Skift Take

The comments all dwindle down to the two competing mindsets of a business traveler: one adjusts his expectations to the realities of air travel, while the other believes airlines should adjust regulations to cater to his needs.

Last week a blogger had the opportunity to very publicly share his six biggest travel complaints on New York Times’ Small Business blog.

Tom Szaky, CEO of startup TerraCycle, bashed a grab bag of air realities and over 180 commenters chimed into the gripe-fest to either echo Szaky’s stance, scold him for his frivolous #firstworldproblems, or offer their first-hand solutions.

Outlets: Why don’t the airlines and airports make it something they market: Never search for an outlet!

Non-reclining seats: This is almost insulting.

The cabin P.A.: No banter, no talking slowly, no pressing the button and then not talking.

Checking in: Honestly, just give me a chance to run to the gate and make it.

Lounge rules: Since when do Mexico and Canada belong to the United States?

Alcohol policy: Why is it that you can bring a sandwich on board from an airport shop but you can’t bring a beer?

Some frequent fliers blamed airline regulation, post-9/11 changes, and the airlines for the current travel experience.

Other readers responded to Szaky’s complaints with the simple suggestion that he bring a power strip to share the outlet with other fliers.

Commenters were reviled by Szaky’s comment that seats should recline more and others agreed that they shouldn’t recline at all for the sake of other passengers. Commenters also agreed that a BYOB policy for airlines would be a disastrous.

Carry-on luggage wasn’t mentioned on the original list, but was often mentioned in the comments. Frequent fliers were annoyed that flights were delayed while baggage was stuffed overhead, and suggested airlines make passengers pay for carry-ons rather than checked bags. There were surprisingly few comments regarding free wi-fi.

Although Szaky responded to one harsh comment by revealing that the blog was written in the spirit of humor, many of the comments were very serious suggesting that business travelers don’t find anything funny about the current state of air travel.

A comment from Jan W from Cherry Hill, NJ sums up the entire discourse in a refreshing light: “I do think that you unintentionally highlighted one of the largest problems that we all face in travel – people who care way too much about themselves and very little about their fellow travelers. If we all had a bit more courtesy, it would make the process of travel much more enjoyable!”


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Tags: complaints, flight delays

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