When air travel returns there are some aspects we hope won’t come back with it – the view of a disgruntled corporate traveller

As the world starts to get a grip on the coronavirus spread so discussions are already taking place between families and friends about where we’d travel to once it is safe to do so. It is generally agreed that domestic travel will be open much earlier than international but regardless of where we are flying to, there are some things that we really hope disappear along with Covid-19.

“How about making the air travel experience more comfortable and bringing back the golden days of flying, making its a pleasure to fly, with more space, better products and an all-round calmer experience.”
The Blue Swan Daily

The Blue Swan Daily has solicited the views of a group of regular travellers to understand some of the gripes they have with air travel. Here, Mr Victor A Forcenteain, our disgruntled corporate traveller, takes us through the findings.

“Personally I hate all the duty free at airports. For a start most of it is not actually duty free and being forced to walk through a corridor of people trying to spray you with perfume, entice you to drink or foist chocolates on you is really unpleasant. There are some airports that allow you to bypass that but not nearly enough in my book.

“Also, surely in this day and age of trying to reduce weight on flights in order to cut fuel burn both for the environment and for the cost of tickets, why is it we are encouraging people to buy yet more things to take on a plane? Duty free on arrival only has to be the way forward.

“Shops to view and preorder would be fine. With time to spare, many of us like to browse and maybe be encouraged to buy, but maybe in future not to take on board with us but to be delivered direct.

“Food and drink are the exceptions. It should be made compulsory to take your own food and drink, purchased at the airport, onto a flight. No more awful airline food that no-one likes or is too expensive to buy.

“And duty free sales on a plane surely has to be a thing of the past. Many airlines are trialling ordering online so that needs to become the norm, and quickly.

“As discussions on whether to leave the middle seat free continues to rage, a bigger question is who really wants a middle seat? Only parents with children look for that option I would think. Three is most certainly a crowd, particularly if you are unlucky enough to be seated beside two love birds who seem oblivious to the person sitting next to them. Spending nine hours seated next to love’s young dream is not something anyone should have to endure.

“Parents of young children are often more noisy than their offspring as they try their hardest to keep the little darlings amused and quiet. Maybe all families should be seated together so they can amuse each other and not bother those that want some quiet or want to work. A kind of aircraft creche, particularly on holiday flights.

“Due to the need to socially distance people, some airlines have started boarding by seat numbers starting at the back and I applaud this move. It makes sense to board by seat number. Even upgraded and first class people don’t want to spend any longer on the plane than necessary. The people at the back first and a very strict one bag in overhead lockers per person policy please as that will do away with the rush to get four bags in the bin before anyone else gets a look in.

“And while we’re on the subject of seating, isn’t it annoying that we have to pay for the privilege of pre-selecting your seat? That should happen automatically for everyone when they book. First come first served. Or maybe the seating should be arranged by height of the passenger so those with longer legs get more legroom? Plenty of options there for airlines to consider to make things better.

“Those little flaps of material on the back of the seat have surely got to disappear. Unless they are washed after every single flight then they have to be a health hazard. And as anyone with long hair knows, the Velcro that is supposed to hold them in place constantly snags your hair with painful and very annoying results.

“It should be made compulsory to warn the person behind you before you recline your seat back. Maybe a warning light should flash like reversing lorries.  There are far too many arguments on planes with knees in the back or stabbing at their IFE screen. Perhaps seats should be sturdier and offer more room, especially as we are almost certainly going to have to pay more for the right to fly.

“Another compulsory item should be regarding feet. Strictly no bare feet especially anywhere near the seats and particularly seat backs. That’s just a big fat no.

“Finally surely it’s time to say goodbye to those entry/exit forms. Some countries are still requiring we fill out forms to hand to an immigration officer. What happens to all the millions of little cards once they’ve been handed over? A paper mountain at airports that are usually least able to handle such things. They have to get into the digital world and get all the information they need from the passenger booking. That can’t be too much to ask.”

Some interesting observations. Do you share the same opinions? What annoys you most about the travel experience? What do you most want to change? As a writer I personally get annoyed reading aviation and travel inaccuracies in the media – Quantas and Standstead Airport are among the most frequent. Imagine if Qantas was actually flying to the London airport. Then perhaps they used a picture of a Dash 8 to illustrate the new flight – I can feel my stress levels going up already!

While low fares may initially entice us back into the skies, we are almost certainly going to have to spend more for flights in the future. How about making the experience more comfortable and bringing back the golden days of flying, making its a pleasure to fly, with more space, better products and an all-round calmer experience.

We would like to hear from you about those little (or big) things that annoy you about travel. Please share your own travel gripes via email with Victor A Forcenteain via The Blue Swan Daily Content Team and we will feature them in coming articles.

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