More cancellations due to mechanical problems...why?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Jay Honeck, May 5, 2012.

  1. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We cater to the fly-in crowd at our aviation themed hotel. The last three weekends in a row, we have had pilots cancel due to mechanical issues. (Today it was because the guy's plane would not start.)

    We have a 72 hour cancellation for "normal folks" (read: Not pilots), but for fly-in guests we allow cancellations up to 6 PM due to IFR conditions or mechanical problems. I don't think we've had three mechanical cancellations in 10 years -- yet now we've had 3 in 3 weeks? :dunno:

    It's no problem for us -- in each case, we re-rented the rooms to "normal" people in about 10 minutes (we sell out every weekend now) -- but WTF is going on here?

    I wonder if the high cost of avgas has meant fewer hours flown -- and perhaps people are skating on maintenance more? Fewer flights equals more dead batteries?
     
  2. hindsight2020

    hindsight2020 Pattern Altitude

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    Such is the nature of such dispatch-unreliable means of transportation...

    Yeah it's probably due to the increase in gas prices. We're in a recession after all. At some point you'll be forced to up the cancellation period for fly-in guests. I don't know how that will hurt your bottom line as far as customer base. I'd be pushing for mogas if I was in your niche hotel business. $6/gal+ is prohibitive for things burning 10gallons+ at a time and people who work for a living. Cutting flight time from an already low threshold of 50/yr is essentially mothballing the thing. GA needs an alternative and 100LL and 10gph+ ain't it. That model is no longer cost effective. As you recognize though, flying is the whole point of getting to the destination for that customer base, otherwise plenty of more attractive destinations are available on commercial means of transpo.
     
  3. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yeah, we debate this endlessly. We cater to pilots because we love aviation, and ARE pilots -- but, quite frankly, they are our worst customers.

    Pilots cancel more often, and later. They get discounts that "normal" folks don't get. We let them use our cars for free, taking on huge liability for no return. In each case I outlined, we re-rented the room to a drive-in guest for $10 more per night, and they didn't use our car.

    Sadly -- and God help us -- the only reason we're here is for pilots. We simply can't help ourselves. :lol:
     
  4. Henning

    Henning Ejection Handle Pulled

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    When costs go beyond ability to pay, the first cost cuts are maintenance, the second use. Neither is conducive to good dispatch reliability. It basically takes a six figure income if you really want to 'enjoy' GA and not have to sacrifice for it.
     
  5. Jay Honeck

    Jay Honeck Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well, we've got a Robinson R-44 here for the weekend at one end of that spectrum -- and a Kitfox at the other.

    Incredibly, the guy in the Kitfox flew here from Oklahoma! Imagine THAT flight in a 90 mph plane bucking a 20 knot headwind all the way? He is my kinda guy, and flies EVERYWHERE, too.

    He just isn't in a hurry...