I’m sure glad the general public got to see a slew of those stupid “at the airport live” reports yesterday dished out from a local reporter — stationed at their local airport. The occasion? Rising air fares.
CODE RED. CODE RED. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Oh my god Ethel, grab the children, bring them inside and make sure the doors and windows are locked.
Is there any other industry that all of us utilize on a fairly regular basis that has its prices examined so closely by the media?
Why is this?
I mean, how would other industries fare if every time they raised a price, we were treated to a live, on-the-scene report with the local newshounds?
Rental car companies for example.
Cable television companies.
Cat and dog food manufacturers. (Can you tell I was at PetSmart yesterday?)
Oh, and then there is ice cream. As my father commented the last time I visited with him, “If they make the Breyer’s package any smaller, you are going to have to put your glasses on to find it in the damn freezer at Safeway.”
You know the game that packaged goods companies play. They keep “downsizing” the package size, while also raising the price. In effect — netting a double increase in price in some cases.
And on it goes.
But do we see local and national news stories about these types of price increases. Not really. We see them, but there is never a unified “Code Red” alert put into effect that causes reporters and news outlets to attack the story as if it were a matter of national importance.
But on the heels of two airfare increases that have been put into effect over the last week — now the fact that airfares are RISING is right up there on the top ten news story list of the day. No, actually, the top five.
No matter that air fares were, before the increases, and still are, in many cases, at rock-bottom levels. Levels so low that airlines are in a fight for survival because of the fact.
But here’s the deal. There is no “voice” for this industry of that nature. No credible “voice” that is out there constantly getting this, and other messages out.
PlaneBusiness Banter subscribers know that I have been doing a continuing series of columns over the last few weeks on the “perception” problem that plagues this industry in the U.S. The industry needs to create, support, and foster an entirely new way of positioning itself with the general public in this country. Not to mention with those on Capitol Hill.
And no, the Air Transport Association is not the answer. Far from it.
Lee Moak, the head of the Delta Air Lines‘ ALPA MEC and I talked this spring about how the pilots in this industry suffer from much the same problem. A huge problem of perception. I agreed 100% with him. He talked to me about some of the activities that he has been involved with — with the Delta pilot group — that no one ever hears about. No one knows about. But positive community projects that reflect the fact that hey — pilots are not just greedy bastards who fly airplanes and chase nubile young women around their hotel rooms at night.
Well, not all of them.
Seriously. Lee understands how the perception game is played. He understands that the old “PR” rules no longer apply. So do others in this industry. Unfortunately, while positive strides have been made in some quarters, the enlightened types are still outnumbered by members of the “old guard” who are not enlightened and who continue to hold sway in this industry.
Yeah, I know. As more than one subscriber has written me over the last couple of weeks, maybe this needs to be a project that I take on. Personally.
Dunno. I think I value my sanity too much.