Monday, January 25, 2010

Air Travel is a $5 Pizza

It takes a while to amass more than a million air miles. In my case, I started before anyone knew what airport security meant. And before air travel became a commodity.  That, I think, gives me authority to comment on the subject. Of course, I may be the only person on earth who hasn't already done so.

We are closing out a trip from Seattle to NYC to DC and back. It is costing about $290 each. That's the good news. The bad news? You get what you pay for. If you set aside the fact that you are traveling more than 4000 miles in about 10 hours. But this is about the airline hospitality, not hygeine factors. And its about bitching out airlines. What can be more fun- bitching out lawyers?

OK, I'll take a pass on security. That is another rant. Focus on the airlines. First off, let's just deal with United and move on. The employees took over United. At the time it was #1 or #2, depending on the rating service. Had a sterling record. It was my airline of choice. Now it is at the bottom of the heap in an industry that makes up its own self serving rating rules. (that's them second from last on the chart) It is piss poor at anything except alienating customers. The "owners" of the company actively loathe their customers. I will fly anyone else to avoid this plagued excuse for a business. They make industry consolidation something to hope for.

American. I used to hate flying AA just because of the hell that is DFW. But now they have a great train at Dallas and its OK. Except the pilots still think you want to hear them rambling on over the PA for half the flight. And the PA is as loud as a KISS concert. But AA is OK if you have to fly them.

We like Alaska for now. They are a bit less miserable than others. In the rating I linked to they come out well.  I would like to fly SWA, but how is it they always cost more to go anywhere?  And if you want to go into or out of Texas you still have to sneak out like a Russian journalist. Thanks Jim Wright for the most offensively corrupt legislation ever!  Imagine- the entire US government dedicating itself to make sure a little start-up company can't compete with AA!  And now imagine SWA being more profitable- take that!

But in general, the tiny seats, charging for checking luggage, the cattle herding processes, the lackadasical treatment of passengers. It is just so irritating! 

So what about that pizza?  The airlines have done what the big pizza companies did in the early 90's. They discovered that when they reduced the price of a pizza, say a medium cheese pizza, to $5, a lot of people bought them. But those people didn't come back later to buy a full price pizza. They waited till the price was $5 again. They finally trained the pizza companies to just make the price $5 and figure out how to cheapen the product till it was profitable at that price. And so they have.  And now the airlines have too.

Oh, on another subject.  After 10 days in New York, the only nasty rude person we met was a ticket agent at American Airlines.

No comments: