Written by Steve Cannon for USSA News.
The most important lesson I’ve learned in my life about business is this; provide the best product or service and the money will come. Unfortunately, most CEOs today think their goal is to make money for the company. They would be wrong.
I recently returned from my Bermuda vacation and the trips to and from the island were horrendous. The airline was Jetblue, and they used to be good. I hate traveling now more than ever. Why? Airports and airlines.
I can remember a time when I would decide to fly somewhere on the spur of the moment. I would go to the airport, buy my ticket with cash, board the plane, and then smoke on the plane right after eating a free and complete meal. It was as simple as getting on a bus. There was plenty of availability and the prices were reasonable. Today, I dread flying and would prefer driving.
The Airlines of Today
From my point of view, all of the airlines are doing everything they can to squeeze as many people on a flight as possible to maximize their profits and keep the costs down. That’s fine if you’re a dead sardine. I am not a dead sardine.
Tips for Airports:
- Get rid of the TSA. They’re useless. Go back to the old way of using a simple x-ray machine if you must. “Hey, I just caught a terrorist,” said no TSA agent, ever.
- Have people movers and electric cars throughout the terminals. This would make the long hike down the terminal easier for the elderly and invalid. It would also speed things up for people rushing to reach their connecting flights.
- Stop price gouging us for every item you sell. $13 for a sandwich, really?
Tips for Airlines:
- On a plane with six rows of seats (two rows of three on each side of the plane) remove the middle rows and widen and deepen the remaining seats. This adjustment would give the passenger actual room in their seat for comfort. It would also widen the walking aisle in the center of the plane so people could pass one another without acting as though they’re an obstacle. Nobody likes sitting in the middle row anyway.
- Remove the TVs. We all have phones, tablets, and laptops now. People can bring their own headphones or buy them in the terminal. Entertainment is no longer your problem.
- Provide free wifi.
- Have the seats recline a minimum of six inches. That one inch of reclined space does nothing for anyone.
- Stop charging us for everything on the flight. Either give it away or don’t offer it. The aisle in the middle of the plane is not a flea market.
- Hand out snacks and drinks when people board the plane, not in the middle of the flight when we’re all trying to sleep. Having flight attendants bumping into everyone while offering drinks does nothing but irritate everyone trying to sleep. If people want something, let them press the button to call for the attendant. That’s what it’s there for.
- Have people with seats in the back of the plane board first. Too much time is wasted squeezing through everyone trying to pack their bags in the front of the plane.
- Do not overbook flights. If you have 200 seats, sell 200 tickets. If empty seats remain, the airline still gets paid for the sold seat and a few passengers have even more room.
- Leave the announcements about oxygen masks and flotation devices on a card in our seat pockets like you already do, nothing more. We’ve heard those annoying speeches a thousand times and will hardly need that information if the plane nosedives. Besides, the attendants can give us that speech when we’re crashing. Everyone will listen then!
- Have one large window on each side of the plane run the length of the plane, with individual shades. Kids and first-time travelers will love the views.
- Have a set price for seats. Searching various websites for a better price is a waste of time. Simply affix a price to a seat and sell it. The rest of the civilized world works like this, why can’t you? Can you imagine going to multiple auction sites at the checkout line in a grocery store to get your price? Insanity.
Travelers want to fly in comfort, and we’re willing to pay for it. Not all passengers are poor. Some of us older people would prefer to spend more money for a comfortable seat on a plane. Removing a third of the seats (the middle rows) would provide that comfort. The airline can raise the price of the remaining seats to cover the cost of the missing seats and fares.
Well, There’s Flying First Class and Business Class
Not really. An average seat in Economy costs about $500. An average seat in First or Business Class costs about $2,000. That’s four seats for the price of one! And even if we had $2,000 to spend on a seat in First Class, how many seats are offered? Four, eight?
My proposal is simple. Make the entire plane, “Middle Class.” It should be as comfortable as First Class with a price that is acceptable for both the customer and the airline. That $500 Economy seat can become the $800 Middle Class seat, for example.
If an airline were to outfit their entire fleet with my suggestions of comfort, their reputation would skyrocket, as well as their profits. Who wouldn’t want to fly on a plane where all of the seats were wide and deep that recline six inches and without a middle row? I would book weekend trips just to see friends!
C’mon CEOs, eat your own dog food. If you do, maybe then you’ll think about providing the best service and product.
And by the way, what’s with all the gay male flight attendants? Just sayin’.