Reader's Replies : Other readers share their opinions and
experiences. You can too. If you'd like to add your own
send me a note.
: There is a way to turn around a 757 as quickly as a 737. The 757 has two
sets of doors. One is just behind the cockpit. The other is further back,
usually next to the partition that some airlines use to separate business class
from coach. If there are two jetways, both doors can be used simultaneously to
load and unload passengers. I believe that Delta plans to use such a system for
the new carrier. My guess is that's why they are initially offering service
between two airports in the northeast and two in Florida. If the system works,
they will expend additional funds to modify gates at other airports.
what I've said above, I still don't think that the concept will work. What
Delta's employees lack is the teamwork approach that you find at Southwest and
other upstart carriers. I've observed the crews at Southwest handle an aircraft
arriving at a gate. Within seconds of the chock blocks being put under the
wheels, bags are rolling off and fuel is being pumped. The gate agent operates
the jetway and has the door open with passengers exiting. As soon as the last
passenger has deplaned, the flight attendants go through the cabin disposing of
trash left behind. The gate agent now has the emplaning passengers lined up in
groups labeled A, B, and C. They are ready to board as soon as the cabin has
been declared ready. Everyone knows their job and does it well. Twenty minutes
after the chock blocks were put in place, they are removed and the aircraft is
ready to roll. I've watched Delta people go through the same exercises. They
just don't work together.
while seated at a window of a Delta MD-80, I observed the driver of a Tug
vehicle arrive at the last minute with three bags that had not been loaded on
the flight. There was no baggage handler next to the conveyor belt, but I'm
certain that a worker was in the belly of the plane arranging bags. The driver
placed two of the bags on the belt and the third bag partially on the metal lip
a the bottom of the belt. He then started the belt and drove away without
looking back. Had he looked, he would have seen that the third bag did not go up
the belt. Several Delta employees walked or drove by. Nothing was done. It took
at least five minutes for someone to come along and move the bag about 6 inches
so that it would catch on the belt. This observation has convinced me that Delta
is going to have quite a challenge in retraining it's people to get them to the
efficiency level of the low cost carriers. If they can't do this, they can kiss
their new airline (and possibly their old one) goodbye.
replies : I believe that Southwest may also use both doors at some
airports. But you are of course correct - both when you point out that
passengers can deplane/emplane faster through two doors, and also when you point
out that Delta has other challenges that will likely negate any efficiencies
that using both doors might offer!
the East coast writes
: The additional question is how are they going to get 13.2 hours daily
utilization per aircraft, flying between the northeast and Florida? Also,
so what if flight attendants work longer days in exchange for more days off ---
that does not increase productivity!
replies : Labor costs are, of course, the biggest single cost category
for any airline operation. I haven't seen any details at all on how Delta
plans to control and reduce its labor costs for its new operation, and one has
to worry that Delta's silence on this vital point means that the issue remains,
as yet, unresolved.
: If you want to see something with a different name that is an operating
disaster, yet 100% owned and operated by Delta Air Lines, take a look at an
outfit called ASA. That entity gives nightmares to its passengers and the cities
whose travelers must rely on it.
internet reader writes
: I recently flew Southwest for the first time and it will now be, without
question, my first choice regardless of price. On time. Comfortable. Good
frequent flyer deals. Nice people.
I worry a
lot about airlines running off to the government (taxpayers) for more loans. I
suppose the government will give them what they want, depending upon their
campaign contributions. For all of the radical republicans screaming about
"socialism" and liberals, I'm not sure what we call these taxpayer loans.
: Here in Jackson, Mississippi, Delta used to be "My Airline." On a
recent Southwest trip from Ft. Lauderdale to Jackson, a Miami lawyer and a
retired couple from Monroe, La, shared my sentiments that Delta sucks and we
don't fly them if we have a choice!
from the internet writes
: In 1970, Robert Townsend wrote a book titled "Up the
Organization". I have always felt that the book was way ahead of its time.
from that book, on the topic of "greed" (page 127):
increase our share of the market a few years ago, I was on the verge of
approving the startup of a new subsidiary -- which would compete with our
bread-and-butter business -- at discount prices. To verify my own
brilliance, I tried the idea out on a tall, rangy regional vice-president named
Stepnowski. After hearing the plan described in some detail, he sank the whole
project with one sentence: "I don't know what YOU call it, but we Polacks call
that 'pissing in the soup'"
truly 'pissing in the soup'. I have to believe that Leo and Vicki have lost
their marbles. After seeing what happened to US, UA, and CO in their "low cost"
operations, why do they think that using a 757 will make all the difference??
from New York writes
: Any reason why you didn't mention Jet Blue...currently the largest
carrier on the NY to Southern Fla routes, a low cost carrier, and one that flies
larger planes on it's routes?
replies : You are correct that JetBlue will be another major
competitor that the Delta operation will have to contend with. I did
briefly refer to JetBlue in the red sidebar at the top of the article.
are not correct when you suggest that JetBlue operates larger planes. It
has a fleet of new Airbus A320 planes, each with a capacity of 162 passengers;
substantially less than the 200-250 passengers that the 757 carries.
What do you think?.
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Copyright 2002 by David M