The freakonomics blog over at the NYTimes has an interesting post about the future of the US airline industry. They got a few big names together and asked them about what was going on in terms of consolidation, delays, product and all sorts of other fun stuff. And the responses are pretty entertaining.
Ideas range from charging more for landing fees for smaller planes and/or peak times to putting music and mood lighting in the bathrooms (thanks, Branson/Virgin Atlantic :/), with lots of other stuff in between.
My favorite comment, however was from a pilot who noted that there are really two major things wrong (security and delays) and many things right (cost, flexibility, etc.) with travel. On the security front, he writes:
Most passenger disappointment is driven by two things: security hassles and
flight delays. The existing security protocols are, for the most part, immensely
absurd and tedious, but there is only so much the airlines themselves can do
about it. What the situation will be like ten years from now is anyone’s guess.
Here’s hoping that as time goes on, the TSA revises its more wasteful and
arbitrary policies, improving the flow of passengers through terminals. The
likelihood of that happening depends partly on the mindset of the traveling
public. Thus far, spooked by the specter of “terrorism,” be it real or
perceived, travelers have expressed a rather troubling willingness to accept
nonsensical, intrusive, and humiliating policy in the name of security.
So apparently all it takes is everyone (especially the politicians) realizing that there is no palpable difference in the security povided today versus 10 years ago, despite the enormous costs and hassles associated with today’s version, and flying will be back to “normal” in no time.
Here’s hoping he’s right, and that they get it – sooner than not.
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