2011 Goals: Fix the Aviation Industry

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I flew US Airways during the 2010 Christmas blizzard and I have to tell you that they didn’t suck as badly as anticipated. But they still sucked. Just like every other airline out there. Delta. United. American.

And don’t get me started about JetBlue and Southwest. When did doing your job with some measure of competency amount to something I ought to celebrate?

Now listen — I have millions of miles under my belt. Those miles were earned on various airlines during the past ten years. I’m not an expert in air travel, but I know a few things. Here are some ideas to fix the shithole that we call the aviation industry in America.

  1. Hire more people. I know the airlines are in business to make money. I know that labor costs money. I also know that great and dedicated employees can turn your industry around. Hire a few of them. While you’re at it, stop shelling out large compensation packages to airline executives while you’re slashing union contracts and making your employees do more with less. It’s lame.
  2. Use technology to make your company better. If I’m not on the plane and nowhere to be found, you’ll pull my luggage because I might be a terrorist. Why don’t you text me when my luggage doesn’t make it on a flight so I’m not standing around the luggage carousel in Buffalo, NY like an asshole while my luggage sits in Philly? Why can’t I track my luggage like I can track my UPS packages? And why can’t I use text to rebook a missed flight? Why don’t you add more self-service kiosks at the airport? Why can’t you create a Twitter-like platform on your website to deliver instant customer service? Why don’t you upgrade the crappy IVR software on your 800# to something that can recognize my voice and block out the background noise of the airport? How about improving air traffic controller software to make the whole experience of flying a little safer?
  3. Hire real security professionals. I’m the most pro-union, pro-federal employee blogger in the HR blogging industry, but the TSA sucks. It’s not much better than the private security that was in place before 9/11. I just came back from Cananda. Guess what? When the ICE officer asked me questions, I took him seriously. I didn’t roll my eyes at him. He didn’t feel me up. Stop staffing my airport with retail workers and former movie theater managers. Start hiring professional, educated, serious law officers.
  4. Stop telling me that I don’t have to fly if I don’t like it. And go f–k yourself while you’re at it. You don’t make money from my brothers who fly once a decade. You make money from me — a business traveler. If you don’t make things easier for me, imma call your bluff and upgrade to the premium Skype package.

I’m on the side of the aviation industry. I want airlines to operate safely and make money. I’m just sick of being told that rising fuel prices and escalating labor costs are the problem. The real problem? A lack of business savvy — coupled with a complete lack of innovation.

It’s nearly 2011. Let’s use our American entrepreneurship and fix the aviation industry before a plane falls out of the sky, another terrorist attack happens, or someone touches my junk.

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