MISSION NO. 1:
The return of the "special feeling" of aviation, the "recreation" for the fascination of flying! Flying should be more than only the (more or less) fast transport and "necessary evil" to get from A to B. Yes - OK - for business travelers, who travel by air almost every day, that is of course nothing special anymore and supposedly became an absolute routine. And exactly this routine is what makes it probably extremely difficult (or almost impossible) for these travellers to regain some sort of fascination of flying. Improvements that make flying more pleasant again for these travellers, are more possible from the "landside" and in many cases also urgently necessary.
But for everyone else - for tourists and the "not-so-frequent-flyer" - there are many ways, to make flying in an airplane again to what it should be (and actually is!):
A dream come true for mankind and the most beautiful means of transportation that exists on this planet!
Of course, there are many people who are simply "fed up" and unable to enjoy anything, but for everyone else, it is time that aviation will become something special again. But by no means through the introduction of ticket prices that only a very limited clientele would be able to afford, but by way of something completely different:
Earlier the tourists and other travelers have flown on vacation or to their destination and the flight was an integral part of the anticipation. The passengers still really felt as "guests" aboard an airplane and just about everything was made possible by the airlines, that the passengers not only had a safe journey, but also arrived at the destination as satisfied and relaxed as possible. Very often vacation packages (but also "normal" flights) were booked not only by which company is offering the best or most affordable deal, but - as (or even more) important - which airline was about to operate the flights. There was still quite a strong customer loyalty to certain airlines which they gained through their quality and service advantages. If a passenger made positive experiences on an previous flight and felt himself perceived as a customer who is really appreciated by the respective airline (prior to departure, during the flight, and after arrival!), he would stick to this airline whenever possible!
But what has happened over the years until today that (almost) everything of this attitude has been lost? I guess it is not due to just one sole trigger, but the unfortunate coincidence of several factors: Amongst others - the steadily rising fuel prices (i.e. cost pressure), the strongly rising low-cost carriers in the market (i.e. harder competition and even more cost pressure), but also - for me maybe one of the main reasons - through a change of generation in the boardrooms of many airlines: Managers and merchants who grew up in this industry and for which the term "service in aviation" was - in many ways - much more, than just carrying passengers and/or cargo from A to B, were in far too many cases gradually replaced by narrow-minded and bland managers/administrators/officers (and their career often completely unrelated to the aviation industry) , who regard this industry just as a pure numbers game. The result of this way of leadership(?) is the almost complete lost of one of the most important factors: The healthy realtionship to people - toward passengers but also toward their own employees!
For this kind of business people it makes no difference whether they sell refrigerators or manage an airline - everything is run purely after standardised, inflexible business principles that even often lack any practice relevance in the aviation-/travelbusiness. This way of running an airline (or even any other business!) - by obviously and willingly neglecting the human factor - clearly resulted in an constant decrease of the employees' moral (and the passenger's moral, too!) and the subtle termination of even the most basic services gradually developed into the often unpleasant experiences that today's air travel is standing for.
Quality and service differences between the airlines? Besides the aircraft painted in different liveries you will nowadays hardly find any distinguishing characteristics between airlines in regard to the offered services (or better - the lack thereof. Free meals and beverages on short-haul and medium-haul flights are gradually becoming a feature of the past and are even on long-haul flights largely confined to a minimum (luckily a few exceptions exist!). For most (or even all) the previously free basic services you will be charged a fee now: Checked baggage, meals and beverages, seat reservations, certain methods of payment and so on. The airline Ryanair even considered to install coin operated lavatories on board of their aircraft and even room for standees(!) on their planes were already discussed!
The passenger is being demoted to an now often even self-handling and self-checking-in "paying cattle", who has to pay an extra fee for just about every single service, just to be allowed to board an airplane with a pitch that is often so tight, that after 10 minutes even a Pygmy may have problems where to put his legs! An aircraft configuration like this will even turn a short-haul flight into a mere torture (not to mention a long-haul flight!) . The fact that a bad experience like this will remain in the passenger's memory and may be considered in his future plans of booking a flight should be an obvious fact to even the most indifferent airline management!
I would not generally deny the charge of extra fees as long as real additional services are concerned but - however - these fees should be completely transparent, i.e. the passenger must be able to clearly see how much a fee for a certain service is. These fees may not be hidden in the small print or just automatically be added at the end of a booking. Fortunately, there are more detailed requirements which must be respected now (at least far as EU airlines are concerned), but.....time will tell.
But exactly this kind of "rip-off" (as it is actually perceived by the passengers!) caused an incredible lost of trust and credit in airlines. Many airlines are now perceived by passengers as a kind of "Walmart of the skies" - in dealing with people (passengers and employees) as well as by the often significant "savings-over-all" mentality! And - even if it is always vehemently denied - of course there are (more or less secretly installed) saving-programs with an impact on safety: the outsourcing of maintenance work, shorter rest periods of pilots, quick/low-skilled contract workers as crew members and on the ground, to operate flights with just sufficient fuel capacity to barely reach the destination and much more – all these are savings that clearly affect the airlines' safety!
On Mission No. 1 Flightcrazy.com (and various partners) now want to stop this fatal mistakes to initiate an long overdue turnaround in the industry, not just limited to airlines, but also available to all other interested companies from the aviation and travel industry, to develop new and customized concepts by
- restoring confidence and credit in the airline, aviation / the company through various measures !
- increasing customer satisfaction through various measures (= people back in the focus)!
- increasing employee satisfaction through various measures (= people back in the focus)!
- marketing in connection with images to remind customers of the beauty and the fascination of flying again!
- making flying a beautiful experience again!
- developing booking portals which are absolutely transparent, clearly understandable and very easy to use!
Admitted - no easy tasks, but also absolutely no "Mission (No. 1) impossible"!
For a first contact, interested companies can find all necessary information here:
MISSION NO. 2:
This involves the reasonable support of airports and all companies, organisations and of course all the staff whose jobs are directly and indirectly dependent on an airport. "Reasonable" in this case means to support those airports, where a full use of the given capacity, as well as possible capacity expansions are demanded by the market and so economically urgently necessary. So support in our terms is not about a "blind" support of each and every airport(expansion)project, but to examine whether such a project truly and absolutely makes sense - economically, environmentally and of course related to the predicted traffic figures! This means in particular:
-'Kick-off subsidies"for airports are OK, but not by creating"subsidies graves", that even in the long run just burns the taxpayer's money!
-No new airports "in the open countryside", based only on completely sugarcoated figures and the non-realistic and overly optimistic wishful thinking of builders, investors and promoters as far as the predicted traffic is concerned!
-No new airport construction when already one (or even more!) fully operational and not overly utilized airport(s) is/are in quite a reasonable radius!
-Only demand-oriented development will be supported! Not every regional airport needs to be expanded and rebranded into an intercontinental airport, just for the main reason that local politicians or the airport manager can put up a monument for themselves!
But as far as the reasonable and often much needed full utilization of the given capacity and the expansion of airports is concerned, we stand completely behind this tasks and offer our help to all affected airports, airlines, companies and organizations with the following offers, to support the "silent majority":
- Conceptual design and support for marketing, promotion and counteractive measures
- Creation of T-Shirts and other accessories for promotional purposes (see here: T-Shirts & more)
- On-site support in aviation-related discussions and demonstrations
- Reconception, respectively support of the airports public relation departments work to generate new and stronger streams of visitors ("airport fans" = supporters!)
Especially the last point is unfortunately still underestimated by many airports and often an completely unacknowledged fact: An airport needs the help of the (unfortunately) "silent majority" to enforce any further development, but also to support and defend its mere right of existance. Unfortunately, for many people the airports now often turned into something rather strange or even unknown! One reason for this is the point that - especially after the events of Sept. 11, 2011 - many airports have unfortunately turned into a kind of hostile strongholds in the eyes of both - visitors and passengers! Existing visitor terraces or similar visitor facilities were completely closed or sometimes redesigned in a way, that they do not offer any useful views for visitors anymore. The airport perimeters were enforced with even higher fences or other measures to block off any kind of apron view an - God forbid - not to allow any kind of photo opportunity anymore! At some airports, visitors (and sometimes even the passengers!) do not feel like actually being on/in an airport because any view of the apron is consistently limited or even actively prevented! All of this in the name of a "pseudo security", which reflects nothing more than a blind actionism that sometimes approaches the edge of paranoia (and in many ways even crosses this edge)! The actionism is then unfortunately continuing at the passenger security checkpoints: Underpaid security guards (who - due to long working hours, demotivation and therefore stress - understandably often do not perform their job in the way they should!) aim to provide the passenger a (pseudo) sense of such a (pseudo) security. Of course nothing is really safe, but the Governments and airports can at least suggest the public "Look here - we are actively doing something"!
To counteract this "alienation" of visitors - and passengers alike - and to win them as support again, it is time to change some things in this area. The airports have to recreate a positive atmosphere again and thus awaken positive emotions! Visitors and passengers have to perceive the "scent of the big wide world" at airports again - as most of them did in the past - to reawaken desire, longing and anticipation of flying and traveling and not to convey the feeling toward its visitors and passengers of just finding themselves in a high-security, sterile and boring facility without a view! An airport should be a rewarding destination for the whole family again and by this way recreating a positive image - and so as a side-effect to support the spirit of aviation in general.
What measures can now be taken to sanitize this image, not only to put the airports in a more positive light again, but also to win major parts of the population (= the silent majority) – especially in terms of visitors and passengers - back again as active and loyal supporters (or even real fans!) who may even be mobilized if need be? Here you find - in random order - a few suggestions and ideas whose implementation and conception is conducted and/or supported by Flightcrazy.com:
- Airports should offer visitor facilities in the form of visitor terraces, visitor parks or similar (again)! Such facilities always draw attention from the public, attract numerous visitors and may also - as a side effect - turn them into customers to the strong benefit of the shops and other services at the airport. Especially the often well organised and globally networked "planespotter" would present (and actually do so!) an excellent and reliable source of income for many airports worldwide. It is therefore absolutely incomprehensible that exactly these "planespotter" are not only hampered in many countries in the pursuit of their hobby, but sometimes may even be treated as criminals, instead as to appreciate their value as positive "ambassadors" for the aviation industry. The official appreciation and support of this hobby would be the easiest way to attract active and absolutely loyal supporters on behalf of public relation affairs and the positive representation of airports and aviation in general! It is hard to understand: Hardly any interest group has - on one side - such a positive "PRO-Aviation" approach and is - on the other side - often treated in such dismissive and even hostile way by institutions that are actually supported by their hobby!)! Luckily some airports (at least - partly - in Germany, in the Switzerland, in the Netherlands and in Japan) now readjusted their attitude toward "planespotter" and other visitors and detected their economic and "moral" value amongs other advantages. But these airports are just - unfortunately - the very few positive exceptions.....!
- Whenever possible (especially at completely new constructions) airports should try to bring "transparency" back and provide windows to offer views of the apron and the general action again! Security checks are of course necessary and important, but also really should make sense. Through appropriate measures procedures can often be harmonized and may so speed up the process. This will help to reduce the time prior to departure and thus make flying a little more pleasant and convenient for the passengers!
- The airports and all its depending companies and organisations need to work urgently on their often extremely bad image with regard to labor conditions of their staff – especially regarding the jobs in the minimum-wage sector! It will be difficult (or even impossible) to win a broad support for a future developments, projects or similar , if at the same time - in the peoples mind - the impression prevails that a kind of the extremely unpopular "Walmart mentality" is now widely spread and used at an airport in the way they treat their workers and employees! An overwhelming majority will never ever support such a mentality. A cost pressure settled only on the back of the employees or wage dumping by a "liberalisation of aviation" (as for example planned for groundhandling services in Europe) must definitely be stopped and prevented! A good "work-life balance", as well as a fair and proper payment must be the objective and can/should then be advertised as a positive!
- Airports should react much faster an be more active on actions and demonstrations planned and conducted by their opponents and/or political parties and should organize appropriate possible countermeasures immediately. It cannot be that the field of arguments is almost always completely left to the - often louder - minority and so giving them the opportunity to root onesided for themselves and their arguments. Employers, employees and trade unions should finally be mobilized as partners! and counter actively to make the opponents clear, that it is not only about an airport and its expansion, but also quite clearly about the future of employment and hence about the baren livelihoods of hundreds or even thousands of people! Only this kind of action can win broad support among the people and the "silent majority" now finally gets a clearly audible voice!
Admitted - no easy tasks, but also absolutely no "Mission (No. 2) impossible"!
For a first contact interested airports and companies, but also all the other interested parties can find all necessary information here