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Unfriendly sky

Fear of flying today is justified. Practically everyone associates the fear of flying with a foreboding sense that the plane is indeed going to crash. They may have a valid point; Because now, most commercial airlines have eliminated two engines on their planes. This, in order to reduce fuel costs, endangered passenger safety. A notable example occurred in January of 2009 when a commercial airliner shut down with only two engines during climb, forcing that plane to plunge miraculously into the Hudson River. If there were four decibel-level motors installed, they would be loud enough to scare away birds and other bugs out of the way so that what caused those motors to malfunction would not occur. Only through the skill and knowledge of the pilot and crew was a tragedy declared.

This is just one prime example of how the commercial airline industry is cutting costs rather than public safety. Today, with the ever-growing demand to keep profit margins steady, and the constant threat of terrorism, commercial airlines and the government have established protocols, procedures, rules, regulations, and mandates that the general public now finds very intimidating and stressful when it comes time to book, board, and travel by air. Adding to this dilemma for the airline industry is the increasing number of individuals who are so obese that normal-sized passenger seats are too small to accommodate these passengers. This is because airlines are constantly renewing commercial aircraft to include more passenger seats. Another ploy to increase revenue and at the same time reduce passenger safety and comfort. Only recently, some airlines have begun the long-awaited replacement of their aging aircraft. Most airlines continue to use aircraft that are more than 20 years old. This should be a major safety concern.

Gone are the days when airlines treated all their passengers like guests on a luxury ocean liner; Where friendliness and service by the crew was exemplary. Many amenities such as food and drinks as well as your baggage are included in the purchase price of your ticket. What has happened in the past 30 years is the complete elimination of the kinds of services that made air travel a pleasure. It has been replaced by the bare bones service one would expect when traveling in a crowded subway car at rush hour. Some airlines go so far as to squander any hope that air travel will bring joy back into serving passengers. They are now implementing vertical seating {a new terminology} as passengers now book airline tickets as standing room only. This means that some airlines now put their profits at greater heights before the safety and well-being of passengers. Imagine a subway car where crowded people are tied like sardines in a can. Just the thought of traveling this way is irrepressible. Sad to say, this is a reality being served on some commercial airlines today.

Any time an industry blatantly puts financial gain ahead of safety, the industry suffers a greater financial loss and the respect of the general public. Do BP and the oil disaster in the Gulf sound familiar? What the commercial aviation industry has inadvertently done with all these extra fees, continued use of older aircraft, lack of friendliness and the ever-increasing cost of tickets is making the commercial aviation industry unable to be a major contributor to the economic expansion that is so critical to the recovery of the United States economy.

To understand the fear of flying in today’s world, one must be aware of it with the constant threat of terrorism [a real eminent threat to any one who travels regardless of the particular mode of transport] New rules, procedures and regulations are in place to help make us safer. They also help deter individuals bent on causing destruction and harm to the public. These new protocols are still seen by many as intrusive and infringing on our social freedoms. A very sad commentary for the world we live in today.

What the commercial aviation industry needs to do is streamline all those new boarding regulations and restore the attitude of putting passenger comfort and safety before profit. That old business adage is “Give the crowd what they want at a price they can afford, and repeat business is assured.” This same philosophy should apply to the commercial airline industry. Even with the security measures now in place, fear of flying may decrease and more individuals will experience a renewed sense of pleasure and safety when traveling by plane.

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