Question: What do you hate most about flying and what would you like to have on a plane that does not exists at the moment?
It’s a miracle of science that we can jet from town to town to get our business done and get our fun on, but today’s flying experience can leave a bit to be desired. We’re jammed into seats that are too small; often nickel-and-dimed over fees; fearful after the two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crashes; and, more frequently, annoyed that some airlines still don’t even have outlets to charge our many devices. That’s why CNN Travel talked to some of our favorite aviation experts — those “avgeeks” who really love to fly — for their semi-realistic wishes for aviation. They hope that some of their gripes and subsequent desires will be addressed by airports and airlines on the ground, others in the air.
Allow sick people to stay home
Sick people would be more likely to stay home if airlines were to “drastically lower the ridiculously expensive ticket change fees ($200+) and even do away with paying the fare difference,” adds DiScala. (Unlike most US airlines, he notes that Southwest doesn’t charge a change fee but that passengers do have to pay any fare difference.)
Add more flights to smaller cities
While airline service cannot guarantee economic development in smaller cities, “the lack of service can certainly hamper a city’s ability to attract new business,” says aviation historian Janet Bednarek, a professor at the University of Dayton in Ohio.
She applauded JetBlue founder David Neeleman’s goal to serve smaller cities with his new airline, Breeze Airways.
“As a resident of a struggling metro region, I believe it would help many areas of the country — particularly in the Northeast and Midwest — as enhanced air service could support efforts of legacy cities, such as Dayton, to attract new business and residents.”
Improve airport security screening
It can often be a slog to get through TSA security lines.
Most people interviewed wanted a better TSA security experience, whether we have to remove our shoes or not (if we have TSA Pre-Check or Clear). “I’d like to see more technology, such as the automated bins, to keep lines moving and cut the hassle factor,” says aviation expert Benét Wilson, credit cards editor with The Points Guy. And because not everyone can or will participate in TSA Pre-Check, aviation historian Bednarek wishes that we could design the security areas with the expectation that people will be removing their shoes, laptops and other items before screening and re-packing after. Security screening can feel like attending a reception “with a drink in one hand and an hors d’oeuvre in the other, and now someone wants to shake your hand,” says Bednarek.
Make airports more comfortable (and quiet)
Longtime United Airlines customer Peter Sasaki, who’s flown more than a million United miles and has invitation-only Global Services status with the airline, would like to see more quiet spaces in airports.
“Major airports are worse than a 1980s shopping mall with regards to crowds, noise, retail space management and aggressive sensory overload,” he says. “Airline lounges are most often no better. I enjoy the meditation/yoga rooms at SFO and the outdoor patio at Terminal 7 LAX and would like to see more spaces to relax at major airports.”
Wilson also wishes for independent, paid airport lounges for those without status.
“I don’t have enough elite status on any airline, and the big three have made it almost impossible to buy your way into their lounges,” she says. “So, I’d love to see more [of] The Clubs or Escape lounges in the larger US airports.”
Make the gates nicer
Bednarek wishes for “more comfortable seating in the gate areas, more moving sidewalks, and for passengers with long layovers or unexpected flight delays, some place they could store their luggage so they don’t have to haul it all over the airport.”
Airport lockers started to disappear after airport bombings in the 1970s and were completely removed after 9/11, she says. “A return to lockers may not be the answer, but surely we could come up with something.”
Give us space for our legs
Update those aircraft charging stations
Make safety improvements
Create a more sustainable future for flying