Dave Pflieger highlights a few once-popular airlines that have gone the way of the dodo.
Commercial aviation may be barely a century old, but few would argue that it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Flight is still the most efficient way to travel, and it’s shaped the way we interact with the world in truly dramatic ways. But just because air travel is here for the long haul doesn’t mean that there aren’t casualties along the way. Here are some once famous airlines that have failed to stay with us over the years.
Eastern Air Lines
Miami-based Eastern Air Lines was once one of the biggest players in commercial air, but it became a lesson in the powerful role workers can play in a company’s feasibility. The first cause for concern came in 1988, as more economical alternatives started to cut into Eastern’s bottom line, but it was the deregulation in the years that followed which served as the nail in the coffin. An attempt to freeze out protesting members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers led to a galvanization of multiple related unions, and Eastern Air Lines was left crippled. They were forced to declare bankruptcy in 1989 and finally ended operations at the beginning of 1991.
Braniff International Airlines
Few airlines had the flair that Braniff International did. Their colorful uniforms, designed by Emilio Pucci, especially made them stand apart from the competition. But it was the company’s notable confidence that got the best of it. An attempt at aggressive expansion in a time when fuel costs peaked and economy alternatives created a highly competitive market drove Braniff into deep debt and rapidly led to their dissolution.
Lakers Airways Skytrain
The problem with Lakers was in many ways the polar opposite of Braniff. They entered the market during the glut of new competitors in the early 1980s and promised tremendously low cost flights, often as much as half that of the major airlines. Unfortunately, the model quickly proved unsustainable, and they ended up as just another forgotten experiment in a boom notable for them.
It could be argued that Interflug was a victim of geopolitics, but there had been problems with its structure for a long time. Based out of East Berlin, its planes suffered from poor fuel efficiency and noise protection. When the Berlin wall fell, a number of airlines expressed interest in purchasing Interflug, but the airline ultimately failed to find a serious buyer.
Dave Pflieger highlights exactly what you should do if your flight is delayed.
Dave Pflieger, aviation professional with decades of experience, explains what you should do if your flight is delayed.
Here is an excerpt:
“A flight delay or cancellation is any traveler’s worst nightmare, however that doesn’t mean that a bit of preparation isn’t going to come in handy in order to tackle these difficulties and overcome them. Knowing rules and regulations may come in handy in order to take full advantage of the situation.
Know your rights
Depending on the airlines, different rules may be in places once a flight is canceled or delayed. Free re-bookings or refunds may come into place, along with being places on a similar flight with another airline – anything to make a customer satisfied, after all. Check the fine print to make sure what the rules are so you can be ready if the time comes.
Bought the flight with a credit card?
This isn’t a well-known fact, but buying airfare with a credit card may entitle the buyer to many protections, such as receiving compensation for a delay, or special rules that kick in once a flight is interrupted. Make sure to keep all documents on-hand in order for the process to be as quick and easy as possible.”
To read the full article, written by Dave Pflieger, click here.
By David Pflieger
From start-up to stardom, Virgin America recently grabbed the number-seven spot for innovation in an AirlineTrends.com ranking of airlines. Describing Virgin America as a “no-frills-chic” carrier, the website praised the airline for its forward-looking approach to airline travel.
Some of the airline’s innovations included iconic cabin lighting, power and USB outlets in all seats, and in-flight Wi-Fi on all aircraft. These perks have helped to establish Virgin America as the preferred choice among young, urban, tech-savvy air travelers. Some industry watchers refer to the carrier as the “unofficial airline of Silicon Valley.”
From its hub in San Francisco, Virgin America currently flies to 17 cities and has plans to expand to more than 30 cities in the next five years. The fleet has also grown in recent years, from 34 aircraft in January 2011 to 51 aircraft in mid-2012. The company plans to nearly double the fleet to 111 aircraft by the end of the decade.
About David Pflieger: A decorated United States Air Force officer, David Pflieger enjoys a reputation as a respected airline industry executive. His accomplishments include serving as a key member of the start-up teams for two award-winning airlines, Virgin America and Delta Song.
As the global airline industry embraces sustainability, executives are calling on the United States government to increase efforts to promote biofuels, according to a report on SapphireEnergy.com.
Anticipating a huge spike in passenger traffic in the next 15 years, the executives seek to meet the demand without increasing carbon emissions.
Fuel currently represents between 30 percent and 45 percent of operational costs. The airline industry consumes about 65 billion gallons of fuel annually. Some industry officials are calling for biofuels to account for 50 percent of fuel by 2040. They want the transition to be transparent, with newer planes coming off the line capable of running on biofuel.
Industry executives say that a stronger government commitment to the development of economically viable biofuel will help ensure the transition takes place.
About the Author: An experienced airline industry executive, David Pflieger was Senior Vice President of Virgin America from 2006 to 2010. During his tenure, Mr. Pflieger oversaw the growth of the company from a start-up venture with just 14 people to an award-winning airline with more than 1,300 employees. Today, Mr. Pflieger serves as CEO and Managing Director of Air Pacific Ltd.