Probably the biggest knock on my blog is that I am too positive. Sorry, not sorry. When you have so many positive things to write about and you are an optimist by nature, what do you expect? However, let me shift to the “dark side” just for tonight’s blog post.
I am fed up with airlines. Maybe it is just bad luck on my end, but over the past three years I have seen way too many flights delayed and/or canceled. Now I can understand blizzards and hurricanes throwing wrenches in air plans but this has hardly been the case. When flight conditions are pristine, whether it be in the middle of the summer or during a time on the calendar where the nation is enjoying stable weather, it seems like more and more are getting canceled. Why is this? The airlines never tell you.
Okay, fine, let me give the airlines the benefit of the doubt. I know certain conditions must exist beyond our wildest imaginations that can make a flight extremely unsafe. Thus, the numerous times flights are canceled for seemingly no reason whatsoever, there must in fact (well at least I hope) be a reason.
However, although there might be a reason, there is rarely any accountability. I have flown airlines where our entire itinerary was ruined and we didn’t get so much as a voucher or a complimentary hotel stay so we didn’t have to spend the night on the airport floor. Other airlines have provided us with decent customer service and travel vouchers. Unfortunately, the vouchers were for such a small amount that all they served as was a gimmick for us to fly that airline again at just about full price.
When flights are canceled, the economic impact on the traveler is immense. You waste vacation hours, give up work wages, spend money on hotel/ground transportation, lose out on tickets/reservations you already purchased, and increase spending on crummy airport food.
But for many, the economic punch in the gut doesn’t come close to the disappointment and pain of missing valuable time with the people or places you were traveling to see. Whether you are traveling coast to coast to see family members or you are flying to your favorite vacation spot in the world, an altered itinerary is a crushing blow. Nothing is worse than when all the excitement and planning goes down the drain because an airline decides to cancel a flight at the last minute.
So how about this? What if airlines figured out a better way to stay on schedule? What if airlines developed better technologies and protocols to deal with problems that sometimes delay flights? What if airlines try to do a better job for the customers?
If such solutions aren’t readily available in the near future and travelers will continue to miss out on vacations or fail to return home at the correct hour, I challenge airlines to make it right from the economic standpoint. Yes, I know it doesn’t satisfy the disappointment that is suffered from a sentimental standpoint but the wallet shouldn’t have to take a hit. If an evening flight is canceled, complimentary lodging at a nice hotel (with round trip ground transportation) should be mandatory. As for the flight that never took off? A round trip ticket good for the entire cost of a flight should be given to anyone impacted by the cancellation. No more of this bait-and-switch voucher offer.
I couldn’t imagine life without air travel. The whole concept of an airplane still boggles my mind. Believe me, I value the service offered by airlines. However, for the amount of money that we pay and the trust we put in when we make a reservation with these major companies, a higher standard should be strived for. I welcome any feedback from people within the industry to set me straight on where I am missing the mark.
Until then, I am crossing my fingers that I have not jinxed myself. Sidney, Sloan, and I are traveling out west next week and the last thing we need is a flight delay. Don’t Blink.