Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Modest Proposal

Welcome to the friendly skies of United Airlines
 Reading about the Senate airline hearings in the online news and watching it here on the TV news in Hong Kong, which I might add has high interest since United dragged off an Asian customer and they have a huge presence in Asia, it seems that what most passengers deal with daily had to be violently confrontational before Congress would act. The diatribe of one hearing member resonates with all of us. Why did he and others on the panel wait so long! I guess we need to drag a member of Congress off now and then to get some action!
     Biometrics have existed for years regarding airline customer satisfaction and each year is worse than the year before. That didn't stop the Airlines from overbooking, creating ever smaller seating ... I should know.  My first pulmonary embolism was after a 4-hour flight from LAX to New Orleans.  I literally went to the ER 24 hours after landing. The flight didn't create that PE but the cramped seating, my doctors told me, acerbated it.
     Some airlines are obviously better. And to the President of United, SORRY doesn't cut it anymore. It's time for a realistic AND fair airline bill of rights for consumers, one the airlines may not like.
  feel the pain.  To be sure we know who they are, each seat pocket must include a folder with photos and management position of each and every individual that runs the company, INCLUDING the Board of Directors, to make sure they are flying Coach. No exceptions. If caught, $100,000 fines for first offense, escalating greatly if caught again.  NO PRIVATE jets either. Maybe it might even be better to hand out the flyers as we board. As we struggle to get to our seats we can check out those in first or business class. Violations can be posted online, fines assessed later.
CEO Munoz and President Curry of United. No perks for you
   NUMBER 1: No CEO, President or executive from about mid- level management on any airline would be permitted to fly any class but Coach. Let them
     NUMBER 2: Stiff fines for overbooking. Then if they still want your seat Bidding starts at 5 times the ticket price. For most of the flying public, we have a reason to be on a plane. Let's make it worthwhile to wait.  With computers today there is no reason to overbook.
     NUMBER 3: Standby flights. Why charge to change your flight? If you find yourself suddenly available or events conspired against you, airlines usually have several seats of no shows for standby passengers. You have to pay for the flight anyway. Does it matter how or when it was paid?
     NUMBER 4: I waited 8 hours last year at SFO for a flight crew. Same flight every day, same flight number. They didn't know they needed a flight crew? Really?  Our plane and about 300 passengers were there. Fines! BIG fines and reimbursement for food , the waiting, missed connections and how we were to get where we needed to be. I arrived so late, train service from the airport to town had shut down.
     NUMBER 5: no one should board a plane then wait more than an hour to be airborne. NO ONE. If you know there's a delay, let passengers stay in the terminal. Horror stories abound of trapped passengers on flights stalled by snow, rain, storms, whatever. They know we can't take off, keep us off the plane until it can depart.
     This might seem draconian but, CEO's unfortunately don't understand much unless it affects their bottom line. Maybe their salary too should be based on consumer satisfaction. United's Munoz would be paying stock holders back rather than getting millions of dollars for actions, maybe not this serious, we have all known for years. Rudeness is definitely there.
   There might be some more consumers satisfaction training for flight attendants as well. Some are a delight ... others, well, you know them as well. I realize there are unruly passengers. However, how many got started with a rude flight attendant? My recent flight on United was good enough but would it hurt the attendants to smile now and then? The passengers don't like the 15 hour flight either.
     These are suggestions from where I sit. Let's hope Congress interviews a few members of the flying public too. Their ears would surely burn. 
     I'm just sayin'.

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