The UX of Air Travel – 2013

It’s worse than ever.

Who is looking out for the experience of customers?  It’s pathetic.  Security screening is horrendous and slow.  Chairs are uncomfortable in the terminal.  Everything costs a fortune.

The plane itself is built for little people.  We are packed in like sardines with no leg room, no foot rests, no pillows. The restrictions on cell phones, iPads, iPods, laptops is insane.  My iPod is going to interfere with the plane??  Give me a break.

Flight attendants are often rude and obsessed with rules that don’t make sense.  They told me that the reason you can’t lean back (3 inches) during take off is so that it’s easier for people behind you to get out in an emergency.  So I was in the last row of the plane (with a wall behind me) and they STILL wouldn’t let you lean back 3 inches.  Why?  No answer!

Virgin America added an electrical plug, which is good for electronics, but then created this awful video for safety that is longer than the human being doing it and feels like it lasts for 2 hours.  The lighting on the plane is this sickening pink, like a weird 80’s disco.

Then of course, is the ever-present threat of sitting on the runway for multiple hours. I just took a flight yesterday from Boston to San Francisco.  Normally, this is under 6 hours.  Last night, it was 10.  The extra 4 hours was on the runway.

Good UX would have been giving complimentary movies to everyone.  Good UX would have been to give people a token credit on future travel.  Good UX would have been to not make me sit still for 10 hours straight!

We all have our stories of horrible UX with plane travel.  I wish there was an airline that made EVERY SEAT first class and charged a little more, but not through the roof prices.  I wish it was pleasant.

Nothing riles me more than traveling on a plane.  It just sucks.

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