Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Emotions run high in UA/LUV dispute

Emotions on the part of the (supposedly) objective media that is.....

Gordon Bethune resorts to the `you don’t understand’ ploy, Loren Steffy, Chron.com
And then, after I posted my poll on Monday, he wrote on his Facebook page that I am “a journalist who can’t grasp the devastation of the city of Houston reneging on a long term partnership with Continental.”
It's important to note that it's not "just" Continental that the City of Houston would be reneging on, but (now) on United and on the whole of the Star Alliance as well. At the risk of pulling the "condescending card" if Steffy doesn't understand why this is a bad thing then perhaps he doesn't understand the aviation industry all that well.

Because it sounds like I'm flip-flopping here I'll state my position again: I do see a scenario where an expanded HOU could work. It's a scenario where HOU works in tandem WITH IAH to provide even more access to even more destinations. What we're getting is a plan where WAN is somehow supposed to "compete" with UA, despite not flying out of the same airport and on a different route schedule. That plan, to me, feels like a recipe for disaster.

The biggest problem that Houston has in all of this is that it doesn't appear that any decision (by either side) is being made under a base of reason. There's anger with UA, that odd infatuation that people have with WN and some backlash to the two that seem to be driving everything. What we really need is more time and a lot more data to determine which path is the best to take. Instead we get Loren Steffy writing angry columns at readers who seem to be telling him the truth. The truth being that he really doesn't have much of a grasp on the airline industry.

Any agreement that damages the status of IAH long-term in return for some (slightly) lower fares short-term and a marginal improvement to HOU is a bad one. Any deal should be designed to make IAH stronger. I think there could be ways to do that, but I haven't seen anything that would make me think they are included in this debate.

All of this is independent of which airline I prefer (UA, FWIW. I only fly WN out of necessity.)

Added: Make sure to read the comments on this story. Any smart, reasoned comment is met with a flood of derision from what basically amounts to Steffy's children. Sad.

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