(Source: Josh Rubin, CoolHunting)
Seth Godin and Penelope Trunk both recently wrote about airports.
Penelope can't handle airports and honestly should probably not be traveling through a normal airport. She needs to be chartering jets from places like BlackJet, the Uber for jets, for her flights. Seth can handle airports, but he has the same gripes as the rest of us. Going through the airport is such a miserable experience that sometimes people stay home instead.
|Walking to the plane involves no scary TSA agents |
(Source: Josh Rubin)
|You can bring dogs and actually be comfortable on a jet.|
(Source: Josh Rubin)
I recently traveled to NYC with Airtran. I had a 2-hour layover in Atlanta. It became a 4-hour layover because they had cancelled an earlier flight, which made everybody get bumped down a flight. Instead of making one flight of 150 people angry, they made the entire day's passengers going to NYC angry. It was done out of "fairness" but I highly doubt that even the first plane's passengers thought it was fair. I spent those four hours reading, although the extreme delay put me in Manhattan during rush hour instead of just before.
The more time I spend traveling, the more I understand why businesspeople hate traveling. I think it has a lot to do with the locus of control. Businesspeople are normally efficient and efficacious. When you are in an airport, pretty much everything is out of your control except for where you are standing. You have to let the TSA check through your bags. The gate agent checks you through and has the authority to keep you grounded. The flight attendants will swiftly take care of disruptive passengers and even innocuous ones, like Joe Sugarman, who have flown millions of miles with them.
I view planes as miraculous; it is much faster to fly than it is to drive somewhere or go by train. However, I highly doubt that the airport focuses on making your experience the best it can be. The airport isn't focusing on the stakeholders that matter the most, the customers. How can airlines expect to stay in business if they do not have customers? They have forgotten the fundamental rule of business: sales cure all. If there are no sales, then they will be unable to run.
The generation after mine, the Homeland Generation, has grown up in a world where we always have to be afraid in airports. During my childhood, the bags were checked simply for guns or weapons. We could take shampoo when traveling. Those freedoms have been ceded in the name of security, although honestly I'm not sure who was voting on that day. I am fairly certain that if the next president of the United States spoke out in favor of decreasing the power of the TSA, he would bolster his popularity. The TSA is more hated than the IRS, because at least the IRS doesn't fondle you inappropriately or look at naked pictures of you.
I am reading about how the TSA needs to be confined to operating within our Constitutional rights. And Steve Bierfeldt's recording of his detainment at the St. Louis airport is actually terrifying, because the TSA agent in the recording starts swearing at the guy. They continually threaten him with further action, especially being investigated by the FBI and DEA. He keeps asking if he is legally required to answer the questions and they never answer him. The agents are very unprofessional and it's just a good example of why the TSA is so scary. They have become the bogeymen, even more than the terrorists that they are supposed to protect us from. We see them every time that we go through the airport and we are required to submit to their authority, regardless of how they abuse it. The TSA is frequently sued by irate passengers whose rights were infringed. The TSA is also ineffective. Old women and children are searched by the TSA, even though a normal person would recognize that they pose no threat to security.
We really need to change the way that airport treats passengers. If train was a viable way to travel, then we would all be taking trains. The airport has changed into a place that scares us and the world is recognizably less free. Why hasn't the American public changed it?