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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Absolutely, positively do not believe those demographics about Phoenix Sky. There are so many mathematical errors. I could see if it were Aspen or Jackson Wyoming, possibly even Palm Springs, but Phoenix?

    If you look at the numbers floating around the web:
    –Only 10% of the total US population has a household income over $118K per year
    –Only 1/3 of the US population has any kind of college degree (this includes AA degrees)

    From the very skewed demographics given in the study (and I wonder just how much that survey cost the airport) we can see that 38% of the respondents fit the 36-55 age category. 54% of these respondents were women. So if we start playing around with only the few percentages shown, there just might be 13 or 14 women who fit the exact profile given in the survey results. Out of 25 ,000 respondents!

    Remember in grade school, where you learned the difference between median, mean, and average?

    Next time you are in Phoenix Sky do your own personal survey of watching the pax board or disembark the plane. Methinks this survey is more than a little flawed.

  2. @Kimmie A

    Reading the linked article carefully, I can’t tell if the summary quoted by Gary is from the report itself, or AZ Central’s interpretation. There’s no quote marks in the link, so I can’t tell. The unquoted reference also use the word “typical””, which doesn’t have a statistically precise meaning (such as mean or median as you indicate). If I were editing the analytical report, I would not let that sort of summary through.

    The individual stats listed I would believe. Aviation by and large is the provenance of the educated with a few discretionary dollars to spend. It’s not the provenance of the poor and uneducated. But it’s bad analytics (or bad English, or both) to take each of the statistics and roll them up into one “typical” passenger. Although, if all of demographic stats are presented independently, and we broaden the age to the “middle age” bracket listed in the report, I get 1200 passengers who might fit the “typical” description.

  3. I really enjoyed the fascinating story of the California Clipper and its crew. Thank you for the linkage!

  4. Likewise – that story about the Clipper was remarkable, and well compiled from what were doubtless limited sources. Rather puts into perspective the rolling delays on AA flights, for example, frustrating and potentially preventable though they are. The article on the Texan airline wars was fascinating as well … pitch of 34-36 inches and load factors of 54% – another era.

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