Without Freddie Laker and his Skytrain flights to New York which started in September 1977 we may not have the budget airlines of today. Until this point air travel was enjoyed by the rich, with luxury flights on National carriers being the norm. Freddie Laker challenged this dominance with Skytrain offering a ‘turn up and go’, no frills service at a fraction of the price of other airlines. It had taken him six years to get the first flight off the ground such was the opposition arrayed against him. Freddie Laker changed the rules. Air travel could be for everyone, it didn’t have to be a luxury, taking a flight could be like catching a train. The paradigm shifted and now budget airlines rule the skies.
National Carriers offer: Routes into major international airports, full service, large baggage allowance, a range of booking options and luxury travel.
Budget Airlines offer: Flights into regional airports, the option to buy ‘extras’ such as food and additional baggage separately, online booking as the primary customer interface and budget travel.
Paradigmeers have to struggle to overcome the ‘establishment’
Freddie Laker found that his dream of opening up air travel to more people by making it accessible had to overcome huge opposition. It wasn’t as if people didn’t want the service, they were desperate to use it, the market was there. But like many Paradigmeers he had to take on powerful groups who felt threatened by the improvements he was advocating. Eventually they proved too much for Skytrain and they stopped trading in 1982. One of the characteristics of Paradigmeering is the necessary struggle that has to occur in order to change the rules.