If Airlines Sold Paint

From WSJ (this is hilarious):

Customer: Hi, how much is your paint?
Clerk: Well, sir, that all depends.
Customer: Depends on what?
Clerk: Actually, a lot of things.
Customer: How about giving me an average price?
Clerk: Wow, that’s too hard a question. The lowest price is $9 a gallon, and we have 180 different prices up to $200 a gallon.
Customer: What’s the difference in the paint?
Clerk: Oh, there isn’t any difference; it’s all the same paint.
Customer: Well, then, I’d like some of that $9 paint.
Clerk: Well, first I need to ask you a few questions. W hen do you intend to use it?
Customer: I want to paint tomorrow, on my day off.
Clerk: Sir, the paint for tomorrow is the $200 paint.
Customer: What? When would I have to paint in order to get the $9 version?
Clerk: That would be in three weeks, but you will also have to agree to start painting before Friday of that week and continue painting until at least Sunday.

(There’s some more in the WSJ article…)

Little wonder that most airlines are in the mess they find themselves. Simplicity in pricing is important — one cannot afford to confuse the customer. Also, the right pricing is important. A Round-the-World business class ticket originating from India costs USD 3,500 (includes First Class travel within the US). I can come any number of stops as long as I don’t retrace my route and I travel for a minimum of 10 days. A 1-way unrestricted round-trip economy class ticket in the US from New York to San Francisco would cost a third of that. Think about that.


Published by

Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.