Take the “c” off chips, you get hips.
Take the word airline out of a story, you got nothing.
This morning I read a story in which a passenger didn’t like their breakfast on board an airplane. Take away the word airplane, and the story becomes “person didn’t like their breakfast”. Even in the dire standards of what’s considered news today, I don’t think that story ever gets printed.
“Drunk person disrupts flight”. Take away the word flight, and you have a standard Saturday night in basically every major city around the world. If every person who says something racists, is asked to sit down or requires the authorities being called became news, we’d never ever get to hear what our world leaders are up to. Perhaps thats the deep dark secret plan?
In short: the press is entirely illogical when it comes to covering airlines. Planes are the only place where things which are entirely uninteresting anywhere else become the subject of fascination and viral clicking. That’s right – if you – the person reading this – click those stupid stories, you’re a part of the problem.
Do you really care what some random person you don’t know thought about their breakfast from a restaurant 5,000 miles away? No. So why do you care just because they’re on a plane?!
I often wonder if airlines can actually ever do anything right in the eyes of the press. Take this weeks wild weather throughout Europe, for example. If airlines cancel flights, the headline reads something along the lines of “airlines strand thousands cancel flights with passengers sleeping on floors”. If the airlines fly in tricky conditions, you get “harrowing moment passengers nearly crash land”. You can’t have your cake and eat it too.
I won’t even start on actually getting facts right, like stories of passengers sleeping on airport floors when in reality most were placed in hotels and the rest were placed in VIP lounges with open buffets. Or another classic, telling the world they only need two words to get upgraded to business class. A total and utter waste of everyones time.
I believe there’s a greater responsibility with all of this as well. Because of stories of racist rants, in flight fights, mediocre airline meals, drunk pilots (ok, that’s a very fair one) and the gamut of things which are only interesting in the context of planes, people board flights on extreme edge. You can see it, and I believe it’s a reason for increased confrontation and issues aboard flights.
With so much negativity surrounding air travel, people are constantly looking for things to hate and are always quick on the draw to pull out the phone, start tweeting or worse – videoing a seat mate. As amusing as passenger shaming is, it’s created an egotistical, elitist system.
You hear sighs as soon as you sit down. You see eye rolls in the boarding line and this added tension has cabin crews on edge too. Crews know they’re always one step away from being a viral video with passengers sticking a phone in their face just hoping they slip up, and this undermines the intent to actually deliver service. It places them on nerves edge from the first hello and it’s far more difficult to disarm a cabin crew member and enjoy a nice relaxed encounter than ever.
If you want better customer service interactions and to actually enjoy the golden age of travel – which is actually right now by the way – you really need to think about what impact each click you make on the internet has. If no one read those stories, no one would write them and instead, you might hear about cool places to go and things to do when you get there. I can think of a recommendation…