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Bigger Not Always Better

Bigger Not Always Better

At the risk being a bit too promotional, I just had to note the fact that Jet Blue, my favorite airline (doesn’t everybody have one?), was named the top airline in Wichita State University’s annual AQR (Airline Quality Rating) survey. Interestingly, 3 of the top five spots went to smaller, discount carriers. [The top five included: Jet Blue, Alaska, Southwest, America West, and US Airways.] I’ve loved Jet Blue since their early days — they fly to Ontario, CA (about 10 minutes from my parents house) and offer live TV at each comfy leather seat — the only way to fly! (All for about $200 round trip from East Coast to West, if you book strategically.)

Not surprisingly, the always uncomfortable and cramped Delta landed near the bottom of the list at #12 out of 14. The survey indicated that in 1991, low-fare airlines accounted for 4% of the market, today they are at a 25% market share and that is expected to hit 40% in the coming years. Is it surprising that, like the Hollywood studios, the big airlines have lauched smaller, specialized airlines such as Song (from Delta) and Ted (from United).

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