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Are Airlines a Commodity?

I am writing from Houston Texas where I attended a consultant’s forum sponsored by Continental Airlines. The session was primarily focused on the corporate market , but did include a review of some very impressive stats, including some slides which showed that CO is the best US network carrier for on-time performance and lowest baggage loss.

Part of the session included a meeting with Continental’s Chairman & CEO, Larry Kellner and Jeff Smisek, Continental’s president. Though I still doubt whether Continental can break the commodity label, these two executives did represent a breath of fresh air. Both gentleman were very open and candid about their plans for expansion, relationship with customers and respect for their employees. I left the meeting wishing Continental had a bigger presence in the San Fransisco Bay Area.