Dear Airline Industry,
I’m writing this missive from dreary Seattle rather than sunny South Florida, and you only have yourselves to blame.
For years now, Presidents Day weekend has been the time of year I’ve taken my daughter to visit her grandma and pop-pop near West Palm Beach, a welcome respite from the height of our rainy season, and conveniently coordinated with her school’s mid-winter break. But after months of hesitation on your various reservation websites, I just couldn’t pull the trigger.
Part of the problem is that the Mercer Island district where my daughter now attends middle school only offers a four-day weekend off, but that didn’t stop us the last two years. Combine a red-eye with perhaps an extra day off school, and we could enjoy at least four full days in the sun.
The bigger problem is, the last couple years I’ve come home more in need of a vacation than when I left.
Flying has grown increasingly miserable over the past decade, and to be honest, it just isn’t worth it anymore. You airlines expect me to show up at the gate on time, or else forfeit the value of my ticket, but if your airplane isn’t at the gate to greet me, well, fuck me. Or if we do take off some time that day, but you fail to get me to my connecting flight, fuck me again. Perhaps, you tell me, you’ll get me out on a later flight, or the next day, or the day after that, but in the meanwhile I’m left to fend for myself in Charlotte or Atlanta or Dallas or Chicago or Phoenix or some godforsaken hub airport like that. Snow in Boston, you tell me, means delays in Houston, so you don’t owe me a thing but the promise to get me home sometime, you know, if a seat is available.
And while delays like this have always been a part of air travel, your increasingly hostile attitude has not. There once was a time when you treated us like valued customers, but over time we’ve just become those annoying, fragile things you store above the cargo hold. And as your customer service has declined you’ve increasingly resorted to pulling the post-9/11 security card to keep disgruntled passengers in line.
I know. You’ve done it to me. And fuck if I’m going to pay you for the public humiliation.
So this is probably the third or fourth flight I’ve elected not to take over the past couple years, not because your service isn’t inexpensive, but because it’s cheap. Based on personal experience, I just don’t trust you to get me and my luggage to my destination on time, safely, and in a reasonable amount of comfort. And I simply don’t trust your employees to treat me as anything more than just another potential terrorist.
$400 to fly roundtrip from Seattle to Florida is a good deal, but it’s still $400, and so I kinda expect the people I’m forking it over to not to consistently treat me like shit. You don’t even pretend to care about my business anymore, and that makes me feel like a chump every time I give to you.
So in conclusion, fuck you. Fuck your crappy service, your hostile demeanor and your poorly maintained planes. Fuck paying $7 extra for a pillow, $20 to reserve two seats next to each other and $25 for the privilege of having my valuables stolen out of my checked luggage (even sun screen for chrisakes… they’ve stolen fucking sunscreen). And fuck an industry whose standards have fallen so low that passengers now view themselves lucky to end their flight standing hip dip in water on the wing of a plane in the middle of the Hudson River.
Happy Presidents Day,