Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Flying Through Cincinnati

Yesterday I flew up the Albany, New York to have lunch with some folks. Yes it was a long way to go for lunch. We ate at the Panera Bread because they have free wifi Internet. The food was good too.

I was unbelievably impressed and disturbed by what I saw at the airport. Parking at my home airport - RDU - was the easiest it has been in my memory. At least half the parking deck between the two terminals was empty. I wasn't there all that early. And the same was true when I got back last night.

But the emptiness at Cincinnati was mind blowing. The place has three terminals - A, B & C. Terminal C has been completely closed. I walked through it and all the stores and restaurants were gone. Lights turned off. Just plain empty.

The gates at terminals A and B weren't all that busy. Plus I saw something I can never recall seeing - a 50% off sale sign on an airport retail store.

I had read earlier this year that air travel was down 30%. I have no current numbers, but based on what I saw yesterday it was 50% or more.

I wondered if the impact on Hubs like Cincinnati - a Delta hub - is worse. Is there some multiplier? I mean if traffic to RDU is off 30% and it is just a destination, would traffic to a hub - which has mostly traffic to change planes as opposed to coming to that destination, be off by a larger percentage. At first it doesn't make sense. But...

Here is the thing in the back of my mind. When retail sales in the US are down 5% it seems manufacturing unemployment in China went up to 30%. Why the multiple?

If you have a formula for this I would love to see it.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Little Sister and Michelle Obama

This is a short example of how to absolutely let your big brother know you are not just a baby sister anymore.

Last night I called my baby sister - I have three - about something. She was not home. I go one of her kids. Here is more or less the conversation...

Me: "Hi. This is Uncle Duke. Is my little sister there?"

Kid: "No. She's in DC. You can maybe get her on her cell."

Me:"OK. You sure I wouldn't be interrupting her?"

Kid:"No. She was supposed to be going to Taiwan, but that got changed. So she had been invited to have lunch with Michelle Obama. She had turned it down since she would have been on the plane, but since she decided not to go to Taiwan she called and said she could do the lunch anyway. But that is not til tomorrow. So you can call her now."

Just to let you know, I had lunch by myself at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. So there baby sister!!!