Yesterday Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United Airlines, testified to Congress about the airline industry. All of this just a few weeks after such a great week of press coverage. Of course, the last few weeks have also been a wee bit busy, so I was unable to post today’s piece. But with Munoz’s testimony it makes the perfect segue.
Today’s piece is a graphic article from the New York Times. It examines the state of the US airline industry. I use the term graphic article, because outside of headlines and subheads, it uses few words. Instead the point of the article is conveyed via charts. And what I found really nice is that, as the below photo shows, the article comprised most of the front page of the Business section.
In terms of the structure, the piece did a nice job of giving breathing space around the various elements. This helps focus the reader’s attention on the charts and the data therein. Long headers and subheads break the vertical flow and create sentences or paragraphs that the charts prove.
But then we get below the fold and low and behold we have a pie chart. I would have probably used a bar chart to show the market share. Especially with the top-three airlines so close. On the other hand, I can see the argument for the large, colour-filled visual. It does a nice job balancing the area charts at the opening and puts an emphatic period at the end of the piece.
Overall, a solid piece and one that I am glad occupied a significant portion of the Business section front page.
Yesterday I took a look at the Alaskan Airlines and Virgin America merger. Part of the disappointment on the internets centres around the service and experience delivered by Virgin. I mean who doesn’t like mood lighting, right? Well the Economist took a look at international airlines by both price and service. And if we use Virgin Atlantic as the best proxy for Virgin America, you can see why people prefer it over American carriers.
Alaska Airlines and Virgin America made some news the past few days when they announced Alaska would purchase Virgin America for $2.6 billion. I mapped out the flight routes of the two carriers to see where they overlapped. You can see the results in my piece for the blog today below.
Credit for the work is mine, except the underlying map, which I sourced from Brigham Young University Geography Department.
Yesterday an Airbus A320 operated by Germanwings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa, crashed in the French Alps with no survivors. This morning, I am showing the two best graphics I have come across thus far attempting to explain just what happened.
The first is from the New York Times. In a series of maps, it points out through satellite photography the roughness of the terrain and therefore the difficulty likely to be experienced by recovery crews. The final line chart plots the altitude of the flight, which fell from a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet to just over 6,000 feet in eight minutes. Overall, especially given the limited amount of information that we currently possess, not a bad piece.
The second comes to us from the Washington Post. What I enjoy about this piece is that it combines the altitude chart with the map. This gives a bit context to the fact that despite being still 6,000 feet above sea level, the aircraft was in fact flying into the high mountains of the Alps.
Credit for the New York Times piece goes to the New York Times graphics department. And credit for the Washington Post piece goes to Gene Thorp and Richard Johnson.
This weekend I flew to and from Philadelphia—that is when my flights were not delayed. So I decided to select an aircraft-related graphic for today’s piece, originally from Quartz. It looks at the phasing out of the iconic Boeing 747. (And as for me, well I was on a 737-900 and a CRJ-700—neither as iconic as the 747.)
Airlines want to make flights as profitable as possible. And that largely entails cramming as many people into those hollow cylinders called aircraft fuselages as possible. This is despite advice from Airbus, one of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers to set a minimum seat width standard greater than US airlines are investigating. Thomson Reuters does a nice job illustrating the changes in this graphic.
Credit for the piece goes to the Thomson Reuters graphics staff.
I am travelling abroad for two weeks. While I have a number of posts lined up, I doubt that I will be able to respond to anybody or post current and/or topical pieces. But at least you will have something. So to kick things off, this piece from the New York Times makes good use of a table. It simply marks which airlines charge fees for particular services or offerings.
Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times graphics department.