At the JP Morgan airline conference in New York yesterday, Continental President Jeff Smisek blasted rival Delta’s SimpliFares policy as “criminally insane” and said the airline “got what it deserved.” Presumably “what it deserved” is bankruptcy, by Smisek’s way of thinking, although Delta was clearly headed in that direction well before the SimpliFares move was announced.
I’ll be honest—Smisek’s comments annoy me. A lot. SimpliFares, you may recall, put a cap ($599) on Delta’s one-way coach-class prices within the 48 contiguous states and eliminated the Saturday-stay requirement that has long been a bane of travelers. American also adopted much of Delta’s model, bringing the two airlines in line with policies of key low-cost competitors.
It hasn’t been perfect, but the SimpliFares initiative was a good thing for most travelers. So Mr. Smisek, here’s some free advice: It’s not good business sense to go around criticizing one of the few moves made by a legacy carrier in the past few years that actually benefited consumers.
That, sir, would be criminally insane.
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