There are some things that are just part of life. Traffic on the road, the occasional stomach bug and biting the inside of your lip are all things that we all have to deal with at some point in our lives.
Another thing we all accept for some reason is the pure disrespect we are treated with when we try to fly somewhere.
We all just accept that getting on a plane is going to be a painful and tiring process. We show up at airports 3 hours before your plane is going to board and just hope that it will take off on time, with you on it.
It shouldn’t be this way. The airline industry has forced us to do these things because they know we have very few, or no other options.
Now, the security process isn’t the airline’s fault. That’s the government’s doing. And like anything the government controls, it is horribly inefficient and otherwise painful. Nothing slows something down like the government sticking its nose into it. That part, I can’t fix.
What I can fix is the pure disrespect that the customers get from the airlines.
First off, why can the airlines “oversell” a flight? Doesn’t a plane have a finite number of seats in it? So why can people pay the same amount of money (sometimes more) for a seat they may not get? Let’s look at it from a different perspective. Let’s say I’m selling a car. I have three people make offers and I accept all of them. And then I tell two of them after it’s gone, “Oh, I’ll just give you the next car I’m selling.” That’ll go over well huh? I think I’d be in prison for some kind of fraud if I didn’t return their money. But the airlines get away with that every day. I’d say there is some kind of fraud going on every day in the airports.
Now I get that buying a “standby” ticket is a thing. I’m talking about the people that buy a standard ticket, and then someone is forced to get a later flight. Everyone buys tickets online nowadays. The system should be able to cut off the sales of tickets if there are no seats left.
Not only do the airlines openly commit fraud, but they have the audacity to lie to us when we need them to do the same to us. Last month, my wife and I were flying home from Florida to our home in Massachusetts. I won’t say what airline we were on, but what I will say is that the new Covid variant is aptly named.
As we arrived at the airport and printed out our boarding passes, the quiosc asked us if we would be willing to take a later flight because the flight had been “oversold.” Of course, we set a ridiculous price to take the bump, and went on through security.
Turns out, our flight got delayed due to thunderstorms in Atlanta and then thunderstorms in Daytona Beach. That happens. The flight ended up being delayed for roughly 4 and half hours. We missed our connection from Atlanta to Boston and we had just kind of accepted that. But, we figured they’d just put us on the next flight to Boston which was pretty late but we’d be home eventually.
Then we landed and checked what flight we were rerouted onto. In the airline’s infinite wisdom, they put us on a flight the next morning from Atlanta to Minneapolis then back to Boston arriving at some point in the evening. Makes a lot of sense right?
Of course we went to the service desk and waited in line for an hour to reschedule somehow. We finally got to the desk and I asked them to put us on the next flight to Boston which left in an hour or so. The woman at the desk told me there were no available seats. When I basically demanded to be on the flight, she said, “I know it’s frustrating but we can’t oversell the flight.”
So they can oversell a flight when it makes them extra money, but not when someone misses a flight by no fault of their own? Makes sense doesn’t it. But, we had no choice, so we had to spend the night in the Atlanta airport and eventually we got a flight to Boston the next morning.
I’m sure this is not a unique story.
In fact, there are people right now sitting in airports all across the country because Spirit Airlines is just cancelling flights. Not even delaying them, just cancelling them. These poor folks better get their money back and put on another airline at no charge to them.
This all is just the latest in the inconveniences and inefficiencies associated with flying. Just wait, the dumbest and simplest fix is yet to come.
We all know that boarding an airplane is a painful process. We line up, stand in the stupid jet way thing and wait to be bashed with someone’s luggage or elbowed as someone walks past us. Then once you get on the plane, there’s no room for your luggage above you in the overhead bins.
In typical BO Blogs style, I come with solutions to these very dumb problems.
Solution 1: Make sure every seat has an overhead bin space associated with it. Label it, and put it right above the row. That’s where the luggage goes. If it is too big, it goes underneath the plane and you may be charged for it. Make the dimensions that a bag may be very clear when you purchase the ticket.
Solution 2: Make sure everyone has an assigned seat. None of this boarding zone, first come first serve bull shit. You buy a ticket, you get a seat number. Done.
Solution 3: When it comes time to board, let those who need extra time go first like they do now. That’s fine. It actually speeds the process. Then, the person at the podium calls out that they will begin boarding. They will START FROM THE BACK! Not the front, THE BACK. They’ll call the last row specifically and those people will go on. They will then go in that fashion until the plane is full. That way people aren’t sliding by one another to get to seats behind them, and nobody gets elbowed in the dome as people slither by each other.
If the airlines would just do these things, everything would just go so much more smoothly. But, like anything, these three things just make way too much sense. Things will never be made more efficient in the airport.
Now, I’m sure I’ll end up on some kind of “no fly” list for pointing out the ineptitude of the airlines. But if one of them was smart, they wouldn’t vilify and condescend to those who try to help, they’d give us jobs that make their lives easier and in turn, make them more money.