Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
What has flying become?
Just a trip in a tiny bucket into which you’re squeezed with hundreds of others.
That’s if you’re in economy, of course.
Even famous airlines, the ones that used to stand for, well, their kings, queens and countries seem to have succumbed to the nickel-and-diming mania that was introduced by their budget competitors.
I’m not only referring to British Airways here. But BA has done a rather fine job of it.
Still, one legacy airline decided there’s a different way to persuade passengers not to fly with budget airlines: Shame them.
KLM — or KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, to give it its full regal title — though it would be highly entertaining to walk up to budget airline passengers at an airport and give them VR headsets.
Through these cardboard headsets — and the downloading of the so-called Flight Upgrader app and slipping your phone into the headset — passengers can see what they’ll be missing out on by not flying KLM.
Yes, free movies. And free food. Free, friendly service, too. And, oh, free higher fares.
Wait, KLM doesn’t mention that last part.
That’s the problem flyers have these days.
Booking a flight isn’t just about finding a decent price on the days that you actually want to fly.
It’s about examining small print and making all sorts of calculations as to the actual cost of a flight, as opposed to the first number that the airline’s website puts before your eyes.
Wait, how much is the baggage fee?
How much do I have to pay for the seat that used to be free? (All airlines charge you extra to pick a seat, it seems.)
And, wait, does the airline charge for, um water? (Here’s one that does.)
KLM must have felt it was being clever by shaming these budget flyers.
You can see how it wants people to understand — or even remember — that it’s possible to get a little more comfort.
How often, though, does telling someone they’re a myopic cheapskate really work?
When someone tells you that you’re idiot, do you warm to them?
In the U.S., the airline oligopoly — 83 percent of all U.S. seats are in the hands of just four airline groups — means that airlines are in a stronger position to dictate.
As far as most American airlines are concerned, they’re prepared to squeeze passengers as much as they possibly can, financially and physically. Until the passengers begin to scream.
Indeed, when you compare budget airlines to the likes of United and American, is there really any difference?
Well, yes. Sometimes, the budget airlines are more pleasant.