Thursday, January 7, 2010

OPINION: Fixing Flying (Part 3)

As anyone who has flown recently will tell you, flying needs to be fixed. Certainly in what is euphemistically called "the main cabin" -- coach -- things are broken.

Cabins are crowded, passengers are packed in like sardines and, in the recent past, some airlines even charged for water. Inexcusable!

And work en route? Forget about it. It’s almost impossible to fully open a laptop in current coach seats and difficult to be productive with your fellow passenger’s elbow in your space.

Even without re-regulation, an airline that adopted the new paradigm described earlier in this series could provide – and market – the opportunity to “Get More Done Between Dallas and Denver" or "Be Productive Between Phoenix and Philly".

But what about the cost?
As pointed out in yesterday's post, today's ticket price isn't necessarily the total cost of the flight. Of course, that varies depending on how you travel but the cost of a round-trip ticket with a couple of add-ons could easily be $100 higher than the ticket alone.

Finally, if you consider expanding from 32" to 35" of legroom "luxury," realize that we Americans aren’t shy about digging deep and paying for it. Look at U.S. Airways and Alaska Airlines, two carriers that offer passengers the opportunity to upgrade to empty first class seats for a modest surcharge. The first class sections on their planes rarely leave with empty seats. I contend that planes with fewer, larger, and modestly more expensive seats throughout would likewise leave fully laden.

But as I've said, the airlines are showing little incentive to make these changes on their own. In fact, they're going in the opposite direction.

If you agree, take action!

Write your U.S. Senators and your Representatives. (Click on "Senators" or "Representatives" to find out who represents you.) Then write a brief note in your own words outlining the issue: "The U.S. airline industry is broken and seems unwilling or unable to fix itself."

Then end with what politicians call "The Ask": "In the interest of U.S. air travelers, the U.S. economy (with air travel having a significant effect on commerce), and the airlines themselves, please consider drafting and promoting a bill which would re-regulate U.S. airlines. Such legislation would benefit us all."

Safe and happy travels!

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photos by Carl Dombek
Click on photos to view larger images

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