This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Delta, JetBlue Could Sell More Seats This Way

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I like the Priceline.com (PCLN - Get Report) commercial in which pitchman William Shatner and an "enforcer" convince the front-desk clerk that a hotel room is a perishable commodity, and accepting a lesser amount that covers costs is better than receiving nothing.

An airline seat is also a perishable commodity. Unlike most things you can buy, its price gets more expensive the closer it gets to its perishing point. And that point is every time a flight crew closes an aircraft door, right?

Well, that need not always be the case, especially on longer routes.

I used a Delta (DAL - Get Report) reward ticket recently to fly business class from Paris to Atlanta. The plane was full in the back but about half of the business-class seats were empty. That scene, repeated many times around the world every day, underscores that not only is it hard for airlines to make a profit, but its reputation doesn't include exceeding customer expectations.

J.D. Power and Associates' most recent airline survey of such, conducted last summer, found a decline for a third consecutive year. Alaska Airlines (ALK) ranked highest among the traditional network carriers for the second straight year. JetBlue Airways (JBLU - Get Report) was No. 1 among low-cost carriers for four years running.

There are a number of things that airline companies could consider to boost revenue and customer satisfaction. (Those two measurements mustn't be mutually exclusive, which seems to be a corner that airline carriers have painted themselves into based on terms and conditions that many customers view as takeaways.)

Here's one example of what could be done, with the example of my flight on Delta from Paris using a reward ticket for business class. It's criminal to me that half of business class was empty, given that airlines are losing money and aren't known for exceeding customer expectations. On most flights, airlines sell food and on international flights, they sell duty-free items, so they have credit-card processing machines onboard. Why not let people buy an upgrade once they're on board? That could be a significant amount of incremental revenue with little cost.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
DAL $46.98 1.18%
JBLU $19.89 0.71%
PCLN $1,233.09 0.98%
AAPL $130.28 0.47%
FB $81.53 -1.07%

Markets

DOW 18,080.14 +21.45 0.12%
S&P 500 2,117.69 +4.76 0.23%
NASDAQ 5,092.0850 +36.0220 0.71%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs