Engaging Culture

Is Commercial Air Travel Becoming Dangerous?

I understand that Delta is coming out of bankruptcy, and overall, air travel is up nationwide with all airlines. That’s fantastic, and I’m happy for the industry. Travel is a big part of what I do. In fact, 2 years ago, I traveled 250,000 miles in a single year.
I average about 3 trips per month, and during the last few months, I’ve had some issues with aircraft maintanence. In fact, I can’t remember a single trip in the last few months without at least one leg having a technical problem. Doors won’t close, radar needs to be replaced, smoke in the cockpit, lost hydraulics, etc. I have a growing concern that with the increase in air travel, airlines aren’t able to keep up with aircraft maintenance. I have missed meetings, cancelled trips, and frankly, lost money because of these growing issues. Is anyone else having these types of problems? Is this a growing issue out there? Has the mainstream media examined this issue?

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  1. This is no way to get your own private jet…sorry…ha ha.

      Actually I have noticed the same thing.  Plus the planes are dirter than ever.  The bathrooms smell and your shoes stick to the carpet.

      Flight attendents take over the last rows of seats (sticking you in a center seat) so they can read magazines on long flights.  After all, with so much service being cut, what else do they have to do?

      My bags have been lost much more often in the last 12 months.

      The industry is in a tail spin…

  2. I fly overseas much more than domestically. International flights often give you better service because you've paid for a higher priced ticket, they have bigger planes and there are more flight attendents. But then again, service usually depends on your choice of airline, most Asian + European carriers being top shelf. That said, there is still a "cattle car" mentality even with overseas, i.e. "shut up, sit down, here's your food and headsets." If you're lucky enough to find yourself in Biz Class or F Class, it's heaven. You are treated well and called by your name. But those occasions, for most of us, are rare (shrinking budgets and all). The mechanical issues you raise, Phil, are important ones, more crucial than cabin service. American carriers are trimming costs everywhere, even down to olives in the salad. God forbid that their "bottom line" mentality has filtered its way to cuts in maintenance. The other issue of late for those headed to the Midwest or East Coast is weather. That's where a lot of delays and problems have cropped up. Especially this winter. Just ask those on Jet Blue recently. Last, security is tighter than ever. Just went through Frankfurt airport 2x in past few months. They are SERIOUS about checking bodies & bags. I was body searched so thoroughly by one German airport officer I thought he was going to ask me for my phone number later. 🙂

  3. I agree with Mary on the jet. Sorry Phil. I do however agree with you about the airlines. Its not limited to Delta Airlines. I'm an American Airlines patron and in the last 2 months, its been worse than ever. Now days, I count on something going wrong instead of right and I'm rarely disappointed. More to the point its the expected conversation on the flight. "Remember when…..there were pillows…when they cleaned the plane before boarding…..when you had more than 2 minutes to finish your just served beverage (before going into free fall). Those were the days. OMG Either Im getting old or my memories of just a year ago count as nostalgia.

  4. You're in LA.  Couldn't you go in on a jet with other associates there that you could split the cost and the use? Or Ken? Joyce? Fred? Maybe you could start "Cooke Airlines: Where Every Seat is 1st Class"?  Seriously though: I think you want a jet.

  5. Boy – I get no support from you guys. Yes, I want a jet. LOL. But until I can afford it, I would prefer the commercial airlines don’t break down… 🙂

  6. Have any of you heard of Virgin America Airlines? According to their website: We’re a new U.S.-based airline that plans to start flying domestically this summer. Our goal is to provide you with an innovative and creative travel experience that provides safe and efficient operations, low costs, outstanding guest service and a unique level of engagement by our team.

    Virgin America expects to serve as many as 10 cities within a year of operation and up to 30 cities within five years of service.
    They also plan tricked out entertainment centers at the back of every seat. Check it out here: VirginAmerica.com
  7. I've never had a good experience flying and what really makes me nervous is the technical difficulties before take off "We only have one engine, but were a go" or something crazy like that and they still taxi down the runway go for it anyway!

  8. Hey Phil,

    You and I helped a minstry or two raise enough money for a jet (in fact two jets that I know of) – you would think we could do it for ourselves…hmmmm. There must be a way…

    Mechanical problems have been frequent with me as well. nothing that has aborted a flight, but certainly plenty of delays, no AC, seats that don't recline, dirty planes, etc.  I haven't lost any luggage like Mary, but that's only because I never check luggage anymore. 🙂

    If you travel on US Airways you may also have noticed they recently changed software.  With the merger between US Air and America West – US Air was forced to adopt the America West software.  The Sunday it happened, flights were delayed for hours.  In fact, my flight crew disregarded seat assignments and flew ala SouthWest – only not as orderly.  Ask any USAir employee what they think of the new software and your sure to get a lengthy conversation… if you are sympathetic, they may even buy you a cup of coffee while you listen.  They are very frustrated.

    Software crashes, flight delays, mechanical falures, rude flight attendants – they are all maddening – but there is still no better way to do what many of us on this blog do… travel across the country from city to city – day after day.  I have been flying over 250,000 miles annually for the past three years. Urggh.

    Personally, I think we should forget the jet and start looking for a Star Trek transporter.  Beam me up scotty!


  9. Airlines have place all their attention on the necessary things like "water landings" so let's give them a break.  Oh, and they are very dilegent to make sure that our seats are in there "forward most upright position"…so important you know considering that the 2 1/2 inches it moves forward could save the guy by the window after a crash going, oh let's say, 300 mph at impact.  Love it!

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