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The Airline of the Future (twitter.com)
9 points by yomrwhite 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 13 comments

Why are we supposed to believe anything this person says.

Twitter profile shows CTO of a bitcoin startup and i don't see anything else that this person knows anything above baseline about airlines.

Comments seem like "Things that I think would make a ideal airline if I controlled the universe"

It's a classic idea generation exercise. It isn't a prediction even if worded as such. I found it interesting.

I'm not sure why such a negative reaction. I don't know this person either, I thought the idea was interesting. Nobody asks you to "believe" anyone and no one is selling you anything.

I'm really really skeptical on the one: "This model also allows a lot more freedom to crew members, without them letting airlines run their lives. Pilots would be less sleep deprived (which is crucial) due to more flexibility. They essentially become freelancers.". Sounds a lot like Uber, doesn't actually provide the freedom nor sleep one expected...

This looks like a startup idea that, if Softbank puts some billions in, could again fuck up an entire industry, and let people down.

Uncited thoughts of non-aviation person from unrelated industry who says they know no one in the airline industry.

Ya, more rambling twitter nonsense from some no body!

How the airline business works:

- airlines are heavily regulated

- slots are owned by airlines

- pilot unions control major US airlines

- a large percentage of airliners are already owned by leasing companies

- airline flights are dispatched

- airlines hedge fuel prices in advance.

- pilot training is done on specific models and they do route checks. Their "personal business model" is based on seniority at one airline, not like Uber drivers

- virtually anybody can start a new airline under the above rules.

Once the market situation changes (already did, actually) these things will change too. Regulations, slots & unions are things to have during the good times. Unions won't save you when there's no demand, no one will buy slots when there's no demand, regulations are useless if no one is flying.

Interesting perspective.

It seems like an uberpool in the sky.

My question is, the risk of owning the planes needs to land somewhere. Who holds that bag?

according to the tweets, the concept is that the airline books a plane and crew from a charter company, shifting the risk onto them. this implies the charter industry drastically scales up.

the separation of concerns definitely makes this an appealing concept from an engineer's perspective, but it's probably not great for the airline. if you don't actually fly/own the planes yourself, you probably lose most of your ability to differentiate yourself from competitors. plus the charter companies are going to be a lot harder to push around than a bunch of uber drivers, so they probably end up capturing most of the profit themselves.

edit: I also doubt that "most passengers" would be okay with the arrival time (or even date!) being TBD at the time of booking. for city-to-city travel, it might be fine, but if the flight is just the first leg of a journey that ends with a four hour drive, you probably want to know in advance that you're not arriving at 10pm local time.

>if you don't actually fly/own the planes yourself, you probably lose most of your ability to differentiate yourself from competitors

There's been a whole ad campaign by someone who says we are being fooled by the big legacy airlines when they delegate their routes to SkyWest or HorizonAir. These operators don't seem to be too different to the charters that you're talking about.

I'd actually never heard of either of those before reading your comment. looks like skywest flies routes for american airlines, delta, and united. frankly I don't fly those very much and I couldn't tell you what the difference between those brands is supposed to be in the first place. horizon seems to be an odd setup. they only fly for alaska airlines which is owned by the same company as horizon itself (?).

I mainly fly southwest, which I find to be a markedly different experience than the other US domestic airlines.

I hate to burst this guys bubble, but:

1) Airlines not owning any aircraft or flight crew have existed since forever. It's called "wet leasing", and all of the majors do it to some degree.

2) The concept that OP is describing (essentially UberPool) has already been tried. The most recent iteration of this is from Blackbird, and, assuming you can work out the legal issues, it is much more expensive than flying commercial because of unions, fuel, airport fees (which you as the airline owner still have to pay, even if the aircraft is under lease) and safety.

3) The model of scheduling flights based on crowdsourcing demand would work if aircraft wasn't bloody fucking expensive and everyone didn't want to go to their destination right now for as cheaply as possible. The problem is that aircraft is bloody fucking expensive and most people want to go to their destination right now as cheaply as possible. In order to make the economics work, you have to schedule flights, and because tons of factors go into that, you have to do this well in advance.

4) The reason why Spirit Airlines, known for "notoriously cheap" flights, and Southwest Airlines are the most profitable airlines right now (and are the least worried about what's happening right now, which is to say, they are shitting their pants less than the other guys) is because people absolutely want to travel and will go to great lengths to do it. People visit families. People attend sports events and concerts. People want to hang out in places that aren't home. VACATIONS. All of these are things that air travel has made significantly easier because, let's face it, folks would rather fly for 1.5 hours than drive for 8 if they can afford it.

If only businesses and wealthy folks (i.e. OP, maybe) were the only people who wanted to fly, a coach seat from LaGuardia to Miami would be at least $1200 and y'all here would want to work for American Airlines instead of Facebook because it would pay well and come with travel benefits (i.e. the 50s, 60s and 70s).

Now, for real talk:

1. Airlines are hurting, but many of the legacy carriers have switched to flying cargo because who else is gonna deliver 10M N95 masks to Germany hot off the press? Given the demand at the moment, many are willing to pay the premium prices airlines are setting.

2. I (and probably many others) can almost guarantee that the day/week that COVID-19 becomes manageable (through vaccine, anti-viral or otherwise), travel demand will shoot through the moon. 9/11 was devastating long-term because many people are afraid of flying, and ramming two narrowbodies into tall buildings exacerbated that. This, while potentially more devastating than 9/11 economically, really has nothing to do with flying.

3. If anything, airlines will use this experience to learn how to build their reserves more efficiently. Things will definitely change, but I don't think the changes will be as drastic as OP claims (or as 9/11 was to the industry, and rightfully so).

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