May 6th, 2004
OK, this one goes out to all the non-IL readers out there:
What the hell's the deal with JetBlue? I've read more than a few accounts online of how lovely it is, but they're a rumor around here--looking at their flight map, they don't exist between the Rockies and Buffalo (except for New Orleans, which doesn't really help). I mean, gee, third-largest metro area in the country, busiest airport, you think that would earn us some kind of recognition, but no, we are, quite literally, flyover to them. What the fuck?
I'm gonna fly to San Diego or Sacramento or Seattle on United, then JetBlue my way to New York, then United again back home, just to see what all the fuss is about. (Well, no, not really. But it would be cool.)
Ah, that's mine. They're a relatively new airline, and business textbooks are littered with relatively new airlines that tried to expand too fast and then got stepped on by some larger airline. Chicago is a pretty hard market to get into, as it is already dominated by United and American, and even in the low-cost front in which JetBlue operates, Southwest and ATA have an established presence as well.
To give an example from just a few days ago, this is what happens
when a new airline tries to break into a new market... the existing players lower their own fares to match the new guy. Then, if/when the new guy gets pushed out because he can't compete with the established carriers, fares go back up and all consumers lose anyway.
Chin up, however, because JetBlue is surprisingly strong and I'll be surprised if they don't serve Chicago relatively soon. You just have to forget about their privacy indiscretions
Asidedly, Atlanta has been the busiest airport
for several years now.
Asidedly, Atlanta has been the busiest airport for several years now.
Not to get all Clintonian on you, but it depends on what your definition of the word "busiest"
is. Every year when the statistics are announced, the reaffirmation of O'Hare as busiest gets trumpeted by the local media--to my knowledge, they don't make a distinction, and I was just echoing what I'd heard.
Still, I'm not entirely clear as to what's so fantastic about the JetBlue experience--flying's flying, no?
I believe that there are several categories under "busiest," including "most flights per day," "most passengers per day," "most passengers per year," etc. I know that in the passengers per day vs. year categories, O'Hare still wins one and Atlanta (Hartfield, is it?) wins the other, but I don't remember offhand which gets which.
Similar to the different categories in the "tallest building" debate. Thankfully, the erection* of Taipei 101 in Taipei (interesting, that) settled some of the questions from the whole Sears Tower v. Petronas Towers fracas. Taipei 101 is now clearly the tallest building in the world in three of the four categories, although for "height with antennae," Sears still reigns supreme by a significant amount. And no, the CN Tower in Toronto, while really damn tall, is not considered a "building."
Where was I? Oh, JetBlue. From what I gather, it's the service and the efficiency, both of which are often lacking with major carriers. One thing that the "Ask the Pilot" weekly column from Salon often mentions is that the airline industry is in the midst of a revolution from being a luxurious experience to becoming a commuter one. So airlines like JetBlue, ATA, Southwest, etc., that don't promise more than they can deliver are getting great reviews. The Pilot points out that flight is becoming more like taking a bus - the novelty has worn off, you just want to get somewhere, and "cheap & efficient" is becoming more important than "luxury." This works great for so-called commuter airlines, but for overseas trips, luxury is still important, since you're in it for the long haul.
* heh heh
Yes, I should have qualified "busiest", although I still believe that the metrics that Chicago comes out on top on are somewhat silly (assuming that dick-swinging for busiest airport isn't silly itself). For example, the list you cited used aircraft movements as a metric, and Van Nuys comes out "busier" than London Heathrow. Where the hell is Van Nuys, one might reasonably ask? It's a general-aviation airport near Los Angeles whose traffic consists mostly of retirees tooling around in Piper Cubs. Number of commercial scheduled flights from Van Nuys? Zero.
I can't believe I'm prolonging this discussion. Why did I have to be afflicted with commercial aviation as a hobby? WHY??
(And besides the stuff Adam mentioned about JetBlue, they serve blue potato chips
. There need be no further explanation.)