photo by EfrankE

Monday, December 28, 2009

Come Fly with Me

This was flying during better times

(okay, not fashion-wise)
h/t to Marcy Massura

I’m sure you’re all aware by now of the Christmas Day failed commercial flight bombing by a terrorist who tried to detonate explosives hidden in his pants. It was one of the subjects of conversation last night at our four-generation family dinner.

Consider: What has been the government’s response to this? Tighten the borders? Deport visitors illegally remaining in this country? Refuse the visas and entry of flyers from countries with known connections to terrorists? Pay extra special attention to suspicious characters with funny-sounding names from home countries most Americans couldn't find on a map?

Of course not, that would require common sense and professional competence. The government bureaucracy that oversees commercial air travel is today already busy compiling a list of additional rules and restrictions that will further inconvenience non-bombing flyers. Conventional wisdom dictates that it’s better for hundreds of millions of innocent consumers/flyers to be greatly inconvenienced than to engage in passenger profiling which might inconvenience a few.

I can’t help but suspect Nationalized Health Care will be run with the same mindset but that’s not the subject here.

With most businesses, the customer is always right. In the airline industry the passenger is always wrong. "No, you may not bring on your own water or drinks, you will buy ours at inflated prices. We will not offer meal service on long flights, you will purchase an over-priced snack from us that tastes like cardboard if you get hungry. You will pay for each bag you wish to check. You will be at the airport another hour previous to your scheduled departure. Oh, and keep your hands where we can see ‘em." They might as well instruct their flight attendants to ask, “Is there any way I can make your flight MORE uncomfortable?”

While pasing through the various required checkpoints to board a plane, each of us is treated as a suspect, a potential criminal. I get treated better at Wal-Mart, which has even abandoned using the geriatric security guard to check receipts in shopping bags.

I expect commercial air travel, as it exists, will soon reach the point where it will no longer provide a benefit sufficient for people to use it by choice. Someone will come along with a new business model that will work better, attracting many customers. The government (i.e., you and I) will probably then have to bail out federally-regulated, existing airlines, which will be deemed too big to fail.

“So,” you say, “if you’re so smart, what would you do to solve all this?”

Me? I’d hang these posters up at two hundred foot intervals in every airport in the U.S.

Hey, it’s a start…

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