With air travel on my mind after a West Coast trip last weekend, the following strikes me as positive, (and not just because I'm a marathon runner who tends to pack light). Rather, it's the kind of thinking we do routinely when we help clients develop scenarios. E.g., what if industry 'A' adopted the business model of industry 'B'? Emphasis added:
Imagine two scales at the airline ticket counter, one for your bags and one for you. The price of a ticket depends upon the weight of both.
That may not be so far-fetched.
"You listen to the airline CEOs, and nothing is beyond their imagination," said David Castelveter, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group. "They have already begun to think exotically..."
With fuel costs almost tripling since 2000, now accounting for as much as 40 percent of operating expenses at some carriers, according to the ATA, airlines are cutting costs and raising revenue in ways that once were unthinkable...
Singapore Airlines... is "trying to eliminate unnecessary quantities of extra water" to save weight, Chief Executive Officer Chew Choon Seng said in an interview...
Robert Mann, head of R.W. Mann & Co., an aviation consultant based in Port Washington, New York [said,] "If you look at the air-freight business, that's the way they've always done it... We're getting treated like air freight when we travel by airlines, anyway."
This signals that an industry long characterized by minimal innovation starting to think beyond convention (but... we've always done it that way!) The shock is external and pressing in this case (fuel costs). It needn't be so. Better to do this kind of thinking every day.
Best-practice use of scenarios involves doing this systematically, comprehensively and, over time, making it an ingrained habit of strategic thinking among management. (How could we change the rules to our advantage?) Having several contingent strategies already fully 'baked' when a crisis hits can move one ahead of more flat-footed competition who must do all that thinking while under existential, immediate pressure.
Next up: refunds for in-flight diuretics. ;-)