Air Travel Has Been Taken Into Unfriendly Skies

Those who regularly take flights all know that traveling by air is a challenging experience to some extent. Despite that fact, yhe recession airports are always crowded. It always has a hectic pace, with jets finding it difficult in holding to schedules. Also, it always leaves something to be desired when it comes to what ammounts for services in the air and on the ground.


Can we blame all this on deregulation? To a certain extent, but it’s not quite that simple. Deregulation eliminated uniform prices and ushered in a whole new wave of players with their own ideas on how to run an airline.


Without excessive government oversight, the industry witnessed a huge expansion. One estimate places the number of new carriers entering the marketplace at more than 150. America West, Jet Blue, Piedmont Airlines, Southwest Air; the list goes on. Just like the break up of Ma Bell in the ’80s spawned MCI and Sprint (along with fiber optic cable and a host of other innovations), deregulation of the airlines caused a modern day gold rush in the air. Many of those airlines have since folded, but the fact that entrepreneurs could step forward–with their own money, no less–to offer alternatives speaks volumes about the free market system. Prices came crashing down, the number of flights increased dramatically, and this country was onto a flying boom unheralded in its history.


As the old saying goes, what goes up must come down. With the exception perhaps of automobile manufacturers, few businesses have taken as hard of a hit in recent years as the airlines. The big drop can be traced to Sept. 11, 2001, when all flights were grounded for security reasons. Rampant fear that ripped through the flying public caused a drop in traffic that took years to undo. Add in the credit crunch, fuel prices that spiked last year, and astronomical pension obligations held by the larger carriers, and we’re facing a shakeout of unknown dimensions.


What does all this mean to you, the hapless airline traveler? First, count on more stress at the airports. In an effort to force up prices, airlines have taken numerous jets out of circulation. Fewer seats mean more competition from the flying public. Book as far ahead as possible, and check the airline’s Web site near departure time for any changes.


Demand for air travel has bounced back somewhat, despite the recession. But now the jets are running at or near capacity, so the chance of being bumped has increased. Check in early (as recommended) and wait patiently at the gate. Try to avoid losing your cool if things go bad. Patience and a friendly attitude will get you further than a loud voice and salty language. Remember that the agent can only offer what’s available in the system. Those folk aren’t gods.


Brace your self for a more crowded cabin and overhead bins. Check in that extra bag that you used to carry on. (Beware of the new baggage fees. Even though fuel prices have come down, many airlines look to those fees for extra income.) The airlines long ago dumped their cleaning crews–flight attendants do much of that now–so if your seat is a little dirty, chalk it up to the times.


Is there a silver lining? In a way, yes: The airlines still ban cell phone use while the aircraft is in motion. You can be thankful for that while you enjoy your mini bag of pretzels. For more suggestions on how to survive in the new age of age travel, go to


Article Source:

Related Travel Air Articles

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *