Familiar to anyone? Perhaps we could change this scene?
On a recent flight, I was getting myself situated in my seat, while boarding continued around me. I had boarded in Group 1 (thank you Star Gold) and was waiting for the other people in my row to join me. It was about halfway through the boarding process of the fully sold-out flight that I saw something that shocked me. A passenger was carrying a giant hiking pack through the aisle, heading for their seat. I was blown away that this giant backpack somehow made it past the gate agents and on-board the aircraft. Surely this person was not seriously thinking that a giant backpack like that would pass as “carry on.” But sadly, it had.
Not every airline, nor every customer, is wanting to try to go bigger and better, like Singapore’s new Business Class.
I recently ranted about how people get what they pay for when it comes to air travel, but I feel that I have a few more things to say. I have come realize that there is downgrading trend going on in the industry that needs to change. Let me explain.
What if you get to a situation where increasing volumetric efficiency becomes done for reasons other than combating cost? After all, a business is in business in order to make a profit. It’d be irresponsible to not seek greater margins, right? Especially when passengers are already prepared to accept pain in economy class.
What’s sparked my continued rant is that I am starting to worry that European-style business class may be getting a foothold in North America.
Most times when flying, it will be a great experience. A few times there might be somethings that go bad, but is it the end of the world? Nah.
One of the positive parts of running this blog are all the emails I get from readers and random people. Some are amazing story ideas, some provide great conversation and others are looking for some advice on a bad situation they had with an airline. I try to make an effort to write everyone back, no matter what the email is about (or how crazy it might be). Although some “I hate airlines” emails I receive are legitimate, most letters that I receive are… well… stupid.
I do not mean to make fun of people that feel they had a horrid experience with an airline, but most of the “omg please share this horrid story, so others will not have to go through the same thing” emails are pretty ridiculous to say the least. It just goes back to the idea that so many people are looking for any reason to hate on an airline.
Most emails start out by saying that the person will never fly the particular airline ever again. Just a word of advice; if you are looking to get the attention of an airline, I might suggest not starting a letter that way. I think that airlines see so many threats like this, that they mean nothing anymore. Personally I know many people who have made threats like this, but still end up flying the airline again in the future.
When skimming to see how long an email is going to be (many of these rants are quite large), I know it is going to be good when I can spot a few swear words. This normally means the person wrote their letter while still angry and even some I have even received while the person is still on their flight. Again, I would kindly suggest that cutting out your swear words will probably get your further versus using them. Airlines get a lot of crazy people just yelling at them for no real reason, so to stand out, I would suggest being calm and collective and providing a rational argument on why they might have messed up.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not some calloused person who can’t feel bad when someone truly has a bad travel experience. But out of the 100 or so emails I have received over the years, I can honestly say that about five were ones that I felt needed some actual attention. I cannot tell you how many times it turns out that the person’s flight was delayed, their luggage was lost or they can’t believe they had to pay to check their bags. I mean really? What am I supposed to do with these? What are airlines supposed to do with these? Yes, they might be annoying, but surely not something to get so upset about.
The most common letters deal with airline delays. The majority of those end up relating to weather, which the airlines have no control over. Yes, it frek’n sucks, I have been there, done that and hated it. Even if the airline might drop the ball on a few things, it is not easy organizing a huge cancellation.
Probably the second largest complaint I receive is about lost luggage. Of course, no one likes it when an airline loses their luggage. I know it is a huge pain, but it is one of the risks with traveling. Airlines are required to compensate you, if they lose your luggage and yes, if they do not, then that is something to truly be upset about. But am I really supposed to write a story about a passenger’s luggage being lost? Amazingly, many upset passengers expect just that. I will suggest people to follow up with me if they do not hear back from the airline for proper compensation, but to date, I have had no one follow through.
Really, If having your flight delayed for a few hours or have a bag lost is one of the worst things you have gone through in life, things aren’t going to shabby for you. I think people need to stop and look at the bigger picture every once in a while. Mistakes happen with airlines and almost every other business out there. If you are the person who goes through the situation, yes it sucks. But this is what we call life and the benefits to travel around the world in a few hours.
Next time you are fuming and thinking of sending off a heated letter to someone, stop and think if it is really that big of a deal. And if you give yourself some time and it turns out that you still feel something was done inappropriately, by all means send away.
As we approach a very busy season of airline travel, remember to take a deep breath and relax. Weather is very likely to cause delays, people are already on edge already and planes are going to be very crowded. I find that keeping a smile on your face does wonders at not only keeping yourself sane, but also those around you.