The Not So Friendly Skys

Airline Travel

The apprehension of boarding an airplane today is well founded. Practically every one associates the fear of flying with a foreboding sense that the plane will actually crash. They may have a valid point; because now, most of the commercial airlines have eliminated two engines on their aircraft. This, for the sake of cutting fuel costs has jeopardized passenger safety. A prime example occurred in January of 2009 when a commercial jet with only two engines both shut down during ascent which forced that plane to make a miraculous landing in the Hudson River. Had there been four engines mounted the decibel level would have been loud enough to scare birds and other foul farther away so that what caused those engines failure wouldn’t have happened. Only through the skill and knowledge of the pilot and crew a tragedy was adverted.

This is just one prime example of how the commercial airline industry has cut costs in lieu of public safety. Today, with the ever increasing demand to keep profit margins steady, and the continuing threat of terrorism the commercial airlines and government has instituted protocols, procedures, rules, regulations and mandates that the general public now finds very intimidating and daunting when it comes time to book, board, and travel via air. Also, adding to this dilemma that the airline industry is faced with is the growing number of individuals who are so obese that the normal size aircraft passenger seats are too small to accommodate those passengers. This is because airlines have continually revamped commercial jets to include more passenger seats. Another ploy to increase revenue and at the same time decrease passenger safety and comfort. It is just recently that some air lines have began the long over due replacement of their out dated aircraft. Most airlines continue to use aircraft that are more than 20 years old. This has to be a major safety concern.

Gone are the days when airlines treated all its passengers like guests on a luxury ocean liner; where the amities and service by the crew was exemplary. Many of the amities like food and beverages were all included as well as your luggage in the purchase price of your ticket. What has transpired in the past 30 years is a complete elimination of the kinds of service that made air travel such a pleasure. Replaced with a bare bones service one would expect when traveling on a crowded subway car in rush hour. Some airlines are going even further in dashing any hope that air travel would once again put the pleasure back in passenger service. They are now implementing vertical seating {a new terminology} where passengers now book airfare as standing room only. This means that certain airlines now are putting profit to even greater heights ahead of passenger safety and well being. Imagine a subway car so crowded people are strapped in like sardines in a can. The mere thought of traveling this way is irrepressible. Sad to say this is a reality being offered in some commercial airlines today.

Any time when an industry blatantly puts financial gain ahead of safety that industry incurs greater financial loss and the respect of the general public. Does BP and the oil disaster in the Gulf sound familiar? What the commercial airline industry has inadvertently done by all those additional fees, continued use of outdated aircraft, lack of amities and the continuing rising cost of tickets is rendering the commercial aviation industry incapable of being a major contributor to the economic expansion that is so crucial for the United States economic recovery.

In understanding the fear of flying in today’s world one has to realize that with the constant threat of terrorism [a real eminent threat to any one who travels regardless of the particular mode of transport] the new instituted rules, procedures and regulations are in place to help make us safer. They also help deter those individuals who are bent of rendering devastation and harm to the public. Still many view these new protocols as intrusive and infringe on our social liberties. A very sad commentary of the world we live in today.

What the commercial aviation industry must do is streamline all those new regulations when boarding and regain the attitude of putting passenger comfort and safety back ahead of profit. That old saying in business “Give the public what they want at a price they can afford, repeat business is rest assured.” This same philosophy has to apply to the commercial airline industry. Even with the security measures that are now in place the fear of flying just might be reduced and more individuals will experience a renewed sense of pleasure and safety when traveling by air.

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