The Chicken and the Egg Paradox With the Airline Industry

As I frequently do, I like to travel. My wife and I are into seeing this beautiful country and to experience the world. I also like to write about traveling, not brag about it (maybe a little) but to share our joys in the experience. But sometimes the trip itself can get mired in stupid little hangups, usually the type that are out of our control. Delays I can handle. I’ve never, thankfully, had a piece of luggage lost. I’ve never been bumped. We prepare to the nth degree so that things like this don’t happen. We prepare for all slight inconveniences So what happens when you don’t prepare? Those that don’t, end up in a mess of their own making.

Today airlines are more interested in putting as many bodies in those seats to recoup costs. As a result I have noticed some service has fallen off. When people complain that they’re not getting good service, this reasoning is thrown back at them. But events in recent years have made me wonder if bad airline service begat viral videos of bad passenger behavior or has the wretched viral nature of social media and near instant distribution of news caused the increase of bad behavior in airline travelers. People consume these videos of others losing their minds on airplanes or at the ticket counter et cetera. Sure, it’s good fun ridiculing ridiculous travelers with ridiculous expectations (no, you can’t get on board a plane without an ID and other dumb ideas) but if you are a cynic at all, you might think this is normal. In some ways, it is.

Business Insider tries to find out why people are like this, but fails miserably to explain:

Yes, airport travel can be stressful but as with anything, there are ways around it if you prepare. But people intentionally being assholes on flights and getting “roughed up” (or at least claiming as such) to get freebies is not necessarily a new phenomenon. Getting fifteen minutes of fame is also not a new phenomenon. The availability of sophisticated smartphone technology to record bad passenger and airline behavior only adds to the problem. It is in the same vein of using a phone to record police officers while they are in the course of doing their duty in hopes of cashing in on any possible mistake made by said officers. It’s wrong both on the part of the voyeuristic videographer and the one acting like a moron. But human nature once again rears its ugly head. Some people get off on watching these morons. And it is truly ugly in today’s society where it’s easy and inexpensive to become a celebrity just by acting like a toddler.

Passenger air travel is literally something that has been around less than a hundred years. Jet airplane travel, probably around sixty. Even in the early days, people respected traveling by air because it was a luxury. It was something to be excited about because it was out of reach for many until cross-continent travel was available. In today’s standards it is still a luxury based on current prices. Back then people treated it with respect despite the large expense.

The sad statement is that government regulations, airline pilots unions and airport workers unions also hamper air travel for consumers, another aspect that airlines have to adjust for to make a profit and pay their overhead. I don’t fault the companies for trying to make a profit. I fault them for making it difficult for people that follow the rules and making it easier for petulant and disruptive passengers and customers to get their way. Stupid and avoidable mistakes are also the fault of airlines.

Take, for example, a flight my wife and I took from Atlanta to Los Angeles back in 2018: our flight was delayed an hour because the pilot’s seat was “malfunctioning”: the seat wouldn’t slide all the way up or something like that. Meanwhile, the plane full of people had to wait in their seats as mechanics pulled the pilot’s seat out to “repair” it on the jetway and put it back. We were both upset about it but cooler heads prevailed and we were patient. We had to look on the bright side: we didn’t get deplaned. delay did not cost us anything but time. Apparently, the rest of the airplane felt the same as there were no incidents of anyone acting out.

And then there’s the whole issue with “emotional support animals”, probably the dumbest concept I have ever heard of in my life. People have been testing the limits and pushing the envelope on the policy even so far as some guy wanting to bring his steer on board as an emotional support animal. Or horse or even a damn peacock.

When you take amenities away from passengers, you are going to get more asshole fliers. When you cost additional time, the same. But here is an instance where ground should be stood and keep people from using this ridiculous loophole.

Our solution to this whole mess of service and insane attnetion-seeking passengers? We fly first class. In our minds, it’s totally worth the price….