Ex-Pilot Comments On Changes Over The Years

February 19, 2010

in Flying Hell Commentary

I want to tell you that back in the 70’s air travel was an adventure and people who sat in First Class did indeed wear suit coats and women wore dresses. The food (even in coach) was actually tasty and you could tell that people cared when you had cloth napkins and fine wine glasses served on your tray.

I started my career in aviation the day after I flew on a Boeing 727 Astrojet operated by American Airlines. I knew that I wanted to control this 80 tons of alumium with my own two hands. The very thought of me having the lives of 140 passengers for an extended length of time brought many exciting and commanding thoughts to my mind. When you’re seven miles straight up doing eight miles a minute it just makes the adrenalin flow.

Now some 39 years later, having spent 19 years as a commercial pilot, I stand and wonder how something so beautiful went as far south as it could go. I lived it for three days a week, seven trips a month and I watched airline management kill a very beautiful thing for nothing more than profit and gain, and saw people dedicated (yes dedicated) turn into mindless machines that all wished they could be doing something else. It is a shame because in defending something that I loved to do, even I was pushed out five years early. Think about that the next time you look into that cockpit. Are they happy?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Joe February 20, 2010 at 7:21 pm

I feel with ya. Airlines these days are nothin like they used to be. So much BS has cramed its self into it that…well…it's just gone.


ps February 21, 2010 at 8:40 am

I understand your sentiments. But remember, the friendly skies have become the equivalent of subway trains with wings. Air travel is dirt cheap, the fares (maybe) half of their 70's equivalent when adjusting for inflation and passengers still expecting their fare to include white glove service, silverware and a nice meal. Even flying first and business today,in many cases, can not match the positive experience of flying economy 35-40 years ago.


Increasedosologist February 22, 2010 at 6:30 am

And another thing that's changed. You can no longer look into the cockpit. It's supposed to stay buttoned down.


USMom February 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm

I looked into the cockpit on every single one of the planes I was on this week (4), and even spoke to the pilots on one. I'm sure they are supposed to stay closed, but they don't. Even after the plane vs building incident in Austin this week, the doors were still open, on a flight to Austin.


Jim February 24, 2010 at 11:54 am

I agree it is a shame. The airlines treat passengers like crap. No respect. No concern that the passenger is their paying customer.

The airlines also treat many of their employees like crap. They give big bonuses to the executives, and very low wages to everyone else. Albeit, if the employees don't like their job…they should quit…there are many unemployed that would be happy to have, even the low paying airline job….and, would perform it well.

As a result, the employees do not care about their jobs or their customers. They treat the customers with disdain and disrespect….afterall, they are union, and they can't be fired….and, their rewards are not great. In return the customers treat the employees like crap. So, it is a terrible, continual downward spiral.

We already have to go through all of the necessary evils with security…but, we also have to put up with substandard service…long delays….fees for many things that used to be free….and, frumpy, disheveled, tired personnel that couldn't give a rats ass if we make it to our destination or not.

When time is so precious these days, a delay or cancelled flight could cost us 1-2 days or more of our very precious 5 day vacation…so, yeah we get eaily frustrated. A delay or cancelled flight can mean the difference between us making a meeting, making a sale, and making a commission so that we can pay our mortgage….so yeah, again we get easily frustrated when the flight is cancelled.

A flight from point A to point B is much more than just a formality for most fliers…we have a purpose to be on that flight…and, when it doesn't happen, and the airlines don't care….it is frustrating.

Most of us would be willing to pay more for good service, a clean plane, reliable service, free meals and luggage check and friendly airline employees…. However, when the service is so poor, and flying is so unreliable…we, balk at paying any more than we have to….so, again this is a downward spiral….we will not pay more for crap service…and the airlines will not offer more services at these low rates..

Hopefully, someone with some deep pockets will come along and change the course by offering cadillac flights and service….and, if they are consistent enough in their service, I believe they can be profitable and take a large percentage of the market, of those that would be willing to pay more for better service.


the logger February 25, 2010 at 3:08 am

Air travel is reflective of the general state of our society. Nobody gives a rats ass about anybody, anywhere.

Parents raise their kids to be porky animals, and they grow up to be the "travelling public". Just watch how people react when the GA opens the jetway door. Passengers pushing and shoving to be first on, even with assigned seats.

So next time you are stuck in a middle seat beside some 300 lb. stinky in a tank top, hair and sweat rolling out from underneath, eating a bag of Fatso burgers, reflect on how far we have come in the evolutionary process.

I have to go cut some wood, so happy contrails.


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