Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hassle of Airline Travel

It's no secret that airplane travel has lost its luster over the course of the past decade, if not years earlier. A new USA Today/Gallop poll found that 27 percent of those surveyed said it has gotten so bad, they would prefer to travel by train or car. For short trips, we agree. We can't remember the last time we flew between N.Y.C. and D.C. Just this past weekend, Annie took Amtrak on that route. The three hour ride with no long security lines, no pausing to take off shoes, dragging the laptop out of bag and and no limits on liquids, is far preferable to the 30 minute flight. That flight used to be faster, but with all the hassles of getting to and through the airport and the possibility of weather delays, it's just not worth it anymore.

What would we like to see the airports and airlines improve?
  • Improve security checks. There has to be a way to screen passengers before they even get to the airport. The alleged underwear bomber is said to have bought his one-way ticket in cash, two things that should have tipped off security.
  • Stop charging for the little things--checking bags, snacks, emergency exit row seats.
  • Offer complimentary movies and WiFi
  • Make flying fun again. We love the example of Virgin America's Holiday Cheer program.
  • Cuter uniforms. Admittedly, this is a small thing, but flight attendants who are wearing uniforms they actually like would help put the glamour back in air travel.
  • Make getting to the airport easier. We would love to see express rails from downtown directly to the airport, a la the Heathrow Express.


Anonymous said...

Just to eliminate some confusion about the underwear bomber: it is very common for Africans to purchase plane tickets in cash, as many do not have credit cards. In fact, I heard on NPR that many airlines require that tickets be paid in cash. So this wouldn't have been a "red flag" for security per se.

Also, I believe he did have a round-trip ticket, but I've seen it said both ways.

The Jet Set Girls said...

Interesting point and we hadn't heard that about Africans paying for tickets in cash. Still, there has to be a better way for airlines to screen passengers better before they get to the airport.
I would personally be willing to submit to more stringent pre-screening if it meant an easier time at the airport.

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