The Big But!



The Big But!

According to Avjobs, “Today’s airline industry is radically different from what it was prior to 1978. At that time, the industry resembled a public utility, with a government agency, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), determining the routes each airline flew and overseeing the prices they charged. Today, it is a market-driven industry, with customer demand determining the levels of service and price.”

The effects of Deregulation Act of 1978:

• Increased Competition
• Express Package Delivery
• Discount Fares
• New Carriers
• Frequent Flyer Miles


Although airline travel has had challenges over the past thirty-six years, passengers get where they are going in a reasonable amount of time, for a reasonable price, with reasonable discomfort. In other words we fly cheap and have next day delivery without fighting.

Now the industry is shifting from market to profit driven. Seats are smaller and closer, and the aisles narrower. Michael Henny, Delta’s director of customer experience explains the new profitability plan nicely saying, “Increasing density is a priority for us from the perspective of maximizing revenue, but the Slimline seats are great because they allow us to do that without sacrificing customers’ comfort,”

Increase density! The phrase applies to a can of sardines or salmon swimming upstream and I  imagine their new tag line; Delta Delivers Density.

Moreover, please define customers’ comfort, keeping in mind the American butt is wider, and the extra roll is now spilling on to a neighbor’s seat. 

But, let us not pick on Michael Henny, I am sure he is not the only highly paid airline executive who believes the general public is stupid, other airlines are refurbishing planes with the “Slimeline” seat.airline-seats

The Slimline is 17.3 inches wide, just an itsy- bitsy bit smaller than the 17.6 seat we currently sit in, which has been shrinking from the popular 18 inch seat during the wide body 1980″s.

Passengers are already sitting in seats that are too small without a pillow or blanket.

However, the Slimline cuts back further. Passengers sit one inch closer allowing for additional seats or revenue.

Experts predicted passengers would not notice the sardine can has gotten tighter.

But we have, and are now fighting. 

A United Airlines flight, from Newark to Denver, was diverted because of two passengers who were fighting over legroom.

“A woman and a man — both seated in the “Economy Plus” section of the aircraft, which already comes with extra legroom — were at each others’ throats because the man attached a “knee defender” device to his seat, preventing the woman in front from reclining, according the Associated Press.”

Passenger fights involving reclining seats diverted flights, one in route to Paris from Miami made an emergency stop in Boston and the other headed to Palm Beach out of NYC landed in Jacksonville to settle the dispute.

Why the fighting? People think it is about reclining seats and leg room, but it is really about invasion of personal space. If you raise your arm to scratch your head your elbow will hit your neighbors face. And think carefully about the logistics of using to the bathroom, which by the way is rumored to be the next “for-fee” service.

The new seats are 1,200 pounds lighter and will reduce fuel cost; but not if you have to divert planes, and rebook passengers on other flights.

“United says, the new seats make each A320 1,200 pounds lighter. Southwest says the weight savings is cutting about $10 million per year in fuel spending. In addition, the extra seats allow Southwest to expand flying capacity 4 percent without adding any planes, says spokesman Brad Hawkins, while also collecting more revenue from the additional passengers.”

When I complained to the airlines a customer service person responded, “You people wanted deregulation.”

Is  Ralph Nader still alive?

. . . just saying


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