Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ticket to Hell

By chance, I came across The Malaysian Reserve and saw this article “Ticket to Hell is on Offer at Europe’s Airlines” (August 12, 2009, p 14). Matthew Lynn wrote that “cattle on the way to the abattoir receive better care than most passengers do on the new breed of budget airlines”. I too, had recently complained about my AirAsia X flight from London to Kuala Lumpur about the lack of service.

Anyway, two of the biggest hits on the Internet this year have been from irate air travelers. There was a letter to Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd president Richard Branson complaining about the ‘culinary journey of hell” on a Virgin flight. UAL Corp’s United Airlines unit was expertly dissected by a country singer aggrieved that the carrier had damaged his guitar. His song “United Breaks Guitars” has had almost five million views on YouTube.
And Lynn says it’s about to get much worse: “Ryanair Holdings plc, the Irish budget airline that prides itself on not caring about service is now thinking about charging to use the toilets. It is already getting rid of check-in desks, and the company plans to make passengers carry all their baggage onto the plane. They will probably get us to bring along a few liters of jet fuel pretty soon. The Chinese carrier Spring Airlines is contemplating selling ‘standing-only” tickets to pack more people onto its planes, according to a report on MSNBC. Scary, isn't it?Errmmm… this makes my AirAsia X experience looked tame by comparison!
TreeHugger, a leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream wrote about an Airbus proposal (quickly denied) for standing-room seating 3 years ago. Perhaps that’s why they are called Airbuses?

New York Times, from an earlier proposal for standup flying (Website
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/07/standing-room-on-airplanes.php, posted July 09, 2009).

And why not? But it is carrying things a bit too far, eh?

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