To follow up with my previous post on things I wish airports would improve, I wanted to write about my ideas for airlines, as well. I would love you to add your thoughts in the comments below (or you can always find me here).
-Free food. Appalling to be on a six-hour flight with no food, unless you want to pay $7 for a few slices of apple and cheese (I'm talking to you, Alaska Airlines).
-Better vegetarian food. I always order the vegetarian meal, and sometimes the non-dairy vegetarian (usually some form of Indian food). Truly, these meals are disgusting. I try to tell myself they are healthier than the other options, but they are often inedible, and based in unfulfilling foods such as green beans. If I can't eat much of it, or it is based on a food that doesn't keep you full, I am going to land grumpy.
-Food delivery order. Special meals are handed out first, so I invariably get my meal well before everyone else. I feel awkward eating in front of my seat neighbors, and then have to sit an extra long time before my trash is collected.
-Allow one checked bag for free (this might soon be legislated in the US). Otherwise, you get overfull flights, where everyone is struggling to get all their bags on the plane. This leads to my next thought...
-Let transfer passengers exit first. Passengers should be able to alert the flight attendants if they have a connection, and then have assistance exiting the plane first. My one-hour layover became a mad dash to my gate on Sunday when my first flight was late, landing after my second flight was boarding. I was seating at the back of the plane, and because everyone had jammed a ton of carryon luggage into the bins (Delta, your $25 bag fee is just plain dumb), I watched, helpless, as the minutes ticked away until my plane would leave. (I made it, by the way, because I am young and strong and capable of running between two very far away gates...)
-Allow taller passengers to sit in exit rows and bulkheads for free. One of my close friends is 6'4", and so buying a second seat wouldn't help him. He just needs more legroom! And should not have to pay exit row fees, especially when he is traveling with layovers -- those fees can easily reach into the hundreds of dollars for just a single trip! (And no, I am not going to take a stand on overweight passengers here... I can't decide if it is okay for an overweight passenger to have to pay for two seats. I mean, let's be honest, economy seats are teensy!)
-Overhead bins that fit standard bags. Some planes have tiny overhead bins, yet the airline allows a larger standard carryon size. So... no one's bags fit.
-Check that passengers are carrying the right size carryon bag. Despite having guidelines and rules, many passenger still carry ridiculously large bags onto airplanes, or too many bags. I once had my boots in an overhead bin (I was traveling with just a purse, and felt comfier putting my boots in the bin rather than squeezing it with my purse under the seat), and the flight attendant removed them and handed them back to me in order to fit another passenger's oversized bag in the bin. So I ended up not even able to use my allotted bin space!
What would you add to this list?