Pi Attitude Zone: Connectivity & Drive

Jet-Setters Get Grounded

If God had intended man to fly, went the old joke, He would have lowered the fares.

That’s the way they talked back in the days of the Jet Set, when sharply-dressed passengers on PanAm flights chain-smoked menthol cigarettes, drank free cocktails throughout the flight, and flirted outrageously with comely “air hostesses” whose job-title was as revealing as their tight blue and white uniforms.

Flying isn’t much like that any more.

In the end it wasn’t God that lowered the fares, it was us consumers.  Market forces are powerful things, and increasingly cash-strapped airlines with half-full planes got the message that what most of us wanted was not really a night-club in the sky, but ever-cheaper mass-transit to our business or holiday destinations.

Perhaps we should have been more careful what we wished for.  Air-passengers are still complaining about the fares (probably with less justification these days – mile-for-mile many airlines charge less than bus companies); but other pet peeves have now been added to our air-rage hate-list: curt flight attendants, inadequate leg-room, uncomfortable narrow seats with far-from-narrow people in them, charges for drinks and snacks, malfunctioning in-flight entertainment, crying babies…

And that’s after take-off.  Before we’re even on the plane we have to deal with baggage surcharges, fuel levies and airport taxes.  Even speed of arrival, air travel’s first and most obvious advantage, has been drastically eroded.  You should now at least double your estimated flying time to account for the hours spent traveling to and from airports, check-in lines, bag-drop queues, security checks and baggage reclaim.  And that’s even without the delays caused by overstretched airports, unpredictable weather, lost baggage and industrial disputes.

If God had intended man to fly, perhaps He should have given us little wings.

Zone: Connectivity & Drive Country: Multiple Geographies Product – Travel