Better Air Travel: Just Add Recession

| The economic boom of the mid-2000’s brought horror stories of an air travel system straining to operate well over capacity. But fewer people flew in 2008, and a survey shows that translated into better service — fewer delays and cancellations, fewer lost bags, and fewer overbookings. Maybe it’s time to add airline service quality to the list of economic indicators. But is it a leader or a laggard? [%comments]


DonO

Probably a laggard, as the poor economy meant fewer passangers, hence the reduction of overwhelming of depleated resources, but the reductions in delays may be attributable to better weather.

Cheryl

Except for Delta, which apparently won't let you go to the bathroom.

Drive My Car

Laggard...businesses won't ramp up approvals for air travel until their confidence is higher.

Jon Peltier

It's a laggard. Business and personal spending is coming under more scrutiny because of the economic climate.

In the past five years I doubt I've flown in a plane that was less than 95% full. But recently, the planes I've been on have averaged less than 50% of capacity. It's nice, you get a bit more room, boarding and deboarding is faster and smoother, and the cabin crew is less stressed.

Trevor L

It's a laggard. It's correlated with unemployment.

Bobby G

Laggard. Not sure I'd say unemployment is too closely tied with quality of air travel (unless Trevor meant the recession was correlated with unemployment, which makes more sense), but air travel is a big victim of fuel price fluctuations, which can be of itself termed a leader in some aspects.

Beth

Oh, please. Airline service is just as bad as ever. I arrived 20 hours behind schedule when I flew last week. I appear as an "on time" statistic, though, because the replacement flight I had to book when the first one was cancelled landed "on time." I didn't receive a single apology the entire trip. And I had to find my *own* replacement flight, *online*, when they cancelled my first one. The airline employees I spoke with, both in person and on the phone, for some reason couldn't find the flight that I found for myself in 10 minutes once I made it to a computer.

Ralph DeLuca

I agree that air travel is as bad as ever. I recently booked a flight out west through Continental and it was a real hassle. They only let you use miles or upgrade on certain flights, and never the ones you want. And that is the first part, once you get to the airport, you have to go though multiple security checks, bring only the required size toiletries, etc. Too bad train travel isn't faster.

Ralph DeLuca
Madison, NJ