Thursday, February 11, 2010

All about airlines: Aging planes are safe?

In two recent articles, a very different view was had of the airline industry. The first article on states that many of the airlines in the US have aging planes was painted as an "ok" thing, because airlines are careful about maintenance schedules and following all safety and security measures.

Not a week later (I am not joking here) another report came out about the FAA fining US airlines due to them skipping routine maintenance and violating safety protocols.

In my day job, we have a saying that "perception is reality". If folks perceive you as a good worker, a smart marketeer, a great account executive - then you are. Doesn't matter what is reality. And the opposite is true - if there is a perception problem around you, you are doomed.

I've been on some nasty planes. United airlines has some of the foulest planes I've ever been on. Dirty, missing pieces, still with ashtrays in the armrests. Latches that don't work, old CRT TV's that have a green tinge to the display. Headset jacks that crackle and pop (if they work). When I fly an airline like Virgin, I see clean planes, new features, modern equipment. So what perception am I left for each airline? I am not a fan of United and there have been times I've looked around at the plane and wondered if the inside is that bad, what does the engine look like? When you add the bonus of surly staff,  perception really goes down the toilet. My perception with Virgin is that they must be in good shape because what I see is above average and pleasant and the staff are pleasant and even have a sense of humor sometimes (shocking). 

Perception is not fair. But, it does shape the reality the passengers believe and airlines need to wake up and realize having a dumpy plane interior effects how their passengers feel about their experience and the airline. And quit skimping on maintenance. I mean - really!


  1. So what I'm reading here is that the guys from Enron would have run an airline that was perceived as spectacular up until the point that people realized they only had one plane, perpetually suffering from delays, that was scheduled to land at every major airport simultaneously.

    So, do you think Air New Zealand has a sinister motive behind their new uniforms? Perhaps they are trying to distract people from the shoddy maintenance records of their aircraft fleet.

  2. @Bitterly Books: Yes, I am now suspicious of Air New Zealand. And Korean Air for that matter - they had awesome uniforms.