I Hate You, Airline CEO

I hate flying. I hate airplanes. I hate airlines. I hate everything that has to do with flying. Deeply. Disturbingly. Profoundly. And it is all your fault, Airline CEO.

I hate the way your airlines cram hundreds of people into the smallest of spaces. Do you really think my femur fits the distance between the seats? Do you really think I enjoy being pushed sideways for hours by my seat neighbor because the armrest is too narrow for the both of us? Do you really think I can eat my meal when the seat in front of me is in the horizontal position? Do you really think I cannot avoid numb legs and feet during long flights? Do you really think I can go to the toilets without waking up all the people in the row in front of me or my neighbors?

I hate how long boarding and getting out of the damn plane takes. Have not you noticed that airplanes usually have more than one door? Then why are all 380 passengers of a 747 getting into the plane though the same, unique, small door? Cannot you design airports that take that into account? Cannot you, jetty makers, airport designers, add an extension to boarding gates that goes above the wing or below the tarmac so that we can all get in and out through several doors at once?

I hate how you dare selling double tickets to obese people. Would not it be better to have a couple of special seats in the front of the aircraft reserved for them? You do not have any trouble overselling tickets and leaving people in the ground wondering what happened and begging you for a hotel voucher, but of course you cannot plan in advance for those that will have to endure such a demeaning treatment. And let us not get started about how families with kids have to travel, ok?

I hate your in-flight entertainment system. When it works (which, per Murphy’s Law, most often does not,) your music sucks, your film choice is crappy, the sound is bad, and even worse, I hate how the captain interrupts my movie precisely when Luke is about to blow up the Death Star to tell me that the outside temperature is about 3º Kelvin or other nonsense that nobody cares about, babbled through speakers that sound like if they were built in the 20s. To begin with, have not you heard about that Dolby thing? And most importantly, do not you think we are already annoyed enough, to just shut up and fly this thing in time? That is the only thing we care about: to get outta this plane, alive, as fast as possible.

I hate your crappy food. I hate how it tastes, I hate the bad manners of the crew members serving it, I hate that I can never have meat instead of pasta because I always happen to sit behind the person who got the last one and that yeah, you are very sorry about that. I will have a Coke, please.

I hate how airline websites fail in every possible way. I hate how I have to always spend longer hours clicking to find what I am looking for, that your search engines are useless, that they are not optimized for mobile, that I have to spell correctly the codes of the airports, that your date picker is unusable without Flash or JavaScript, that the back button resets the whole form, that your animated intro annoys me every time I want to spend money on your company because you happen to be the only ones flying where I need to go. And airport websites are not better. Here goes a message to airport webmasters: I just want to know, right now, fast, without any more required clicks, if my flight is delayed, canceled or in time. I do not, let me repeat, I do not care about your first class lounges; I will most probably never use them. The same goes for any other information. Put it behind a menu and do not bother me. Thank you.

I hate how I get the same crappy level of service when I pay a hundred bucks for a 2 hour trip to Madrid or when I pay 2000 for a roundtrip flight to Argentina that lasts 14 hours. Are you kidding me? What is your problem? Do you really think I do not see how you are filling your pockets with my cash?

I hate how inaccessible, unfriendly, broken and expensive airports are. I hate how immigration booths are always all closed but one, and I spend more time showing my passport and my boarding card than actually flying. I hate how your tax-free shops are more expensive than downtown shops, and how they shamelessly pretend to have the best prices on Earth. Do you really think I was born yesterday?

I hate the mind-boggling algorithms I have to execute in order to know which terminal my flight is leaving from. It goes something like this, starting with the basic questions, domestic or international? Air Exhaust or Air Compression? Oh, then it is terminal G, door 257. You must enter through terminal N and then take our new air-magnetic-levitation-superconductor-enabled-robot-train and get out at terminal H, then walk through the panoramic gateway above the tarmac, and then you will see the check-in booths at your left. Oh, and since this is a code-sharing flight, you must use the booths of Aerolíneas Averiadas to check in, then pay the airport tax in counter 734 (welcome to Latin America) and proceed through security and passport control before proceeding to gate Y35, but hurry up, your flight is boarding right now.

I hate how airport terminals are miles away from each other and how bad they are referenced and how hard it is to understand your information panels. Have not you noticed that small airports are usually faster to get in and out, have shorter distances between the plane and the terminal, people board using both doors and even better, are easier to get to from cities? The solution is not having two- or three-stories tall planes carrying 800 people at once. That will not work. If your airports cannot handle 200 people at once per plane, do you really think you can handle more? Really?

I hate how connecting flights are always clutching at straws. A small delay in a flight, a longer queue in the security checks or even the fact of having to re-check on the new flight (because some airlines cannot access the computer systems of each other in order to check in all your legs at once before departure,) and your flight is gone. And if you are really lucky, you will see the door of the gate being closed in front of you as you sweat your way to it, together with the grins of the ground team looking at you. You are then free to pray that you will not have to pay for a new ticket, that you will get a hotel for that night, and that all the stuff printed in the “passenger rights” posters behind the counter is true. By the way, showing those posters implicitly tells me that something has really gone wrong with your industry.

I hate your security controls that do not protect anyone, that do not prevent anything, that just annoy and harass everyone. I hate your assaults on my personal sphere. I mean no harm to you. Leave me alone with your security procedures. Oh and by the way, I hate listening to that same security information every. Single. Time. About how to put my oxygen mask or how to fasten my seat belt. The airline industry might have a lower number of accidents than other forms of transportation, but when you are involved in a plane crash, the odds of getting alive are lower than in the highway. No wonder sometimes people applaud when planes land; we just do not really trust you to get us there alive.

I hate the inhuman conditions you airlines make your crews work in. I hate how they have to strike in order to have some attention, while your team of MBAs running the company get big bonuses at the end of the year and you, dear Airline CEO, get your million dollar golden parachute if everything else fails. Because when you treat your employees like that, they spit on my coffee, you know? They work overtime, they try to do a living in the worst of industries, and you treat them like shit. No wonder they are in strike.

I hate how you dare losing my bags. I hate how I have to cross my fingers every time I travel to avoid having them sent to Timbuktu or Vladivostok. Do not you see the tags with the airport codes and the barcodes printed in them? And, even after losing them, is it really that difficult to send it faster than 3 days later to their owner? Really? Do you really think I will buy new clothes every time I travel just because baggage is handled by pathetic monkey-like systems unable to read correctly a tag? Oh, but of course, you will tax me for every extra kilo in those same bags like if I was carrying gold bars. Fuck you.

I hate how everything is a good reason to be late, or to not fly at all. Snow. Strikes. Rain. Late connections. UFOs. Other planes. Storms. Winds. Birds. Clouds. Thick air. Thin air. Engines. Flaps. Eyjafjallajökull. Wings. Terrism. Airport facilities. Tires. Oil. Gravity. Mountains. Plains. Seas. Passengers. Bags.

I hate how a plane can disappear in the middle of the ocean without a trace. Have not you heard about this thing called GPS? You know, like the one embedded inside the smartphone in your pocket? Cannot you have a direct, permanent link with those satellites, so that in case of accident you can be notified milliseconds, not hours, later? You know, like your smartphone notifies you of new likes on Instagram? We are in the 21st century, you murderer. Black boxes were a neat idea in 1924, should not you be thinking about upgrading that thing anytime soon?

Dear Airline CEO: what is your problem? If you are unable to provide a service, well then do not do it. Do I provide healthcare? Am I a lawyer? Do I own a grocery store? No, because I know nothing about those professions. But I do not pretend to either.

Do not trick people with nice advertising showing how big your first class seats are (probably the most useless kind of advertising ever.) Do not fill your mouth with useless babble about your commitment to service. Do not lie to people about what you do and how you do it. Be frank: say that your service is as bad as anyone else. Say that you only want to “increase shareholder value” and that passengers are just a collateral damage. Say it. Admit it. Embrace the failure that you are. And please, please, do not be a hypocrite.

The airline industry is broken. It must be redesigned from scratch.

Dear Airline CEO, I hate you.

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