft. Hm. There’s something a wwweeeeeeeeeeeeee bit odd about that, isn’t there?

I have a modest proposal for United & Delta, which have mistakenly given budget travelers a better experience than their mainline business passengers. Expand TED & Song throughout the entire domestic network. Eliminate first class, but spread out your coach seats to 34 inches. Maintain your international route networks and fly those routes with planes outfitted with business class. Upgrade business class to meet the standards being set by virtually every non-US airline. Stop taking advantage of the business traveler by making them fly inferior aircraft domestically while rewarding families spending $69 to fly to Tampa with full entertainment units. Please, your branding should make some sort of rational sense. When business travelers are cramped in a regional jet for 3 hours from New York to Little Rock and grandma is flying in 34″ seat pitch royalty to West Palm, you’re never going to succeed.

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