Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Maybe a couple more airlines do need to go broke

That I have no sympathy for airlines is pretty well known to my friends and family, and anyone who will listen for that matter. I avoid flying like the plague. Last time I flew was when I was in the job market, and it was only because the potential employers paid for it, and I had to if I wanted the interview. But voluntarily, I do not fly. Pure and simple. Though I find security at the airport annoying, actually that is not what keeps me away. Taking off my shoes and belt is not as bad as what follows. What follows is a lousy flight on a packed small plane with bad service. So when airlines rise their costs to consumers yet again, like checked bag fees, it just pretty much reinforces my desire not to fly.

Some of the stories I have seen today on this:

And that is just a small sampling. The bottom line is that American Airlines will start charging a $15 fee for checking in your first piece of luggage. So, go ahead and alienate the people that you need to make your money. While I understand there are increased costs, and that a business would need to pass the cost on to the consumer at some point, treating people like cattle (actually treating them like bovine excrement would be a better term, but let's stay polite) is not the way to stay in business. How many readers can relate to this?

  • Consistently delayed flights?
  • Cancellations?
  • Extremely uncomfortable and small seats?
  • Lack of food? Or forget food, even a drink?
  • Poor service from the flight attendants?
I know I have experienced all of those in one form or another in my last venture with an airline. At this point, I have no more sympathy for airlines. If a few of them do go broke and shut down, I say good riddance. Maybe then, and only then, they will get the message that in order to have a viable business, you have to treat your customers, the reason you are in business, decently and well. It seems that when the prices go up, that service and decency in the airlines go down. And right now, since airlines pretty much have a monopoly (pretty much what one does, the others follow), they think they can get away with it. Well, they are not getting my money as far as I am concerned.

Some of the comments I have seen in forums are particularly interesting. They range from right out hostility ("I won't fly again") to suggesting people be charged by their weight. Yes, some people actually suggest charging the obese more. Regardless of where you stand in terms of weight issues, the pure viciousness of some commenters towards people who may be a bit heavier is simply atrocious. I only hope that those "thin" people never gain weight because karma has that funny way of coming back to bite you. That did catch my eye.

However, in the end, those who say they will not fly go ahead and fly anyways. I do feel sorry for business people who have to fly for their work. They have no choice (though they may get to fly business class, which is a bit better, though not by much at the rate things are going). But if you are a leisure passenger, I would seriously consider simply not flying. One of the commenters I saw mentioned that with a family of four, it may be cheaper to do the drive, even with the 3+ dollars a gallon for gas. Now that is not something an airline exec wants to hear. I would think so. Then again, I may be wrong given how airlines as of late pretty much treat passengers like annoyances rather than as reason to be in business. So yes, I am saying a couple more airlines, and I mean the big legacy ones, not the little puddle jumpers, should go out of business. Maybe then they will finally get a clue.

They are not getting me on a plane anytime soon. And if more people got smart, maybe they would not fly either. I would hope most people are not masochists.

And let's not even go on the rude behavior of some passengers. That could be a separate post in itself, but it is certainly yet another reason I avoid flying.

Here is one other thing I saw recently to airlines recently, which may be of interest:

Update note (Same day): A sampling of other bloggers:

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