blink182
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US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Sun Apr 14, 2002 2:15 pm

If you are flying in the United States, you won't get much for meal service, pretzels and a coke at best.

I always heard about how up until the mid-late 70s, air service in the United States was considered "luxury dining".

What happened to those days? Why did airlines start serving pretzels instead of grilled chicken on pasta with a ceaser salad and roll with butter?

Did Southwest and the low fare airlines have anything to do with this?

thanks,
blink
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
 
BA
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Sun Apr 14, 2002 2:27 pm

The concept of service in the US has changed significantly from Europe.

Basically in the US, they want to get you to your destination on time and efficiently. They don't care about all the luxuries.

In Europe and other countries, they still believe in treating you like a king. They expect for you to expect excelent and quality service when you do business with them.

So basically when you fly on a foreign carrier you are paying for 2 things, transportation to your destination, and the good service. While in the US it is mostly just transportation to your destination.

We have changed quite a bit from the rest of the world. You won't see stewards and stewardesses wearing shorts on foreign airlines like you see on Southwest.

Although generally in whole, airline service has dropped since the golden days. During the good old days of the DC-3, Lockheed Constellation, etc. you had big comfortable seats with PLENTY of legroom. Now in order to get that sort of service you have to fly First Class. Even nowadays, First Class isn't as comfortable as the seating was in the golden days for air travel.

During the Flying boats days, you would have your own room with bathroom and sink.

It's completely changed now. These days airlines want your money, get you where you want to go quickly and promptly, and dump you and take on a load of other passengers.

Regards
"Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need." - Khalil Gibran
 
watewate
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Sun Apr 14, 2002 2:29 pm

Air travel experience in US is unlike elsewhere. Flying is not a luxury- it's another form of mass transportation. I find it ridiculous how many users abroad blast US airlines' service when the market these airlines serve is so fundamentally different from other foreign carriers.

Personally, I don't care about the inflight service. Just get me there cheap and on time. Btw, I just booked BUF-FLL for $40 one-way. Try to find that kind of deal with your spoon-feeding int'l carriers.  Big grin
 
QFTJT
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Sun Apr 14, 2002 2:33 pm

Probably the increase in operating cost and competition.

I've just come back from he USA and flew XNA Fayetteville AR to LAX via DFW on AA and there wasn't any entertainment or food and drinks.

Sorry to go off topic but one thing that must be discussed about in the excessive amounts of security at all US airports. Not only was my entire bag searched at check-in, but I also was search again at the security checkpoint and at the gate. All international passport holders were searched, regardless.

This was then repeated again at DFW. I was starting a 30-hour trip back to Australia and these security searches were excessive. I can understand the reason but they shouldn't be searching so many times, especially families with children. These searches also delayed the flights.

QFTJT
 
ThirtyEcho
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Sun Apr 14, 2002 2:49 pm

All I know is that the few times that I have flown in Europe the prices have been outrageous. There didn't seem to be any concept that flying was for the masses. I'd prefer a good cheap seat on WN to save the money for a great restaurant at my destination.
And I do remember the "Golden Age" of airline travel. Twelve hours coast-to-coast, no ability to climb above the weather, frequent unscheduled refueling stops due to adverse winds, no direct routing from ATC, limited weather radar, lots of noise and vibration and unpressurized DC-3s with no air conditioning.
 
wingman
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 2:07 am

Trust me, within 5 years you won't notice the difference between Euro and US service levels. Ryanair, Easyjet and the rest of the madly successful no frills carriers will see to it. Enjoy the service while you can you mama's boys, because soon enough you'll be eating chicken feed in the slop house just like the rest of us. But you'll also be paying about 1/2-2/3 the fare. So look at the bright side.
 
chepos
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 2:15 am

In Copa airlines from Panama on a 2 hour flight you get a full meal (main course, salad, a roll and a candy bar ) plus a second service of coffee.
Chepos
Fly the Flag!!!!
 
SWAbubba
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 2:29 am

Prior to 1978 the airline industry in the US was regulated so that the government set all air fares for carriers flying in more than one state. After deregulation in 1978 airlines were free to set their own prices. The reduction in service occured gradually after that, for the simple reason that people aren't willing to pay for it.

Airline travel is generally a commodity now. People want to get from point A to point B on time and for the least amount of money. That's why Priceline, Hotwire, and the other discount web sites are doing so well. Few people really care which airline they're on as long as the ticket is cheap. Frequent flyer programs are designed to keep people flying one airline instead of taking the cheapest fare every time. It's one of the only ways to distinguish one airline from the others.
 
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yyz717
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 2:42 am

Air travel is a commodity. Those carriers the lowest costs will win. That means no meals. Given the epidemic of over-eating & obesity in the US, a transcon flight with only peanuts will not kill you.

As Ryanair, GO and others expand in Europe and really start to threaten BA etc, you can be sure that BA etc will reduce costs further, including meal service.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
zrs70
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 2:48 am

Ah yes, the "Golden days of travel...."

When planes flew through, not over weather....

When delays were counted in days, not hours....

When only the wealthiest could afford to fly....

On those flying boats, by the way, each passenger did NOT have his/ her own bathroom. There may have been one private suite on the plane. The rest was public space with curtains for privacy.

True, levels of service today are definately sub-par. But comfort in F is above and beyond what it ever was. Amenities on the best carriers are superb.
17 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2016
 
DELTA777
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 3:11 am

you`re exactly right Wingman. And, what about Midwest Express and jetBlue? go to epinions.com and take a look at what the top 4 airlines are... Midwest Express (American), Singapore Airlines, Virgin Atlantic (British), and jetBlue (American). Some major airlines in America have bad serice, and some have great service! BTW, does Cathay Pacific have live DirecTV and leather seats in economy like jetBlue? Do they have 2-2 seating in economy like Midwest Express? I know people are going to be all over me after this post, but i don`t care. Smile

D E L T A 7 7 7
 
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yyz717
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 3:15 am

Most US airlines are pretty good about you taking food on board. Just don't take anything smelly that will offend the other pax!  Laugh out loud

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
zrs70
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 4:33 am

By the way, when it comes to seat matterial, I think that cloth is much better than leather.

Leather is slippery and it gets hot!
17 year airliners.net vet! 2000-2016
 
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yyz717
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 4:36 am

If you travel in shorts (as I do in the summer), you can stick to leather if you don't move your legs frequently enough.

On the other hand, leather is easier to clean.
I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
Cyprus-Turkish
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 4:44 am

If you are flying domestic just for a few hours, the food and the amenities might not be so important, and you might be able to put up with American or United. However, if it is a transatlantic flight for 9 hours, you want to make sure that you are well taken care of. And this is when you chose Virgin Atlantic over American. And the price difference is not to American's advantage.

Fly for comfort and value.
Regards.
 
meechy36
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 5:34 am

Someone above mentioned Jetblue, Midwest Express, Singapore and Virgin as carriers with great service, yes they do, they are small enough to still be able to, here at AA we have 259 Super 80's, I am willing to bet that is more than all 4 of those airlines fleets combined, when you have almost 1000 planes in the fleet it is not easy to have the same level of service that Singapore and Virgin which are primarily long haul, Midwest Express which is a niche carrier and Jetblue that has a dozen or so planes (prior to the IPO the other day), my point is if Virgin or Singapore was as large as a major airline there isn't any way they would be able to maintain the level of services that they do now and make a profit.

Mike-BOS
 
CVG777
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 5:39 am

I think that one reason why the European airlines have the higher service standards is that they also have to compete with the European railroad network. Many flights within Europe are quite short, and sometimes taking the train is just as convenient as flying, if not more so. Wasn't it a few years ago that Air France reduced or all together canceled its Paris to Brussels service because they couldn't compete with the train that got passengers to Brussels in about the same time?

In the US it is all about how economical the airline can make a flight. Granted, on longer flights there should be a meal or large snack service, but that is if the flight lasts, in my opinion, two hours or more and is during regular meal times. Right now there is reduced meal service because of the aftermath of 9/11, a bad economy, and fewer air travelers. I think that people can hold out without a meal for an hour or two. The US airlines don’t really have to compete with Amtrak or the rail system in the US because of the size of the country. It takes a couple of days to get cross-country on a train in the US. It takes a matter of hours on a plane, and people want what is convenient. In the US, the plane is more convenient.

In Europe, the airlines are trying to attract passengers away from the trains by offering higher service standards. On many shorter trips within Europe, flying or taking the train can be just as convenient, so the airlines that compete with the trains offer more amenities.

I am sure that there is more to the puzzle than just competition with the trains, but this has got to be a good part of it.
 
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yyz717
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 5:41 am

Hey Mike-BOS....not sure I agree. Airline size does not mean a lack of organizational ability to provide good service.

AA may have 259 MD-80's....but also has correspondingly more employees, planners etc to ensure cabin service standards.

Some small airlines have poor service...and some big carriers have excellent service.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
Cyprus-Turkish
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 5:53 am

Virgin Atlantic is a relatively small company when compared with AA or United, but i am sure its gorwth rate is much more impressive as it keeps adding destinations and adding more planes to its fleet. American's new orders are basically to replace the older ones, rather than for growth purposes. When was the last time AA added a major new destination to its time-table? I am pretty confident that AA and such carriers will head towards shrinking as they can not compete with the quality of Virgin, or the prices of Southwest and Jetblue.

Being innovative requires more than 36 inches of seat-pitch.
Regards.
 
ILUV767
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 6:07 am

One word...
Deregulation.

In the 1970s airlines had to compete by offering various types of service. Some airlines offered free liquor, and others became known as the all steak airline. Airlines had to sell their inflight product as they were told where to fly. After de-regulation, the airlines no longer had to sell their inflight product as they could charge lower fares. Airlines like Southwest and so on amerged. These airlines, with a lower cost structure could charge a lot less for a flight and make it up in volume. I belive that Southwest charged $10 for tickets when they first started. The industry had changed as people were now flying for transportation, and the service aspect went away.

Nowadays, in the aftermath of September 11th, airlines need to cut costs. Most have reduced or cut meal service. United Airlines has made snack boxes the meal that they cater on midcons. Meals are still catered on transcons. Shorter flights have reverted to one or two beverage services.

I L U V 7 6 7
 
pecoua
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 6:35 am

Hi Everyone,

As a Flight Attendant, I have to tell ya....I miss serving food....my friends and I keep saying how much passengers bitched about it, and the minute it was gone it was even more trauma for them. I personally miss it since it keeps us busy during the long ORD-LAS flights. Everyone I talk to says not to expect it back anytime soon...but at least we will give you a free movie. Just try to remember not to fuss at the flight attendants on your next trip. It's not their fault that there are no meals and no nuts...if we had it, we'd give it to you. Maybe someday we'll get back to some normalcy...(is that a word?) Anyway, I will post if I hear anything about this lack of meal svc changing.

 Big thumbs up
 
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yyz717
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 6:38 am

Hey Pecoua, thanks for the FA pov.

Do you get a lot of comments from pax about the lack of meal service? Does the airline listen to the FA feedback? You guys are on the front line.

I would bet that if one of the big 6 US carriers massively added meal service and advertised it, there would be a stampede of business back to that airline.

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
DELTA777
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 6:51 am

If a major airline added huge meal service back it would do absolutely......... nothing. same thing that happend with AA MRTC. everyone complained about not having enough room, and American gave their customers more room than any other airline, and people are not flocking to AA. sad but true, people just like to complain.

D E L T A 7 7 7
 
BA DC-10
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Mon Apr 15, 2002 7:05 am

I think its to do with peoples expectations aswell. The big carriers in Europe, e.g. BA, AF, LH, SK were all state owned. People had pride in their state airline, and mostly still do. Therefore Europeans wouldnt accept being treated like cattle on the state airline. SOunds old fashioned but its still quite true. Also different areas of europe are different too, for example Scandinavia, people there would turn their noses up at cut price airlines, because they expect the service...this is unlike Britain,which has caught the stack 'em high sell it cheap disease from america. Give me the choice, i would rather go on BA than Ryanair.

I think American airlines are still learning lessons with intercontinental travel, and its shown by BA 744's on LHR-JFK, often having more Americans than British on, because the service is better on Euro airlines...i suppose its just what people are conditioned to expect.

I flew from LAX to YVR on Alaska Airlines and the service sucked, yet the price was still equivalent to a full fair BA euro flight...
 
pecoua
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 2:53 am

Hey guys and gals...

Yea YYZ717...we get lots of comments but for the most part, few folks are nasty...they just vent their dissappointment and that is totally understandable. You are right though, UA has always been a follower, and if one airline resumed food svc in one of our markets, you can bet your life we would start it again too.

I guess time will tell.

 Smile
 
roguetrader
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 3:04 am

At the risk of sounding like I'm accusing airline management of capitalizing on a tragedy....I have to say that it seems to me that many airlines have been looking at quitting a lot of the 'extras' for quite a while.

..and that the recent financial crisis brought on by Sept. 11 gave them the impetus to cut services that they've been wanting to get rid of for a long time.

I doubt if we'll ever see a return to full meal service or a return of the city ticket offices that were closed.

Every airline CEO and the stock market has for years taken notice of the fact that only WN makes a consistent profit. We might keep first class around for a while longer, and keep the frills on the long haul flights. But, in general the whole industry has wanted to move towards WN style of service for a while, especially for short flights - and recent events have just finally given them an excuse to do so.

kind regards,

RogueTrader
 
blink182
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 6:31 am

RogueTrader- I will agree with you on most, but not all.

I think as long as the customers are willing to pay the extra money to sit up front on domestic flights, it will be offered. First class is something that keeps a lot of members loyal to any given airline, they fly enough flights, they get the mileage to be upgraded to First Class. I think there is a market for full service carriers. Who wants to fly from Nashville to San Jose and get a packet of peanuts? I know I don't.

I think part of this is because markets are weaker, people don't have as much money as they used to, so they are somewhat limited in their choices. If a market can get good enough and people are willing to pay more for service, than there is indeed a market.

blink
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
 
travelin man
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 7:16 am

While I do not disagree that there are aspects of service that need to improve on domestic US flights, I have to argue that it is not ONLY U.S. carriers which must improve.

I was on a domestic Qantas flight SYD-CNS-SYD last month, and the service was horrendous. For the 3 hour flight, our "meal" consisted of a box with a small sandwich in it, a bottle of water (no beverages were offered), and a small piece of chocolate. The Qantas flight attendants were surly and rude (in fact, they were the only surly and rude people we encountered in Australia). The boarding process was "we are boarding all rows now", and there were no announcements for people with kids, frequent flyers, or people in the back of the plane to board first (you can imagine the stampede).

All in all, it was a big disappointment, and I've had much better domestic flights on United. In my experience, you can't necessarily generalize that "US airline service sucks, Euro/Asian carriers are better".
 
UALfa@jfk
Posts: 303
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 7:23 am

I agree with Pecoua about how many of us at UA miss serving food. And what I REALLY miss (don't laugh) is the number of coach pax that actually enjoyed some of our hot entrees. I think the favorite dish was that spinach fettuccini/chicken alfredo entree with the glazed carrots. The other favorite was that cranberry beef brisket/garlic mashed potatoes concoction.

I really do, however, believe that meal services will eventually return. All it'll take is one or two of the major carriers doing it (aside from CO which already has) and others will follow.

For the most part, the Sept 11 tragedy provided a convenient excuse for airline management to cut back, just like they've been wanting to do for years.
 
blink182
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 11:55 am

UALfa@jfk- Oddly enough, there really has not been an airline meal that I have seriously hated. AA served this pasta on a flight to YVR, it was so good I ended up having the same thing on the flight back and boy do I want some now!  Smile

I think airline food is good, but I think people are expecting an ultra gourmet fresh out of the oven dining experience. True, airline food can be gourmet(fly 2 airlines in totally different regions and you will see what I mean) but it isn't 5 star dining, and I don't expect it to be either. However, some people do expect it that way.

blink
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
 
LH423
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 11:56 am

Most US airlines are pretty good about you taking food on board. Just don't take anything smelly that will offend the other pax!

This is true! Knowing that I wasn't going to get anything aboard my F100, mid-Morning American Airlines flight to Chicago from Boston was not going to have any meal service, I stopped at Cinnabon before boarding, and I don't think anyone complained  Smile

And on a lunchtime (1200 departure) from BOS to IAD, some people brought on board McDonald's

LH423
« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
 
blink182
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 12:05 pm

LH423-

True, you can bring food on board(which I do) but it isn't like choosing between the chicken or the fish!  Smile

Also, I can't believe you brought Cinnabon on board, god knows what that does to my stomach. That's why I try eat something light(er) just before my flight, so my stomach doesn't ramble during a 10 hour international flight. I did eat a pizza going to LHR while still at ORD, but I guess it was small enough that I had no problems.  Smile

blink
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
 
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yyz717
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 12:26 pm

I feel guilty actually at bringing 'elaborate' food on board a flight such as MCD or even a sandwich, so lately I'm happy to just risk getting a little hungry.

Great snack food to take on board though are Pringles and M&M's. If you pulse it slowly, it can last across the continent! hehehe

I dumped at the gybe mark in strong winds when I looked up at a Porter Q400 on finals. Can't stop spotting.
 
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airzim
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 2:05 pm

Fly CO, they didn't cut their meal service.
 
clipperhawaii
Posts: 1943
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 3:21 pm

CHEAP FARES = CHEAP FRILLS

Simple actually. Why is this so hard for the traveling public to figure out?
"You Can't Beat The Experience"
 
SegmentKing
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RE: US Airlines' Lack Of Service

Tue Apr 16, 2002 5:16 pm

Since when has Continental really had much of a meal service?

Pecs---> the ORD/LAS service is so bad that I'll fly LAS-LAX-ORD... plus my chances of being in a widebody w/ business are much greater

I don't know about coach, but United First product has been "OK". Not quite pre 9/11 days... but the product was being cutback before then (menus gone). I'll stick with United as long as they keep Economy Plus, free audio and movies, not to mention the FULL can of soda :P :P

-n
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