Top 10 Reasons People Hate FlyingSuggested by SMS
More people are taking to the skies than ever before, and while there has never been a safer time to be in the air, many travelers are weary from the hassle of getting to where they need to go. From delayed flights and crowded aircraft to baggage and reservation fees, passenger satisfaction is at an all time low while passenger traffic is at an all time high. Here are the top ten reasons why people hate flying, and they are not what most people would expect.
10. Baggage Fees
Airlines invented this one out of thin air to offset skyrocketing fuel costs without raising fares. But, now that the price has stabilized at the pump, the fees are more common than ever. Just the concept of paying for luggage to travel on board is ridiculous and goes against logic. Not only that, but it’s an insult to loyal customers as well as the general flying public when airlines have the audacity to assess fees for something as basic and integral to flying as luggage.
And they didn’t stop there either. Once people started filling up the already crowded overhead bins with bulging carryon bags in order to avoid having to pay the new fees, some airlines started charging for that too. The obvious question is why don’t passengers just go to another airline that doesn’t charge baggage fees? Because of frequent flyer programs.
Since so many people have a vested interest in earning miles for their frequent flyer programs, airlines know passengers are not going to sacrifice the opportunity to earn miles for fees. To illustrate how far this scheme has evolved, a major airline recently aired a commercial actually offering a free baggage coupon for signing up with their particular frequent flyer award credit card. While airlines are making money hand over fist, their loyal passengers are being suckered from every direction imaginable.
9. Fees in general
There are fees for everything, ranging from things like food and drinks to pillows and blankets, and passengers are left with little choice other than to deal with them. Just remember to have your credit card handy the next time you fly because many airlines are also phasing out the practice of accepting cash on flights (money must weigh too much to be fuel efficient these days).
8. Long Security Lines
Air travelers have serious and justifiable reasons for hating the long lines at the security checkpoint. To their credit, the TSA has improved wait times over the last few years, and they have also tried different ways to streamline the process. But, many travelers feel much more can be done to reduce the hassle and time consuming process of just simply getting to the gate.
Airlines have been doing this for decades, and for good reason. People don’t always show up, and there are those empty seats that airlines would love to fill. So, by selling more tickets than there are seats, airlines have a better chance of departing with more passengers.
Unfortunately, this system doesn’t always work well for travelers who have experienced the time honored tradition of being bumped from their flight. Despite decent compensation from some airlines, it still rubs people the wrong way when they realize their travel plans can be derailed just because an airline thought they could squeeze a couple more passengers on board.
6. Outsourcing telephone customer service representatives
In another popular move to shave costs of operating budgets industry wide, airlines are taking an interest hiring overseas call centers to act as customer service representatives. This move comes at a premium despite the savings the airlines are enjoying. Not only do many travelers have to contend with language and cultural barriers, but now some airlines are charging passengers for booking their reservations over the phone as well.
5. Cancellations and delays
Everybody knows that airlines are not to blame for bad weather and mechanical problems. However, how these situations are handled can be much more passenger friendly. Most airlines offer meager compensation packages, but they can do a lot more in terms of making their displaced passengers more comfortable throughout these frustrating interruptions.
4. Lost luggage
Considering the fact that millions of bags find their respective owners at the right time and place is nothing short of a miracle, but if you are one of the few that fall through the system, be prepared to be patient. Long lines, complicated forms to fill out, charges for delivery and confusing policies regarding the claims process leave many travelers shaking their heads in frustration more often than not. Getting an airline to replace a simple suitcase with a few days of clothes and toiletries can end up causing a headache that will be remembered long after the trip itself.
3. Internet travel sites
While they are constantly advertising the best deals and lowest fares, the truth is that they are all connected to the main reservation systems that many of airlines themselves use. While this has allowed for lower and more competitive fares, one nasty side effect to this convenience are the hidden terms and conditions that go along with it.
Getting a ticket can seem simple, but if someone needs to change or cancel a trip it can be a time consuming nightmare that literally makes no sense. Here’s an example.
Say someone buys a one way ticket from New York to Honolulu. They pick the lowest fare, and the trip includes a change of planes in Los Angeles. The airline that they bought the fare from may not be the airline they actually end up flying. Sound strange? It is, but it is a common practice called code sharing.
2. Code sharing
Code sharing is a very complicated way for airlines to earn commission by putting their passengers on another airline’s flight. This works well for airlines that have complimentary route networks and allows them to link their passengers in ways that provide more options for flyers and more revenue for the carriers. But, this also means that a passenger may book a flight on one airline in particular and end up flying on another one altogether.
Code sharing is one of the reasons that online travel sites can access and offer such a wide range of ticket options for customers. But, when problems do come up, like an unwary passenger who needs to change their travel plans, it can be a complicated problem to solve. Compounding the problem is that many times a passenger won’t even know what carrier officially owns their ticket. More often than not, a passenger will book a flight on airline x, but fly on airline y and z.
This is a pretty unnoticed and seamless process, and its only when there’s a problem that some of the seriously annoying flaws make themselves known. It’s not easy to re-book a ticket when three airlines are involved, and what makes matters worse is that it is the airline that owns your ticket that makes the rules, even if that isn’t the airline you chose to fly on. This goes on virtually unnoticed millions of times per day, and is a great experience to have if you are looking for a good dose of high blood pressure after making a last minute change to the ticket.
1. The magic is gone
The romance, the fantasy and the wonder of taking to the skies has been reduced to a system that isn’t much different than boarding a crowded subway during rush hour. Despite all of the advancements that make flying seamless and as trouble free as possible for millions of people per day, the airline industry has lost its charm.
Maybe it is because of what happened after 9/11, or perhaps it was a slow economy that forced airlines to start running on a lean mixture, but somewhere along the line passengers became little more than breathing cargo. Above all else, all of the delays, all of the reservation hassles and lost luggage, the thing that irks people the most is that they don’t feel valued or appreciated anymore.
It’s ironic that people used to pay a premium for legendary and world class service while airlines would fight tooth and nail for the frequent business traveler’s patronage. Now they pay top dollar for baggage fees and pillows and find a mindless robot from across the world trying to solve their travel related concerns.
Airlines blame the cutbacks in service and the addition of fees on a wide range of problems, from a tight economy to soaring fuel costs. But why does customer service have to suffer along with the rest of us? Wouldn’t it be nice if the number one reason that people hate flying became the number reason they love their favorite airline instead? Maybe fees wouldn’t sting so much if there was a little bit of that long lost airline magic thrown into the mix.