Years ago I attended a Disney Management Program at their facilities in Orlando. It was an interesting week of Disney philosophy and maybe even a little Goofy. I clearly remember the discussion on trash bins and their efforts studying just how far people would walk to throw trash in the bin verses on the ground. They placed trash bins around the park where no one would be beyond the ‘walk to toss’ limit. Of course they also had a Plan B, absolutely no park employee was allowed to walk by trash on the ground, they had to pick it up and dispose of it properly. Ultimately, Disney was all about making every aspect of your park visit pleasant, enjoyable and entertaining.
The airline industry adopted the antithesis of Disney’s management approach. They reduce leg room as a vehicle to increase revenues. They routinely cancel undersold flights waiting, apparently, until they are oversold. They let ‘premiers’ on first with more baggage than allowed to choke the overheads so economy fliers have no room to store bags. And if the reduced leg room isn’t enough to convince you to pay an enormous fee for another few inches, they refuse to lock the seats so the kid in front of you can lean all the way back into your lap.
Since retiring I have limited my flights to overseas and coast-to-coast otherwise I drive. Driving is reliable, over 700 miles it probably takes a little longer than flying but not necessarily if the trip requires a connection. Driving is definitely more economical than flying, especially if there are two of us. The food is significantly better. Plenty of leg room, and with extra baggage space to take more than we need and to bring back even more that we don’t need.
Air travel is a lot like cable television, management focuses on cash flow and knowing that most travelers don’t have the option to drive like I do, they behave like monopolists. Too bad we don’t have the promised Open Skies agreement in place, ever since deregulation we have seen industry consolidation to the point where now it is, at best, an oligopoly but on many routes it is an effective monopoly.
Have you had a problem with air travel? The Department of Transportation (DOT) is actually listening, give them a call to lodge your complaint 202.366.2220 or go online to file a complaint.