Posted by: Ernest Barteldes | August 13, 2010

The US Airline Company Quagmire


The U.S. media (especially tabloids like the New York Daily News and The NY Post) have been all over the story of Jet Blue flight attendant Steven Slater, who lost his cool after an altercation with a passenger during a Pittsburgh-JFK flight. Some have called him a ‘working class hero,’ while others have simply branded him a wacko.

While I have no personal position about Mr. Slater, I would like to address the quality of the service supplied by most U.S. airline companies, which have been dramatically cutting back on costs and charging customers for everything from checked baggage ($ 25 per  bag in most cases) to earphones.  An inflight meal is almost unheard of on domestic flights, and if you do want to purchase a sandwich, you have to shell out as much as $8 for a lousy cold cheese sandwich that wouldn’t go for more than $ 3 on the outside. It is little wonder why the yet-unnamed passenger flipped out at Slater – air passengers have been coping with plenty of abuse from companies – the latest being AirTran, which has started charging $ 45 for carry-on baggage (one of their executives has been quoted as saying that luggage is unnecessary on a plane – what the heck has he been putting on his pipe?)

That is why when I travel internationally, I avoid using US companies at all costs. I would rather patronize a foreign company than having to get horrible service, which has been my experience with most airlines in this country. One might want to brand me un-American for my attitude, but I do prefer to be treated like a customer when I fly – not a piece of luggage.

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