Wednesday, July 27, 2011

neither Maglev nor Southwest will get you to 30th Street anytime soon.

Local news snippets cover the news that Southwest is dropping its Pittsburgh to Philly flights.  It's a slightly bigger story in Philly where they seem to be losing more flights, and so their writeup is a bit longer.  They also dare write the ground(ed) truth:
Only US Airways, Philadelphia's dominant carrier, will fly to those cities. If history holds true, passengers can expect fares, now as low as $59 one-way to Pittsburgh, to creep higher.
It was not that long ago that airlines had Pittsburgh at the top of their list for express commuter shuttles to New York City.. and now we may have a hard, or at least expensive, time to get across the state.

Iconic a bit in that it comes on the day Maglev declares bankruptcy.. they say it's a temporary measure. I would bet they are correct since few organizations have the survival skills of the local Maglev folks. They have been at it a long time.   They even have continued as Transrapid, the company with the technology they intended to build here, has tried to itself go out of business. Like Maglev here, Transrapid limps along as best I can tell.

But back to the airlines.  Seriously, if the relatively minor Airtran-Southwest merger has all that bad news to dump on Pennsylvania... you just have to wonder what will happen whenever the next merger of USAirways happens.

AND.... it's even a bad day for blimps.


Anonymous BrianTH said...

If there is anywhere predatory pricing actually works, it may be hub airports.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:01:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

I've already seen the Liberty Bell so I don't think this will matter to me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I thought you meant 30th Street in Cleveland.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:20:00 PM  
Anonymous n'at said...

I make better time driving ...

You had the cheese steak omelet?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:23:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It takes about an hour for me to get to the airport on the 28x, arriving about an hour before the flight to deal with security and whatever, then an hour and and a half or more from boarding to getting off the plane in Philly, and I'm still only at the airport.

So figure 4.5 hours at best for flying door-to-door versus 5.5 hours driving. The tipping point is imminent. And if you've got two or more people traveling, the flying cost can be prohibitive.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:26:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Or you could take the train for only two or four times the cost of the plane and twice as long as driving.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 4:42:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

Cheez Wiz in an omelet must be revolting. Might as well grind up some Cheetos and throw them in.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 6:02:00 PM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

Maybe it's not just Southwest vs USAirWays. MegaBus might be the winner here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 8:17:00 PM  
Anonymous n'at said...

No cheese wiz at the airport Marriott.

They wouldn't discontinue routes that were profitable.

Why can't anyone face facts that Pittsburgh is the Paris of Appalachia, not the world. As such, we're the well kempt big city cousin most often visited by our truck nuts dragging, imp'n arn relation than our cosmopolitan college roomie and their coke dealing business associate.

Apologies to Brother O'Neill, I'm paraphrasing...

Thursday, July 28, 2011 9:13:00 AM  
Anonymous MH said...

And yet you can't buy a single pair of truck nuts in Squirrel Hill. I've tried for weeks so as to support local businesses instead of getting everything on the internet.

Thursday, July 28, 2011 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

Obviously there is only going to be so much potential demand for flying between Philly and Pittsburgh, which will place an upper bound on the amount of passengers who can travel this route at a profitable price.

But one question worth asking is why is that potential demand now only going to be supplied by USAir, and not two or more competing airlines. And a second question to ask is what will it do for pricing (and thus the number of passengers) on this route now that competition on this route has been eliminated.

And asking these questions does not in fact require one to be a Pittsburgh homer. This sort of thing has been going on in the airline industry for a long time, along many different routes, and there has been a lot of discussion of these issues by a lot of non-Pittsburgh people.

Thursday, July 28, 2011 11:01:00 AM  

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