Patience is a Virtue. Not in the Sky though.

epa03584133 US Airways and American Airlines jets sit at the terminal after the airlines announced the merger of the two airlines created the worlds largest airline company at the Dallas/Fort Worth international airport in Ft. Worth, Texas, USA 14 February 2013.  EPA/RALPH LAUER

American Airlines have been in the news lately about the merger with US Airways. Now that they are being a huge powerhouse in the airline market, they are trying to do everything to make things go smoothly.

What is the hardest part about flying? Most people will agree it is the long waits or sitting for a long time. What if an airline is willing to change what they are doing in order to cut down on the time.  American Airlines is now trying to implement a new system that will shorten boarding times.

This relates to class when we discussed about bottleneck analysis. Bottleneck analysis is the part of the process that is lacking the most and has the lowest effective capacity in the system. Usually in order to increase efficiency, this is generally the first thing that is shortened. That is exactly what American Airlines is trying to do. They found the process that was the longest and try to cut it down. They did it by first finding the process that they can actually control and not things such as security or the actual time it takes to get from one destination to another.

American Airlines intends on improving on on-time performance. “American’s new method involves allowing passengers who are traveling light, with only a carry-on item that fits under the seat in front of them, to board early, before the second group” (Forbes). Basically, the order of the boarding schedule is now changed. This process did not take anything out but simply was an order change. By changing the order, the time is now reduced by two minutes. It does not seem like two minutes is a big deal but when there are 3,000 flights a day, which saves a lot of time.

Virgin Airlines did do something similar to this but decided to stop the program in 2011. Some of the problems they faced was the debate about how big an item would have to be in order to qualify for an carry on or people being dishonest about putting their bags in the overhead compartment. They personally thought that it would be better off not doing the program anymore. American Airlines so far in the tests have not ran to any of those problems. Soon this will be implemented in all American Airline flights.

Do you think American Airlines will run in to a similar problems Virgin had when they do it on a nationwide scale? What do you think the extra time will do on the performance of the flights? Will this plan help American Airlines to gain more market share and become the top airline?


3 thoughts on “Patience is a Virtue. Not in the Sky though.

  1. I think American Airlines may run into the same problem as Virgin Airlines because regulating boarding in this manner could be a major problem. Another concern is the fees charged for checking baggage. It is understandable that they have been making a lot of money from it, but since they charge for checking in baggage, all the people want to carry on, which extends the security lines, and the boarding lines also become disorderly as everyone wants to find some space to place their bags. If they stop charging this penalty then they may cut down a lot of time, and people will have a more pleasant experience.

  2. I personally think that American Airlines will not steer into the same problems Virgin America faced. In the article, it says American Airlines did not see any problems in its testing. The extra time of 2 minutes will definitely improve its efficiency on the performance of its flights. Also, the plan will most likely lead to an increase of both employee and customer satisfaction, thus increasing productivity and profitability. However, even though the merger between American and US Airways would tremendously help American gain some market share but it will be hard to compete with Southwest and United Airlines since they dominate both domestic and international. I believe that for American to compete with its competitors, it must complete with better prices and differentiated service.

  3. It is not easy to measure efficiently. I heard about Southwest airlines that they have the fastest turnaround times for their aircraft. Getting on the plane earlier is not a benefit for you, but exiting earlier would be a benefit for me at least. However, if they plan to cut on time, it would be a benefit for them and customers. Like you stated in your post, two minutes reduction is not a big deal but when there are thousand of flights a day that would save a lot of time.
    In addition, the hardest part about flying for me is the long waits for sure and sitting for a long time. I flew by LOT to Europe, and sitting for 10 hours while I got there was a disaster for me. Next time when I needed to go to Europe, I flew by Lufthansa. I see the difference between Lufthansa and LOT. First difference was on on-time performance. Lufthansa had a quicker boarding schedule. Secondly, the overall flight time was couple of hours longer by Lufthansa than LOT but Lufthansa airlines are much more comfortable and organized than LOT. I think, LOT should follow AA with their intends on improving on on-time performance.

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