Plane and Simple

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Dear Easyjet/Ryanair (British budget airlines)

First of all, I would like to say what a marvellous job I think you have done over the last ten years with making global travel to and from the UK affordable and relatively pain-free.  Well done and thank you.

I have travelled with your companies many times to several destinations, domestically and within Europe, and have always arrived safely and on time.

Naturally, I understand that as we, the customer, are paying less for our seat, we should not expect certain elements of traditional airline service; free food and drink, in-flight entertainment, smiling hostesses etc.

If I’ve only paid £8 for a return to Sardinia, what more do I want, right?

Also, I can imagine the profit and loss margins within the pricing structures of economy airlines must be phenomenally tight.  The overheads included in keeping an airplane in the air 24/7 must be horrendous.  Marketing-wise, it must be a constant battle to get “bums on seats”, as it were.

As we’re speaking of bums and seats, I would like to draw something to your attention, because your seats are, in fact, the crux of my gripe.  Over the last few years, I have noticed the seat sizes and legroom dimensions in your fuselages getting progressively smaller. I assume that you may think that we don’t notice these things, or that we may even think that, after overindulging at the KFC in the departure lounge, the size of our bums might be the problem.

Sadly, for you, I am meticulous in recording my weight daily, and it has not fluctuated more than an ounce or two (except over the Christmas holidays) for 17 and a half years.  Also, I have observed some well respected high street companies make similar diminishing returns decisions over the years.

Cadburys, for example.  Without doubt, a paragon of British confectionery.  However, are they really that disconnected from their customers that they think we haven’t noticed the Creme Egg shrinking year on year?  Scientists estimate that, by 2025, a Creme Egg will not be visible to the naked eye. How do I eat mine?  With a bloody magnifying glass, thank you very much…

Anyway, where was I?  Oh yes, seats.  You see, I worry that, unchecked, your managers and CEO’s will become greedy, if they haven’t already.  They will slowly chip away at quality and service, in the desperate search for a few more pennies, until nothing is left.  I mean, where will it all end?

If you follow your current pricing model to its logical conclusion, I believe disaster is around the corner.

I’m sure one day, in the not too distant future, Easyjet and Ryanair will go long haul and be able to offer us tickets to faraway destinations at unbelievable prices.  Maybe, I will live to see a day when you will be able to fly return to Australia for only £1.50!

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?  That’s because I think it will be.

First, it’s no food and drink, then dwindling legroom and ugly trolley dollies; what discomforts are we going to subjected to next, in exchange for a long haul bargain fare?

Sure, you’ll fly us to Oz for £1.50 but we won’t be allowed any luggage, will we?

Staff?! Who needs staff?! There’ll just be the occasional rabid macaque in a cravat throwing dry roasted peanuts at us. As for the “pilot”, he’ll be a 8 year old school boy of dubious intellectual capacity, who “really wants to play with the metal birdie”.

Will there be any seats?  Of course not, it’ll be standing all the way, all 27 hours of it.

Before we say to ourselves, “Well, that doesn’t sound like too much of a hardship, I don’t mind standing,” you would like to point out that we will be standing in a barrel of cold piss. Am I right?

So, what do I want for my £1.50?

I want you to offer me a basic service but one that still affords the fundamental dignities of being a human being – a seat fit for an adult human, a free glass of water, a smile, an airport in the country I’m going to… to name a few.

My point is, it’s not all about the benjamins.  Start treating your customers as people rather than “numbered potential terror threats” and stop trying to surreptitiously increase revenue by keeping the price the same but  drastically reducing the quality of service.  No one is falling for it.

Many thanks for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.

Peace and hair grease,
Blackface G x

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