India Uncut

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

From Air Deccan to Southwest

My post mentioning Air Deccan's free-seating policy has got many responses, a couple of which I mentioned within updates to that post. Some more here:

Both Vimalanand Prabhu and Falstaff write in to point out that Southwest Airlines, in the US, may not assign seating but it does have a boarding order. Falstaff writes:
Notice that in Southwest at least there are no assigned seats but there is a (strictly followed) boarding order. Depending on when you check in, you get assigned to seating category A, B or C, with A getting first dibs at the seats and so on. So a) the crowding isn't anywhere near as bad as you describe (I guess the fact that there are actual lines helps, plus the fact that there are no coaches, just walkways) b) there's an incentive to either check in early or check in online. If you try and arrive last minute for a crowded flight you're almost certainly going to get a crappy seat, but the fact that people will tend to check in earlier helps avoid crowding from last minute check-ins and may help the airline to better manage overbooked flights, etc.
And how much saving does this result in? Arun Simha writes in:
This ability gives it a turnaround time of 15 minutes, which enables it to generate more than twice (10.5 versus an industry average of 4.5) the average number of flights per gate each day. The average turnaround time for other aircraft at each gate is 30 minutes.
Nancy Bohrer points out that "Southwest has been about the only US airline making money in the past few years," and Krishna Moorthy writes in:
I am of the opinion that 99% of the airlines should not even attempt to mimic Southwest's practice of no-seating assignment because only Southwest can pull off such business practices successfully (and profitably. Just look at the bloody red-ink trail left behind by most low-cost competitors of SouthWest in the US.)
And finally, getting back to Air Deccan, Devender Mallya is upset that they don't have reservations for OBCs. Tut tut.
amit varma, 5:28 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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