It wasn’t long ago that I still held the belief that United Airlines was a sure fire airline for quality and comfortable service. However, these days it seems that even the staple United is skimping on their service and quality. A recent three hour trip yielded disappointing results, enough to make any avid United flyer seek another frequent flyer membership. Other staples of the American skies, Delta, has also enacted significant cuts in service and quality in order to ensure the company’s future. But we flyers must ask, does quality and service really have to suffer? Isn’t it a combination of both that makes passengers try the airline and return over and over again? While the cut backs in spending may aid the airlines in staying afloat, one must wonder if these are proper fixes for the long-term. How long are passengers going to be willing to deal with continually decreasing levels of quality; ever increasing rates, taxes, and extra penalties; and decreases in available comforts?
As a frequent flyer I have to say, I’m not willing to deal with it much longer. There is nothing worse on a flight than to feel as though you’re stuck in a sardine can, and to add insult to injury, common comforts and services are being eliminated, or offered only for a price. For an all inclusive flight with food and beverage service, snacks, comfortable seats that don’t cost extra, and other in-seat comforts, I’d rather pay extra on another airline than support the locals who seem to almost have a hand inside my pocketbook. Even United is charging for extra check baggage! Who has the cash in this economy to pay an extra twenty-five dollars a bag?! The only upside to the airline is that they still allow up to three carry-ons: a purse, laptop case, and a personal bag. However, these bags are still subject to fitting within the size requirement. During my recent trip I was unable to check my bags due to a 45 minute cut off (I wasn’t able to get to the front of the line fast enough), the customer service representative told me that if I wasn’t able to fit my luggage on as a carry-on, I would not be allowed to take my trip at all.
Besides a lack of food service, extremely limited beverage service (once in four hours); and cramped, stiff, seats, United had the gall to charge an extra thirty dollars for a spot in the roomier upper class economic section. Why aren’t all the seats that comfortable in the first place? Why should passengers have to pay extra for a roomier seat? Why not instead go with an airline like Korean or Thai that boast this roominess in each and every one of their planes? Or perhaps you’re looking for a domestic flight and Korean isn’t an option? One of the best options is to book your flight early, choose an aisle seat, or pay extra for a spot in the more roomy section.
Alright, enough complaining. What exactly is the solution? Airlines like United, Delta, and others like them seem bound to continue to decrease the comforts and quality they were one known for unless something is done to keep them afloat monetarily. At the same time, passengers don’t want to feel like they are paying over and over for more and more. Instead, faire rates should be raised, but taxes kept in check, along with fees that rack up the price. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a solution that doesn’t involve raising prices. However, a flat rate is better than being charged for every little thing. Come on airline companies! Isn’t anyone going to offer quality service during these tough times? Don’t you think you’ll get more customers with quality service than with taxes and fees for everything from food and drinks to baggage and a slightly larger seat?