Put your seat in the upright position

alaska air overhead stowage

I hate flying. Hate it. I don’t have a fear of flying, heights don’t bother me. Flying bothers me. The whole process of flying is basically scurrying from home to the airport to the check-in terminals, to security, to the boarding gate, to the plane, to baggage collection, to the exit, to the car rental place to your hotel. And in between the scurrying you inevitably wait. Literally hurry-up-and-wait.

But why does it seem the airlines don’t give a hoot about their own rules?

Of course, you still have to deal with breathing-down-your-neck-in-the-queue-guy, the-can’t-get-my-laptop-out-of-my-bag-in-the-long-queue-at-security-lady, the-loud-mouth-throughout-the-flight-guy, the-snoring-snorting-while-she-sleeps-lady et cetera, et cetera.

On top off all this, there are a bunch of rules you have to keep track of right? Don’t pack this in your hand luggage and don’t pack that in your check-in luggage, don’t look like you’re leaving your bag somewhere or 6 security guys will tackle you and disintegrate you and your bag! These are the written rules, but then most people also try to uphold the unwritten rules, you know, so we can all get along in a stressful activity.

But why, lately at least, does it seem the airlines don’t give a hoot about their own rules or the comfort of their passengers? I’ve been flying kulula a lot lately and they’ve been getting worse across the board. I don’t fly SAA or Mango (not wanting to support a taxpayers’ funding drain and corrupt to the core state enterprise), BA is a little too expensive for local flights and the other low-cost airlines haven’t built enough trust yet. Here’s what really grates me:

  • kulula flights are almost always late while their competitor Mango, has a reputation for being mostly on-time. Now I know that just about every corporate and leisure traveller has experienced a delayed flight and maybe I’ll include all the airlines in this then. I read this article recently which made my blood boil. I don’t get it, yes there are multiple complexities involved in transporting humans and cargo at inhuman heights and speeds, but we’ve been doing it for decades, surely we must be able to get it right?
  • Low-cost airlines specifically have been making more-and-more noise about the weight and size of hand luggage and how passengers must ensure they keep to the limits. Hah! Over the past couple of months, I’ve seen multiple violations of this rule on every flight I’ve been on and watched as flight attendants assist grumpy passengers stowing their oversized, multiple bags and in so doing denies another passenger a spot for their hand luggage. Now I hear some airlines want to charge passengers for using overhead stowage! I kid you not! Enforce your own rule and we won’t have a problem. If people don’t adhere to the rule, stow their baggage in the hold or send it on the next flight. Do this once and people won’t break the rule again.
  • The title of this post, put your seat back in the upright position. I already frown upon this practice of putting your seat back on domestic flights. Our longest flight is only 2 hours for goodness sake! Rather do these things. Anyway, so you completely ignored the comfort of the person behind you and reclined your seat. Just before landing the attendants will ask everyone to put their seats upright. Except you, you’re special, right. You had a long day. With glee in my eyes, I see the attendant walking up the aisle, checking everyone’s deadly electronic equipment (true if you have a Note 7) is switched off. And then she completely ignores your reclined seat! 😳
flying box of crates
Flying kulula…
  • Why can airlines never communicate why a flight is delayed? The few times I’ve seen ground crew communicate why a flight has been delayed, it completely diffused all frustrations in the waiting passengers. What would be even better is an app that indicates flight delays and the reason for the delay. Communicate pertinent information about flights through the app and you’d have more relaxed passengers.
  • Kulula, you guys really need to make a plan with regards to payment methods for snacks in-flight. It always happens that one of the attendants doesn’t have change and you end up paying more for already expensive food and drinks. Maybe, within the suggested communications app, you could build in a wallet into which passengers could deposit money they can then use for in-flight snacks and then you could even look at installing wi-fi which passengers could also pay for via their mobile phones. Yes, mobile phones, the things that don’t cause any interference that you still draconianly insist people must switch to airplane mode and switch off, that no-one does anyway.

If you’re going to make rules, enforce them. If you don’t, you just upset everyone who does follow the rules and see other flagrantly ignore them. That causes frustration and could make matters worse.

One more thing, I’m glad you got rid of the joke-announcements, they were wearing thin and sounding desperate.