The State of Air Travel

Once in a while I stumble across a discussion of the wretched state of air travel. Such articles/posts typically include a lament for the halcyon days of flights being limited to men in suits and women in evening wear. While I agree that air travel isn't always the most luxurious of endeavors these days, I disagree with the notion that it has much to do with the attire of one's fellow passengers.

Cramped seats, poor seating layouts, a lack of snacks to say nothing of meals, the decline of the in-flight drink, long airport wait times, the requirement to largely disrobe while going through security, a reduction in carry-on space; all these factors and more have tilted the scale deeply in favor of comfort and utility over formality.

Of course consumers have had a role in this. Demand for cheap flights, which can most easily be sated through cramping and cutting costs, has led to this state of affairs. However, I don't think most people would want to return to the days when only the wealthy could travel by air. What solution then? Perhaps acceptance is the key. I think we all just have to accept that the way air travel occurs has changed forever. Those looking for a more formal experience may have to look elsewhere.


  1. Anonymous14/5/12 18:38

    I don't know that resignation is the key. If a market exists for fancy-dress flying, it will be filled. But maybe what's needed is a dose of realism: the yen is not for expensive air travel, but for cheap travel that only well-dressed people took. A nostalgia for a past that never was.

  2. Thanks for the comment, I appreciate you addressing a point I was remiss in skipping over in the original post.

    I believe that there is a market for more upscale travel, and that it has indeed been addressed. Those looking for a more upscale, dressed-up version of flight have private jets. Having dispensed with the fat-cats and worthies of the world, we are of course left with those who would value the luxurious experience fo private jets but who can't afford it.

    Some of these individuals will be the ones you noted who have a misplaced sense of nostalgia for a cheap, but formal flight experience. I suppose not much can be done for the delusional.

    For those more realistic travelers who just pine for flights sans pink running shoes and full tracksuits but can't afford the private jet option noted above, I am afraid, contrary to your comments, that 'resignation is the key.'


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