This article is interesting along with some of the deffensive posts by the flying public...
I personally think that the hostility amongst Customer Facing Positions is a result of part of this combination:
Airline employees have become unhappy because when so many of them who joined the industry in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, or even 2000-9/11/2001 joined a much different business. The airline industry was more pride filled and the airlines treated their employees as assets and not liabilities. After 9/11 everything changed for the worse. People lost pay, vacation, perks, benefits, and in far too many cases unfortunately their jobs. The people who managed to stick had already been dealing with the public for years which can cause them to feel burned out in their positions. Add that with the way that many of their careers crumbled and security measures that nobody wanted to deal with and you have a recipe for hostility on both ends of the counter. Then come the mid 2000's and you see many carriers enter Chapter 11. Then come the fuel crisis of 2008 and you have more airlines vanishing, lost jobs and the airlines begin to increase their a la carte pricing everywhere. The flying public is now forced to pay a fee for almost everything when flying. I agree with the airline management that the airlines can not survive by selling $250 tickets across the country without adding fees and surcharges everywhere in our current economic environment. It's quite funny how the price of almost every commodity has gone up with inflation accept the airlines. If we remember back when, the airlines prices only attracted the elite classes. Now anyone can fly. It's a good thing but the airlines can not survive selling cheap tickets. I agree with many that ticket prices should be all inclusive, but airline marketing teams find survey results differently.
I understand that the airlines have faced so many hurdles prior to 9/11 such as deregulation, The Gulf War, etc. I am citing the above events because those events exacerbated our current state of the industry.
Not in many other places do you pay so much for a luxury and be told what to do. Consider the following...
1) You are told what time you get to leave.
2) You must leave at that time without paying a penalty (unless you pay a high premium for Y, J, or F tickets)
3) You are told when to arrive at the airport.
4) You must go through security screening.
5) You are told what you can or can not bring with you.
5) Your are told when you can or can not get on your plane (if at all).
6) You get onto a metal tube with seats that thousands of other people have sat in & spread their germs all over.
7) You get told when you can eat if at all and pay more than restaurant pricing for less than mediocre food.
It is no wonder why people get the way they get when they fly. I am no defender of bad attitudes. I deal with them every day of the week and there is no excuse for a 40 year old acting like a child.
The employees and customers alike have gotten more and more and more taken away from them through the years.
So many of us aviation nuts would gladly get on a plane and fly somewhere and not leave the airport. But for those who aren't like us, it is a very tough experience, especially considering why people get on a plane generally is a source of anxiety & anticipation (vacation, funerals, meetings, promotions, sick family members).
Very LOOOOONG winded rant short...there are two important sides to this story. You can fully back up the airline employees or the customers but there is a neutral ground here. I am still an airline employee and love this industry and would not do anything else in the world.