The Mile-High Club has two new members: Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines. The two merged April 15th with a handshake. Merger and a handshake. Isn’t that romantic? Sounds more like a combo meal offered by a house of ill repute.
The Wall Street Journal calls it a marriage. A marriage in Deliverance, maybe. Those in the know suggest United and Continental are standing in the lavatory line waiting patiently for the light to blink “vacant.”
Now for the screw: The merger likely means higher ticket prices, fewer places to go, and — in defiance of all physical law — even more cramped seating.
Ryanair can fly you about 960 miles from Frankfurt, Germany to Belfast, Northern Ireland for $68. Delta will fly you 48 miles less than that, from Phoenix, Arizona to Denver, Colorado for $165 more – and that price is about to go up by 22 percent, from $233 to $284. United comes in at $231 – $163 more than Ryanair; and Continental is charging. American Airlines can come in at $198, but that’s still $130 more than Ryanair. Before long, AA will be charging about $241.
More disconcerting than the cost (differences and forecasted raises) is the flagrant lack of customer service hoisted upon, I mean offered to the flier. Airlines in the United States can talk all the trash they want; there has been a noticeable decline in how customers are regarded.
To be fair there’s also been a rise in the number of people too uncivilized to take a walk, much less a flight, but can they not be filtered out along with all the tiny vials of Listerine? I’ve seen trouble customers make trouble as soon as they entered the airport, but for some reason their behavior was tolerated as if the airline employees all suffered with battered woman syndrome. Many an incident has necessitated airport security meeting the arriving flight – and the offender still gets to fly again. What’s that about?
I’ve flown every one of these airlines – and Ryanair never lost my luggage, treated me like a terrorist, balked at a request for one more snack packet, or threw a fit over a breastfeeding mother.
When my teenaged daughter became sick in the middle of the plane on our way from Frankfurt, Germany to Shannon, Ireland, Ryanair’s flight attendants acted like mothers themselves. Contrarily, when a baby across the aisle from us became ill on a Delta flight, you’d have thought the child had opened the gates to hell the way the flight attendants chastised the young mother – and did nothing to assist her.
Is this apples and oranges – or is there another explanation why the little airline that, proportionately, goes more places and is paying more for fuel than the bigger airlines is charging less for tickets and being more civil to its customers?
I miss capitalism.