Whining About Air Travel
The first successful airliner was the Ford Tri-Motor with its corrugated metal fuselage and three very noisy, 450-hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines. In the years 1926 to 1933, Ford built 199 of these crates. With a cruising speed of 90 mph to 115 mph and a top speed of 150 mph, it had a service ceiling of 18,500 feet and a maximum range of just 550 miles.
The Ford Tri-Motor had an unpressurized cabin and carried a crew of three and 11 passengers who sat in flimsy wicker chairs that were not attached to the plane’s floor and offered no protection, even against the most minor turbulence.
The bathroom of the Tri-Motor had running water, but at the other end of the toilet was a hole in the floor. It was an era when a human turd landing in the swimming pool or in the middle of a garden party was possible.
Travelers were thrilled to make it coast-to-coast using a combination of flight and rail in an unheard of 48 hours!
Bitch, Bitch, Bitch!
In her screed on the horrors of flying tourist, which took up three full broadsheet pages in last Sunday’s Times, Michelle Higgins whined about the many cutbacks in services and charges for what used to be free.
How dare Northwest save itself $2 million a year by doing away with free half-ounce pretzel snacks on all flights less than two hours in duration, she shrieks! Imagine the greed of American Airlines saving $600,000 by no longer supplying pillows, eliminating hot meals altogether and replacing the galley with four seats for a net gain in revenue of $64 million. On top of that, American has the temerity to charge $5 for a snack box and $2 for a bottle of water. Outrageous!
An Unworkable Business Model
Over the long haul—from the inception of commercial flight in the 1920s to the present—airlines consistently have lost money. Anyone who invested in an airline was a fool.