Whip Round Air Travel
The likes of Southwest, Delta, United are all scrambling planes on a moment’s notice to fill the demand for special routes. Greenville to Spartanburg for fans of college football now shares the skies with New York to Las Vegas. And a round-trip chartered exclusively for the Superbowl now lines up for take-off right behind a transatlantic long-haul. Crowdsourced air travel is booking up!
To function properly, airlines remain in data harvesting mode 24/7. They tally everything from survey responses to web searches on an hourly basis to capture sudden surges in interest for different journeys. Southwest is Wall Streets darling of the skies and has a team of network planners headed by Adam Decaire. He remembers asking, “why is West Texas to Vegas all of a sudden popping?” and then realizing, “Oh, my gosh, it’s a rodeo.” If you do a whip-round, “there’s always a pilot ready and waiting to wiz you off at your convenience.”
But the whole thing will set you back. A single ticket for a special event-based round-trip could cost upwards of $20,000, so this is definitely premium leisure flying!
Luckily, a customer’s expense is an investor’s gain, and we’re on the right side of the equation. Most money is made at the front of the plane, and thousand-dollar trips to special events like CES 2020 are paid for by corporations which can’t rationalize private jet flying. The volume is there, helping margins, helping profits, and helping share prices!
Airline investors have reached the promised in the last decade. Fuel cheapened as oil prices slumped, profits became a given, and carriers won the right to experiment with their business models.
The question now is whether these innovative changes will survive into the next decade, especially if low oil prices and a booming economy don’t. It’s all up in the air!