Well, I had two topics that I've covered before hence the Talking Heads album title from 1978. Now I lament about doing trade shows and flying to get there.
Not that I follow the fundamentals but here is some Peter Lynch get out there and see for yourself research on airlines. The conclusion is that they are in a horrible business.
I spoke at the AAII (American Association of Individual Investors) last week in Las Vegas. The attendance was huge (looked like 3000 to me) and I had 175-200 attendees in my presentation on using charts. Considering the heavy emphasis on fundamentals in the group and the fact that there were maybe 10 presentations running at any one time I'd say I had a really good crowd. They asked lots of questions but in the end I can see perhaps three sign-ups to my free chart of the day email. Three? Yes, three. And did I mention they were free? With a promise not to spam anyone?
Anyway, I took American Airlines from JFK airport in NY. The terminal is nice, as I've blogged before but this time the walk from the terminal through the corridors and jetway was so long that someone asked if we were walking to Vegas. Let's not forget that the terminal was 345 miles from the actual runway and theplane drove for a good 15 minutes to get there. I'd say taxi but we all know taxis drive fast.
They started to load the plane an hour before take-off. Yes, that is where I want to spend all my free time - in an airplane sitting at the gate.
With hot panini in hand from a good food vendor in the terminal, I made my way to my seat. Up went my carry-on bag and down I went into my seat. Yes, a seat suitable for some Justin Bieber's size.
I measured the distance from my nose to the back of the seat in front of me - exactly twice the height of a paperback book (do you carry a ruler with you?). And that was before the seat was leaned back. Well, at least mine would lean back, too.
Uh, not, not in front of the exit row. Needless to say, it was an unpleasant experience, not including the lady coughing and hocking up a loogie in the next seat.
They had an ancient mini-screen showing a movie I did not care to watch. Forget about getting the paper to read. Good thing I had that paperback - and my own headphones - and some food.
On the way back to NY I flew Virgin America. They were able to load us in 30 minutes, the plane was cleaner, had rather interesting mood lighting, a TV screen at every seat but unfortunately the same Bieber-width seats. At least this time I was next to a group of petite ladies who did not spill over the arm rest into my seat.
I'd love to do a pairs trade with American and Virgin. But short of that, I still hate flying, would take the train middle distances if available, really think twice about vacations requiring any flying at all and cannot see it getting any more pleasant for passengers. A ton of it has to do with security which usually stops just short of an anal probe. I noticed I had a slight tan after passing through the x-ray machine.
More crowds, more security, more TSA attititude, less services, more nickel and diming of fees and higher prices. A perfect recipe to attract more customers. Count me out.
Oh,did you notice AMR's dividend yield at zero and earnings below zero? Yeah, back up the truck