I am convinced once again that we have great readers at
. Either that or you are just very bored individuals who had nothing better to do than to take the time to respond to our annual August test of airline operational and financial tidbits. Then again, maybe you just really needed a new T-shirt.
I especially appreciated the note from the reader who said she thought the whole thing was idiotic and a waste of time -- but then acknowledged that she figured she had been sucked in anyway, as I had succeeded in getting her to take the time to write.
Whatever the reason, we had a record number of entries this year (which means we had many more than last year), and lo and behold, we also have a repeat champion. So, let's take a look at the questions we asked, and give you the correct answers so you can see how well you did.
1. Which major airline posted the lowest cost per available seat mile for the second quarter?
Bzzzst. The correct answer for $100 is
America West Airlines
, at 7.33 cents. This one question eliminated about 80% of all contestants. The wrong answer given by most of you?
. Southwest actually posted 7.43 cents on the quarter. Close, but no cigar.
2. Which major airline posted the highest cost per available seat mile for the second quarter?
This one was an easy one. Almost everyone got this one.
-- at 12.42 cents.
3. Which major airline posted the largest year-over-year increase in unit revenue per available seat mile for the second quarter?
This one gave you some trouble. But the correct answer was
. The airline posted an increase of 10.9%. And yes, we were looking for a percentage gain here. (Two folks asked if we wanted percentage or aggregate increase. Sheesh -- you number crunchers scare me sometimes.)
4. Which major airline posted the biggest increase in yields, year over year, for the second quarter?
You sharp people, you. Most of you got this one. The correct answer, for $200 -- America West, with an increase of 5.3%.
5. Which major airline has posted the highest return to investors over the last five years?
I got answers all over the map on this one. However, the correct response is US Airways, with a total return to investors of 341% for the period from July 30, 1993, to July 31, 1998.
6. Which major airline has posted the highest return to investors since the end of the second quarter?
Answer: Southwest Airlines, with a total return of 11.4% over the period from June 30 to July 31, 1998.
7. And finally, which major airline has posted the lowest return to investors since the end of the second quarter?
. Alaska was down 22.8% for the period June 30 to July 31, 1998.
So, as I said, we have a return Wing Tips champion this year, and that person is
. Ken not only got every answer correct, but also sent us an additional question for consideration and extra credit that he thought readers would find interesting. That question is:
Which major airline that has not filed for bankruptcy has produced the
return for investors over the last five years?
Think of this as the Wing Tips' equivalent of the Daily Double.
Bzzzst. The correct answer is Southwest Airlines, which has shown investors only a 52% gain over the last five years. How about that?
Ken, congratulations to you, and since you already won one of our wonderful
hats last year, I would imagine you will choose from the T-shirt or mousepad for this victory.
I would also like to award an honorable mention to the reader who missed only one question. And that person is
. Mike, because I am such a generous and warm-hearted person, I will also award you your choice of
goodies. Just let me know which one you prefer -- hat, T-shirt or mousepad.
My thanks again to all of you who took the time to participate in this year's quiz.
Holly Hegeman, based in Dallas, pilots the Wing Tips column for TheStreet.com. At the time of publication she was long Southwest, though positions can change at any time. Under no circumstances does the information in this column represent a recommendation to buy or sell stocks. You can usually find Hegeman, publisher of PlaneBusiness Banter, buzzing around her airline industry Web site, at