business news in context, analysis with attitude

On the continuing issues faced by the airline business, MNB reader Michael Stumpf wrote:

I avoid flying as much as possible, not only for short trips, but also for long distances. About a year ago I chose to drive three days from Milwaukee to Edmonton to spare myself the torture of flying. The experience has been severely diminished since I began to travel regularly in the 1980’s. Small gestures like offering free wi-fi for a limited time are not going to change customer perceptions.

The fundamental problem is that the airlines have placed the customer far down on their list of priorities, after profits and procedures certainly, and this has created a culture in which some employees believe that they need to make little effort for the customer’s sake. The airlines do not need to compete for customers, and so they have converted airplanes into flying cattle trucks. Customers arrive at the airport dreading the next few hours, in a poor mood, and expecting a bad experience. It is a set-up for confrontation and failure. The solution is to return to wider seats and more legroom, selling only the seats available, a more generous approach to snacks and beverages, and less nickel-and-diming passengers for things like bags or seating preference. What do you think the chances are of them doing this?

Regarding downgrading of federal support for healthier food in school lunch programs, one MNB reader wrote:

Kevin, we have a neighbor who works in the cafeteria at a school in the Winter Haven, FL schools.  She tells us frequently that the children are throwing away the food they are given that is prepared under the rather recent change in guidelines.  Education may well be the answer but we are not sure where it is going to come from.  She also tells us that many of these same children have no interest in math and science and only disrupt the educational system.  Unfortunately, many of these same children are also the ones who don’t get fed properly or at all at their homes. Maybe some food is better than no food.

On the subject of craft breweries being sold to major brewers, one MNB reader wrote:

Wicked Weed selling out to Anheuser Busch has been talked about constantly the last few days ever since it happened in Asheville. Us locals are torn between being happy that one of our favorite breweries now has the opportunity for wider distribution and being majorly annoyed that our pro-local town is being sold out to huge companies. A few months ago, my friends and I took a tour of Wicked Weed’s sour beer brewery and were told about how excited they were to be expanding to open a second distribution center a few miles outside of Asheville, now they’re basically on their way to becoming another major chain.

The Asheville vibe is very pro-local and the new worry is that many of our other successful breweries are going to start selling out too. People are still going to buy their beer and eat at their restaurants, but at least for a while it’ll leave a bad taste in everyone’s month.

From another reader:

I agree with you, a good beer is a good beer, no matter who makes it. Personally, I like trying new things and supporting the little guy, along with a great beer.

I think most craft beer likers agree. The craft beer lovers may feel differently.

Boils down to a concern that the product sold to the big guys will be ruined when the VP of Pencil Sharpening changes the product to make a little more money.

KC's View: