Flying on the Cheap? (Re)making Contemporary Life through Low-Cost Air Travel

Type: Paper
Theme:
Sponsor Groups: Transportation Geography Specialty Group, Cultural Geography Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 2:40 PM / 4:20 PM (MDT)
Room: Studio 7, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Organizers: Jean-Baptiste Fretigny, Weiqiang Lin
Chairs: Weiqiang Lin

Description

Since the founding of Southwest Airlines in 1967, the low-cost carrier phenomenon has grown from strength to strength. In the last two decades, the world has seen a rapid proliferation of this business model. It has been visible in various parts of the world, especially in America, Europe and Asia, with emerging sub-regions, including Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent, now sporting numerous low-cost carrier outfits. Scholars deem these airline companies to have revolutionised air travel, be it short- or long-haul, in the Global South or in the Global North, allowing for the democratisation of flight, impressive traffic growth figures and the expansion of airports. A drawback often cited is the role that low-cost carriers play in augmenting greenhouse gas emissions, by taking more and more people to the sky.



These understandings have shed important light on the operational and geographical aspects of the low-cost carrier phenomenon, providing much insight to its traffic potentials, its spatial distribution, and its repercussions on climate. Yet, by focusing on these themes, existing research has tended to take a rather functionalist approach towards the subject, often treating, unpacking and critiquing the same as a standalone industry and transport sector. Debating the transport geographies of low-cost carriers aids in a better accounting for, and management of, the industry, as well as its ramifications on regional development. But it simultaneously neglects the weighty societal changes that this particular mode of transport is catalysing, including the (re)making, (re)organisation and sustenance of contemporary life as we know it today, as well as the practices, ideologies, affects, and subjectivities of becoming ‘contemporary’. These intersections potentially extend across diverse fields in geography, including critical analyses of low-paid work, low-skilled migration, youth consumption cultures, new niches in ‘budget’ tourism, and geopolitical rivalries—all of which are arguably related to, if not directly moulded by, the low-cost carrier phenomenon.



This call for papers invites submissions from contributors that would connect the low-cost carrier phenomenon with these other social, cultural, economic and political departments of geography. We seek for innovative papers that would push the boundaries of low-cost carrier research and bring it into more profound and relational dialogues with critical issues in contemporary life. Relevant topics include, but are not limited to:

1) Low-cost carriers as a facilitator of low-skilled labour economies

2) Low-cost carriers as an enabler of new tourism niches and habits

3) Low-cost carriers as consumption cultures

4) Low-cost carriers and new workplace geographies

5) Low-cost carriers, geopolitics and regional orders

6) Low-cost carriers, logistics, and retail geographies

7) Low-cost carriers and national identities

8) Other low-cost ways of travel associated with flying or compared to it


Agenda

Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Craps Amandine*, , Evolution in mobility practices of low-cost airlines’ passengers 20 2:40 PM
Presenter Max Hirsh*, University of Hong Kong, The Urban Infrastructure of Low-Cost Aviation in Southeast Asia 20 3:00 PM
Presenter Jean-Baptiste Fretigny*, Universite de Cergy-Pontoise, The Social Ambiguities Of Flying On The Cheap: Defining Experiences For Aeromobilities And Beyond 20 3:20 PM
Discussant Weiqiang Lin National University of Singapore 20 3:40 PM

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