How many of “Generation X” or whatever they come up with as the next label can remember a time when you didn’t have choices when it came to telephone service? How many remember Ma Bell of old? When things change in a major way, a shift to a new norm, it takes remarkably little time for the old “normal” to be forgotten. Only those who lived through the shift will remember why what is normal now is better or worse than what was normal then.
The video by Lily Tomlin, who said “”We don’t care; we don’t have to. We’re the phone company”, is at the heart of this post and the SWAG Saturday to follow. Today is a gripe day. But also a reality check. Not a “call to arms” but an understanding for me. I minored in Sociology in college and find culture fascinating. We FF are a subculture in society. We will do things considered quite insane by the general public. We are also a bit obsessive over both tangible and intangible things when it comes to flying. That is part of the reason for our reactions to what is going on in the industry and particularly Delta. But as I said, time for a reality check.
Soon AA will merge with US Air and will be the biggest airline in the world. Delta and United said they were fine with the merger. There is only one single reason for this; this will help them. Otherwise they would not be OK with it. Less competition, less choice, less push back when they raise fares, less less less. And like the video from so many years ago, think how much “data” Delta has about us. Do you really think they have not “run the numbers” about every choice they now make?
When the phone company was the only choice, what could you do? In my almost 20 years of running a computer shop (my real job when not blogging), I have sent a small fortune to Microsoft in buying Windows and Office licenses of all flavors. Why? I had no choice. I have never done MAC or “I” anything and for many years no one really had a choice. That, as we all know, is now changing (has changed). Look at where Apple is now. Look at the fact that with a 10″ Android tablet, a bluetooth keyboard and mouse you can, for so many things, just avoid a PC all together. Are these better than a PC? Maybe; maybe not. But when given a choice, even if not as good, at some point enough is enough. Also, you can only push people SO FAR. The problem is, when a company pushes too far it is often hard to get people BACK when they realize what they have done.
Many are talking about the changes to what Delta offers as “Death by 1000 cuts“. An interesting analogy. Many Delta flyers are hub captive or for company reasons must fly Delta. So, like the phone company of old, they have no choice. Others, like me, overall like Delta and will roll with the punches. That does not mean I will just take it nor does it mean I am happy as you will see later today. But, I also know, as we have always known, we can “game the system” to get what we want. Thus, no matter what Delta does, no matter how many times they “push” we will “pull”.
Bottom line is the space has changed. Some will shift spend to AA or UA next year. It may impact Delta or not as they are flying just about full (for now). Some of these may find the grass is not much greener over on the other side. Time will tell. To me, adapt, change, adjust, read, learn, tinker, find the ways to get what we want. Maybe “the more things change, the more they stay the same”! At some point, Delta, we will all look hard and say “What have you done for me lately” and how will you answer? – René
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