Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Learning from FLL vs. MIA for SWA/HOU vs. UA/IAH, TSA waste, top rankings, 290 plans, education, and more

As you've probably heard, the Houston airports director came out this week in favor of Southwest's international expansion after outside studies (report) showed overwhelming benefits (yeah! score one for logic and economics over corruption and bought-off politicians).  There was also an update from Kuff's expert wife, concluding:
I find the Customs and Border Protection argument disingenuous, given the pressures already in the customs hall and the growth projections that are already part of the IAH Master Plan and the fleet growth plan of United, insofar as I can guess what it is from the Boeing order book.
It’s the customers who have the most to gain from a Hobby expansion gateway. And as a customer, I’ll bet on Southwest working in my interest before I’ll bet on the “new” United.
But here's the smoking gun that just devastates United's argument:  Ft. Lauderdale (in the Miami metro) has vastly expanded discount international flying with airlines like Spirit and JetBlue, among others, yet over the last six years American has doubled the number of departures from its Latin America hub at Miami (source).

Definitely a lesson for Houston here. United’s threats to cut service are a smokescreen. Profits may drop, but service will only increase and fares will drop for the citizens of Houston.

Show your support.  Please consider signing Southwest's online petition: Free Hobby!

UPDATE: Noted aviation blogger Cranky Flier weighs in on the debate:
"United says it will hurt its traffic, and that could result in the city losing service. It also says that this will take away customs and immigration resources from Intercontinental, making for a worse experience for travelers there. Oh please. 
These are always the arguments used to fight competition. American used even more ridiculous ones in the Love Field fight, so this shouldn’t be surprising. And it isn’t. 
Really, if you’re United, wouldn’t you fight this? I mean, you certainly don’t want more competition, so you should put some effort into trying to keep it out. But in this case, it should be a losing battle. Hobby should get a customs facility, and I imagine that’s what we’re going to see happen."
Moving on to some smaller misc items:
Finally, if you'd like to hear my thoughts on the present and future of education, I was recently interviewed by Larry Payne on the HCC TV show "Dialogue Houston".  He interviewed me because of an education technology startup I'm working on, but because that's still somewhat in "stealth mode", he attributes me to the blog, although education is not a common topic here.  If you'd like to learn more, email me - tgattis (at)

The video can't be embedded (as far as I can figure out), so to watch it, go here, click on episode 189, and then zoom ahead about 31 minutes in.  The segment is about 12 minutes.

One last note: apologies for the unpredictable blog posting schedule the last few weeks - crazy schedule, hoping to be back to a regular night soon (probably Sunday or Monday evenings).

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