So I’ve been doing a lot of airplane travel these past few weeks and I’m coming to the conclusion that the airlines are pretty much doing themselves in. Not all that dissimilar from the way American car manufacturers did themselves in.
People have just gotten to the point where they expect air travel to be a completely horrible experience, filled with long delays, lost luggage, interminable lines and surly staffers.
And we are almost at that point where there’s really not much the airlines can say to make people like them again. So what I’m seeing is people rejiggering their vacation plans to avoid air travel all together. I mean it’s become that unpleasant. Combine that with rapidly rising airfares and you’ve got some big trouble ahead as people permanently write off flying or cut back on it severely.
Now the Bush administration—as well as local authorities-- have been making noise about having the FAA cut back the number of flights and all that but I wonder if it’s not too late. There’s a real risk that like the aversion to American cars, the aversion to domestic air travel is a behavior that’s become too ingrained to break.