On any day, around the world, you can expect for about 600 flights to be canceled and over 15,000 to be delayed. That means over 6,000 flights in or out of the USA are delayed each day with just over 300 being canceled. The longest delays are caused because the flight which the aircraft conducted before was running late and the problem is compounded and is exacerbated over time. The second longest delays are caused by what the Bureau of Transportation Statistics refers to as air carrier delay which they describe as ‘The cause of the cancellation or delay was due to circumstances within the airline’s control’. The airlines do not have to be specific when they report the reasons for their delays and while they are not especially effusive when it comes to admitting their errors to statisticians, they are often even less forthcoming with their passengers. It is for this reason, perhaps, that airlines suffer when it comes to the statistics compiled by the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). As of last year, they were at 72 out of 100 and found themselves languishing below conventionally annoying industries like cell phone companies and banks. The airline industry has recovered somewhat when it comes to consumer satisfaction scores, which were in the low 60s in the past decade, but it remains to be seen how the recent United controversy will affect that.
However, the fact remains that if you are going to travel, choosing to fly with a commercial airline is not the most appealing option to a lot of people. Not only are there delays and cancellations, if you do make your flight, it is likely to be loud, cramped and uncomfortable. They cannot be blamed for the food tasting bad though since that it is due to the pressurized atmosphere of the aircraft itself. Studies have shown that it affects taste buds and makes the finest food taste awful. The alternative to a commercial airline is obvious: private jet charter companies. There are no queues that you have to worry about, no screaming babies (unless you have one yourself) and you can have as much room as you’d like. While commercial first class seats are good, you still only have a small part of the plane where you can relax, and there are still other passengers that may object if you want to walk around or play music or do whatever you’d like. It may seem rather decadent, but some private jets now come with built in bedrooms you can wake up rested on the other side of the world.
However, there is more to a good journey than just the flight itself. There is lots of tech that can make you as fresh as you can be. For instance, Re-Timer glasses can fit over your regular prescription glasses and they modulate the light that reaches your eyes to slowly and effectively adjust you to your new time zone. Jet lag can be a thing of the past.
Lastly, flight is somewhat taken for granted today since it is reasonably inexpensive and common. It is still a marvel though, and should be accorded the respect it deserves. Dressing to impress is still important. Stepping off a plane is sweatpants and an old T-shirt is never a good look.