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Airlines worry frustrations with security procedures contributing to decline in travel...

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The Air Transport Association expects 2 percent fewer people will fly this Thanksgiving week compared with last year, while AAA projects a 4 percent increase in automobile travel. As the T.S.A. observes its 10th anniversary, it also faces lawsuits over the legality of its passenger searches, growing scrutiny of the cost-effectiveness of its screening measures, questions about security lapses and complaints that some agents continue to make travelers feel humiliated or harassed. (www.nytimes.com) More...

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FedExCargoPilot
It's ridiculous, I just flew to DC this weekend, security took 30mins, now heading back near the holiday, you must get to the airport 1.5 hrs or more in advance. And I still hate the scanners, and this nonsense about frequent fliers will just upset more people. It's about profiling and defeats the purpose of security.
wasclywabbit
John Berry 0
Me thinks it's the frustration with being stuffed into a seat that a Munchin would find cramped along with surely service and being nickel and dimed to death by fees. Is security an issue? Sure it is, but a TSA groping only takes a minute while the Marquis de Sade seat torture lasts the entire flight.
FedExCargoPilot
Good point. I flew united, drinks were offered, but no peanuts that used to be joked about from pax and thrown at by f/as. Luckily I was sitting by normal sized people, knees pressed against the seat ahead. I had to convince who I was traveling with that the flight was only 4hrs not 5.5. Airlines need to step it up in service. The airport scene is just a mess. Security at SFO is rediculous.
wasclywabbit
John Berry 0
I just flew FRA to SFO which was 10.5 hours of pure hell. I'm 6'5" which makes matters worse obviously, but my knees were jammed so tightly into the seat in front of me that that person couldn't recline even if they wanted to...and they did try...several times...but the ensuing scream from behind them seemed to temper their enthusiasm for a reclined seat.

In years past I could check in early and usually sweet talk my way into a bulkhead or exit row seat by going to the counter position with the tallest agent but no more. Now to get those seats you need to either have a bazillion frequent flier miles or by breaking out your American Express.

Bottom line is that no business can continue to treat their customers like cattle in the long term before they cease being customers. Charging a customer extra to achieve a barely acceptable level of service never works long term but so many businesses just don't seem to grasp that. Recruiting a new customer is difficult and expensive. Getting one back who left pissed off is almost impossible.
mddickens
mddickens 0
The whole experience basically sucks now...so much so that I just bought my own plane to avoid as many airline trips as possible. I won't be able to avoid the airlines entirely, but they will make a lot less off of me in the future.
preacher1
preacher1 0
It used to be that flying was a wanted and desired experience and a lot of times, the price paid for that service kept some folks off. Now, with the drop in service, and as bus tickets go up, the only difference in Airlines and Greyhound is the time. Problem is that the flying public wants all the service that used to be for the Greyhound price and it ain't gonna happen.
THRUSTT
THRUSTT 0
EXACTLY, if you're fat or oversized, pay for two seats. If you want a hot meal and all the other perks, don't cry for a damn $59 ticket. Yeah the airline experience sucks, but it's what the public asked for by crying for low prices!!!
wasclywabbit
John Berry 0
I'm fine paying for a meal and can even understand paying for more than one bag, but what I'm not willing to accept graciously is rudeness and overwhelming discomfort bordering on cruelty. Even people of average height suffer on a two hour flight these days. No I don't expect it to go back to the days of half filled planes with a bargain priced ticket but puling three rows out of the average coach section and dividing the resulting space amongst the remaining passengers would not raise the cost all that much. I'll pay more, really I will, but I'm sick of feeling like a flight is equivalent to descending through the seven payers of hell.
mddickens
mddickens 0
I don't have a problem with the fact that I don't get a meal on the flight, or even the fact that I pay for baggage handling. At least in that case, I am getting a service for my money. What I have a big problem with is the way passengers are treated by the TSA and the games that the airlines play with the tarmac delays. I don't like the mandatory irradiation, the pricing games that the airlines play and the time it takes to get to almost any other destination. Block to block, I can beat the airlines to my destination in the majority of cases and arrive when I want at an FBO that rolls out the red carpet (literally) and has my rental car running and waiting next to the plane.
wasclywabbit
John Berry 0
Unfortunately for most of us buying a plane doesn't fit into the budget. I'm happy that it works for you but it's not a solution for the masses.
mddickens
mddickens 0
I understand that and never said it was a solution for the masses. If it was affordable to own a plane (and it makes no financial sense for anyone to own one), the airlines would be out of business because they'd have no customers. The overall experience is so bad, the only reason they're still in business is the fact that the vast majority of people have no choice. They certainly are not surviving based on customer service. And the sad thing is that it isn't (at least in my experience) the flight crew that makes it such a poor experience. It is the suits running the airlines and their policies which make it so horrid.
wasclywabbit
John Berry 0
Which makes my favorite rallying cry all the more appropriate: Help the American worker and consumer, fire an MBA today.
preacher1
preacher1 0
Well, you got one thing right. It's the suits running it. Guarantee you they got corporate jets at Ft Worth and Atlanta and others, and if not available, they are at least in 1st class and not back in coach to see how the other half lives. They are the ones that figure out all the spacing and fees to make that $ and a big return on the bottom line. They don't give one tinkers damn about those folks flying in back, and have given most domestic over to the regionals as well. IMHO
mddickens
mddickens 0
I always have thought that they should rip out the comfy conference room chairs for all of their meeting rooms and replace them with seats out of one of their planes so they would always be reminded of what their customers put up with
swelsh3
Susan Welsh 0
I am tires of being pulled from the security line for the "Random" search. i usually fly alone. The seating is uncomfortable, there are screaming children with parents who think kicking the back of a seat is endearing.
I am usually crammed into a seat with the person sitting next to me hogging my seat and passing gas the entire flight.
I woild rather take the bus than fly.
FedExCargoPilot
Ok let me propose this since it came up. We shall have a segregated part of the back of the plane where babies and their parents can be. I hate crying babies on planes and would rather UA siphoned an inch of legroon and create a daycare class in the back so me and others paying big bucks can have peace. As for the TSA they will never change and service will only be extra bucks.
n737er
n737er 0
Now that the TSA uses their X-Ray machines almost exclusively (unless you're an airport employee), I have noticed that security times have practically doubled. Also apparently they want you there 90min to 2hrs early now. I'm surprised the DC/BAL-NYC or NYC-BOS Shuttle hasn't been killed off yet by the TSA.
rick737
richard weiss 0
Just last weekend I flew from FLL to ALB. I rode Southwest Airlines. I must say that the only time I felt any discomfort was dealing with the TSA. Although, I didn't get the government rub down, I took a few moments to watch others get molested. It was disgusting to watch. It is virtually the same treatment prisoners get when guards handle them. What have we come to? These TSA goons have to be brought to heal, or they will continue to treat everyone like criminals
preacher1
preacher1 0
Case of little folks gettin' power happy???????????
rick737
richard weiss 0
Yup, they've traded their spatulas for badges.
yock
Yep. Security certainly influences my personal decisions about travel. Why are they just now realizing this after a decade of placating the government?
wjungerheld
The security procedures are annoying, but worthwhile, as there are nuts who want to kill lots of us. What the airlines are damaging their business with are the crazy charges. I travel with a 5.6# little dog. He fits in a carrier that fits under the seat. Delta charges $125 each way for this little fellow, though they don't even look at him, and don't have to lift a finger for him. It thus costs $250 round trip for this tiny dog. Delta recently emailed me an "opportunity" to get preferred seating. This turned out to be it's way of announcing that any seat but the middle seats would carry an extra charge. What slimy, cynical bastards they are! Delta is working hard to make driving attractive.
bill54494
Bill Menzel 0
Three hours in the security line at Tel Aviv last Friday night. Another half-hour in line for checking baggage and getting the boarding pass and another half-hour in line for boarding the 0030 Saturday Delta flight to JFK. I'm 6'7", and, yes, I got the middle seat for the 11-hour flight over the pond. At least the person in the seat ahead of me didn't try to lean back, and thank goodness the lady at the window seat had to get up several times during the flight to use the restroom! It gave me a good excuse to spend several hours standing in the back, where I could stretch my legs--until the 747 cattle-hauler would hit turbulence, and I'd have to return to my wonderful middle seat. Arriving at JFK at sunrise, I thought that the worst was over. I didn't know that I'd be spending another hour and a half in the security line for our Mesaba flight to MSP. At least the gate agent--once I finally got there--was kind enough to give me an exit-row seat for the two-hour flight from JFK to MSP! When travel becomes torture, it's time to think twice whether it's really worth it. I guess lots of people are doing just that.
rick737
richard weiss 0
After reading your story,I thought about the blessing of 5'6". I followed Shaquile O'Neale through security once. He had to struggle through the metal detector. I feel you "big guys" pain.
bill54494
Bill Menzel 0
Thanks! Your sympathy is gratefully received.
preacher1
preacher1 0
You talking about Shaq reminds me of the guy that owns the Dallas Mavericks. He has that Boeing BBJ and that is one comment in particular he made was about their size and how he paid particular attention to the seating arrangent and legroom on the inside when they speced it out. I know the Airlines can't give us that kind of room but I think with all the attention they have paid to it lately with Biz class and all that, the could beat what they are doing.
moonscape
moonscape 0
Marquis de Sade seat torture lasts the entire flight. that an reduced system capacity brings schedule and wait times to where it is just as easy to drive
preacher1
preacher1 0
In looking at the comments below, in another story here on FA, Qantas found out the hard way just how much ill will is still out there toward them. These other Airlines are worrying about security when it looks like they need to be doing some self examination. Once past their own problems they can worry about security.
racerman
larry clement 0
As I read about the joys of flying the cattle Cars,it reminds me why I like flying my own plane ( no it's not a jet, the the time saved compared to arriving at the airport early and then waiting for baggage makes it possible to fly several hundred miles faster than the total time required to fly commercial)It's no wonder why more people are driving and fewer are flying.
bill54494
Bill Menzel 0
I agree completely. I'm a pilot, too, currently renting a nicely equipped Piper Comanche from friends who co-own the plane. What a pleasure it is to drive out to the hangar at our local airport in a small central Wisconsin town and go directly to any destination of my choosing within reach of the aircraft's range. No security lines. Throw the bags in back. No 3-ounce limits on liquids. Plenty of legroom. The only reason to take shoes off is to relax after getting up to altitude and setting the autopilot to do most of the work. Of course this kind of flying involves plenty of responsibility, which is not to be taken lightly. But compared to spending time in security lines, flight planning is interesting, challenging, and--yes--fun.

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