Jaded business travellerBack to Forum
Anonymous13 Dec 2013
For many years now I have loved the excitement of regularly flying in business and first and experiencing the delights of flying with new airlines. I am lucky to have a job that allows me to travel a lot, but after recently returning from a long trip from home in Sao Paulo to Doha, I am becoming completely fed up with flying and am beginning to resent travelling. Here are my pet hates:
– Your flight experience is pretty much made or broken by the quality of the crew. More often than not, they are completely average
– It seems almost impossible for airlines to serve cold champagne or white wine
– Airlines that start out with brilliant service (Emirates, Qatar), lose a certain something when they expand so rapidly. Qatar Airways is an airline I used to love, who have now become utterly average
– Airline food, despite all the gimmicks about ‘booking the cook’ or Heston Blumenthal’s BA initiative remains pretty poor
– Amenity kits contain almost nothing useful
Does anyone else feel the same, or am I just becoming a jaded traveller?13 Dec 2013
Yep I understand that completely.
Airports are a massive hassle. Lounges are often average. Many flights are just ordinary, with mediocre food and crew going through the motions.
They say in life you get what you pay for, the quest for lower (real terms) fares means lounges are seeing plenty of cost cutting and crew are seeing their income falling through new contracts etc.13 Dec 2013
I understand what you are feeling.
For many years, flying has just been about getting to/from engagements for me and I don’t really enjoy most flights, although there are exceptions such as the Etihad flight yesterday, where I knew I was coming home for Christmas.
Where you are spot on is the need for airlines to cut extras, as they no longer have the margins to do things well.13 Dec 2013
As often, it has to do with expectations. New is no more new, niche market companies expand, … And ultimately they all are pretty similar. So when making my routings, I am trying to use services that will not disappoint me. In my case, it is often BA and T5 lounges (no wow effect, but at least expectations are met – I even got a good and properly cooked salmon at T5 First lounge tonight, with a good Meursault). And if it is not possible, relativising becomes paramount (yes LH business class and FRA are horrendous but still better than eco via LOS!).
At the end of the day, the purpose is to do business. So let’s make the best of it!13 Dec 2013
Good one TheMidasGold,
Yes as an insightful wit noted – You know you are getting old when a party is cancelled and you think great I can just stay in and chill instead.
Am of the same view now with trips, once I excitedly looked forward to them, nowadays just tolerated –
– hanging around airports and airport lounges is a waste of a life.
– tea is never hot enough, champagne is not chilled enough, wine glasses are not big enough to allow it to breath.
– no aircraft is conducive to a memorable dining experience
– why BA bother with their excuse for amenity kits is bemusing, either do away with them altogether and have everything on-demand or make a decent effort at least at Virgin’s level.
– a limo service is appreciated at the destination though.14 Dec 2013
Whenever I begin to feel jaded about long flights and declining service standards I remind myself that the alternative is to have a job where you never get to travel, never see anything new, and never experience much unexpected. Whenever I have been in that situation I found myself complaining about the lack of travel, the routine, and the commute.
I do agree that the more you travel the more what was once exciting becomes the expected. I think the more you experience good service, even if not often, the more your expectations are raised making it harder for good but average service to suffice. I guess I’m trying to say I would happily drink a warm “white” Champagne on a flight from Doha to Sao Paulo to avoid having to buy a warm can of beer on a domestic flight between LA and Fresno.14 Dec 2013
I agree TheMidasGold.
Unfortunately the aviation industry is not immune to the continual outsourcing, cost, corner and staff cutting that every industry faces daily.
And who makes these decisions? Ourselves. (Business owners, management and shareholders)
In the constant drive to improve ‘bottom lines’ and ‘performance’, ‘achieve ‘kpi’ and ‘bonuses’, are management REALLY focused on the customer, their reputation/bonuses or shareholder dividends?
I know it’s a balancing act between customer acceptance and profitability, but what comes first or is more important? Customer satisfaction or profitability? Businesses…. the chicken or the egg?
Generally I think service standards in MOST industries were much better 30, 20 and even 10 years ago.
In real $ terms however, are todays aviation prices cheaper? I would say yes. So how was this reduction achieved? Outsourcing, cost cutting, staff number and wages and working condition reductions spring to mind.
So realistically something has to give. And it has… MY expectations of service standards. And not just in the aviation industry.
But then again I often think… is this like my when parents/grandparents used to say to me…. ‘back in my day’.
OMG, does this mean I’m getting old too? LOL
My new scale of life:
50 is the new 40
40 is the new 30
Facebook/twitter is the new phone call
Email is the new letter/memo
Poor service (old) is the new average
Average service (old) is the new expected.
But this doesn’t mean I’m happy to be proven wrong!14 Dec 2013
I remember the days when a flight in Business class was something I looked forward to enormously. Then it became routine, and perhaps standards declined too, and then First was something to look forward to, until I’d done a few of those and it was no longer a big deal. The First and Business lounges at the airports got crowded and tatty, and I tried to get through the airport as fast as possible, rarely making use of the facilities.
Now, although I wouldn’t turn down an upgrade, I find the whole airport and flying routine so ghastly that I don’t really care what class I’m in. The peripheral experience is more or less the same, I rarely eat on board and if I do, it’s never a cooked meal, I don’t drink alcohol when flying, I don’t use the IFE, and the only thing of real value is the distance that separates me from the next closest person.14 Dec 2013
Hey you guys – tell me another facet of life where you have a comfy seat, served warm food (ok, it may not be restaurant style), have a few drinks, put the seat back, have a sleep, then wake up in the bright sunshine… (oh, not to mention watching a film in between)
1. tea / coffee served in freezing cold china
2. Your “bits and bobs” are sometimes squeezed by over zealous security agents
3. transiting through an airport can be a bind
4. fellow passengers can be a pain
5. inflight service levels do change significantly from crew to crew
6. the champagne may not be sufficiently chilled
Would I change my lifestyle – ABSOLUTELY NO! Even with 1 – 6 above and probably more moans and groans like using dated products (i.e. club world – such a chore!!) and flights that run late – missing the family – sitting in the exec lounge on a Saturday morning blogging….
I AM THE LUCKIEST PERSON ALIVE AND I LOVE EVERY SINGLE SECOND OF THE LIFE I LEAD ESEPCIALLY THE TRAVEL, irrespective of whether its Easy Jet, BA or private jet….
Sure I could moan, but I am more grateful about all the positive parts………..
I was meant to retire 2 years ago – simply don’t have time……… 🙂 – off to Siam Paragon…14 Dec 2013
Sorry Gents, I personally feel, Monsieur MartynSinclair has it spot on. I relish every moment of travel and I’m grateful I don’t have to travel in coach. Heck, there was a time when our forefathers had to travel by ship!
So, whilst I have to take my rock-hard butter and try to warm it up with my hands, there are many others on that same flight, that don’t even have bread and butter.
A dear friend of mine since college was born and raised on a farm in Iowa. She milked cows, etc. She married a very wealthy man, one of Forbes top 20, moved to a beautiful multi-gazillion dollar residence in NYC, etc. One day, I was one the phone with her and she was telling me how depressed she was the maid forgot a corner on the dresser and there was a little dust on there, how a big designer sent her her dress a 1/4 of an inch too long, a bunch of complaints that were….I can’t find the right word, but….catch my drift?
My HiTTs – Happiness in Travel Tips
A crew’s attitude is indeed important in the quality of a flight. But I certainly will not allow that to effect your own happiness. If the service is mediocre, I write to the airline and/or vote with my wallet.
If the temperature of wine or champagne on a flight effects your happiness so much, don’t drink it. That way you won’t know it’s not just right.
Airline food is crap – our taste buds, the medicine we take, the alcohol consumed, the spices used/not used, the handling (cold/heat), our sense of smell, moisture, pressure…these all effect the way food tastes at 40,000 feet. It is impossible for an airline to get it perfect, because we as humans are all different. One thing will taste different to someone else on that same flight.
An in-flight amenity kit, no matter which airline, costs at MOST £2. They are meant to be used on the 8-16 hour flight. To expect more from that, is silly. Go to Hermés and get yourself a beautiful dobby kit. That’s what I did.
For those who have found travel boring or monotonous –
Do one of two things….
1) Stop traveling for two months and look around your environment. Many have never left 10/20miles outside of your city. You will quickly miss traveling.
2) Begin traveling exclusively in coach for 25,000 miles straight. No fast track, no status, no nothing, not even choice seats like emergency exit row, etc. Kindly decline any upgrades and transportation to/from airport is either public transport or family/friends. Again, you will quickly miss what you previously had.
I get “excellence”, I love exceptional service, I am the type that spends £1000 on one pair of well-made shoes rather than 20 crap ones. It does bother me when I see people giving sub par service or companies that can do so much better; I don’t settle, but I make do with what I have in the moment. Otherwise I would be miserable and make everyone else’s life around me equally crazy.
At the end of the day, I learned not to expect perfection, because it will never happen; it’s impossible. Things will never ever be perfect. However, I can strive for excellence and know I can always be better and better. This includes finding personal happiness. It’s not going to be in the temperature of a steak at 40,000 feet or the softness of a BA pillow.
Of course, the next best thing is to get your own private jet and control every aspect of your travel experience….and I will bet there will STILL be issues.14 Dec 2013
I haven’t travelled regularly for years, and even then it was just once a month and by the third month I was heartily sick of the traipse to the airport and security and staff who manage to combine arrogance with indifference.
I don’t envy you!14 Dec 2013
Great, and very amusing responses too.
UrbaneGent you are spot on. Always wanting to experience something different, always getting excited about new experiences and always looking for something new will ultimately lead to eternal disappointment. There is definitely something to be said for living for the moment and just accepting how lucky I am to even be able to have these experiences.
After all, would I really like to be back in London, commuting on public transport and travelling for work to Nuneaton or Cardiff or Nottingham. Absolutely not.
Bring on the next flight…..in BA FIrst from GRU to LHR on 23/12. Here’s hoping for cold champagne. And if it’s warm…well, I guess that’s fine too.14 Dec 2013