What If We Just Stop Flying?

Of course I don’t mean we should stop flying completely—there will always be trips we have to take—but what about the trips we choose to take? What if hundreds of us … or thousands of us .. or hundreds of thousands of us decide to drive or take the train instead of flying? Or just not go at all?
On my recent train trips—Vancouver-Toronto-Buffalo-Chicago-Sacramento—I was struck by the outright hostility so many of my fellow passengers directed at the airlines. Not so much at specific airlines, but at the airline industry in general. Yes, these were people traveling by train in leisurely and comfortable surroundings, but that’s what seemed to trigger rants on the subject of air travel.
Try it at your next opportunity. Just ask someone to tell you about their most recent experience with a flight of more than an hour or so. There certainly seems to be a growing resentment at the callous way the airlines are squeezing us … literally, when it comes to leg room in economy class and, figuratively, when they charge us fees for lots of little benefits they used to give us for free.
But people— a lot of people— are starting to catch on. And they’re pissed:
Don’t charge 80 bucks for an upgrade to “Comfort Economy” if that means we get three inches of legroom instead of two inches.
Don’t announce that we’re going to get “complimentary beverages” if that means a little plastic cup that’s only two-thirds full.
Don’t change arrival and departure times whenever it suits you, but hit us with a $150 change fee if we have to fly on Wednesday instead of Thursday.
And don’t keep tacking on a fuel surcharge when the price of crude oil is half what it was when you added the extra charge.
If one airline treated their customers like this, they would soon be out of business. But here we have an entire industry treating their customers in a callous and disrespectful manner. Gordon Gekko would be pleased.