March 11, 2005

NOTHING IS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN IT USED TO BE:

Dueling spring travel sales heating up air fare battle (Keith Reed, March 11, 2005, Boston Globe)

If you're tired of New England winters, this weekend might be a good time to stay out of the cold and surf the Internet for a cheap fare to somewhere warmer.

Several airlines have launched competing fare sales for spring travel, igniting a price war in the financially battered industry.

US Airways is offering fares as low as $118 across all its routes, including a $138 round trip to from Boston to Orlando. United Airlines has a worldwide fare sale, including roundtrip fares from Boston to Paris for $430. Not to be left behind, American Airlines is offering roundtrip flights from Boston to Los Angeles for $288 and Boston to Miami for $198.


China Dons Even Bigger Export Hat (Evelyn Iritani, Don Lee and Marla Dickerson, March 11, 2005, LA Times)
Unhindered by quotas, China's sales to the United States surged 65%, to $1.4 billion, compared with the same month last year, according to data released this week by the China National Textile and Apparel Council. Shipments to the European Union jumped 46% to $1.5 billion.

Even more stark was the increase in China's exports of cotton knit shirts and trousers, two of its most popular items. In January, China shipped nearly 27 million cotton trousers, up from 1.9 million a year earlier, according to a U.S. industry analysis of Chinese customs data. The Asian country shipped 18 million cotton knit shirts in January, up from 941,000.


...and cheaper...

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 11, 2005 7:32 AM
Comments

I wouldn't use the pricing of airline tickets to buttress this argument - not with the airlines losing hundreds of millions a month, ad nauseum.

While I'm sure they have wonderful algorithms to determine their pricing schemes, whenever I look at their websites (and the generic sites), it reminds me of the strippers in New Orleans, standing at the doors to their bars, flashing the crowds to lure in customers.

As a fairly frequent flyer, I am not going to complain, but the airline business is insane for all involved.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 11, 2005 8:54 AM

OK, after this, I will be non-self-referential and modest for one solid month.

In law school, I took a seminar with Richard Posner on regulated industries. I got an "A" for a paper on the airline industry in which I argued that regulation and government subsidies so completely and unnecessarily swamped the underlying economics of air travel that it was an open question whether the airline industry, in anything like its existing form, made any economic sense at all.

Posted by: David Cohen at March 11, 2005 9:07 AM

It can't die fast enough.

Posted by: oj at March 11, 2005 9:09 AM

The airlines have to sell seats below cost because flying is now the alternative of last resort. This is an accomplishment?

Posted by: curt at March 11, 2005 9:23 AM

David/Orrin

It is dying. Long live the state line rule!

Of course, it will hobble along on life support as long as most North Americans continue to believe they are living below the poverty line if they don't visit a tropical beach twice a year.

Posted by: Peter B at March 11, 2005 9:37 AM

One item I don't want China exporting to American waters is submarines.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at March 11, 2005 9:53 AM
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