The Hiller Instinct: Airlines
Don't take my word for it. We asked travelers to complete this sentence: "airlines make passengers feel like..."
One passenger says, "cattle."
Another says, "things in a tube."
A limo driver says, "airlines make passengers feel like... they're not wanted."
Why we're being squeezed is no mystery. The price of fuel is breaking airline budgets. You think it's expensive to fill up your car? Be glad you don't drive a jet.
Airlines pay the same amount you do for a gallon of fuel, about four dollars, but a big jet can hold more than 63,000 gallons, and cost more than a quarter of a million dollars to fill up--an increase of 80 percent from just a year ago.
Now, airlines are projecting losses of up to $13 billion this year. Recent increases in ticket prices don't cover that, so airlines are searching for more money everywhere, adding new fees for everything from checking bags to on-board beverages.
And what does paying more get you? A personal inspection any prison would be proud of, longer lines, and more delays. You're not imagining it if you think you are spending more time at the airport. Add up all the flight delays in 2007 and, together, travelers lost 320 million hours, which is more than 36,000 years.
We asked travelers, "What would you compare flying to?"
One says "to a little bit of torture now."
Another says, "[I] absolutely wish there was another way. I don't know what the way is but I wish there was another way."
Yet another says, "I loathe it; I spend my life on planes."
Maybe it was as long ago as black and white film, but, once, there was real food served on planes... for free... and when it looked like airlines had as many attendants as passengers.
I know the glamour's gone... and that it's never coming back... but cutting comfort and convenience while constantly raising prices is a flight plan for frustration.
With fewer seats, fewer cities served, and fewer people who can afford to fly, all that's sure to take off is air rage. Hiller, that's my instinct.
(Copyright 2008 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)