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January 10, 2014 - Blaine Hyska
There was a time when air travel was a special experience.
Male passengers wore slacks, and shirts and ties, or at the very least a smart sweater. Women donned dresses, skirts, nylons and high heels.
And the smoking area of the plane was in the back.
That bygone era is gone. For some, it’s good riddance to bad rubbish. Others relish the good old days.
Regardless, today’s travel is much more relaxed. Jeans, shorts, sandals, and t-shirts are commonplace. The nicotine habit has been replaced by smartphone and iPod addictions.
One constant through this span of time has been the stewardess, also known as the flight attendant. Why? The time is right to end this practice. Flight attendants and their snacks take up too much weight and space.
The Associated Press recently reported that airlines are on the largest jet-buying spree in the history of aviation, ordering more than 8,200 new planes in the past five years. There are now a combined 24 planes rolling off assembly lines each week, up from 11 a decade ago. And that rate is expected to keep climbing.
These new planes today provide passengers with larger overhead bins, power outlets and USB ports, and better lighting. There's also less noise and in many cases, individual TVs. And for the high rollers, there is an on-board cappuccino machine in first class on flights between New York and Los Angeles or San Francisco.
If airlines really want to cater to customers, they would either eliminate or at least limit on-board waitresses and waiters, and those stupid on-board snacks.
When I’m flying, the last thing I worry about is whether I’m going to have a cookie or peanuts with my Pepsi or 7-up.
No one should expect a meal on a plane. Imagine the weight and space required to carry a couple of flight attendants, six or seven types of sodas, beer and wine, plastic glasses, ice, napkins, and peanuts or cookies for everyone on board.
Think about it. What would you rather have — more leg and elbow room and more room for your carry-on bags, or a free Pepsi and bag of stale peanuts delivered to your seat?
Naturally, water should be available at a modest cost, but an on-board vending machine could handle that chore.
And one attendant who shares some flight duties in the cockpit could answer passenger questions, and check seat belts.
Airlines are taking steps to modernize their fleet. They should update their operations as well.
Keep the snack bar on the ground.
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