I fly several times a month for work. This week I flew from Boston to Los Angeles and back, via New York/Connecticut. Next week I will fly from Boston to Austin, then on to San Francisco and back. While I would love to fly on just one airline and get into a routine, it never quite works out — so I see a lot of different terminals, use a lot of different carriers. I have seen the best and the worst of the airline industry.
Yesterday, while flying from Boston to Los Angeles, I had an interesting experience. The head flight attendant came over the PA system and announced that they had champagne on board — get this, to celebrate their airline’s emergence from bankruptcy a week earlier. Apparently to mark the occasion they had served all (of age) passengers with bubbly, toasting their own good fortune, and had some left-overs if anyone was interested.
Is celebrating emergence from bankruptcy an appropriate thing for an airline to do?
Part of me thinks they should absolutely celebrate. After nearly going out of business, this airline had changed its leadership, restructured its finances, and put itself on a course towards success. That is no small accomplishment.
At the same time, their fares have gone way up (it cost me over $500 to fly to/from Los Angeles — and that is with nearly a month of lead time to book the ticket), their services have fallen off (we got a free snack and soda/juice on our flight, but no meal option) and their staff… booking agents, gate staff, some (not all) flight attendants, and even pilots… are not really going the extra mile to make my flight comfortable.
If they could find a way to bring those things in order, those would be major accomplishments. I love to fly, but my enjoyment of the flying experience is not what it once was. Fixing those things would be reason to celebrate.