Flying is a Mother
Andrew Sullivan continues his “Creepy Ad Watch” series with this old American Airlines ad with the slogan “Think of her as your mother.”
I’ve seen that one before and, indeed, even used it to illustrate my “Fly the Unfriendly Skies” post a couple years back. I noted then that,
I despise flying despite having done it routinely since I was 6 months old. And it’s getting worse rather than better.
The problem, I think, is that flying has become a commodity. Aside from frequent flier programs and other incentives, most of us book our travel based entirely on cost and scheduling convenience. Carriers that offer better service (larger seats, decent meals, more generous baggage allowances, friendlier waitresses, and so forth) simply can’t pass on the costs in that environment, leading to a race to the bottom. Those who truly want — and can afford — a good experience fly First Class. Otherwise, you’re essentially on a flying Greyhound bus.
Having just returned from Tuscon via Minneapolis, I’d note that First Class* ain’t what it used to be, either.
For one thing, most of the Airbus planes have boarding from the front of the plane rather than aft of the First Class cabin, which means you’re basically trapped in your seat during the interminable boarding procedure. I swear that on shorter flights it takes longer to get people and their giant roll-on bags crammed into the plane and back off again than it does wheels up to wheels down.
For another, the transformation from “stewardess” to “flight attendant” to “Flight Crew Whom You Must Obey According to FAA Regulations” has yielded a crop of grumpier and less service oriented sky waitresses.
*Flying with an infant, it’s generally cheaper — whether in dollars or frequent flier miles — to get two First Class seats than three in coach.