Keith Alexander has a column in Monday’s Washington Post on the disaster currently facing USAirways.
Their costs are high and their yields are falling. After emerging quickly from bankruptcy protection, they have more or less continued the business model that led them to Chapter 11 in the first place.
With the exception of the Northeast Shuttle (which USAirways is looking to unload for cash), I hadn’t flown the carrier in several years until this past weekend. And I can say that they have fallen behind their competitors in premium services. Their clubs, still nicely kept, have less food and fewer newspapers than before. Their planes are greying. I flew in first class from San Juan to Charlotte on Monday and the seats on my 767 were worn. The seatback wouldn’t stay straight up. And the personal video player was covered in grease. The plane was headed on to London’s Gatwick. I couldn’t imagine flying an ex-Piedmont 767 across the pond. Finally, lunch was poor. The choice was “chicken or salmon.” I asked how the chicken was prepared (“over rice”) and what it came with (“rice”). “Dessert” came in a shrink-wrapped package. Napkins were paper and utensils and cups were all plastic.
First on USAirways remains better than coach on their competitors, but they certainly do not offer a product worth choosing.
Here’s an interview with a USAirways passenger activist on USAirways and its troubles. The passenger group is known as USAirways Cockroaches because of their perceived place as customers — USAirways made clear in the fall of 2002 that it viewed its customers as at faults for its problems.