Friday, November 5, 2010

The HomeDepotization of our Airlines

Another day, another near air disaster. On Thursday a big chunk of an a380 engine fell off Quantas flight 32. Tomorrow? 
Who knows.
Flying was once a real event. We dressed in our Sunday best and spoke in hushed, near-reverent tones about the brilliant technology around us while we sat in large, comfortable seats with lots of space between them. The degree of intelligent discourse and polite conduct onboard was a source of self-respect and pride. And we ate excellent, in-flight meals with limitless top shelf drinks and first run movies.
True, flying was more expensive in those days but our planes were spotless, the drinks were free and everything was included in the cost of the flight. There was even a second or third jet to roll out in the event of a mechanical mishap. No more.
Today we are no longer willing to pay for such good service so all that remains is First Class and the equivalent of a flying subway. We have required our airlines to join a race to the bottom sacrificing our comfort, good service and even reliability. 
And soon, I expect, our safety.
The airlines are beset with the same rising fuel and labor costs as any business, even terrorism. So what is our response? We use an internet search for the cheapest possible fare and then bitch to anyone who will listen that what we got is the cheapest possible service.
If our culture ever returns to a respect for quality then flying will improve. But until then we are responsible for the perilous state of this industry and everyone complaining should just be quiet and count the money saved and take what we’ve insisted the airlines sell to us. 
Because if we keep this up, someday, inevitably, we’ll endure a safety-related air disaster we could have avoided if we as a culture had only been willing to pay what it actually costs to provide a safer, quality flight.


  1. Doesn't seem like the culture's return to a respect for quality is particularly imminent. Maybe when the Messiah returns. The two just might go hand in hand.

    I'm a fan of using the internet for the cheapest possible fare, but at least I don't bitch about the service. Airlines should charge enough to maintain safety standards and some other basic needs on board. Otherwise, I'm all for the cheap flight to somewhere I haven't been with some peanuts, juice, and a window seat so I can be among the clouds and take the zillions of pictures that help distract me from the fact that I've been sitting for hours and I can't feel my legs while some screaming child is kicking my seat behind me.

    Flying subway. lol. And I thought you were a fan? Icy, cold air-conditioning and a quick ride to anywhere all for a little pocket change. :)

  2. Can't feel your legs? A business traveler gave me a great tip, once.

    Check them along with your luggage. lol