The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: Steve Lyons (
Date: May 01, 2004 01:09AM

As a popular story once began.....
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

These days it depends on which end of the industry you are looking from.
In today's environment, the customer is very much in the drivers seat.
With the heralding of the term constant change, began in the 1990s....
it was a self fulfilling prophecy for the airline executives.
You want got it.
Today, trends change faster than most of us change underware.
In, are cheeper air fares, faster checkin by computer or "pre" checkin.
In, are passenger oriented business models, friendly cabin and ground crews, attractive paint schemes, seatback TV, video, messaging, music.
In, are lower cost structures, employee driven ousting of CEOs.
Out are definitely mega mergers, and the phrase "If you don't like it, fly someone else." America did. They flew someone else.
And the result was, all the airlines competing for a smaller piece of pie.
The bottom line now is, if you want to get the best deal and don't mind
driving a little bit to the best airport to get it, and if you shop around,
and don't mind riding a CRJ now and then, you can get what you are looking for.
Today's airline industry is highly service driven, and I for one am glad to see it.
PI did not invent the friendly airline idea, we simply improved upon it.
Now, others are learning from it.
That's the good news.
If you don't like your airline....get out of it.
If you do like, it, thank God for it. :)


Re: The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: Delta Ramp (
Date: May 02, 2004 10:54AM

"No one person is an airline. An airline is a team. It must be
friendly, courteous, cooperative, efficient, and bound as closely as a
devoted family."

C.E. Woolman

Re: The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: dazed and confused (
Date: May 21, 2004 11:54PM

With all due respect, Steve, this most recent posting of yours has left me essentially numb. I had a hard time deciphering what you meant to type (spelling & grammar), but once I had those figured out --- I remain baffled as to your comments.

Today's industry is ANYTHING BUT a service driven one. That should be a point that all of us universally agree on. Web check-in and kiosk check-in are in no way designed with customer service as a driving force; rather both exist to save the airline industry significant labor costs in the immediate and long term.

You mention friendly cabin and ground crews.....huh?!?!?! Where are you flying in and out of these days? I fly weekly, much of it transcontinentally, for my work. Ask almost any air warrior their impression of today's airline service and they'll tell you things have catapulted downward in an alarming way. In-flight staff, God bless 'em, are frankly burned out if they're mainline and too often clueless if they are recent hires for non-mainline (making a whopping $9.89/hr).

While I know you had a great time with PI back in TRI lo those many moons ago, your nostalgic posts like this one are frankly odd. Were you trying to be sarcastic and I just missed the joke?

Peace, brother.

Re: The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: Delta Ramp (
Date: May 22, 2004 02:44AM

They may not offer lots of frills, but what they do offer is just fine for the passengers who fly them.

More by Jonathan Brines

WTVC NewsChannel 9 Poll

That's the finding of an annual study of airline quality. It finds low-cost carriers like JetBlue and Southwest receiving fewer passenger complaints than their bigger competitors. Southwest particularly soars when it comes to satisfying customers, getting about one complaint for every million customers. One expert says the news is a sign the airline industry is facing major change.


Re: The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: Jim Miller (
Date: July 23, 2004 11:30AM

I, a regular reader of the Wall Street Journal and many other newspapers; went to work at INT as a PI A&P in 1987, and although my query sample was small and mostly mechanics related; I was amazed by both blue-collar and white-collar old PI employee's; seemingly consistant and pervasive opinion that: "Piedmont could not have suvived without merging with a big airline.

What I neglected to do was gather the reasoning behind this unified, in-common opinion: were the reasons "why" as uniform, as the uniform conclusion? Or was the conclusion unifom and the individual reasoning reaching that inclusive conclusion, diverse? My impression was the reasoning was as unified as the conclusion: "Bigger is Better!", or at least it's the trend. That was never my view.

Blue-color employee opinion, that it was Mr. Howard that sold PI down the river, was evenly split. All agreed PI had been sold down the river; half attributed it to Mr. Howard. A few in the other camps thought Mr. Davis had sold PI down the river. Again; not my belief.

At other, higher PI levels, opinion may have been otherwise. Was it?

Re: The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: Steve Lyons (
Date: July 23, 2004 07:39PM

I am sticking my neck out answering this.....
After the above nasty replies to my previous comments.
But here goes......

My own personal opinion is.....
That Piedmont built itself up from humble beginnings during the 1980s largely due to de-regulation, which Howard had been brought on board to flight against, not my words, but those of Tom Davis himself.
Then Howard convinced the staff once on board that de-regulation could work to Piedmont's advantage.
What could possibly, we will never know, have been forever a small airline was given the opportunity to rise to the occasion and compete head on head in alot of good markets with the big guys.
Piedmont was well on it's way to being one of the big guys.
At last count, was number 7 on the top 10 and even after the merger, with the subequent mergers of other carriers into each other, remained number 7 as USAir.
The problem was.......although Piedmont obviously was best in service in my world and the Model of How Good an Airline can be, it went into debt for new aircraft to both expand and compete in a larger market in more completitive times.
Norfolk Southern was the plan.......they would buy majority stake and our management at PI would run the airline as always.
That according to everyone I have talked to, fell through at the 11th hour and we became fair game to every company that was willing to beat NS's bid.
The rest is history.
USAir came in as the Night on a White Horse to save us.
But it's self evident what happened.
I don't believe anyone can at this point deny the painfully obvious.
The big question is.....
Can USAirways compete with the likes of......
Independence Air
American Trans Air
I don't believe they can.
I believe that the only way they can survive is to totally change their business model to meet the current times.
That would include a name overhaul.
Bottom line here is......
There was nothing wrong with Piedmont merging with another carrier.
The problem was that PIEDMONT should have been in charge of it.
It should have been PIEDMONT management at the helm.
And they certainly could have handled it.
Proof of that....
Continental's revitalization at the hands of Gordon Bethune.
Despite above comments to the contrary, I still believe that...
(A) Today's airline industry HAS to be more service and price oriented to attract and keep passengers.
(B) That I know what I am talking about.

God Bless Everyone!


Re: The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: Jeff J (
Date: August 30, 2004 01:18AM

I have to agree with you. Although I had no personal love for Mr. Howard, I don't think it was his doings either. Like him or not, the man could run an airline (IMO). Norfolf & Southern sold us out. They had agreed to "buy", but when the bid got "high" they turned to their stockholders and said "Look at how much we made for you in such a short amount of time." (I can't prove this.) I remember the rumor that in a stockholders meeting Mr Howard had "lost his cool" and had thrown an ashtray against a wall, and had walked out. IMO, that is when he found out he and PAI had been sold down the railroad track by N & S. It's been down the railroad track ever since...with the worse to come, I'm afraid.

Piedmont had great,dedicated
Posted by: Randy-ATL-DL (
Date: September 29, 2004 04:54AM

employees and good management that knew what it took to be successful in the 80's,as de-regulation was just getting underway.I really think,had they not merged,they would have adapted fairly well-but NOT without some problems.Today all the media outlets can talk about is how WN is taking US's market share,which is true,but what the media and the pro-PI crowd overlooks is the fact that many of the small-medium markets PI was so succesful in the 80's have seen new or added service in the last 10-15 years.Places like AVL,CAE,CRW,CHS ect today have plenty of RJ service from the competition,and it would have been very interesting to see how PI would have responded in those once near monolopy markets.The original US would have faced equally stiff competition in places like ERI,MDT,BTV,PVD,SYR,PHF,ect.The growth of NW's DTW hub,DL's CVG hub and CO in CLE have taken away plenty of US's customer base,there's only X number of passengers who fly out of,say AVP,and when a Comair or NW airlink start service to these place they WILL/HAVE taken US's prime business flyers away.Is/Has Jet Blue,Air Tran,Spirit,Southwest been stiff competition for US? Sure,but let's not kid ourselves....Even without the LCC's US would have had to struggle to survive....I just wish the media would focus more on the RJ's and DL conn/AA eagles/NW airlink's because they have/had a big part in US losing sooo much money.RIP US,I hope you make it,but I'll be VERY surprised if they are still in business in JAN/FEB/MAR 05...

Re: The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: Steve Lyons (
Date: September 30, 2004 11:31PM

I have thought about what Piedmont would have done with the CRJ market force.
My opinion is that Piedmont would have done what they always did and made lemonaide when handed a lemon.
Piedmont would have, in my opinion, because I knew them well, bought about 50-100 CRJs including the new Embraer ERJ 175!
Just like they did when they bought the Fokker F28s, they would have made these little babies part of their regular fleet, not the regionals.
That would have kept the pilots happy and all employees as these could be used on the regular stations etc.
The two largest mistakes U.S. ever made were.......
#1 to make everyone pay grade A after the merger.
#2 make the CRJs third party contacts and not regular employee operations.

Think that over.

I realize that U.S. has had a hard time completing against everyone else.
That's largely due to "attitude".
They have that John Kerry Mass snobby know it all attitude.
The story changes depending on who they are talking to.

Plus, all the delays and cancelations. Not good for PR!


As a native southerner and ATL
Posted by: Randy (
Date: October 11, 2004 04:42AM

original native I like the south and defend the culture and attitudes most of the time,however Steve,I cannot understand how you can say attitude could have helped US remain profitable at,say,a station like Erie,where NW airlink started service with 3 or 4 flights to their NW hub.NW airlink had to have taken a big chunk of US's business travel @ERI,Steve are you going to tell me that business travelers in ERI changed over to NW because they prefered the warm,straight foward,midwestern wholesome values of Minneapolis MN based NW?.....Get real! The bottomline is,for better or for worse @ERI and many other cities on the US route map you are seeing or have seen the marketplace play it's self out.And I can promise you Steve that had PI mainline served Erie,they would have had a fight on their hands as NW airlink offers great connections thru DTW,a good Worldperks FF program,and all important Asia and Europe nonstops...BTW Did'nt Comair start nonstops to ERI recently,also? More overcapacity....

Re: The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: Steve Lyons (
Date: October 11, 2004 07:59PM

You can nit pick a point to death.

Re: As a native southerner and ATL
Posted by: Phil Coley (
Date: October 12, 2004 04:19AM

Respectfully... you are wrong! Attitude is ALL important. People and Corporations have attitudes. Without a positive attitude you don't care about customer service. Experience, technical ability and communication skills aside, NOTHING is as important as an attitude of gratitude.

I remember the fine Delta folks I worked with when I was with PI. Delta and PI were both like "Southern Gentlemen". Guys like Calvin Shields at Delta would give Piedmont the shirt off his back if he could spare it. Piedmont would do the same. Were clones of many of the fine PI people.

It makes a diffrence then and now...

Hang n there!

Re: The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: scottinmaine (162.94.28.---)
Date: October 27, 2004 06:19PM

this thread is getting a little out of hand. Frankly, I think that both Randy and Steve need to chill out. The reality is that Piedmont was a wonderful company with wonderful employees. As a former Piedmonster, I can attest to the esprit de corps that we all shared. In large measure, Delta enjoyed the very same environment -- perhaps to an even greater extent in the 1970s and through the early 1980s.

Please take a moment to reflect on Delta's health right now. There are still thousands of the very same employees out there on DL's front line doing their best, but the current business model for air travel just 'aint what it used to be. Consumers have spoken in droves that the airline offering them the lowest fare will get their business. DL, AA, CO, US, UA, etc, weren't counting on that little surprise until the realities of post 9/11 became clear. Now, they are all struggling along to do the best they can to stay afloat.

Steve, it is preposterous for you to offer your "predictions" about just which regional jets PI would have bought by now and in what quantities. What purpose does that serve? And, although I vote conservatively, I am not pleased with your remark about Kerry. That was out of line and I'm betting you know it. I expected more from my fellow Piedmont employees.

Randy, you seem to be playing a broken record about NWA -- or NWO as most of us on this board knew it. I'm betting that you know that Northwest is probably the least noticed carrier in all of the North American skies. Perhaps that is by design, so that their competitors essentially ignore them. NW maintains precious little PR staff (and has over the recent decades) and until most recently, operated three of the most miserable hubs in the US. DTW is a delightful facility that NW employees should be exceedingly proud of, but to suggest that NWlink lift out of Erie is a model for anything significant is perplexing.

Perhaps you were simply trying to demonstrate that other airlines are finding it fairly easy these days to invade traditional trading areas of other legacy carriers with smaller RJs on the scene. Well, that's true, but that's been true for twenty years, hasn't it? When the new generation of regional turboprop aircraft came on the scene (think Dash8s, EMB -Banderantes, etc) airlines like Comair and ASA raced into action and grew to be hugely successful carriers in a very short period of time -- in both cases invading significant portions of geography formerly unavailable to DL (Great Lakes and the mid-south). Right?!?!? So what's with Erie and NW?

In short, I feel the need to say that I loved PI and I enjoy infrequent stops by this wonderful webpage. I very much dislike the inane postings from time to time and I suppose I should just stay away from the forums (should be fora) page altogether. But, I keep coming back to read the wonderful tales and to read, alas, the obits of my old pals. PLEASE help keep the warm and thoughtful spirit of PI alive, if no place else, then at least here, folks.

Let's make this a model of how good a historical society webpage CAN be.

Re: The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: Steve Lyons (24.158.111.---)
Date: October 29, 2004 02:10PM

Ok, if that's the way you want to be......
Let's resort to proof.
Here, read this.


Re: The current state of the airline industry.
Posted by: DaveCollinback (
Date: November 02, 2004 09:23PM

Wow --

I just read through all of this and it's worthless stuff, folks. Steve, no offense intended, but you seem to have a lot of spare time on your hands, pal!

I guess I sort of agree with the post that advises us all to keep these forums clean and full of Piedmont stuff, not some of the junk that ended up in this post.

Lastly, Steve, a quick IP check shows that YOU are the one who posted back on 5/23/04 as "Rush Limbaugh Fan" and proceeded to attempt to prove your own points under a false presumed name... Classy.

I look forward to remembering the good days at Piedmont in the future here and let's all commit to that ideal.


Dave C

Re: worthless stuff
Posted by: Steve Lyons (24.158.111.---)
Date: November 04, 2004 10:37PM

A person's opinion is not worthless stuff.
And I doubt you are at all to offend me.
I do not have a lot of spare time on my hands, rather,
I work a full time job and have plenty of things to keep me busy.
I couldn't care less if you do not agree with what I write.
I do not set out to please you or anyone else.
I write the way I see it.
You can write the way you see it as long as you do not slam people and in sult them.
If you look over the website, you will find that many people have left their opinions here on many subjects and not all of it is remembering the good ole days. Life goes on. You may not like the way it as gone on but it still does regardless and it affects people in different ways.
Most see this as a safe place to post opinion without being disrespected.
I used to also, but no more.
Speaking of the Piedmont I knew, you do not reflect that in your posting at all.
And I am glad I did not work with you.
The editors of this forum can feel free to delete this entire column if desired, I would if I had the ability.
But firstly I wanted to post my final post on here.

Most likely if one posted the actual business reports from todays' real world airline, (what's left of it) they would get slammed big time as most can't stand for anyone to post anything if it's percieved to be opinion.
For example, I long ago told myself I was going to quit posting on here because most of what I write seems to get slammed down the road a few months later.
I have gotten slammed, insulted and criticized so many times on this forum that by this time, I am immune to the effects.

Your problem, besides disrespect for your fellow human being, is you can't handle the truth no matter what form it comes in and do not respect differing opinions enough to just let them ride if they don't like them.

I do not plan to post on this site anymore, even when asked a specific question.
I may if asked a question respond to email.

So long and may God Bless the real people of Piedmont.

Steve :)

Scott-I used ERI as an example
Posted by: Randy (168.12.253.---)
Date: November 05, 2004 08:52PM

of a city AL/US had a near monopoly and then the RJ invasion came and their really was very little US could do about it.ERI is just one example of mid-sized cites that the UA express'es AA eagles,Comair,ect started service to.Steve's excessive PI can do no wrong,all ex-AL staff are horrible is tired and old.(I worked with several FINE ex AL staff @BHM).Then he brings in a comment about Kerry,funny how he does not mention Edwards,hehehe.PI was great in it's hey-day,but if they were around today with the state this industry is in they would have had to deal with the same problems DL,AA,NW,UA has had to.

Re: Scott-I used ERI as an example
Posted by: stevelyons (
Date: December 26, 2007 11:33PM

Go back if you want, and review what occured between now and 2005 in regards to USAirways liquidation plans and the subsequent buyout of USAirways by America West. Then the Changing of USAirways into a low cost carrier (LCC).
The keeping of the USAirways name (what US should have done with Piedmont) and the current success of the present day USAirways as contrasted with their years 1996 thru 2005 before the "merger".
Today's USAirways is a "good" airline.
I would fly them anytime and likely feel at home doing so.
The Piedmont bird flies today on their A320 along with the Heritage logo.

Nice ending to an otherwise sad story.

Long live the Speedbird!

Steve :)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/26/2007 11:34PM by stevelyons.

Sorry, you do not have permission to post/reply in this forum.
This forum powered by Phorum.