I am delighted to report that United Airlines lost a whopping 21% last quarter! I couldn’t be happier after the way they treated me: charging me more for my bag to return home than they charged for the entire ticket. I swore then, and I have gone out of my way to keep this promise, I will never fly on United again—even when it has been less convenient for me.
The US airlines that created the largest, most redonkulous and abusive fees this year lost the most money last quarter. Airlines with low or no fees lost the least.
But I’ll tell you a few other reasons why the airlines are bleeding revenue. Have you flown lately? Flying is nothing short of misery, literal, true misery.
- The seats are so jammed in close to one another seating is actually unsafe in my opinion.
- The flights are consistently overbooked making every single seat occupied.
- The airlines still run horrible delays even with far fewer flights.
- Advertisements abound–even on the tray tabletops on some airlines.
- Going through security is frequently absurdly time consuming and demeaning. I’ve seen literally hundreds of passengers in one line when the airport had the equipment for 6 lines! This week they repeatedly yell at everyone to put their shoes in the tray. Next week they yell at everyone to take their shoes out of the tray and place them on the belt.
- And then, let’s talk about badly behaved children who are too young to even be on the plane…
Meet Owen, and yes, that’s his real name.
As we boarded the flight, Owen, who was probably between two and three years of age, was being held by his mother in the seat across the aisle and immediately behind me. He distinguished himself immediately. His mother couldn’t keep him in her lap. Owen was screaming. He wanted to roam around I guess. His screaming grew louder and became unbearable.
The pilot refused to take off with the child in such an unruly state, so the stewardess came back and told the mother that the father had to come up and trade seats with her to keep their little precious under control, or we would just sit on the runway.
The father took the child, and all hell broke loose!! Owen began screaming louder than any child I’ve ever heard. Now, he wanted his mother. He screamed and screamed at the top of his lungs. He was spitting, gurgling, and sputtering mucous everywhere. He was kicking and twisting violently, literally non-stop. The man seated in front of Owen had to lean forward with his earphones on blasting music so loudly into his ears I could hear it across the aisle when Owen was forced to breathe. The stewardess said nothing to him probably thinking if he turned the music off, he would turn around and kill Owen behind him.
Owen’s mother, seated somewhere in the back, began singing, as loudly as she could, in the hopes Owen would hear her (absolutely impossible), “Itsy Bitsy Spider” while the the child raged uncontrollably. The child screamed non-stop for over 30 minutes as loudly as he could–so loudly that he was losing his voice. His muscular father strained to keep the child in his arms. He was constantly kicking the seat of the man in front of him.
By this point, I was so angry, along with the other passengers, I was ready to take my phone out and shoot a video of this unimaginable scene–when, to everyone’s horror, Owen defecated in his pants. The thick, inescapable smell permeated the entire plane. If the use of electronic devices had been permitted at the time this was going on, you would be watching a video of this outgrageous situation.
The tension on the plane was so thick you could touch it. Everyone was stone silent except for “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and Owen’s incessant gurgling and wailing.
When we reached 10,000 feet, the stewardess came back and told the father that this could not continue. I was shocked that Owen hadn’t completely exhausted himself by now and collapsed. But he was going strong. I’ve seen very badly behaved children in my day, but I’ve never seen anything like this.
The stewardess suggested the mother take her daughter’s place next to the father and hold Owen to see if this would calm him. The stewardess had to place herself between me and the father when he stood up with Owen to keep me from being kicked by the child.
When his mother took him, he finally collapsed in exhaustion. No one can offer me an excuse I will accept for this situation. It is completely, and in every way one can imagine, inexcusable. I was so angry about this situation, I had to wait over a week to publish this. Prior to today I was unwilling to sanitize the words I used to describe Owen.
So why are the airlines bleeding revenue? Few transportation experiences are as miserable. People are simply avoiding the horrid misery.