What sort of whiny terrorist sympathizer would complain about waiting three hours on a TSA security line, just because they’ve yet to stop any terrorist ever? What about the children?
You have likely been reading about the scandalous situation at our airports where TSA security points have created chokepoints due to a lack of planning and staffing in the latest failure of this agency. Thousands of passengers are missing their flights due to massive lines and the airports are now suggesting that people come THREE HOURS in advance.
The reason is obvious incompetence in failing to plan for rising numbers of passengers and to properly staff security checkpoints. Yet, no one is being held accountable. The public is just again left paying billions to the government, which cannot meet the most basic obligations to the public. We no longer expect competence from our government.
No longer? As if it’s easy for the government to protect us in this ever changing, ever threatening world? So what if the TSA has yet to catch a single terrorist. What about the next one, the one who will blow up your children? Don’t you care at all?
But then, three hour wait times in TSA lines is only the beginning of the brave new world of air travel.
We have been following the increasing lines at security checkpoints in our airports due to budget cuts and TSA incompetence while airlines pile on extra charges for passengers while reducing both room and comfort to the level of cattle cars. As passengers are treated with level more regard than cattle by TSA and the airlines, the airlines themselves are racking up huge profits. Indeed, the most recent report shows that U.S. airlines had a combined $25.6 billion in net earnings last year. Yet, the airlines successfully lobbied to kill a bill in Congress that would have required such things as the publication of leg room on seats.
Sit down. Turley’s not done yet.
The after-tax profit for 25 airlines with scheduled passenger service was more than three times the $7.5 billion reported in 2014. Not only that but average fuel prices are 35% lower than the prior year. This is the sixth consecutive years of profits for the industry.
Remember how the airlines justified those baggage fees on fuel costs? Well, they are not rescinding them. Indeed, baggage fees rose to $3.8 billion last year and reservation change fees totaled $3 billion.
So the airline industry has treated us like total dirt, increasing fees, decreasing service, while the government makes us wait three hours on line for the pleasure? Turley finally gets to the point.
[A]irlines have succeeded in changing the expectations of travelers. For those of us who remember air travel as comfortable and low stress, the status of travel today is nothing short of a scandal. I used to enjoy flying and now I avoid it whenever possible. It is punishing and degrading. Yet, the airlines knew that such memories would fade with the new generation and that they could lower expectations while increasing profits. They gambled on people accepting cramped conditions with few comforts and they won.
But it’s not just airlines. It’s pretty much everything, as we’ve been trained to expect to be treated like dirt and thank business for the insult, with our continued patronage and our attitude. We buy things that are bigger, shinier, more complicated, more expensive, and last about an hour beyond their warranty. If that. And people adore it.
We’ve been indoctrinated into a disposable consumer world, where we pay ridiculous sums of money for a shiny toy with a useful life of a couple years at best, after which it goes away so we can buy the next shiny toy. Yes, I’m talking about smartphones.
A few years back, companies gave away cellphones to entice you to use their services. Sure, the cost of the services was exorbitant, and built in the cost of the “free” phones, but at least you got a free phone. Now, the cost remains exorbitant, but you have to pay for the phone as well. See how they did that?
Where air travel was once an experience in itself, it has become solely a means to an end. It is the equivalent of replacing every fine restaurant with a vending machine on the theory that people only want food at the lowest possible cost. Call me a dinosaur if you will, but I will never forget the golden age of travel when airlines prided themselves on not just the arrival at a location but experience in getting there.
I remember when people dressed up to travel by air. When even coach passengers were given a meal. When the meal was served on actual plates. When the kid behind us couldn’t kick the back of the seat because his legs wouldn’t reach that far.
But why should the airlines be any different than any other industry, recognizing how little we will expect. There was a time when refrigerators not only worked, but would work perfectly for 20, 30, 40 years. No, they didn’t call Peapod when the milk ran low, but they did keep the milk cold. For decades. True, you had to figure out on your own that you were low on milk.
So we’re dinosaurs? Fair enough. We expect the goods and services we buy to work, to serve their function, to reflect value, to not treat us like cattle. So if we’re dinosaurs, why aren’t you a dinosaur too?
As long as people keep excusing, forgiving, rationalizing the failure of goods and services to provide more than empty promises, and shrug off failure and being treated like fools, businesses will happily continue to dish out crap and treat you like cattle. Is that really the future you want for yourself?
Maybe the curmudgeons aren’t as mean and demanding as you think. Maybe our memory of products that work, less shiny but of far better value, is something you ought to pay attention to. Maybe our refusal to take in stride the downward spiral of service to perpetually reduce expectations is the key to our being provided actual good service rather than cute commercials where businesses pretend to love us.
Maybe the curmudgeons are right. Maybe you better come to that realization before your entire world of disposable crap and cattle-like treatment is the best you’re ever going to do. Suck it up. Refuse to buy that next iPhone, even if it has the jack on the other end. At some point, you either call bullshit or just put your
credit debit card online and let businesses charge at will.