We have all seen the old movies where taking a flight somewhere was more of a glamorous party than anything that remotely resembles how we travel today. Everyone was dressed to the nines and the crew was a bubbly bunch of ladies totting around a drink cart and “serving seven corse meals on fine china”. People were smoking (thank god thats gone!) and pilots were treated like presidents. Today however, taking a flight is like riding the subway. People are dressed in sweats and flights are overcrowded busses of the sky dirty included. The glamorous days of air travel are gone unless you are rich enough for a privet jet or first class. Now back in the regular people seating we are lucky if we get a drink and a bag of pretzels or a few more inches of leg space. More and more restrictions keep flying our way (pun intended). To be honest it SUCKS! So when did it all go so bad? 1978 to be precise, that was the year the Airline Deregulation Act was signed into law. This law killed the price wars between airlines causing the prices to jump and quality to lag.
So what is the problem today? Everything it would seam. We have all watched the video of a man being dragged off a United Airlines flight bloodied and screaming “kill me”. A far cry from the 1950’s cocktail party, we have seen the cut back on space, carry on bags, meals and most of all customer service. So what can we do? Well it turns out not that much, according to the “Contract of Carriage” that we as customers and passengers agree to our rights are laid out (like after you get punched in the face). The airlines has complete control to deboard anyone. Yes, you have signed away your rights to your flight just by purchasing it! So why is your flight overbooked in the first place? To cover the airlines from any “no-shows” and it’s totally legal.
So what can you do? Well the airline gets to decide how much you are compensated for your seat and you don’t have to take what they offer but the jury is still out on if taking the money the offer first is best or waiting to speak to a customer service rep is better.
Tips to know before you go.
Cover Image: GLOBE FILE PHOTO 1968