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(Flight attendant makes announcement) We know you had many equally unappealing options for your travel today. We're glad you settled for us.

Flight attendants, cross-check doors and body-check passengers for departure.

Flight attendants, cross-check doors and body-check passengers for departure. published on Purchase print

The last week or two has brought a flood of news about godawful air passenger experiences — various overbooking fiascos, a United passenger beaten senseless, and whatever the hell this is. It ought to be making the airline industry think hard about customer experience.

I’d love to see an airline make a declaration that they’ll never overbook again, that there’s some minimum level of passenger comfort they won’t try to pare away, and that the days of treating their customers as whiny freight are over. That they’re going to compete on the brand-new terrain of respecting their passengers.

Don’t hold your breath, though. (Not that the recirculated air is that fresh to begin with.) Maybe the last several days are gamechangers for the industry, but I think it’s more likely that airline head offices are planning on riding out the turbulence on their current altitude and heading. After all, a few decades of incremental passenger abuse have made airlines one of the more profitable industries out there — especially in North America.

Then again, maybe it would just take one airline to break from the pack…

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