At the beginning of this week we asked you what you think airlines should change, once the pandemic is over and life returns to something close to normal. We received over 60 comments, with many of you noting that it’s unlikely airlines will change (at least for the better). Which may be true, but hey, we’re trying to stay optimistic. So let’s take a look at how you think we could improve the travel experience—whether it’s regarding health and safety, comfort, or efficiency.
All of the comments are featured under the original post; we have gathered some of our favourites below.
Echelon2112 came guns blazing by petitioning for “no extra bag fees” while adding, “the ticket price IS the ticket price.” That’s a dream no traveller would want to wake up from. I would only add that if our checked baggage is included, it should also make it to our final destinations when we do.
PhoebeCaulfieldTheThird suggests airlines charge for bin space and make checked bags free. “I have no greater disdain than for the a-holes who have the overhead stuffed with their giant roller, coat and laptop bag while I am forced to fly with my feet on my reasonably sized carry-on under my seat and my coat in my lap,” they added.
(As a frequent traveller, I have to add that I would hate to see charges for bin space, especially for passengers who opt to shop in duty-free or passengers who have children and may need additional space for essentials.)
Macotaku rounds out the baggage discussion with their take. “At least one free checked bag. TSA lines will be quicker with less hand carry luggage going through security.” This we can certainly agree on.
Ticketing, boarding, and seating
EV Expert calls for “stable/static two-way pricing that’s predictable and easy to keep track of,” noting that with “some airlines, it costs $US250 ($395) to fly to Canada and $US800 ($1,265) to return from Canada.”
Commenter Ronald Raven Symone calls for getting rid of cancellation restrictions. “People will insist on flying when they’re feeling mildly (or even more than mildly) ill because of it. ... Don’t penalise people for being responsible enough to stay home when they’re sick.”
Dogrivergrad68 offers: “No assigned seating, board from back to front with window seats first. Basically the reverse of how everyone exits the aeroplane. If you want to sit together, you better be in line together. No special boarding order for anyone.” Goodbye special boarding for premiere and first/business class before everyone else.
Regarding boarding, Whattheactual eff believes it should go like this: “Window seats first, starting with the back 1/5th of the plane. Then middle seats for that 1/5 while boarding the windows of the next 1/5th up. So on and so forth. If you really wanna do First Class/Business class before all those people then go for it, mostly to guarantee overhead bin space.”
Our readers had a lot to say about airport security and what they thought would be best for travellers, moving forward.
“How about less intrusive and slow TSA [US airport security]? It is mostly ‘security theatre’ when you consider the dismal failure rate when they are tested to see how they are catching the things they’re supposed to. They are insulting and offensive to women and minorities, and some of what they insist on is pointless. As seen by the fact that you can pay a fee, get ‘pre screened’, and avoid it,” says Bill.
ReutherMonkey seconds that sentiment. “You don’t need TSA staff at airports... All that’s needed is the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to set minimum guidelines for private security companies and for DHS to test security and penalties for companies that allow weapons to pass through.”
“Abolish the TSA,” advises PlatypusMan. “Get rid of them entirely, they’ve been a scam since they were created. They do next to nothing in terms of security other than making it seem like they’re helping. They create delays and waste money, it accomplishes nothing to have passengers take off their shoes and keep all liquids in tiny bottles (unless you’re the ones selling the tiny bottles, of course). Both the advanced scanners and the ‘patdown’ procedures are fraught with problems and yet accomplish very little.”
PlatypusMan also offers a prescription for keeping everyone healthy in a post-pandemic reality while having going through security. “Those long, close quarters lines that you have to wait in for potentially a long while are no good, then you have to take off your clothes (including a face mask) and put it all back on while putting your stuff on (unsanitized) conveyer belts and in bins.”
BobSmith adds, “Mandatory hand washing stations at security. You put your shoes on, you wash your hands, then you go to your flight.”
We agree that airlines certainly need to implement ways to keep people’s personal belongings as clean as possible, moving forward.
EV Expert wants free basic wifi for all, that includes news, photo messaging, and chat apps. This is a great recommendation and would also allow people to stay connected no matter their budget.
Dolsh contributed a creative idea to lessen the crowding that happens in the airport. “Maybe they get smart and work on a reservation system similar to what restaurants have been doing. Show up at the airport at the required 90 minutes before flight and wait on a text message letting you know when it’s your turn to enter.”
I would add that airports need rental rooms for passengers. Show your ticket and rent a room per hour until it is time to either check in for your flight or head to your gate.
We loved your ideas, so please feel free to keep ‘em coming.