Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Customers Hate Airlines More

a customer’s view on airlines

Today's rant is about MSNBC's Christopher Elliott.

Christopher Elliott, you have no idea how the airline business works. You need to sit down, shut up, and be happy your country has a transportation system as unregulated as ours is. Spreading your fear, uncertainty, and doubt will only further confuse our revenue passengers and ultimately leave them more confused and unhappy than they were before.

Unfortunately for us, someone even stupider than Christopher Elliott gave Christopher Elliott a job as a FUD writer and now we have to deal with shit like Dump This! 7 things airlines should jettison (Local Backup). In his article, which I shudder to call an article, he explains how the airlines are so stupid and if they only followed his advice, we could all be profitable and happy. Now in the aviation industry I am just a lowly pilot and nowhere near management, but I do have an inside look at what goes on and can easily tear through everything he has to say. Especially his bullshit headline: Why not remove the pilots to cut weight? That's hitting a little close to home there Christopher Elliott, but that's a bad idea no matter who you are.

Now I know you will say "Well Mike he's obviously using a little observational humor to deflate a source of copious amounts of stress" but there are people out there who believe this....trash, this...vomit from MSNBC Christopher Elliott. These people buy the cheapest tickets available from expedia.com or some shit, expect to be treated like gods, give themselves 15 min to connect to a different freaking airline on the other side of the airport, and even if they make it complain about how their bag didn't! No shit! A bag can't make it from through the baggage system at a hub in 15 minutes! Then they cry foul for years about a certain airline, turning all their friends away from it. I bet everyone reading this has that one airline that you just hate because something happened one time. Hell even I do, it's Lufthansa after they stranded us in Finland with no refunds. But you know what? It was because we bought a nonrefundable ticket off expedia.com and couldn't get back into russia to make the flight. You've got to listen people...listen to what the airlines are telling you and if you want options like refunds and transferability, you've got to pay. That's Capitalism. That's Deregulation for you. Your congress which you voted for made it this way in 1978. And the customer got much lower airfares while employees in the industry took a 66% paycut. Thanks a lot guys. But I'm going to approach the rest of this rant as if I were a paying customer. Like Christopher Elliott but with the common sense an infant would approach this subject with.

MSNBC's Christopher Elliott assumes that airlines are trying to ditch everything on an airplane in an effort to save weight. A lighter airplane requires less lift to fly, and reduces the thrust (fuel) required. Simple to understand I suppose. So why not just just get rid of the whole plane! Think about all the profit you could make selling tickets and then not actually having to take people anywhere! No flight crew, fuel, catering, ATC and landing fees to pay for.. The real answer is that if it's still on the plane, it's 1) making money or 2) required for safety. There is nothing on that plane not required for safety that doesn't make money, with one exception: the bathroom. Come on Christopher Elliott, I think you're kidding when you mention getting rid of anything more than one bathroom, but with your other suggestions I'm not so sure. People can't even make it from the terminal to the aircraft on the jetbridge without having to go. For what little is decent in humanity, let us keep our bathrooms. You mention getting rid of inflight magazines probably because they are poetry compared to your drivel. Truth is, American Way magazine has to sell enough advertising to make up its cost in fuel. It has to earn its way onboard. Maybe it even makes a small profit. Imagine that. Something onboard the aircraft yet still making money. Same goes for your "duty free" carts, or the alcohol. Just because you don't pay for anything above the minimalist fare doesn't mean first class shouldn't get what they pay for. And I've heard what they all say: "Well I would gladly pay more for better service" - BULLSHIT - EOS Airlines, all business class with that idea in mind and BANKRUPT. You had better service for more money in the 70's and you all bought the cheap tickets. And here we are. Pay for first class or don't complain.

Christopher Elliott doesn't understand safety either. To a passenger, safety is a given. All airlines are equally safe, right? The FAA makes it that way, right? What if we truely deregulated the airlines and took away the FAA? Bet you'd have your wish. I bet you 1000% that airlines would be flying around with one pilot and no other flight crew for that very reason. You'd have more issues like GoJets pilots falling asleep in the front. Or the Comair Lexington Crash taking off from the wrong runway. Two pilots up there is what keeps our system as safe as it is. We've already have our salaries slashed 50% at every bankruptcy crisis so that Christopher Elliott can fly for 99 dollars. And those airplanes are so sophisticated that they fly themselves...sure... The airplane I fly is older than I am, doesn't have GPS or a flight management system and has an autopilot with a minimum wage attitude, that is to say it doesn't like to work a lot. And some commercial airplanes still don't even have autopilots! Those that do can bring the airplane down to 100 feet above the ground. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want my pilot to let go at 100 feet. And even worse what happens when something goes wrong? An engine shreds itself or there's an electrical short and your precious autopilot stops flying? Just how much are those pilots up there worth now?

Christopher Elliott also thinks very highly of flight attendants. Obviously their only reason for being aboard is to serve you drinks. Of course the FAA requires one FA per 50 seats so it doesn't take too long to get your drink, right? The real reason is that they are there for your safety, to regulate the cabin so that the pilots don't have to. They assist in emergencies and undergo a lot of training. Most of their training you never have to see but I am glad to fly with them for everyone's sake.

It is hard to get people to pay more when inevitably the coach passengers arrive at the destination at the same time as first class does, so as long as there is even one company out there willing to give you a cheap ticket with no frills, the others have to match it or fly empty. It's like Rick's rant about cable. There is intense competition between companies, but the individual doesn't get a whole lot of say in the matter. When people buy their ticket based solely on the price of the ticket and nothing else, this is what you get. It's your free market. Put your money where your mouth is.
Posted by eclipse on 09/24/2008 at 06:16 PM
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