The History of the 747’s “Hump” and How Loyalty Programs are Like Wedding Proposals

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • BART’s Oakland Airport Connector is Losing Money, Uber and Lyft are Being Blamed. (HT: @e_russell)

    It’s losing money because it is a public transit project. Public transit projects lose money, receive subsidies, no one should go into a project like this deluding themselves otherwise. In this case it’s subsidies for mostly well-off customers at the expense of on average less well off taxpayers. And relatively well off people who travel by air will choose more convenient door-to-door options, that can’t be a surprise either.

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. re: BART — as the article in the East Bay Times states, “The $6 one-way fare may not be helping fill seats, either.” BART to SFO is not a separate fare; the cost is based on distance, just like every other BART stop. From the North Berkeley BART station, near where I live, to SFO costs me $9.60, and it’s quick, easy, and efficient (as long as I have just a carry-on or, at most, one piece of luggage). North Berkeley to the Oakland Coliseum station (to see a Warriors, A’s, or Raiders game, etc.) costs $2.75 — but then I have to pay another $6.00 to get to the Oakland airport! Now, from my house to SFO is a distance of 30.5 miles by the fastest route in my car; my house to OAK by the fastest route, 20.5 miles.

    BART to SFO is easy; BART to OAK makes no sense — not the way they did it.

  2. Conversely, it’s cheaper to go from Richmond to Fremont (40 miles) than it is to go from San Bruno to SFO (2 miles), because of SFO’s surcharge. Not sure having to pass through a fare gate to pay the surcharge vs having it included in the original price of the ticket is the problem.

  3. Wow, that’s markety. I think Gary is right about the value-proposition.

    But since they drew the analogy… over time, loyalty programs are more like a bad relationship than a wedding proposal.

    * “Next year, if you want another diamond (Hyatt), you need to buy me 50 nights… and 10 more hotel nights, too. If you’re good and you do that, then you only need an extra 5 per year. Until I change my mind again.”
    * “I used to have a name you liked (diamond), but now I’m going to call you something borderline insulting (globalist).”
    * “In addition to flying 100k miles (on United), give me $12,000. Then you matter.”
    * “You did something nice for me (flew Delta enough for status). I’m going to give you nothing (be mercenary and upsell to anyone who pays for it).”

  4. Gary, in Brazil there are two FFP that award status miles for earning points outside of flying. Azul and Gol (partners of United and Delta, respectively) award 1 status mile for every 15 points you earn through credit card transfers and shopping portals. Not sure about the use of their credit cards because I don’t have them, but last I checked, there is a credit card from Azul that gives midtier status for cardholders.

  5. The BART connector to OAK is glorious to use, but it was a complete waste of $484 million to build. It replaced a perfectly acceptable $3 bus with a slightly faster slightly more frequent tram that loses money at twice the fare.

    If there’s one thing BART knows how to do, it’s lose money. BART jobs are impossible to get because the employees and managers are so overpaid in salary and benefits. It’s a quiet scandal.

    I use BART and the OAK connector from time to time so I probably break even on the taxpayer subsidies, but the extreme waste is still unfair to the public.

  6. One benefit of the hump, not mentioned in the video, is that it actually helps to reduce drag, due to the Whitcomb area rule.

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