Secret for Cheap Hotels in Europe, Airport Music, and Requiem for US Airways

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. To be fair to AC flying to DXB and DEL, Canada does limit frequencies from Mideast carriers to an amount more appropriate to O&D numbers, which off the top of my head is 3x to QR for YUL-DOH and 6x weekly to the UAE, split between EK and EY 3x weekly each.

    It’s hard to see how this benefits the consumer, but it does benefit AC. My guess is the moment Canada goes Open Skies EK and EY both go 2x daily YYZ, and daily YUL & YVR and serve all of the demand currently flowing on AC and over FRA on LH.

    I’m no fan of the protectionist bullcrap the US3 are begging for, but I do think the Canadian market is a perfect example of what happens when the government doesn’t allow Open Skies.

  2. Staying in small, inexpensive “guesthouses” (or whatever you want to call small, independent accommodations) is not a “secret” — unless you only stay in chain hotels! To be fair, the US lodging industry is much more dominated by chain hotels, so perhaps Americans aren’t used to looking for smaller hotels. In the USA, our small “guesthouses” tend to be fancy, overpriced “bed and breakfasts,” which I rarely stay at because they represent poor value.

    This “Delta didn’t pull out of Dubai because of unfair competition” story is making the rounds by authors who should know better. Like you. OF COURSE they pulled out due to the heavy subsidization of the Middle East carriers. Dubai and the other Emirates are tiny markets, with almost no O/D traffic. Now that Emirates, Qatar and Etihad are flying dozens of flights to the USA, and selling seats for peanuts (note Qatar’s latest sale today) there is an abundance of extra capacity to these destinations. While the Middle East carriers are mostly selling cheap connecting flights (like to India), they will be happy to transport you cheaply to Dubai if that’s your desire. So the ability of any outside airline to profitably transport passengers to these countries is zero. And to make matters worse, Emirates, Qatar and Etihad can better attract premium customers because they can offer a much better first/business class product because the shieks are happy to pick up some of the passengers’ tab. Since the US gov’t won’t pick up Delta’s tab for offering the champagne and caviar, it is in a hopeless competitive position on such service.

  3. @iahphx Delta was never going to fly to smaller cities in India and Pakistan. Of course the ATL-DXB O/D market is limited. That’s not “because of the Gulf carriers.” Emirates and Etihad have hubs. Like Delta has. From which serves many connecting markets. There’s nothing wrong with that, any more than there is with Delta’s dominance in the Upper Midwest.

    And Delta has been hugely subsidized, like offloading billions in pension liability on the federal government and obtaining beyond rights in Tokyo on the backs of the US military in World War II, or subsidies for their oil refinery, etc.

  4. I would love someone to start rabbling about how Atlanta is overserved relative to its O&D and that it has no right to have so much nonstop service that’s clearly being subsidized by the poor taxpayers in small communities linked to ATL. Since you know, same thing.

  5. @Gary — If Dubai, Doha and Abu Dhabi were like any other small cities in the world, they would be spokes served by big airlines flying from their big city hubs. Like Delta could aggregate in ATL most of the USA traffic heading to the Emirates and might be able to make a go of an ATL-DXB route. But once these Middle East regimes decided to pump tens of billions of dollars in subsidies into their airlines to make these small cities mega hubs — the only such small cities IN THE WORLD to be such hubs — it’s game over for Delta. It would be insane for them to try to compete in Dubai. They have none of the advantage of connecting traffic there and are forced to offer an inferior product (because there is no demand for a better product if your ticket price actually has to cover the cost of the product).

    Now if you want to argue Delta is “also subsidized” because of your interpretation of USA industrial policy from 70 years ago, this discussion is pointless because you’re veering into an alternative universe.

  6. How is Dubai a “small city” from a travel perspective? Sure, the population is less than half of the Atlanta metropolitan area (2.1M vs 5.5M), but it’s 70% expat- so 1.5M of the people there have to fly to get there and go home. I’d guess that 10% or less of 5.5M in Atlanta fly internationally, so it’s really 1/3 the demand of Dubai…

  7. I see that Delta tonight issued a press release explaining why it doesn’t make money flying to Dubai.

    And George. the stats aren’t in dispute: the number of pax who originate or terminate their travels in Dubai when flying from the USA are incredibly small, and could never support the level of service now being offered. This is, of course, common sense. Almost all the passengers on those planes are connecting, mainly to the Indian subcontinent. Running an ultra long haul hub with little O/D traffic has never been a successful business model in commercial aviation. The idea that it somehow “works” in the underpopulated Midle East (with all 3 airlines doing it simultaneously!) is simply preposterous .Yet people want to believe.

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