People not only want to sit in your aluminum tube flying six miles up at 600 mph, they want legroom, elbow room and room for their baggage. And they want the aluminum tube to leave every hour on the hour and arrive on time and never break down, either. Plus, they want everybody connected with this enterprise, passengers and staff, on the ground and in the air, to be nice to them. And they want it for $79.

Plus miles. You gotta give 'em miles -- and maybe leave that middle seat empty, too.

Your fuel supplier loves you so much, he wants you to pay 60% more than you paid last year for the same stuff. Your travel agents, on the other hand, hate you, because you're paying them 60% less.

Your employees hung in there during the bad times, but now they want theirs. And they're not above a strike or a sickout to get it. Your shareholders are ambivalent. They also hung in there, but now they're getting hung out to dry with the travel agents.

Some of them are even muttering phrases like "breakup value," having figured out that half of your airplanes are worth more than all of your stock.

Congress, its eye ever fixed on the next election, wants you to be nice to new entrants, small towns, disgruntled passengers, children, pets and other living things. And to make the point, it reminded you that it could pass a law requiring you to be nice if it wanted to, but instead it just passed another law telling the Transportation Department to keep tabs on you.

Your first-quarter earnings are half of what they were a year ago, and one of your competitors just lost $100 million. You'd like to raise prices. Instead, you:

a) Have a sale.

b) Fire your ad agency.

c) Launch a triple-miles sweepstakes promotion with a shampoo company.

d) Form a strategic alliance with a dot-com.

e) All of the above.

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