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Reflections on the pathetic state of American Civil Aviation [May. 3rd, 2008|09:22 pm]
Leipzig ~ enroute Ft. Lewis WA to Carjackistan

Having been in motion for over 14 hours now I have come to a horrible conclusion about the current state of air travel in the US. We all know, indeed, have known for some time now, that coach flight in the US has become something of a 19th century steerage affair, with Air Marshals and paranoid passengers ready to keep anyone from complaining too loudly. What this little jaunt has brought so forcefully to mind, however, is just how far it has fallen from 30-odd years ago.

Prior to Reagan, with routes and such controlled by federal regulation, air travel was something warm and pleasant, priced in such a way that not everyone did it all the time. If you were broke you took Greyhound, if you had a little money you flew coach, if you had more you flew first class. The airlines had spare money from the inflated, non-competitive prices, and the bus companies benefitted from a passdown effect. As a retult, coach air was a fairly nice experience and even bus travel was decent. Ronnie changed all that.

Open price competition has lead to a 'race to the bottom" on air fare, which rolled down onto the bus business, narrowing margins and, in the end, reducing everything to the most common denominator. The result is that everyone flys routinely, but in a pitiful.

Consider this: In the past 14 hours, flying a MAC cattle car, I have been offered three meals, three hot towels, and far more cola than anyone should drink. Nine stewardessess spread over more than 300 passengers have been attentive and polite throughout. In short, I have not seen anything like this in coach since I was twelve. Uncle Sugar, whose accomodations usualy classify as steerage, whose fights are booked for the unwilling by the uncaring, now provides something better than you pay for ordinarily.

[User Picture]From: sarmonster
2008-05-04 02:25 am (UTC)

I hae to admit I've been hoping for another "code red" on the DHS threat level so the airfares will go down. If I'm going to be treated like luggage for several hours and not let me smoke...I'd RAHTER take a cargo plane. If I could go into PRISON for twice the time it takes to take the plane, step out of prison and be there, I'd totally take that over air travel.
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[User Picture]From: mojrim
2008-05-05 12:58 am (UTC)
In prison at least the food is free.
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[User Picture]From: squidburg
2008-05-04 02:55 am (UTC)
I'm glad you had a nice flight! We certainly avoid flying anywhere like the plague, especially since i always contract one on the plane......:P
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[User Picture]From: kneil_bob
2008-05-04 04:07 am (UTC)
I think that the first airline to add an intermediate class on longer domestic flights will make a mint.

Paying $1200 each to fly to the NYC and back 1st class is a bit much, but I'd gladly pay $6-700 (vs. $400 coach) for a little extra space and power for my laptop.
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[User Picture]From: pseudogoth23
2008-05-04 09:05 am (UTC)
Tried Virgin America yet?
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[User Picture]From: coffeehouse
2008-05-04 02:21 pm (UTC)
Virgin offers intermediate class.
It compares to First Class on Continental, United, American and US Airways.

JetBlue used to be intermediate, but they've hired too many of the rejects from the other airlines and reduced the number of flight attendants from 4 to 3 on the A320's.
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