'Hell on Wings': Readers tell us about flying in 2007

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Airplane flying towards red sky (Photo: Timothy Goodwin/iStockphoto)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on December 10, 2007. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: airfare, American, Continental, frequent flyer, fuel, JetBlue, Korean Air, legroom, low-cost airline, Midwest Airlines, Molly Feltner, onboard flight entertainment, security, Southwest.

"I dread my next flight to anywhere. It ruins the beginning and end of a vacation."

"Seats are too small, delays are worse, security is ridiculous, should I continue?"

"I have been flying commercial jets, as an adult, since 1970 and this was by far the worst year I have ever experienced. But what are our options?"

"Hell on wings."

Your comments said it all: 2007 was a tough year for flying. Prices were higher, good customer service became an antiquated notion, delays and cancellations were out of control, and airline "loyalty" turned into a bad joke.

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Here's how we learned what was on your mind. Last month, SmarterTravel.com polled a segment of our newsletter subscribers to get an impression of how our readers felt air travel this year compared to 2006. We asked you to rate your experiences in specific areas of air travel, including different components of airfare purchasing and airport and onboard flying experiences. While many of you felt certain aspects of air travel were about the same as last year, you rated several areas as worse in 2007. Notably, only a small minority of you saw improvement over the last year in any aspect of air travel.

We also asked you to share your feelings about air travel in general. More than half of you submitted comments, some brief and pointed, others lengthy anecdotes of flights gone awry. Overall, your ratings presented a gloomy impression of the current state of air travel, but your comments painted a more distressing picture, a collective feeling of helplessness and anger. Let's look at the details.

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