How do you turn sour grapes into a rare and expensive vintage? Ask your favorite airline; for over a decade they’ve been fermenting profits ever since the fuel surcharges were no longer needed to cover oil price spikes.
The number of enforcement actions are up at the department’s Aviation Enforcement Office. Did you go down there and light a fire under them?
I think that people in the department understood when I came on board that safety was number one and we were going to look out for consumers. People knew I was a member of Congress and that I was co-sponsor of the Passenger Bill of Rights. Once we put out the tarmac rule, that sent a message out all over these two buildings and all over the FAA buildings who we care about.
How did unbundling and a la carte pricing get started in travel?
It’s easy to view this as the big bad airline taking advantage of the travelers.
This is an extension of revenue management. I should define revenue management for you: Travel companies have high fixed asset costs. You’re trying to use those assets as much as possible. For example, a hotel room is a time-perishable product. If it doesn’t get rented this evening, it will never be able to get rented again. So any revenue is better than none. That’s revenue management, and that that originated with American Airlines 30 years ago.