Joe Ganley
Writing code since 1979
I have been a professional software engineer for over 10 years. I have written many kinds of software, but my particular strengths are interactive graphics applications, compilers and interpreters, and algorithms.

I also enjoy writing, woodworking, and home improvement. Also this.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2003


An
article in today's Washington Post describes a class-action suit that has been brought against the airlines for prohibiting "hidden-city" booking. This is where it is cheaper to fly from, say, D.C. to South Bend via Chicago than to simply fly from D.C. to Chicago, so you buy tickets on the D.C.-South Bend flight and just skip out on the South Bend-Chicago legs. The airlines prohibit this, and the suit alleges that they should not (and I agree). The airlines counter that they have to overcharge people on the popular routes (e.g. D.C.-Chicago) so that they can afford to serve the less popular ones (D.C.-South Bend). What I don't understand is: Is there a law that requires airlines to serve these "unpopular" routes? If not, and if they can't make money on their own merits instead of by gouging the customers of more popular routes, then why fly there at all? Certainly it is nice for the people of South Bend (or Staunton or Biloxi or any of a zillion medium-sized towns) to have nearby air service, but should that service be subsidized by the other air travelers? I think not. It's worth noting, by the way, that the only airlines making money these days (e.g. Southwest) are those who only serve the most popular markets. It seems to me that the major airlines need to seriously rethink their business strategies.

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