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HKP Aug 4th, 2005 04:50 AM

What one thing could airlines do....?
What one thing (or two) could airlines do that would most make air travel the pleasurable adventure it used to be?

Leaving aside things over which they may have no control regarding post 9/11 security, I think I'd start with all those predawn departures for trips beginning on either coast, forcing us to begin our travels grossly short of sleep and brain-scrambled even before we board the plane.

Cassandra Aug 4th, 2005 05:03 AM


My personal gripe (I know others could talk about seat space) is blocking the entire coach area forward of the wing for elite-status passengers, which pretty much all "legacy" airlines other than AA do. This "back of the bus" treatment makes coach even more a cattle-call than it already is -- effectively making each flight a 3- or even 4-class flight, with less space, less hope of making tight connections, more storage-space battles, and a charmless view of the back of the wing. As annoyed with AA as I often get, it's a primary reason I rarely fly the other airlines (which is, I suppose, a vicious circle, since I'm therefore never going to get elite status on the other airlines).

BeachBoi Aug 4th, 2005 05:19 AM

Got an email from my TA yesterday...United now or soon requires you to pony up for the EP seating...who's next?? It's called Economy Plus Access, $299 per year...BUT, no guarantee that you will always get it.....

Statia Aug 4th, 2005 06:04 AM

I would give up all inflight service for inflight entertainment (selection of movies, television, news, documentaries, etc.) on every flight, even those that are short hauls. It just makes the time go by faster.

Worktowander Aug 4th, 2005 07:49 AM

LEG ROOM! (And I'm only 5'5").

Patty Aug 4th, 2005 10:45 AM

I'd give up all in flight service AND entertainment for more leg room and recline.

KT Aug 4th, 2005 10:52 AM

BeachBoi, I got that same United e-mail. As I understand it, EP is still available to elite FFs at no additional charge. The EP Access thing is for the non-elite FFs, who weren't otherwise eligible to reserve those seats.

soccr Aug 4th, 2005 11:02 AM

I agree with posts above, don't even care about in-flight free food if they'll make decent-food-for-purchase available (and why not even offer the buy/no buy and menu options at the time of ticket purchase, which would allow them pre-flight planning and us the knowledge that we don't have to stand in line at Starbucks and risk missing the flight).

But if they would JUST change their instruction to agents at the gate and on the phone to sound accommodating instead of hostile....!! least APPEAR to be trying to be helpful, instead of copping an attitude and shaking a finger at passengers, as if they were the problem, not the weather or the traffic or the equipment or the airline's capricious messing with the schedule. How much would it cost them to have agents say, "I'm sooo sorry you're having a problem, I'm trying my very best to help you, let's see what I can do," instead of "the rules are XYZ and there's nothing I can do, bub, you're stuck so be quiet and go away."

KT Aug 4th, 2005 11:07 AM

Correction to my last sentence: even non-elite FFs can currently get EP seats, but not at the cheap fare classes in which I fly! Full-fare economy only, I think.

As for the original question, I can't stand watching the inflight entertainment anyway (they edit the movies, the sound is awful, the screen is too small, etc.). So I'm with those who would gladly see it go in exchange for even another centimeter of legroom.

Also, to stir up a hornet's nest, a big cause of anxiety for me is always trying to find space for my well-below-the-limits carryon because others have been allowed to board with refrigerator-sized luggage, and multiple pieces at that. So I'd like to see better enforcement. (Yes, I know, those other people will say they're too busy to wait for checked luggage to appear, so I'll just have to suck it up...)

AAFrequentFlyer Aug 4th, 2005 12:01 PM

As posted by <b>soccr</b> -

<i>why not even offer the buy/no buy and menu options at the time of ticket purchase, which would allow them pre-flight planning and us the knowledge that we don't have to stand in line at Starbucks and risk missing the flight</i>

Simple, imagine the different and obvious scenarios:

1. Passenger(s) decides to standby for earlier/later flight
2. Passenger(s) miss the connection
3. Passenger(s) does not show up, so the airline releases the seat to a standby passenger(s)

soccr Aug 4th, 2005 12:21 PM

AAFF, of course those things happen, but perhaps not quite as often nowadays than in the &quot;Golden Age&quot; (hah!) of hotmeals on board. (If I thought there were a chance I might be a no-show or want to try for standby, I probably wouldn't pay the extra $5-10 for a meal.)

Also, I didn't specify that the meals had to be actually stored and heated on board for shorter flights -- the Bistro-bag model at the gate would work for modest boxed to-go meals, just as a lot of the airport concessionaires now provide boxed pizza, etc.

It would add a bit of predictability for both passengers and airline, and it seems to me that having unexpected passengers onboard b/c of standby would automatically come with the understanding that no food would be available (unless of course they wanted to claim a no-show meal).

Frankly, I think this is a bit of missed revenue opportunity here -- esp. with hubs and esp. with all those 6 am flights HKP was taking about, which leave before any concessions really get up and running. Airlines would inevitably outsource the food preparation and delivery -- main problem for the airlines would be collection of after-meal trash, which they already face with people bringing concession food on board.

In many ways, Delta's already doing this, just not on all flights. Just don't see why AA in particular -- with all those 3 hr. morning flights to DFW, connecting at midday for 3 hr. flights to the oppositie coast -- doesn't get that their passengers are forced to go 6-8 hrs. with nothing but pretzels and soda if their connection at DFW is less than an hour (which it usually is).

SamH Aug 4th, 2005 01:25 PM

I wish the airlines would enforce their own rules concerning carry on baggage. I am careful to limit myself to a laptop case or backpack. And I hate getting to my seat and finding that the passanger in the rear of the plane have taken all the forward overhead bins. lol bitch bitch bitch

karens Aug 4th, 2005 06:12 PM

Be honest about delays. Don't say the plane is scheduled to depart at 9:30am if the incoming flight has just arrived at 9:10. They know there's no way the passengers can get off and they can turn the plane around in that little time.

And legroom, too.

With the food issue. I always thought it would be good if airlines charged for food. Then USAirways started to do that, but it's not done well, and you can't count on there definitely being something available to eat on tne plane. They only order so many meals, and once they run out, you're out of luck if you're in the back of the plane. We always try to bring food, but with tight connections, it's hard to pick something substantial up at the airport.

karens Aug 4th, 2005 06:14 PM

Oh, one more thing. Don't call me one month before my flight and announce I have a minor schedule change and then tell me my 1.5 hour lay-over is now a 4 hr. 15 min. lay-over! And that my other flight, which was originally a non-stop, now has a 1.5 lay-over in Denver. These are NOT minor changes.

Underhill Aug 5th, 2005 11:54 AM

More comfort and courtesy would be at the top of my list, along with more direct flights.

ed Aug 5th, 2005 03:27 PM

Increase seat pitch and adjust arm rests so that it is possible to get out of the seat without being a contortionist.

Enforce carry on rule. I have seen &quot;carry on&quot; bigger than our checked luggage.

Question. If the contents of your &quot;carry on&quot; are damaged because oversized &quot;carry on&quot; was forced into
the bin is the airline responsible?? :-B

LoveItaly Aug 6th, 2005 12:11 AM

What one thing could airlines do....well IMO be honest! If the flight is going to be two hours late say so. If the flight is going to be at least two hours late and maybe longer say so. Than one could leave the gate and go get something to eat or drink or whatever.

I am sick and tired of flights being delayed and than being advised &quot;do not leave the gate or the area as you do not want to miss your flight&quot;.

Hello! Thanks to the airlines you have already &quot;missed your flight&quot;.
So at least, IMH, give us the information on how long it will take for &quot;our flight&quot; to board.

If the airlines would stop playing their games I think all flyers would be happier.

GreenDragon Aug 9th, 2005 11:44 AM

Yes, honesty and attitude are number one, and cover many sins.

If my flight is cancelled, tell me now. Don't wait until the last minute, when any flights I may have taken instead are already gone.

If my flight is delayed, tell me for how long, so I can go get coffee or snack and relax.

If you are having problems, don't take it out on the passengers (unless the passenger is already being rude, then go to it --we'll applaud in the background). A helpful attitude will keep people MUCH calmer in problems than a 'that's not my department' attitude.

Other things I'd love to see is the carry-on rules being enforced, as well as body odor rules. OH MY GOD how some people SMELL!!!!

clevelandbrown Aug 9th, 2005 02:35 PM

I don't value inflight entertainment, in fact I always bring my own. Food in tourist is not that great, even if they have it, so let them eliminate that and I will bring my own.

I would value most highly more space. On the typical overnight flight to Europe, one person who has to use the lavatory ends up waking about five or more of his neighbors, and they could solve that by just adding some space between the rows.

I think its a little unreasonable to expect them to advise each of us of every prospective delay and exactly how long it will be. If there is a weather delay, who knows with any certainty how long it will be. If there are mechanical problems with a plane, they don't know with certainty how long the repair will take until it is finished. I think we are pretty well treated, given that we generally have no allegiance to any carrier and buy strictly based on price; the days when the carriers were well staffed and could hold our hands are gone. Gate agents who once were at the gate well before boarding time are now busy at another gate until just before boarding time, when they rush up and try to solve our problems. Someone posted that air transport has become very like mass transit, and I can't disagree with that, except when I get on a bus, I can at least ask the driver if its the right one.

Gavin Aug 9th, 2005 05:46 PM

Legroom is number one for us. I know the marketplace says lowest fare rules. The middle ground is let those who require / desire more legroom to be able to pay modestly more dollars more for modestly more space. No fancy first class frills required (or can be afforded here.) Failing this idea I would like to see the ability to recline seats restricted, possibly in just a portion of the plane, like the old smoking / non-smoking sections.

LEANNA Aug 10th, 2005 08:43 PM

Ok here is my wiggy idea. Somebody take it and run w/ it and make millions!!!

Instead of 3 seats why not layer horizontal sleep compartments. We climb up using a ladder and stow our hand luggage in our own compartment. Then we climb in and streach out!!

I've seen what I'm talking about in Japaneese Hotels and it would work on a plane. You could layer them 3 high or even 4 high, and get the same amount of people in the same space. Each compartment could have its own tv and water supply! You would only have to come out for the WC.

Can anyone picture what I mean. Would be great and very comfy I should think...and those of us in the cattle section could sleep on those long hauls!

wally34949 Aug 11th, 2005 08:32 AM

The constant interruptions on planes bothers me. At 2:00 a.m. they want to announce check to see that your seatbelt is on, or drinking alcohol not served by a flight attendant is illegal, or interferring with a flight attendant will get you arrested, or you can't smoke in a bathroom, or the fasten seat belt sign is on. You know how hard it is to get to sleep on an overnight flight? I guess the flight attendants figure that if they can't sleep, no one should be able to.

AAFrequentFlyer Aug 11th, 2005 08:45 AM


I don't know who you fly with but on just about any overnight flight I ever took the announcement is made just once before lights out. The FA's ask to fasten seat belts outside the blankets so if the captain turns on the fasten seat belt light they could do a check without waking you up. Never heard any other announcements during the night except when there was a very heavy turbulance couple of times that required almost emergency procedures. Besides, in that case the turbulance was so bad that it would wake up the dead.

Perhaps you may want to consider changing your choice of carrier?

xyz123 Aug 26th, 2005 05:05 PM

On those international say trans Atlantic flights that offer meal service with a choice of menu it is totally frustrating that if you sit in a certain seat, you get no know we have chicken or beef or lasagna and when they get to you, only the lasagna is left...

In this age of technology why would it be so hard to take your meal order and then load the proper number of each meal?

traveller333 Aug 27th, 2005 01:48 PM

I hate the 3-3 configurations on 757's. I'd love to see all airplane built as a wide body with coach sections of 2-3-2. This creates 4 isle seats, 2 window seats and just one of the dreaded middle seats instead of 2. By adding one more seat (7 across instead of 6) you could increase the leg room and still carry the same amount of passengers. I HATE flying now days because it is so claustophobic.

Also, now that many airlines don't serve meals, I think the food for sale could be more like real food....sandwiches, fruit etc. rather than munchies like &quot;goldfish crackers&quot;.

lynnejoel1015 Aug 28th, 2005 09:22 AM

In light of bankruptcies and cutting costs, I think they should maintain safety standards. I feel terrible for those union airline employees (cabin crew and mechanics) who are seeing their benefits cut, jobs threatened, etc., and fear the consequences of the few tired, overworked pilots and mechanics still employed.

Wednesday Aug 28th, 2005 10:54 AM

In a perfect dream world I would like each seat to have a clearly marked overhead bid area just for them only, so you don't have to fight for that space and more leg room. Everything else I can live without...

grace_omalley Oct 14th, 2005 06:22 PM

I would gladly give up food and entertainment and pay a bit more for leg room and the ability to recline without crushing the knees of the person behind you.

wally34949 Oct 17th, 2005 11:11 AM

I'm getting a little annoyed with these airlines that have a TV monitor above the isle and play mostly commercials. Jet Blue has the Direct TV, British Airways has individual monitors and movies, but some of the other airlines use their tv's as a form of advertisement. They can't afford a movie, or CNN?

ed Oct 17th, 2005 04:34 PM

I couldn't agree more about enforcing the carry-on lugggage size.( Have you ever noticed the passenger with the huge duffle bag bears a startling similarity to the duffle bag??)
I also have doubts about people that say that their time is so precious that they can't check their baggage. :-B

rb_travelerxATyahoo Oct 18th, 2005 09:10 AM

I like the idea proposed by Leanna of sleeping compartments. Maybe not an entire plane full of them, but some available at a slightly higher price -- after all those would require cleaning and not be easy to get into to properly clean. Actually; having those in the airports would be great - I could care less about any privacy, just a comfortable place to actually lie down for a few hours.

I also would like to see more even enforcement of carryon. I seldom carry on, but dislike being asked to store my small bag where I'd like to put my feet while the passenger who brought aboard a bathtub has the underseat space completely free. s/HE should take my bag!

I want delay &amp; cancellation info given more freely and honestly. When a flight lands late and connections are missed or hotel assignments are to be made, ground crews and their telephone call center personnel should be making the assignments while the craft is still airborn, so that all paperwork could be handed out to passengers leaving the plane, instead of forcing long lines at a desk with only 1 or 2 agents incurring the wrath of dozens of passengers.

And I'll bring my own entertainment and food, thank you.

daisyblue Oct 23rd, 2005 05:58 AM

LEt me count the ways! Air Canada often asks fliers if they want to pay $15 per flight to guarantee a seat (since a $700 ticket just gets you that, a ticket, not a seat for certain). I wuld gladly give up having to be made part of that sleazy scheme.

PrincessOfPenguins Oct 24th, 2005 06:07 AM

More space (leg and elbow room) - I don't want to get intimate with strangers when I travel, nor do I want to risk smashing someone's face because his hand got close too one of my bodyparts.

And also...

*puts on flame-resistant suit*

Make people who need two seats buy two seats. Nothing nastier than having your limited space even more swallowed up by the person spilling over you...

Gardyloo Oct 24th, 2005 10:38 AM

Chances are that the spiller and the spillee both would like more elbow and knee room.

<b>BUT</b> would you be prepared to pay from 15% to 20% more, across the board, for your flight in order to have more room? This is not intended as a facetious question, because the airlines say that in market analyses they don't see the need or demand for it, that absolute bottom-line price is way more important statistically.

PrincessOfPenguins Oct 27th, 2005 02:13 AM

No. Airline bosses can humble themselves and settle for a thinner wallet.

Carrybean Oct 28th, 2005 04:09 PM

Bigger bathrooms that don't reek.

venusfan Oct 31st, 2005 06:24 PM

No offense but I wish airlines can get rid of annoying passangers who does nothing but complain.. If you want free meals, a lazyboy seat then pay for 1st class.

AAFrequentFlyer Oct 31st, 2005 07:20 PM


posted the following:

<i>I like the idea proposed by Leanna of sleeping compartments. Maybe not an entire plane full of them, but some available at a slightly higher price</i>

That's available right now. It's called first class on most major international airlines. You get a flat bed suite, duvet, real pillows and on many even a luxury pjs. :-)

BA, AA, CX, QF, JL, UA, SQ, AF, LH and few more.....

cfc Nov 1st, 2005 07:37 AM

&quot;No offense but I wish airlines can get rid of annoying passangers who does nothing but complain.. If you want free meals, a lazyboy seat then pay for 1st class.&quot;

Why are only wealthy people the ones entitled to flights with enough legroom to avoid cramping and blood-clots? And no one's really asking for free food -- just availability and reasonable quality. With PrincessofPenguins on this one, too.

(and note: Pretty much anything that begins &quot;no offense but...&quot; is going to be at least a little offensive.....)

CirqueduSoleil Nov 5th, 2005 04:19 PM

Just to add my five cents...

In order to make air travel as pleasurable as it used to be, I think that airline employees should *all* show genuine consideration for passengers. I know we are paying low fares, I know flying isn't glamorous anymore, I know most of the airline staff are underpaid, overworked. I know some of them do not care...
and far from expecting a 3-service meal (Air France on B707s in the 1960s) or champagne, I think that a touch of humanity... a smile would often make a difference.
Unfortunately, it has been my experience that airline staff (at airports, callcenters, in the planes) just treat passengers as cattle. 1,2,3, next! Next!

Call me a hopeless romantic, but during evening flights, when cabin is dark and quiet, I always look by the window on the majestic Earth and can't help think how soaring at 30,000 feet above the ground still is magical. Forget the delays, lost baggage and angry personnel... just think that you are flying close to the Greek Gods dwelling on Mount Olympus. Zeus, Athena, Aphrodite... here we are! Three generations ago, who would even dare dreaming about flying like birds.
Now that we do it on a weekly basis, we too often forget that flight, in itself, is a magical adventure!


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