by Nicole Carvalho, staff writer
|After the September 11th terrorist attacks on America,
the airline industry changed dramatically for both consumers
and airline employees, forcing many airlines to file for chapter
11 bankruptcy protection.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, it was very difficult to
fly. No longer could passengers arrive at the gate just minutes
before departure, accompanied by loved ones who were there to
bid them adieu. Instead, they had to arrive a minimum of 90 minutes
early with all of the goodbyes already done at the check-in stands.
If that was not bad enough, passengers were held in long lines
at the security check points, under scrutiny, with machine-gun
armed National Guard soldiers pouring through the contents of
their makeup bags and other personal belongings. All of this
instilled fear in the American public, as if we were not afraid
Here we are more than four years later, and things have gotten
a little better in the airline industry.
Most people feel a little safer when it comes to getting on an
airplane. The Transportation Security Administration has taken
over, standardizing check-in procedures at airports across the
country and have made flying as a whole a little more comfortable.
Airlines are slowly finding their way out of bankruptcy protection
and people are flying again, with statistics saying both domestic
and international travel are on the rise.
Low budget carriers such as America West, JetBlue, Ted, by United
Airlines, and Song, Delta’s low budget carrier have found
their way into the airline marketplace with favorable results,
both financially as well as for consumers.
Still, gone are the days when meals were included in the fare
of a ticket. Gone are the days when people waited at the gates
in anticipation of an exciting and comfortable airplane ride,
and gone are the days when flying was fun!
The stewardess in the short dress, saying coffee, tea, or peanuts?,
has been replace by the flight attendant, most often in a conservative
almost corporate-looking uniform, who at this point is just happy
to get the airplane off the ground—and back on the ground
for that matter, on time. With worry about terrorist threats,
on-time departures, and whether they are going to receive their
next paycheck, they don’t have time to make the customer
happy. In fact, riding in coach class is almost comparable to
riding on a Greyhound bus where they pack people in like sardines
and luxury is the farthest thing from anyone’s mind.
Travel has become a way of life for most of us, especially living
on an island as far removed as Hawai‘i. We have to fly
if we want to get anywhere, and we have to accept and abide by
the changes in the airline industry, whether we like them or
The airline world is now a stiff, stoic, almost sterile, and definitely unfriendly
environment—for our own protection of course.