No Amount Of Lipstick Is Going To Make This Pig Look Good
Yesterday, Midwest Airlines announced that it was grounding all 12 of their MD-80 planes.
The big question is what impact will this decision have on Midwest employees and the community in general? Unfortunately, the answer is pretty clear.
There's simply not enough lipstick in the cosmetic case at Boston Store to make this pig look good!
Midwest uses the MD-80s to fly non-stop to locations like Phoenix, L.A., Las Vegas, Seattle and Florida. The problem is that these planes guzzle large quantities of fuel - and everybody knows what has been happening with fuel costs lately. The other planes that Midwest flies, 717s, are much more fuel efficient. Unfortunately, they don't have anywhere near enough fuel capacity to fly to the West Coast without refueling.
For Midwest passengers, this means no more direct flights to many of the most popular leisure destinations. Further, since Midwest apparently doesn't intend to add new planes to replace the MD-80s, there will also be a lot fewer flights in general. My guess is that these fewer flights will also cost more. In other words, not good news for the consumer.
The news is even worse however for employeees at Midwest. With fewer planes in the air, MIdwest will need fewer pilots, fewer flight attendants and fewer support staff. A representative of the Air Line Pilots Association estimates that this decision will affect over 25% of their remaining crew members.
This, of course, comes on top of some other already substantial cutbacks.
For me, any cachet airline travel might once have had has been long gone. When I fly, all I hope for is a direct flight, an on time arrival and for my bag to get there with me. An aisle seat is also nice - but I don't want to ask for too much. However since most of the places I would typically fly to on Midwest are the places that they'll be discontinuing direct service to, it seems like I'll have to put up with going through Kansas City if I want to continue to enjoy "the best care in the air". I doubt I'll have as many flight choices either.
While I find the decision regrettable, I don't really don't fault Midwest. They're trying to avoid bankruptcy and obviously, their old model for running a profitable airline no longer works. Midwest has to do whatever it can to survive. If this is their best option, so be it.
Being a free market guy, I hope that one or more other airlines will step up and fill the void being created by Midwest's announcement. At the same time, if it doesn't make economic sense for Midwest to fly direct to Vegas, will it make economic sense for AirTran to continue to do so for the foreseeable future? I certainly hope so - but who knows?
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that, even scaled back, Midwest Airlines will continue to be a major player in the Milwaukee community. I just can't help but feel though that we're seeing the end of an era.
As for the announcement yesterday? Well, no amount of lipstick will make that pig look good!
In the interest of full disclosure, Midwest Airlines is a major advertiser on NewsRadio 620 WTMJ (including on my program). I also currently voice commercials for AirTran Airways.