Friday, August 12, 2022

Flying -- Then and Now

Yesterday, I reviewed the River Spirit Resort and Casino where Kathleen and I went to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We decided we didn't want to fly. These days, the photo below summarizes how I feel when flying -- not to mention the delays, gate changes, et cetera. 

It doesn't have to be this way!

On our honeymoon we went to Hawaii on "747 Braniff Place" (the airlines in that era named their planes similar to cruise ships). The experience in coach was better then than today's first class. 

This is the section in which we sat. Look at the leg room! The group of seats in the middle was five-across. Before they retired the 747's, most airlines were seven-across. 
We were offered the choice of three hot entrees for lunch. Then, a couple of hours before landing, they set up a buffet in the back! Everyone was courteous and pleasant. 

But, many say, "without deregulation, people could not afford to fly." I take issue with this. The airlines today have access to all types of improved productivity tools (computer reservation systems, for one) that makes their cost of doing business less. 

Since 747 Braniff Place's coach service was much better than today's first class or business class to Hawaii, let's compare prices. First, we'll compute inflation. 
I paid $250 for each of us, round trip. That's $1,640 today. 

Since Braniff no longer exists, let's look at going through Dallas to Hawaii today on American Airlines.
Yes, today's hugely inferior coach class is less expensive when compared to inflation-adjusted dollars. But, look at the prices for today's business class ($6,090) and first class ($3,730) with a far inferior product to coach in the 70's. 

While I give huge kudos to the improved safety as compared to the 1970's, there is no reason at all for the chaos of flying today nor the greatly inferior in-flight comfort and service. 

I'm not a person who longs for the "good old days," except in this one aspect of life. Today's airlines are awful when compared to the 70's and 80's. 

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