It's not enough to bring your gleaming and graceful ships into the
harbor and to send your passengers off to the tour guides and the
shops and the restaurants with their credit cards and their wads of
cash. It used to be enough, but not anymore, not in Alaska.
For the cruise industry, the entire state of Alaska has become
something like an environmental first baseman, just waiting to
catch the runner with his foot off the bag. Tag! You're outta
Surprise inspections in Juneau earlier this month revealed that
the smoke emissions of four cruise ships may have violated clean
The cruise industry claims to have made significant progress in
recent years in meeting its environmental responsibilities. Well
But Alaska, it seems to us, is one place where the cruise lines
can't afford too many more outs. The local fans are already
starting to boo.
• • •
Connect the dots
Even in a "mature" industry like air transportation, there are
new products all the time.
Just recently, Vanguard Airlines laid plans to start nonstop
service between Kansas City and New Orleans. If you're in Kansas
City today and you need to fly to New Orleans, you can't go
nonstop. You can connect in Dallas, St. Louis, Memphis or Atlanta.
We also heard from Southwest Airlines a few days ago. One of
Southwest's new services, when it comes to Buffalo in October, will
be a nonstop to Phoenix. If you're in Buffalo today and you need to
fly to Phoenix, you can't go nonstop. You can connect in
Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cleveland or Chicago. More hubs.
Hubs are fine, but, let's face it, nothing beats a nonstop. Hubs
lose a few passengers every time an airline like Vanguard or
Southwest connects the dots, and that's probably a good thing. It
keeps them loose.