She likes the window seat; he likes the aisle. She wants the shade pulled down; he likes the shade up. She checks a bag; he only carries on. She curls up in a ball to avoid contact; he sits with his elbows and legs splayed out.
The sexes can fly in different directions when it comes to airplane and hotel habits and preferences, adding stress to an already taxing experience for couples and families.
Men still outnumber women among frequent fliers. Several airlines, US Airways (LCC +0.23%) and Delta Air Lines (DAL +0.50%) among them, say their customer base runs about 54% to 56% male. But the difference is leveling off. Virgin America says its passenger surveys over the past year average 52% men and 48% women. British Airways (IAG.MC -0.33%) actually carries more women than men, a spokeswoman said.
Membership in Alaska Airlines‘ frequent-flier program is evenly split between men and women, at least among members for whom gender is known, according to a spokeswoman for the Seattle-based airline. And at American Airlines, men make up 55% of the frequent-flier-program membership, but women under 30 years old now outnumber men in that age group.
When flag carriers flew the world like proud extensions of government foreign policy, the merger of British Airways and its Spanish counterpart Iberia would have been unthinkable. But the advent of Ryanair, easyJet and other low-cost ingenues, followed by the dent in demand caused by 9/11, exposed them to the unforgiving economics of modern aviation. The industry has lost $25bn (£16bn) since 2001, in a decade littered with redundancies, financial restructurings and bankruptcies.
The formation of International Airlines Group (IAG) through the merger of BA and Iberia in 2011 was supposed to muster strength from an imperilled business model. The group would earn more revenue for less cost, while pooling expensive overheads such as buying aircraft. Speaking as BA chief executive at the time, Willie Walsh, now chief executive of IAG, said BA would benefit from adding Latin America to its lucrative transatlantic routes. “We are very pleased to have the combined network of BA and Iberia,” he added.
It is now clear that one half of IAG entered this modern marriage still rooted in an earlier era. According to IAG’s nine-month results, BA made an operating profit of €286m (£229m), bolstered by its UK-US routes and the accumulated benefit of years of cost-cutting, including a bitter industrial dispute with cabin crew in 2010. Iberia, on the other hand, nearly wiped out BA’s gains with an operating loss of €262m.
Here’s your more-more-more Monday roundup of consumer news from around the Web:– Fly the friendly iPad? British Airways is experimenting with handing out iPads for in-flight entertainment. The carrier has already begun trials of the iPad on selected Boeing 777 services as an alternative to the portable DVD players currently issued to first-class passengers.
Strange Random Airline Quote:
This is a nasty, rotten business — Robert L. Crandall, CEO & President of American Airlines.
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