While browsing Reddit I saw an article titled, “Running on empty: big airlines in big trouble”. As a fan of aviation and being in the air this is disheartening. Reading through the article there are two trends that are dominating the industry currently and an uncertain future ahead.
One trend is smaller aircraft. Even the A380 hasn’t stopped that trend, apparently, instead mostly being used in cargo applications. This could mean that if I have children, it’s very likely they may never get a chance to experience being awestruck by the sensual curves and the incredible size of the 747-400 as I did when I was a child.
Another trend is packing more and more passengers into a plane. The example cited being Air New Zealand, which went to a smaller plane and decreased seat size and aisle size to fit the same number of seats in. And then there’s the interesting phenomenon of what is supposedly called the “chub class”, a set of wider-than-normal (though the normal is already pretty narrow) available for a premium.
The author goes into more things but these two trends themselves are very disturbing for me. The only way to see my family conveniently (meaning without having to spend say, weeks at sea just to get there or some odd combination of sea and land) is to fly, and these types of trends make it more and more difficult each year.
The drastic increase in price of flying has already stymied my ability to spend time with my family and this is really just insult to injury. The UN has said the Internet is a basic right but it’s okay that every year it gets more and more difficult to see my family, to not be a part of my cousins’ lives, to not be able to help my grandparents in their dying days, to not be able to hold on to my heritage?
It’s even difficult to see my parents in Florida! I could drive 12 hours or fly for a few. If I just have a weekend off the clear choice is flying for a few to maximize time spent with my parents. The troubles the airline industry is having wreaks havoc with my ability to experience my family fully.
Furthermore after college all my best friends moved all over the country. Again, if I want to see my roommate for 2 years and one of my best friends I could take a 30 hour drive to California or fly there. The flight is preferable yet is so cumbersome and expensive that it’s infuriating.
Sadly I don’t have an immediate answer. Perhaps a government subsidized airline, along the lines of public transportation already in existence, would alleviate a lot of issues. It could at least provide inexpensive, adequate hops from Virginia to Florida though international flights are still unresolved.
I do have something I’m working on though. Increasing oil prices have a dramatic impact on the airline industry from fuel to the plastics used in the electronics, seats, components, and more. My goal is to make that irrelevant and my path is to discover better energy harnessing or new forms of energy and/or propulsion. Wish me luck!