It's a tale as old as time: man or woman gets onto a plane and flies half way around the world, either for the purpose of leisure or purely because they're instructed to do so for business. Whatever the rhyme or reason may be, it legitimately feels like air travel has never been more popular, and there are certain statistics to support that idea.
On an average day, the number of folks in the air at any given time would accumulate to around 1.2 million, which is higher than the population of some countries. In addition to that there are around 9,700 flights in the sky at any given time and when you consider how many different people have to control those flights, you truly do get an appreciation for air traffic control.
Alas, it's not all sunshine and rainbows in the aviation business, and that's not exactly a secret. We may not even know about half of the stuff that goes down behind the scenes and while you could say that the same thing is true of many different businesses, it doesn't mean we have to like it.
We love flying and a lot of others do too, but that's quite literally got nothing to do with this. Our list is all about discussing the ins and outs of what we'd like to change about the industry, and there are no two ways about it. It's a flawed business model in many ways and while we're no experts, we certainly have some thoughts.
25 The Threat of Drones
It’s been the story of December in the world of travel and, to be perfectly honest, there’s no way of getting around it. The drone situation at Gatwick Airport isn’t particularly fun to talk about and it never will be, but come on now, it’s kind of ridiculous how much power they hold.
Over 110,000 passengers were disrupted within the first 24 hours, and that number would’ve virtually doubled by the time it was all said and done. People love to create disruptions left, right and centre, and we need to figure out a better way to deal with it all.
24 Constant Delays
We’ve all been on the receiving end of it, and it’s not exactly pleasant. A flight delay is something that will probably occur at some point throughout your lifetime of travel, and it’s just kind of something that you need to accept. After all, what is the alternative?
It’s not in your control, but there are variables that could be changed. From improving the planes to work better under certain weather conditions to improving the efficiency of the boarding process (we’ll come onto that), it certainly feels like there’s a certain degree of ‘slacking’ going on.
In our opinion, anyway.
23 The Constant Turbulence
Turbulence isn’t fun, but it’s all a part of the process. This isn’t exactly something that we believe we can fix in any way, shape or form, but this is about pointing out the things we don’t like about planes, and turbulence absolutely qualifies in that regard.
When you don’t get turbulence on a long haul flight that’s probably when you should worry, and if it was us, we’d start to believe that we were a part of the Matrix.
Either way, this qualifies as one of those ‘old man shouting at a cloud’ moments, and we’re perfectly willing to admit that.
22 Mistreatment Of Pilots
Back in the summer, a collection of Ryanair pilots who decided to strike caused nearly 400 flights to be grounded in that month alone. It’s a staggering figure and it kind of makes you wonder what kind of services they were and weren’t being treated to throughout the course of their time with the company.
We like that they’ve been striking, but we don’t like that they even had to in the first place. These pilots quite literally have our lives in the palm of their hands, and they deserve to be applauded for their hard work and dedication to their craft*.
*We don’t mean literally applaud them, because that tends to freak us out whenever it happens. We’re looking at you, America.
21 Stalls Are Still Pretty Likely
We’re not going to suggest that your flight is guaranteed to stall or anything ridiculous like that, but what we will say is it’s a distinct possibility.
Whether it be because the pilot has mistimed something or the weather conditions aren’t great, stalling a plane is a natural process. Of course, it would seem as if there are more risks associated with doing so than if you stalled a car, but that’s life.
Most of the time you probably won’t even know it’s happening, and while you may think we’re just filling your head with nonsense, that will continue to be our ‘line’ if you will.
20 Overbearing Security
We appreciate that the security on airplanes has to be pretty tight, but we’ve seen way too many incidents in which they’re far too rough with customers in the past.
They have an “act now, ask questions later” kind of policy it seems, and that’s just not the right way to go.
They may not even take the time to speak with the customer in question, because they’ve already made their mind up regarding what the issue is and how to solve it.
We need to think about things on a human level, as opposed to using brute force at every available turn.
19 Countless Baggage Issues
Problem A) you’re about to go onto a plane with your hand luggage, only for the flight crew to take it off of you and store it away. Why are they doing this? They’d like to say it’s because of the safety of the plane, when in reality, they have a quota regarding where all of the luggage actually goes.
Problem B) your luggage eventually being lost. This happens way more often than most people would like to believe, and we absolutely hate it. There’s nothing more stressful than sitting and waiting for your luggage, only to realise that the airline has somehow managed to misplace it.
18 No Major Assistance For Nervous Flyers
When was the last time you saw an announcement asking whether or not there were any nervous flyers on board?
It just doesn’t happen, and the airline tends to leave you to deal with the issue yourself. Sometimes that can be a good thing as nobody knows you better than yourself (if that makes sense), but an extra helping hand wouldn’t exactly be the worst thing in the world.
To summarise, though, we just want to see some more care being taken in a variety of different departments, because this isn’t the way to convince people to fly instead of drive, get the train or hop on a boat.
17 Can’t Get Comfortable
It’s really very simple, guys – it’s very difficult to get comfy on a plane, especially if you’re in economy.
We understand that the slightly nicer seats and amenities are reserved for those with more money, but come on now, how have we not figured this one out yet?
Surely there must be a way in which we can all feel more comfortable, especially on long-haul flights. It’s one of the biggest issues facing us all, and if you happen to suffer from a bad neck, then we guarantee that flying consistently will do some damage in the long run.
16 The Ear Popping Dilemma
“When your flight takes off and the plane begins its ascent, the air pressure inside the inner ear quickly surpasses that of the pressure outside. The tympanic membrane or eardrum swells outward. Picture a loaf of bread rising while baking, and you get the idea.”
That, in its simplest form, is the description of what it’s like to have your ears popping on a plane. Sounds horrible, doesn’t it?
That’s because it is. It’s such an unnatural feeling and it feels like the flight crew should issue warnings for those who have never flown before – especially if there are children on board that would naturally be freaking out about the whole experience.
15 Landing Requirements Dictate Flight Paths
Depending on the size and speed of a particular aircraft, they may not be able to land at certain airports or on certain landing strips. This is why you don’t see flight paths from every single conceivable airport to every single conceivable destination, as it’s just not practical.
Landing can be one of the most difficult parts of a flight, and the pilots need to be given every chance to nail it. This is especially true for smaller planes because if there are certain weather conditions that could impact it, then we could have a serious problem on our hands.
14 Queuing For Take Off
We’ve all been there: you’re waiting to take off on the adventure of a lifetime, only to look out of the window and see that there are half a dozen planes in front of you waiting to jet off.
It’s a fairly common issue, and it happens for the same kind of reason that queues happen in cars. Still, one of the best parts of actually going on a plane is being in the air, and it’s not like we’d be all too pleased about being stuck on the ground.
We’re well aware of the fact that it wouldn’t take long until take off actually occurs, but it’s the kind of delay that you can’t see coming until it’s staring you right in the face.
13 Misleading Advertising
You click on an advertisement that tells you there are flight deals on with 50% off. Then, you click, and realise that it’s only one-way flights to destinations that would require much more baggage than you’d be allowed.
Or perhaps an airport comes out with certain statistics regarding how efficient they are with luggage and security, which persuades you to book a flight from there. Then, when you read the small print, you soon realize that the stats only covered one month out of the calendar year.
It’s a vicious cycle, folks, and you’ve got to keep your eyes peeled for it, because the airlines play a big role in it.
12 Money Grabbers In Charge
It’s all about the statistics.
10.3 million people flew with Ryanair in the month of December, which is up 12% from last year. While that’s all well and good, they still aren’t addressing the bigger issues. What about the poor service from the staff? What about the rude passengers that they never know how to deal with? What about everything apart from the plane costing you more money than the actual price of the flights?
The men and women in charge care about money, and they really don’t care what they have to do in order to get it from you.
11 The Process Of Boarding
We just really, really don’t like boarding guys.
Planes will often announce that they’re boarding about 30 mins to an hour before the flight is actually scheduled to take off, and then they’ll subsequently spend about five minutes checking each and every single piece of information from every single passenger. The process always moves so slowly, and people tend to be left queuing up for much longer than they should be.
Again, we realise that we’re rambling a little bit, but we’re just convinced that there’s a better way of ‘getting the job done’ so to speak. Perhaps the future of boarding will be electronic – which we’ve already seen play out in recent years.
10 Flight Staff Don’t Get Enough Sleep
While we like the fact that some long-haul flights have secret bedrooms for the staff to sleep in, that doesn’t mean it’s a universal thing. Most of the time, even when most of the passengers are asleep, the flight staff are required to stay awake on the off chance that they need to get anything for them.
Of course, this is their job, but something just doesn’t feel right about it. They’re always exceptionally charming with a big smile on their face, and they deserve a bit of a break. Based on some of the protests and strikes we’ve seen in recent months, too, it would appear as if the employees themselves agree.
9 Connecting Flights Are Confusing
We aren’t joking around here when we say that it’s virtually impossible to even begin to track where to go in some airports. The ‘art’ so to speak of making it from one connecting flight to another is unbelievably stressful, and we’d rather not deal with it at all.
Most of the time the staff don’t even tell you what to do with your luggage, either. I remember flying from Manchester – Paris – Atlanta – Orlando in one day, and the help desk specialist in Manchester told me my luggage would travel all the way through to Orlando.
Where did it end up? Stuck in Atlanta overnight, of course. What a joke.
8 Easy To Catch An Illness
Nope, this isn’t a joke.
According to recent research, you’re over 100 times more likely to catch an illness on a flight than if you were on the ground. That makes a lot of sense given how many individuals you’re in close proximity to, but it’s still a little bit unsettling.
If you’re someone who is very prone to picking up an illness then this will be particularly alarming for you, but there are always steps that can be taken.
It’s a risk we all have to take, for sure, but it does feel like procedures could be put in place in order to make your airspace a bit healthier.
7 90% Of Toilets Are Incredibly Small
Quite simple again, here.
We’re often barely even given a second to breathe when it comes to airplane toilets, and it’s kind of irritating. They’re just so unbelievably small, and you don’t even need to be a big individual for that to quickly become a problem.
It seems as if they only get bigger when you pay above and beyond for a fantastic first-class experience, and most of the time if you’re in economy or business, you aren’t even allowed to see what they look like.
That is, of course, unless you subscribe to Casey Neistat on YouTube (which we’d highly recommend).
6 Napping Is A Huge Risk
There’s something about napping on a plane that, to be honest, we just don’t feel right about. First of all it brings up the age-old ‘it’s so uncomfortable’ argument, but beyond that, it’s seemingly impossible to wake up from a nap on a plane and not be in incredible amounts of pain.
We don’t know whether it’s the air pressure or anything like that, but it’s just a bit weird. Nine times out of ten when we nap on a plane we wake up with a headache, and while you may say that we should just stop doing it altogether, that can be easier said than done.
5 Seat Reclines Are Awkward
Here’s a little story.
I was on a plane back from Ayia Napa in Cyprus to Birmingham, England. It’s a five hour flight, and the gentleman in front of me decided to recline his seat from the halfway point of the flight onwards. It was pretty awkward as it gave me even less room than usual, and I decided to put my feet up against the seat in order to get more comfortable. Then, he was the one who wound up having a go at me for causing him discomfort.
Wherever you may be, strange man, please rest easy knowing that I hate you and everything that you stand for.
4 Forced To Talk To Strangers
Why? Why do strangers talk to you about their adventures and where they’re going when you quite clearly just want to put your earphones in and ignore the world?
We understand that they’re probably just trying to be nice, but that only gets you so far on a plane. What happens when the conversation ends and there’s nothing else to be said? Worse yet, what happens if you say something awkward and then can’t escape their company for the better part of half a day?
We may be overthinking it all ever so slightly, but this is a very real problem, folks.
3 Not Tall-People-Friendly
Tall people will struggle on airplanes and that’s just a fact.
All of the issues that we’ve listed can all be linked to the stress and pain and being over six foot tall, and unless you’re rich, there’s no proper way of getting around it.
You just have to sit back and deal with it until you reach your destination.
Of course, you could try and sleep the flight away but as we’ve noted earlier, that’s not always a great solution to your issues.
Suggestion: we make entirely new planes that accommodate tall people. Simple.
P.S: tall people should always get the aisle seat.
2 No Major Difference Between Leisure & Business
It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re going on a relaxing holiday or a business trip, because there’s never any real difference between the two flight experiences. You’d think that the flight staff, or the airline in general, could go out of their way to accommodate you.
It could be something as simple as halving the price of the champagne or offering free wifi to businessmen who need to get some work done. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but just letting us know that you care can go a really long way.
Are we being stuck up? Perhaps.
1 They Care More About Competing Than Customers
They want your business and they want to be the best.
If two or three airlines fly the exact same route from London to Singapore, do you think they’re just going to lie down and accept that their rivals are picking up better business than them? No.
They’ll spend money on making first class even more pleasant, when in reality, they should be spending that kind of cash on improving the overall quality of the plane itself.
We know that the livelihoods of many employees depend on getting more business, but there are certain ways to go about doing it.