[ LETTERS TO THE BUSINESS EDITOR ]
Air travelers address fare war
Interisland airfares have come down since go! showed up, but not everyone is happy
GO!'S touchdown in Hawaii just more than a year ago has stirred up animosity between the carrier operated by Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group and local rivals Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines.
But go!'s arrival also has brought unprecedented low fares, with the 2,000 $1 fares that go! offered last Monday the ultimate in discount pricing. The special promotion created a logjam on go!'s reservation system and shut down the site for eight hours, but also brought go!'s Web site several thousand visitors. On this page, readers express their views about how go!'s presence has shaken up the interisland market.
Offering lower fares misses bigger picture
In regards to your article on go! fares, I have to ask if you have ever flown on the carrier? It seems as though they are using the media and this $1, $2 or whatever fare it is this time to "play" the good people of Hawaii. It remains obvious that they can't make money with those fares. Are they doing it to be nice? I hardly think so.
Look, I'm all about fair fares within the state of Hawaii. I think it was a little out of hand there for awhile, but it was also out of hand at the gas pumps that you and I use.
There is a bigger picture here. We want low fares, easier travel planning with hip Web sites, and on-time travel. Ah ha -- what have I left out? S A F E T Y.
We expect air carriers to be "low cost" without really understanding what that means. I want my airline to employ people at fair wages, with good work rules and adhere to a safe environment for both passengers and employees.
I'd like to go back to the days of calling an airline and actually talking to a person that wasn't in another country -- and right now, that is a rarity. We've forced carriers with experienced pilots and crews to the lowest common denominator to enable them to compete with the likes of "go!" and JetBlue.
Thankfully due to this administration (don't get me started on GW), we have about a 50/50 chance of getting a furloughed experienced pilot that was laid off from a major carrier in the Southwest or JetBlue cockpit. I hardly think it's the same for go! I think the graveyard 7-Eleven manager makes more dishing out Slurpees than the first officer in a go! cockpit.
A furloughed United or Northwest driver wouldn't stoop that low. ... I have nothing against (go!) personally. I just think (go!'s) boss ... was a Chinese sweatshop owner in his previous life.
It's all about the "play" for selling seats and beating Aloha and Hawaiian.
Tell me, what happens next?
Former era of 'loyalty' didn't bring low prices
It seems go! can't have a promotion without hearing about how they are out to put someone out of business and how they aren't loyal to Hawaii. Does no one remember how loyal Hawaiian and Aloha were before go! started flying last year? The guys at Aloha keep saying that the airlines have to charge $50 to make money flying interisland. If that's the case, why were the other "loyal" airlines almost always charging more than $100 each way? We should all thank go! airlines for coming here. If they leave, then we'll be stuck with the two who really know how to put people out of business.
I, for one, fly go!.
God Bless go! God Bless our troops
I am the mother of an Army soldier who was injured while on duty in Iraq. My son suffered a tremendous crushing of his right foot. He was med-evacuated to Tripler Hospital and I was missing work from flying back and forth from the Big Island for months. I started to suffer from a depletion of my resources and decided to ask for help from our interisland airlines.
I wasn't asking for charity, just maybe a discount for flights to and from Honolulu to see my son and tend to him at Tripler. I noticed on a flight that go! had a sign on the plane that said "We support our troops." I am here to say that go! does support our troops because they were the only airline that responded to my need.
I was contacted by Chris Wyland, vice president for go! He listened to my story and then offered to help. I could not believe it! They are still flying my son and I back and forth for his continuing care. Mr. Wyland has even taken the time to personally call my son Michael to wish him well and thank him for his service. He is just now beginning to walk, but his recovery has been very slow and painful for him.
I am so very grateful for go! airlines. As a resident, I appreciate what they have done for the people of Hawaii. We understand that this is a special case, but we feel very fortunate that go! has been there in our time of need. Please print this letter. I want to thank go! for what they have done for us. They will know who I am. Thank you go! I promise you, we are go! passengers forever! God Bless go! God Bless Our Troops!
Ornstein having 'fun' at others' expense
I was appalled to read Jonathan Ornstein, the CEO of go! and Mesa Airlines, considers the unstable interisland market to be fun ("go! anniversary," Star-Bulletin, June 7).
As the leader of a large company which has significant influence on the lives of thousands of families, I would expect Mr. Ornstein to act in the best interest of his shareholders, employees and customers. Instead, Mr. Ornstein chose to satisfy his personal love of competition and created go! airlines to make "coming to work fun" for himself.
In the article, Mr. Ornstein reasons that "always being small" made him very competitive. It seems that being small has also made him bitter and vindictive. Mr. Ornstein has brought his big airline and big pocketbook to Hawaii to beat up the comparably tiny airlines of Hawaii. Now that Mr. Ornstein is the big kid, he is having "fun" beating up smaller kids in their own backyard. I wonder if it made Mr. Ornstein happy to read about the Island Air and Hawaiian employees who have recently lost their jobs. Is that part of the fun?
Aloha and Hawaiian overcharged for years
It seems kind of strange to criticize go! airlines for trying to offer cheaper fares to the local travelers. I remember having to pay almost $250 for a round-trip ticket to Hilo a few years ago before go! started flying here. If Aloha's and Hawaiian's own consultants say that they should charge $50 to make money on interisland flights, why were they trying to rip us off all those years? Also, how does Hawaiian Air's outsourcing of hundreds of local reservations and other jobs to the Philippines support Hawaii and its workers? Saying that go! is trying to put Hawaiian and Aloha out of business when go! is much smaller is like saying Longs is trying to put Wal-Mart out of business by having its weekly sales.
Mesa failed in its bid to take down Aloha
Mesa tried to put Aloha out of business, and as screwed up as Aloha was last year, Mesa couldn't pull it off. Despite the clearly predatory actions of Mesa, Aloha is doing better than ever this year, securing several top spots in national customer satisfaction rankings. Mesa can't fill their planes with pilots on payroll let alone $1 passengers. Mesa should just leave already. Take your phony philanthropy to China and don't come back Mr. Ornstein!
Sale blunder probably drove customers away
Concerning go!'s $1 fares: This appears to be a psychological blunder, so Aloha and Hawaiian airlines need not worry. By offering such low fares but not allowing anyone to access them, go! has alienated a great number of local people rather than entice them.
William D. Perri, Ph.D.
go! made interisland travel affordable again
Congratulations to go! airlines in achieving their one-year anniversary. Their introduction to the interisland market has certainly helped make air travel affordable again for families, and the average person.
I also like the ease of flying out of the commuter terminal.
They seem to be the JetBlue of Hawaii.
Way to GO!
The honeymoon with go! has come to an end
Mesa's demands that Aloha and Hawaiian reduce capacity is proof to me that the honeymoon with go! is over. If go! couldn't fill their much smaller and slower airplanes with $39, then $29, then $19 and $9 tickets, nothing will. You get what you pay for. Now that the ho-neymoon is over and reality is setting in, like any other unstable, dysfunctional relationship, the blaming and retaliation has begun.