No matter what you think of The Donald, love him or hate him, he’s right on this…one way to “Make America Great Again” would be to improve Americas flying experience. The GOP frontrunner recently said, “Right now, our roads are crumbling, our airports are horrible. When you fly into LaGuardia, it’s an embarrassment.” Things have deteriorated in the flying experience really since 911. The rise of the all-powerful TSA and the stringent security methods have taken away freedoms we once enjoyed. Now it feels like the lottery when you wait in line. Will you be the one singled out for persecution? Will they take you in the back room for more humiliation? Can that infrared thing see my underwear? Where did I leave that finger nail clipper? Nothing but anxiety around what used to be considered by many an incredibly exciting and memorable event. Fear and loathing is all that remains.
As if that wasn’t enough to hurt the image of flying, don’t forget about the delays. They are bad and getting worse. Check out this article that goes through each airline and discusses the most common delays and has a system to try to beat them. I found it interesting that there is a thing in the American lexicon coined Airport Rage. Apparently, I don’t fly enough, I’ve seen road rage, but airport rage? C’mon people, what happened to enjoying your delay in the sky bar? Delays have turned from an occasional inconvenience to a perpetual hell with no escape. Complain about it…try forgetting about it. No one cares about your connection you missed. Sorry, was that your daughter’s wedding you were flying to? Oh well, you’ll make her next one.
Many people are giving up the friendly skies and hitting the road. Families and business people alike are choosing to drive, even if it’s thousands of miles to the destination, rather than endure what has become the state of commercial flight in America. The airlines are treating people like cattle. It’s time to upgrade our airports both aesthetically and functionally. Competition fixes most of these complaints. Capitalism finds a way if the regulations don’t ruin things, which they always do and have in the flight industry. If we allowed more competition on domestic flights the prices would be affordable and the desk clerk would have to be nice to you, like the desk clerk at a hotel, because they know you can go to the competition if they don’t treat you right.
Oh yeah, and don’t get me started on bag fees! The airlines are nickel and diming customers to death. Since 2007, the airlines have collected $20 billion in bag fees, much of it tax free. Ten years ago fees like that didn’t even exist. Shouldn’t all that profit have made the ticket much cheaper or upgraded a few terminals? Well…no. Everything is more expensive and more annoying about flying than ever. Don’t get me wrong. I personally love flying. I get a window seat just to look out and enjoy the experience. I love the take off. I love the middle part. I even love the thrill of landing. God bless the Wright brothers, but this is getting out of hand.
The Donald may be onto something here. Time to put a little American pride back into the whole trip. From the Uber ride to the curb, to the bag check, to security, to the inflight snack…let’s make flying awesome again. People wonder why Trump is resonating with a whole bunch of folks. His brand of truth telling hits home. How often have you ever heard a politician talk about wanting to be proud of our American airports again? The answer is, a quarter to never. Donald usually flies in his own plane which is nicer than Air Force One. Even so, he gets it that our flying industry and the government that it is in bed with, has treated the American customer like dirt. He’s a businessman, and that’s no way to run a business.