Why bother flying at all?
It was reported recently that airlines across the world are planning an even smaller standard for carry on luggage. The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) claim this move will ensure that everyone can fit their carry on luggage into the overhead bins. This claim is pretty ridiculous, as the main reasons the overhead bins are crammed are charging for checked bags and cutting the size of overhead bins. Additionally, the seats that are used on planes are usually not the ones called for by the original manufacturer, and those seats have more room underneath. The airlines prefer to use smaller seats so they can jam them closer together and herd more passengers on per flight.
This latest move proves that every day, the airlines care less and less about their customers. Especially on long flights, where people will typically stay longer and need to bring more clothes with them. What really defies logic, however, is that they keep making policies that typically will affect their most frequent customer, the business traveler. In this modern age, many travelers are juggling several electronic devices to get their work done, and they have to pack all that with them. They also need to carry professional clothes that they don’t want to cram into a tiny overnight bag so things don’t get wrinkled. With so many options for virtual meetings and the continued push by airlines to make things harder on travelers, I am surprised there is much business travel at all.
This will no doubt harm the tourist flights as well. A family of four packing for a week long vacation can take up a lot of room. In addition to paying extra for luggage they need for their trip, the amount of things they can bring on board to keep their kids from annoying other passengers just got smaller. With gas prices lower than they have been in 6 summers, I would bet more families are going to load up the car for a road trip than have in many travel seasons.
Bottom line, it seems that the airlines ultimate goal is to push passengers so hard that they just quit flying altogether. Obviously that is not their intent, but their nearly total lack of customer consideration is going to drive them there. If someone could come along like Jeff Bezos from Amazon, who invested his own money for five years to keep the company afloat until profits began to turn, they would revolutionize air travel. Bezos built his company on the old (but seldom followed) idea that the customer is the company’s paycheck, and they should be treated in such a way that they will want to come back. Airlines assume people will always need airplanes. However, as seen with the shake up of the US Postal Service, technology can steal your whole customer base and leave you scrambling to survive. The airline industry is heading that way soon unless some players begin to realize their business is run by customers, not stockholders.