Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Flying Loves & Hates

Everyone has their priorities when it comes to air travel. Some folks want the absolute lowest fare, others want amenities. For us, it’s about two primary things – seat comfort and non-stop flights.

We can’t afford business class (much less first), so we want the best bang for our economy-ticket buck. Which is why we like United’s Economy Plus; why we love SeatGuru; and why we’ll pay a little more for a butt that still has feeling after we deplane. And since we really hate the airport experience part of traveling, we also want the most direct flights possible. We’ll gladly pay a little more to get to Europe from our small-town airport in one stop instead of two.

Some of what we don’t like we have control over (what airline to fly), some we don’t (airports and security).

What we don’t like is unassigned seating (we live three hours from a Southwest airport, yet have only flown them once); not enough counter agents; unexplained delays; criminally high airport parking fees; onerous change fees; unfriendly/unpleasant flight attendants (hey, your job IS customer service, get over it). And, finally, security. The sole purpose of our current security system is to keep us in a constant state of low-grade fear. In Bowling for Columbine, one of Michael Moore’s contentions is that government and some businesses have a vested interest in keeping Americans in a culture of fear. We have seen the future, and airport security is the closest we’ve seen to an Orwellian nightmare.