I’m back to pond-hopping on a regular basis and therefore taking note of what has changed with regards to scheduled airline service in what seems a very short period of time. As a long-time, long-haul devotee of the now defunct Continental Airlines, I am sad to see how much has been lost and how what remains is a colder climate approach to service. So, as a proponent of business aviation I am pleased to report that, economy aside, our sector of the aviation industry has nothing to worry about. In fact when fiscal sanity returns to the global marketplace and our leaders decide to stop persecuting the successful or simply well-to-do, commercial airline service will help drive the recovery in the private transport market.
Take my recent international trip on United. United would like us to think that at their airline “Planes Change, Values Don’t”. Well maybe they should have considered adopting some of Continental’s values…and the Triple 7s while they were at it. Let’s see instead of continuing non-stops between international city pairs that never saw an empty seat, they now herd passengers through two U.S. hubs. That’s a sure sign for me that they can’t attract business on their domestic flights without forcing the issue. Flight attendants who won’t collect trash unless they are wearing surgical gloves? What does that say for sanitary conditions for the mere passengers? Scratch that. I can say a lot about the sanitary conditions of some of the passengers regardless of the class of service. Oh and this is if you can get the attention of a flight attendant other than the obligatory times they must pass through the cabin to serve and sell.
Conversely business jet operators fully understand the word value and the variations thereof. First and foremost is the valued client. The operator be they public or private transport, strives to go beyond satisfactory and always deliver superior service. You bet that if anything less was delivered the provider would hear about it and more importantly listen and then actually do something about it! The passengers are the valuables in the equation. Without them, there is no aviation business. Value-added service is a hallmark, not an advertising slogan. In a world of choices, made greater by a dwindling customer base, it is de riguer for the corporate and commercial business jet operator to offer exemplary service. Not just by offering up a new plane, but by as well providing a high level of service and excruciating attention to detail. Our business aviation flight attendants get it. Here’s a shout out to Susan and JoAnne, just a couple of the finest who come to mind when it comes to highly trained in safety procedures and first class service. Partnered with some of the best pilots flying the friendly skies today, Bill, Charles, Daryl, Katha and Philippe to name some that I know personally, and you get the ride that dreams are made of. Add to that maintenance and ground support that round out the team that keeps you flexible and flying on demand. These willing and able aviation professionals are the value-ables in our industry.
Know what else? Planes change in this part of the industry as well. From the state of the art Phenom 100 to the increased fuel efficiency in the forthcoming Falcon 2000LXS, greater performance and cabin comfort is available across a wide spectrum of new business jets. Even the classics get a re-do with such options as winglets, synthetic vision and LPV/WAAS. Reduced noise levels, improved baggage space, ergonomically friendly and space-creating interiors are available. Innovation at its best in terms of research and design.
Welcome to my world. Come aboard!