[eDebate] Delta Raising fee for 2nd checked bag to 50 dollars a bag

Stefan Bauschard stefan.bauschard
Tue Jul 29 22:07:06 CDT 2008

The whole situation plainly stinks, but it is hard to put a lot of blame on
Delta.  Airlines don't have very high profit margins and have (almost) no
capital. Their fuel bills have increased by billions. Some may go bankrupt.
I like to fly, so hopefully Congress will bail them out, but it's not a
great situation.  I'm convinced that algae won't power them any time in the
near future. A mere act of criticism directed at the airlines won't solve
our problems.

The thing is that we are going to have to pay more to fly our tubs from
tourney to tourney.  We haven't yet found any fanciful way to debate off of
our computers, and debating off these reams of paper is a lot of what we
are.  That may change, but it isn't going to change in 08-09 or 09-10.

So we really need to find ways to pay our luggage costs.  This may involve
trade-offs that we don't like, but most everyone makes those sort of
trade-offs now.  For example, we are a two car family.  Research estimates
that means we spend another 4K a year on gas.  Have you been to a grocery
store lately?  We are easily dropping another 2K there.  So, some stuff gets
cut out -- fewer trips to farther away places, less dining out, working
extra, etc.  If we want to keep doing things that consume a lot of energy (I
do), we have to find ways to increase revenue, our energy more efficiently
(even if efficiency means sacrifice -- like driving 55 instead of 70), or
cut-back in other areas that while trying to avoid fundamentally altering
what we do.

Some ideas:

The old swings...Yes, there is a CA swing and a TX two step in college.
There used to be another -- Wake/Gtown and then Wake/Pitt over Thanksgiving
break (the "swing" worked when NCA was not scheduled the weekend before
Thanksgiving).  In high school there used to be GBN and GBS on consecutive
weekends.  This wore people down to a degree and they missed Thanksgiving,
but you can't have everything.   (I would suffer through two tournaments of
a strikes-only judge placement system :)).  Or the Glenbrooks could switch
to mid-October and Greenhill and St. Mark's could run back-to-back over the
break (St. Mark's has the whole Thanksgiving week off!).  We'd only have to
go to Dallas once and I'm sure Tim could swing a great deal at the Westin if
we were going to be there for a week. This would save me at least $1500 in
transportation costs.    Swing tournaments are normally hard to do without
missing school, but maybe people could try to come up with more ideas as to
where they could work...GA State/Emory?  I realize this a very radical
change that can not happen for 08-09...but there is 09-10.

And yes, debating GHill/St. Mark's back-to-back would be unpleasant in some
ways, but I'd rather do that than cut one out entirely or leave a second
team that may deserve to go at home.

Judging...AK mentioned taking some lower prefs....maybe judging extra
debates to lower tournament admin costs and, consequently, entry fees.  Some
already sell extra judging to tournaments.

Regional tournaments...strengthening regional circuits is easier said than
done. It's hard to get people to agree as to what tournament to make "the
regional tournament," circuit tournament preparation, stress, and other
responsibilities can make it difficult to simply rejuvenate regional
circuits.  It's hard to say what could be done to rejuvenate regional
debate.  The NDCA has tried by letting any tournament count toward
qualification, but there isn't yet anywhere close to the maximum # of teams
trying to enter the NDCA tournament  to have that impact (BTW, the NDCA
tournament is a great tournament -- it is very well run and you should go).

While the NDCA does not yet have that kind of "rep" that is needed to make
regional tournaments grow, the TOC does.  JW and the advisory board could,
for example, consider designating 10 tournaments that don't currently have
bids as "automatic TOC qualifiers" -- 10 tournaments in different regions in
the country.  Spread out the weekends.  There would be a strong "regional"
tournament almost everywhere.  Start with states that have no TOC
tournaments (like NJ). It wouldn't undermine the "quality" of the TOC.  It
may add ten teams that are very good, good, or even just "pretty good."
There would be 10 better regional tournaments that would allow every team to
cut the flying costs of one national circuit tournament because they would
still get a very strong (even if not an "as strong") national tournament at
a fraction of the cost.

Sponsorship..Airlines have no money.  They aren't going to sponsor us.  But
look at the topics we are debating.....Oil companies have money (and could
use some good PR).  Biofuels start-ups have massive subsidy checks written
to them (and also have some PR issues).  My soon-to-be brother in-law just
started with a new solar energy company in Mass.  Ever here of T. Boone
Pickens?  He has billions and he lives in TX where he is trying to build a
lot of windmills and  where there are a lot of debate tournaments.  Tell
them what we are debating -- maybe they'll sponsor a tournament.  Full
tournament sponsorship largely offsets luggage costs.  Take a break and have
a public debate in the middle of the tournament.  Yeah, I'd rather get down
to the business of "our way" of debating, but some sacrifice may be in

Anyhow, I'm sure other airlines will follow Delta.  This is getting
expensive. Last year I bought 30 tickets for my high school team.  Between
higher ticket prices and luggage costs I'm probably paying another
$150/student/trip.  That's another 4500.  Hotel prices are increasing
quickly. Then there is some gas. It's probably another $6,000 that "I ain't

Anyhow, I think we need some more aggressive efforts to be more efficient,
boost revenue, and to cut costs in ways that do not harm the community
at-large.  Anyone else?

On Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 8:02 PM, Seth T. Ellsworth
<sethellsworth at gmail.com>wrote:

> I always hated Delta, but somethings going to have to give soon with the
> airlines:
> http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/business/30bags.html?ex=1375070400&en=de95b0280ea07840&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink
> Also,
> Matt Stannard is kind of totalitarian.
> _______________________________________________
> eDebate mailing list
> eDebate at www.ndtceda.com
> http://www.ndtceda.com/mailman/listinfo/edebate

Stefan Bauschard

President & Co-Founder, PlanetDebate.com
Director of Debate, Lakeland Schools
Debate Coach, Harvard Debate

(c) 781-775-0433
(fx) 617-588-0283
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