Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Romance is dead, long live cheap airfares!

I never knew the glory days of flying. I was too young to see the days where men and women dressed up to fly, the men wearing suits, the women dresses and heels. I would have liked to, but even a few years ago turning up to a flight in a singlet (vest), shorts and thongs (flip flops) would have been frowned upon by all and sundry, with a good chance that the check in counter would just refuse to let someone board dressed like that. Fast forward a few years and because the flights are cheap, people seem to think the experience must be too. There almost seems to be a contest, with prizes for the grottiest and sluttiest up for grabs.

And when passengers dress like scum, that is how staff treat them, with this attitude leaching into all facets of customer service, regardless of who they are dealing with. The staff at low cost airlines are perfect examples of this, treating all people with a practiced professional disdain.

I know this is probably old fashioned thinking, and the people who read this won't be contenders for the aforementioned prizes, but we should all make an effort to dress well when we travel. Not uncomfortably, but as if we are visiting an elderly relative in hospital. Also, we should expect better customer service from our airlines. Price should not be our only consideration when deciding who we fly with, and we should let the airlines know this is the case, utilising social networks to publicise our experiences, both the good and the bad.

As for the airlines, I would love to see the introduction of a dress code to both lounges and economy class in line with that in business class. It may be too much to ask in Australia but I hope it can happen. Change the way people dress and you will change way they treat your staff. There would be uproar at first from the lefties but many more would applaud the move.

Now I won't pretend that these ideas will make airport security less onerous, or reverse the growing tendency of airlines to hide their fees as add-ons, or even address the lunacy of giving business class passengers metal cutlery while economy use plastic (what, the bad guys can't afford to fly business???), but it will bring some self respect back. So there you have it, my 3 step plan to get some of the romance back into travel!

We are currently in Singapore with Cor's family (oh the food!), having flown here on a horror show with Jetstar, the inspiration for this post. On Sunday we are off to Malaysia, photos to come when we have proper computer access and can connect the camera...