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Has pax aviation evolved at all since 1965? (No....!)

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I've been flying internationally as a pax since 1961. I can remember my first jet flight on a Swissair Caravelle in that year. I flew in the Caravelle quite a bit as a young kid, the Comet 4B, then the Trident series, the 707, the 720 (now who remembers THAT?!), the VC-10 (fantastic plane--smooth and extremely quiet in the cabin), BAC 1-11, and the early "jumbo jets", especially the 747 (wow, God Bless that Queen forever and after!)I've never stopped flying although I love it a lot less today. Why? Because I feel that we've really made no significant progress in the past 40 years from a pax perspective. At least, from a Coach class pax perspective. Flying today is a relatively dull, uncomfortable, and uninspiring affair on largely jammed aircraft that fly no faster, and in a number of cases, even SLOWER, than they did in 1965. On a flight to London last year in a UA 767-300, we were overtaken by a UA 777 two hours into the flight and it took us half an hour longer to fly to London than the 777. The return trip from EGLL to KIAD took almost 8 hours, as long as a 707-320B would have taken. Unbelievable!I think it's a real tragedy how aviation has become nothing more than a bus-in-the-sky type of affair. Business and First Class pax do have a lot more comforts, but they also pay 5 to 15 times as much as Coach pax do--unless you can upgrade with miles as I sometimes am fortunate enough to do (and boy, do I APPRECIATE the difference!)But what disappoints me most is that the general atmosphere of service, flair, adventure, and panache has gone and it's mostly Dullsville at Dullsville speeds in the air. One of the most poignant moments of my life was entering the Dulles Aerospace museum 2 years ago or so and spotting the Concorde in the distance. It looked lonely and strange--a bit pathetic and tragic that it should now be a museum piece. I had an official cutaway sketch of Concorde 40 years ago (I still have it in my archives) when Concorde was the epitome of aviation optimism, adventure, cutting edge, dramatic, illustrious, thrilling, wow! And now?....a museum piece. Oy! What happened?Sorry, but nothing impresses me any more about pax aviation. Sometimes I even wonder why I sim--although it's almost all older jet airliners (wonder why?!) plus the updated 747-400.Anybody else feel similarly? (Or disagree violently?)JS

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Jonathan, I just returned from Australia yesterday. Trip over was great (flew first class and could sleep). Trip back was a trip from #### however.Departed Sydney 1.5 hours late. We made up 30 minutes of that and arrived in LAX 1 hour after our scheduled arrival. Just enough time to rush to our connection after struggling through customs and baggage claim. Got to the gate to find that the connecting flight to KIAD was 2 hours late. That meant that I missed the connection from KIAD to KCHO. Had to overnight at the KIAD Marriott (sucks) and then catch the delayed flight from KIAD to KCHO the next morning. Guess what? Bags did not make it. Painful. Very painful.Point is; I have been flying internationally since I was three and I remember the old days as you do. I miss those days. Airline travel today is not fun, nor even remotely enjoyable. And that is after 116,000 actual flying miles since January 1st of this year and probably double that last year. You buy me a beer in September and I will buy you two! :)

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all this because your ticket price is LESS now than it was then and the wages paid to those airline workers is at about a 1985 level. who could blame them for not caring?

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Tom:You're on! I'm gonna give you a medal too !!JS

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CRJ:Good and very valid point. How to change that if nobody wants to pay more than 1976 prices for tix? It's bad enough being a fare paying pax; glad I don't manage the airlines as well!And we're still flying at Mach 0.83 average. I want Mach 7 to 10 in comfort. Where's that scramjet I was promised back in 1969?I wonder if Boeing's 787 will deliver anything new or truly different? (I hope so, oh, boy.)JS

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>I think it's a real tragedy how aviation has become nothing>more than a bus-in-the-sky type of affair.Sorry, but it is not a tragedy that many more people can afford airline tickets today than in 1961. As a matter of fact I bet if you took the price of say a transatlantic coach ticket in 1961 and converted it into today's dollars you would find out that you can fly today for this amount enjoying much higher standard, 'panache' and level of service than in 1961 (your then coach class would easily probably turn into some business class of today). I have no clue why would anyone use the word 'tragedy' in this case except just to stir things up. It has absolutely no relevance to truth. Today you have many more choices of level of services than you ever could have imagined in 1961. For example you can fly today in all-business class EOS airlines 757 across Atlantic probably for a fraction of the cost of what once coach ticket sold on the London-New York route and the service is extremely good. If you don't like the fact that most people today use airplanes as 'buses' and want to pay the least amount of money for their tickets and care less for purchasing another $200 worth of 'panache' then you may as well extend your indignation to other aspects of daily life - that people drink alcohol, engage in premarital sex or make poor choices in education. And what was your choice of service on your recent flight .. case closed.Michael J.

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You get what you pay for, period.That 1960s ticket in today's money would cost you for cattle class the same as that 1st class ticket does right now.Airlines are under constant pressure to reduce cost in order to keep ticket prices down. If that means reducing service or buying slower but more fuel efficient aircraft that require less maintenance then so be it.Passengers demand it, many of whom hardly ever fly at all and will select their airline not on the level of service offered (which they know nothing about, they often don't even know the airline they'll be flying) but on the price of the vacation package.So effectively they let the tour operator choose the airline for them and the tour operator will choose the lowest bidder because that will allow them to compete for the lowest price.The customer who has a choice of 2 weeks on the Turkish rivierra in hotel Sultanachmed with KLM for

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I do think it is still a tragedy that Concorde is stuck in a museum. It WAS supposed to be the future of pax aviation in 1968. I read Nels Anderson's write-up of his flight recently in a Ford TriMotor that was built in 1929. Look how far things progressed between 1929 and 1969--and then look at what has happened between 1969 and 2006? Not much. Same type of plane, same type of mostly everything. Not much progress from a pax point of view at all.But yeah, I know, it all comes down to economics and cashflow. And it is true that many folks really don't fly much and don't want to pay anything much either.I'm just sorry that not only is the state of the industry as horrible as it is, but that there also is nothing new or better to fly in since 1969. Part of this is probably a mourning of the loss of my youth and the almost overwhelming excitement I used to feel just arriving at any airport. Ah, for Swissair 1962...! (Or Air France 1964....)JS

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>I do think it is still a tragedy that Concorde is stuck in a>museum. It WAS supposed to be the future of pax aviation in>1968. Again, if you call it tragedy - your choice. An aircraft that burned insane amount of fuel and was reserved for a few very wealthy.>>I read Nels Anderson's write-up of his flight recently in a>Ford TriMotor that was built in 1929. Look how far things>progressed between 1929 and 1969--and then look at what has>happened between 1969 and 2006? Not much. Same type of>plane, same type of mostly everything. Not much progress from>a pax point of view at all.Again, your interpretation of events. >I'm just sorry that not only is the state of the industry as>horrible as it is, but that there also is nothing new or>better to fly in since 1969. The industry is doing fine. Michael J.http://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/for...argo_hauler.gifhttp://sales.hifisim.com/pub-download/asv6-banner-beta.jpg

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"The industry is doing fine."Having done 116,000 miles or there abouts since January 1st of this year and about that last year and the year before, I can tell you for a fact Michael that the industry is not doing fine. If your definition of "doing fine" is full flights, then yes you may be correct. My perspective on that is that the airlines have cut back the number of flights, forcing full, jammed packed, flights on those that remain. If your definition of "doing fine" is that they succeed in getting you from point A to point B, then I would argue that (my flight from Sydney, Australia to Charlottesville, Virginia this last weekend being my most recent example of NOT doing fine). If your definition of "doing fine" is not loosing your baggage, then I would argue that point too. My bags didn't show up for 36 hours after I finally got to Charlottesville. And when I went to register the fact that my bags were lost, there was no one at the counter. Of 21 passengers on the flight from KIAD to KCHO, 12 arrived without bags showing up. Then we had to wait 30 minutes for someone to man the counter to take our baggage claims. "Doing fine"? I don't think so.

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You know what? I think Tom was refering to the nastalgia of flying. Roger that?We aren't stupid here. We understand that you get what you pay for.We were around long before the de-regulation of the airlines here in the US which sparked the surge of the discount carrier. In fact PSA (Pacific Southwest Airlines) was the first discount carrier here in the US, btw. ####, I flew on them quite a bit.Having said that there were still carriers which STILL offered full service at a slightly higher price so DO NOT even give me that BS.Airline service HAS gone to crap as a general rule and thats a fact regardless of how you might want to justify it.

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Actaully I could have made it alot simpler and simply stated: "you can't pay for what is not offered"Show me 1 carrier that offers a real hot meal other than the limited route schedule of Midwest on US domestic routes.

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Hey, guys, guys, gentlemen....:My post goes beyond meals and baggage. I feel that the whole SPIRIT of the aviation industry is simpyl lamentable these days. Boeing bet the company on the 707 over 50 years ago and then again it re-bet the company 45 years ago on the 747 for Howard Hughes and Juan Trippe. Boeing had amazing style, energy, and daring in those days and flying in general was a thrilling experience partly because you COULD usually get decent service internationally and partly because of the PROMISE of greater things to come. Isn't that what we all craved? More? Better? Faster? Higher? Quicker?....In that spirit, Concorde was born (it was actually born in France in 1957 but I'll save that for later). It was intended to herald the start of the next generation of international aviation, by making sustained supersonic flight a reality for millions. In Russia, the Soviets built the Tu-144 ("Konkordski") while in the US Boeing built the very Sixties semi-jumbo sized Boeing 2707 (I know all about that one because I built a scale model of it around 1970). The promise of the future was filled with supersonic aircraft as the stepping stone to being able to ultimately fly around the world in hypersonic aircraft that would take one from Tokyo to New York in about one hour.But the reality proved rather different, indeed, painfully so. Congress scrapped funding for the Boeing 2707, the environmentalists banned Concorde from overflying the continental US, and most of Concorde's advance orders vanished. She was doomed to become a carrier for the rich and super rich and famous. She had no chance to develop into a second or third generation of what might have been more efficient supersonic airliner. (The Boeing 707 DID have a chance to evolve thus and became bigger, better, and quieter than the original Dash Eighty derivatives.)I never imagined back then that we'd still be flying at Mach 0.80 today in aircraft that look no different from the Sixties. In fact today's Airbus jets and even the Boeings (747 excepted!) all look identical and uninspiring. They're all twin jets. And the Airbus A340 is a sort of copy of the Boeing 707. Nothing new there.The passenger has seen no real change or improvement in jetliner seating, cabin arrangement (or luggage allowances) since 1960 except for Biz and First which on many good Asian and various other airlines has been turned into something very elegant and comfortable--but still only at Mach 0.80. That's a big part of my beef. Heck, if we COULD fly at Mach 10 or 12 from IAD to Tokyo, even if we were all squished together, it would be fine because the flight would not take more than an hour!But 19 hours nonstop from KEWR to Singapore in an A340-500...? Man, forget it -- never!JS

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JS,The reason why we could 'suffer' through the confined space was because the service was for the most part excellent. Even with the so called "airline food" we felt like kings at 30+ thousand feet.

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Well, yeah, in the good ol' days, almost anything at 30,000 feet was fun and we could take it fine. These days on most long distance flights I am very aware of the stale cabin air and excessive air temperature and ask the cabin crew or cockpit crew (when I see them) if they can increase the supply of oxygen to the pax or turn down the temperature!JS

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Adn here we come once again to the whole point of the post...."the good ole days" I love it when a plan comes together....LOL

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Right-on!I'll buy YOU a beer at the AVSIM fest in September too, mate!Cheers,JS

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LOL, hold that thought because I can't make it. Yet once again I'll have to miss out.:-(

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Hey, well, look on the bright side: ya won't have to fly in an overcrowded, overheated, subsonic toilet for 7+ hours.!!JS

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The advent of low cost carriers, competition at price level instead of service level brought on by a general tendency of customers to buy the cheapest instead of the best which started in the 1970s and continues to this day, and increasing calls for efficiency and capacity sparked by higher fuel prices and limited slot availability are the sole causes for the conditions we find in airliners today.2 of those are directly sparked by customers valueing price more than service, the third is more or less a derivative of that (if passengers didn't mind the price so much airlines would get away with higher prices brought on by packing less of them into a single aircraft, because passengers would be willing to pay more and there would be fewer of them who could afford those prices).So it IS all about money, and it's in general the customer who decided it would be that way.

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Well, maybe the industry is not doing well, but I knew I should have bought American Airlines stock when it was down around $11-12 not long ago. Now it is in the mid $20s. Back in the 1960s we used to pay around $600 during peak season for a R/T coach ticket to MXP (Milan) on a TWA 707. Until the recent oil fiasco and fuel / ticket prices to Europe going up, it wasn't much more to get that same price in peak season just a couple years ago.Let me put that in perspective. In 1969 we paid around $600 R/T per person for that airline ticket to Milan. A new Cadillac Sedan DeVille used to cost around $7,000 back then (less without options), or 11.6 times the price.Or, my father used to spend a month on the Italian Riviera in northern Italy for 4 weeks. It used to cost us around $5000 for the month (including rental car and air fare).A new Cadillac today will cost around $40,000. However, the coach airline ticket to MXP does not cost $3448.Do the math. It's a whole different economy today. Now, has airline flying evolved? YES, it costs much less, and it is much safer, what else would you expect?Sleeper seats and Caviar in coach?I'm a bit younger, so my first international flight was in 1965. ;-)These days, at least domestically, I fly Continental. I check in online, 24 hours before the flight, assign myself the comfy, more leg room seats at the wing exits (yes, you can do that), show my Amex card with boarding pass and get into the Presidents club for free.Doesn't sound so bad to me!Regards,http://www.dreamfleet2000.com/gfx/images/F...R_FORUM_LOU.jpg

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Unfortunatley that is part of the cause, yes. It's a downward spiral with no end in sight sadly.

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>>>I do think it is still a tragedy that Concorde is stuck in a>>museum. It WAS supposed to be the future of pax aviation in>>1968. >>Again, if you call it tragedy - your choice. An aircraft that>burned insane amount of fuel and was reserved for a few very>wealthy.>>>>>I read Nels Anderson's write-up of his flight recently in a>>Ford TriMotor that was built in 1929. Look how far things>>progressed between 1929 and 1969--and then look at what has>>happened between 1969 and 2006? Not much. Same type of>>plane, same type of mostly everything. Not much progress>from>>a pax point of view at all.>>Again, your interpretation of events. >>>I'm just sorry that not only is the state of the industry as>>horrible as it is, but that there also is nothing new or>>better to fly in since 1969. >>The industry is doing fine. >>Michael J.>http://www.precisionmanuals.com/images/for...argo_hauler.gif>http://sales.hifisim.com/pub-download/asv6-banner-beta.jpgAnd who set Concordes prices? Passengers, market driven prices as usual, when BA asked people what they thought a ticket on Concorde should cost they invariably at least doubled the actual price. So BA charged it, and the lady regularly flew at least (AT LEAST) 70% full most times. One ex captain said, he never knew less than 3/4 full, and they needed 50% to break even. Concorde needed an engine upgrade, nobody will deny that, and an avionics upgrade. But is it really so great that everybody can fly? When you consider the following I do think it's a tragedy:1/ aircraft are destroying the atmosphere, more planes=more destruction.2/ the skies are becoming so overcrowded that ATC can barely cope, in 10 years time at current levels of growth flying will no longer be safe.3/ more planes=more fuel use, fuel is running out, war will come out of that, then where you gonna fly to anyway with the whole world embroiled in a huge war for oil eh?

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