Your airline has gone what?

Bankrupt.

Surely worse than having a employment situation where airline workers go on strike. Or the occasional delays one encounter because of weather, operational problems (with the aircraft) or airport congestion. Because what would one do if you were in a foreign land having flown out, only to find out that the carrier you’ve paid to bring you home has gone belly up?

2017 saw a number of such bankruptcies that caused quite a lot of anguish to both employees (of the airlines) and customers (aka the passenger). Would you buy the airline’s assets (here) as it disposes of them in bankruptcy?

In the past two decades, there had been a proliferation of airlines both full service but mostly budget oriented across the world. The business model premise on efficient use of aircraft assets (ie turnaround) and minimal frills (except when you pay for it). Competition have been intense (still is) and for years consumers appear to have been beneficiaries, ‘proletarizing’ travel making it accessible to almost anyone. Sustainability appears to be something that is now creeping up against these business entities…

While failing airlines are not unusual, today’s post harks to what we as travelers need to be aware of. It pays to look carefully at which carrier you are booking with with a few considerations such as :

  • Insurance of the travel kind. Does it cover airline insolvency? How can you claim them and to what limits?
  • Track record of the carrier. Punctuality, reliability/safety etc… has it been in financial trouble before? Would you even do this?
  • Alternate travel arrangements, ie a mitigation plan. Yeah this might be a little over the top but if you travel cheap… might want to think about it.

Because while size may not seem to matter, it does when the unexpected occurs. Large airlines go bust too. Digressing: this applies in the event natural disasters occur too, leading you to be potentially stranded.

Have you experienced booking on an airline that went bankrupt?

Complicated booking classes

Oh no. Semantics. We recalled a year back we were looking for cheap flights from Newark to various destinations within the US. And it was so complicated. From booking classes (first, coach, basic) to seat location (main cabin, aircraft wing, pilot’s lap etc), to seat choices where you pay extra… so many options to have to choose from.

And then for us who are used to NOT paying for checked baggage, darn they charge US$25 per piece! In some cases, you might choose a seat where you pay more but don’t get any more service than the fella sitting next to you. Who could have paid what – like a hundred dollars less. And it borders on misleading the consumer.

This article some months ago illustrates this issue.

And today we what we want to focus upon is simplicty. Decluttering. You know in our daily lives we strive to live simple. Less complex is better. Get rid of unwanted stuff or those that do not really add value. Can airlines do the same in the way they offer their product? Afterall, it is first and foremost about getting people from point A to B. Safely. And comfortably where possible however you define that.

Getting ‘freebies’ is really nice, and let’s be honest who doesn’t want them? But we have to remember airlines are businesses too. So yes, they do want to profit from the endeavour of getting you (and us) to our desired destinations. We respect that. Surely they can get back to basics and KISS? You do know what that means right?

Don’t you think it is time for airline to declutter their complicated booking classes and options?

SSSS – not on our boarding pass please!

Have you ever wondered about those cryptic letters on your airline boarding passes? Now we are sure you are more than familiar with the flight class indicated on the pass. And you’d also be aware of the airport codes in case you fly to the wrong city with the same name (remember this post?).

Now if this article is accurate, then having the letters ‘SSSS’ printed on your boarding pass would be a big no no. Now just in case you did not read the article, let us summarize it for you. This code essentially identifies you for additional security checks before you board the aircraft. It means you will be Sadly Suffering Security Screening… though that’s not what it’s suppose to mean… heheh. Hey, this was the best we could come up with. Applause please.

Of course this was making reference the folks traveling to and from the US. But before you snicker at the thought that this does not affect you because you are not stateside, think again. You never know if this will be implemented in a different form elsewhere. Wonder why the security check folks ask for your boarding passes all the time even after you’ve been id checked? Perhaps in other airports there are similar codes which have been surreptiously incorporated onto your boarding pass without you ever noticing? Have we gotten you paranoid now?

Look out for strange and indecipherable codes on your boarding pass the next time. What did you find peculiar?

Fly like you were at home

Once more, we are witnessing ever increasing juxtapose. In the airline business of course! Time to set aside all these bad press recently and dream a little. Will you pay for the opportunity to fly in what is touted as the world most advanced airline seat? One that makes you feel at home, as if you were lying on your own bed? Assuming you love you own bed in the first place.

Well this article shared how high tech has transformed the way priority passengers will be treated to when they need twenty winks while flying to their destination(s).

You might have read in our past posts (here and here) about futuristic developments when it comes to the flying experience. In those articles we had read, the common thread is appears to suggest how airlines can fete passengers to a new level of comfort. Our view? It is more of an approach to “up trade” the flying experience for the ones with the means to pay. Which means it is not applicable to most of us.

No. This is not a 99% rant. That’s so passe.

Rather this is an examination of the travel equivalent of the ‘misery index’. One where it is postulated that airlines sets the travel conditions to be so onerous that one would simply pay to get out of that situation. Checked bags? Pay. Choose seats? Pay. To which some might throw their hands up; heck with all of this, just buy the full fare ticket. Or better, since it may be a long flight – perhaps buy that business class seat that turns into a bed?

Will you fall for this ruse? If you had the means, would you pay to sleep on the plane as if it was your bed?

Should there be dress codes on planes?

A couple of months back, we read about this furore over how United offloaded two girls for wearing leggings (read here for the article). The official reasons for this was : they were traveling using company benefits and needed to adhere to a specific dress code.

We are not debating this.

Rather, we are wondering aloud whether there should be any form of dress code at all for folks in general getting onto a plane. Recall we wrote about etiquettes (here)? Granted it was about the private jets but should not the same principles apply? Yes you may still wear large sunglasses to appear mysterious, although not at security though. They want to look you in the eye… heheh.

Certainly one would not dress skimpy like one’s at the beach, just because one’s on a plane heading to an island for the sun & sand right? And we are certainly not advocating to be dressed to the nines for a flight, as if it was a gala function one’s attending too. On the one hand you have restaurants, clubs and even some hotels that impose dress codes for entry. On the other one would not regulate how people dress when taking the bus…

So the question remains. Should there be dress codes imposed? What do you think?

So, is flying taking the bus or more like going to a restaurant? Does it even make sense to have this comparison? What has have been the worst of dressing that you’ve seen in your flight experiences?

UPDATE: we recently read that there are fine print T&Cs in your flight booking that make reference to appropriate dress. Heheh… guess it was there all along just not something “significant” enough to enforce.

Don’t eat airline food anymore?

Would you listen to a celebrity chef cum reality TV star cum restauranteur? For one thing, the quoted person in this article suggests that he himself will not touch airline food. Apparently from his own wealth of experience working for some of the most prestigious airlines in the world, he knows enough to avoid it.

Does this kind of review(s) influence you?

Now one thing that the above article does not provide are concrete reasons from who we’d refer to as a so-called social influencer. He simply referred to the fact he knows where the airline food has been and how long it took before getting on the plane with the passengers. Which honestly is the same with all pre-cooked meals anyway…so what’s new? It just need to be served and consumed within a certain number of hours when stored at the appropriate temperature and conditions.

You might recall we wrote a little post about gorgeous airline food and shared with you some of those we had the privilege of sampling at 30,000+ feet in the air. At that rarefied air, food taste different than you are back on planet earth we asserted and convinced you (we hope). The meal(s) you have onboard would thus be something you’d likely reject/avoid on a daily basis.

You might also recall yet another post we wrote (here) where we pointed out that the water in the tanks of the planes potentially seethe with undesirables… so take the coffee and tea at your own risk we are told! Stick with bottled and canned drinks we guess. Perhaps that’s the excuse to be sanitized with lots of alcohol, our preferred one’s from Chianti (here). Heheh.

Would a social influencer sway you? Are all of these sufficient to convince you never to take airline meals ever again?