By Dom Serafini
During a one-week, 35,000 km journey that included stops in France, Germany, Singapore, Italy and New York City, I had time to think about an ideal airline service for me and the thousands of TV executives who criss-cross the globe. Considering the ordeal I experienced on the Air France’s new superjet A380 on my way to the German Screenings (as documented in last week’s Water Cooler).
First of all, airlines should recognize that airports are no longer consumer friendly environments. Indeed, travelers nowadays can fully consider airports hostile, inhospitable places. In order to help alleviate travelers airports’ discomfort, airlines should have decent sit-down, full-service restaurants and not just fast-food chains. It is also important that airport restaurants and convenient stores be open at all hours and, in particular, well before the first planes are due to take off. Plus, these facilities should be inside the terminal and not in the check-in area before passengers rush through the time-consuming and disquieting security check process.
Secondly, allow passengers to disembark using multiple jetways. It’s ridiculous having to wait up to 20 minutes just to get off the plane, especially considering tightly-timed connection flights.
Thirdly, increase the number of direct flights. Avoiding U.S. hubs like Dallas-Ft.Worth, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Houston, etc., would be greatly appreciated by all.
Fourthly, make economy seats more spacious (seat pitch and legroom), from the current average of 44.3 cm wide and 81.2 cm long, to at least 90 cm deep.
Fifth. Make obese people purchase two economy seats at the price of one-and a half fare. It’s a nightmare traveling while seated next to someone who basically traps you on the seat, without any possibility of movement.
Sixth. Offer the same fare for recurrent customers (family or company) who take at least 10 trips a year with the same airline. Eliminating the fluctuating costs would make people fly more, assure loyalty to an airline and offer better budgeting to all concerned.
Seventh. Install Wi-Fi service and electrical plugs (power ports) on board.
Eight. Make connection gate information available on the on board TV monitors.
Nine. If the plane is late, give new boarding passes while on the plane to those who will miss ticketed or scheduled connections, before landing (after all the only thing needed is a printer!).
Ten. If the aircraft has technical problems, get passengers rescheduled after one hour. If rescheduling cannot be done, find nearby accommodations. It’s unfair to leave passengers on the aircraft for more than one hour, without giving the option of taking another flight or resting from the ongoing ordeal.
These ten recommendations are not necessarily listed in order of importance, but are definitely important if not necessary for all.