If I was an aviation executive, partner, employee or investor in the year 2008, I would not be sleeping much right now.
My seemingly endless nights would be filled with a tedious and unbearable sequence of cold sweats and gut wrenching anxiety attacks.
Because air travel is now approaching a perfect storm of utter chaos.
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Fuel prices could double within the next 12 months.
Air fares now have almost doubled in the last year. Example: I was poking around the internet for some return flights to Portland Oregon from where my wife and I live…
$1600 return for the two of us. For a 300 mile flight.
Granted I had not checked one of my personal favorites – Horizon and Alaska Air… that netted return fares of about 800$ for the 2 of us for a long weekend – not including food or a place to rest our heads.
We are flying to Hawaii this Christmas – and those prices are rising faster than an untethered weather balloon.
And get this. Domestic flights in the U.S. are down 41 million trips… over the last 2 years if I read the report right.
Travel to Canada from the U.S. is down 65% over 2 years ago.
And that was prior to many of the fare increases.
So what was that about?
Well – Americans are sick and tired of the hassle of air travel, sick and tired of the TSA, sick and tired of the presumption of guilt, sick and tired of the shake down, sick and tired of the illogic, sick and tired and frustrated and frightened of speaking up about any of the above for fear of the small room, the bare light bulb and the questioning matron snapping her glove as she/he preens for the strip search.
Americans don’t like to be pushed around – and I witnessed too much of it first hand after 2 years of travel after 9/11… before I became too anxious to travel south of the border… for fear of being one of 700,000 on the FBI’s and Homeland Securities No-Fly list
One of my more dim-witted friends actually said…
“The terrorists have won now haven’t they?”
Uhm. Hello. The terrorists have not won anything. The business of security and the U.S. administration has won the task of scaring the crap out of us and keeping us at home… with our heads semi-permanently buried in the sand.
In North America we have spent billions of dinar securing ourselves from an almost invisible and non-existent threat – remember what I said about the killer bath-tub in an earlier post?
Too many people are not traveling enough. They are not spending money. Airlines are shrinking faster than a wool vest on a hot tumble dry. And those that do travel are being treated like a beleaguered and badgered holiday camp queue for the loo – except in this line-up there are more fees than a chartered bank checking account… and after you stand in a cryptic and endless assembly named, however ironically, platinum, green, blue, or First Class… for an hour and a half, scanned with a chest x-ray’s worth of microwave radiation, berated for trying to sneak on an 8 ounce tube of Colgate tooth gel, forced to drink a sample of your own tepid breast milk, frog marched across a fungi ridden floor while your shoes pile up at the end of a conveyor belt littered with lap-top computers and strangers sweaty overcoats… you are allowed to board your 35 minute flight – packed in a aging steel tube with less breathing room than a Green Day mosh pit.
Airport security teams are now being trained to be piracy police… to poke through your i-Pods, laptops, gidgets and gadgets… without your permission… and god help you if you speak up – which supports my whole point.
F*ck. F*uck F*uck F*ckity F*uck.