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The Best Airlines in the World are Not American
By: Cindy Wendland
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We just booked a flight for spring break. Some of the flight options involved 12–24 hour total flight times. It was ridiculous. After searching and searching, we finally found a direct flight that avoids the problems of missing connecting flights, bags being lost, etc. Why should we have to worry about these things? Shouldn’t airlines be such solid transportation options these things don’t weight into our choices? Why are Persian Gulf carriers topping the list of the best airlines?

The United States considers themselves to be the leaders in nearly everything. Yet Etihad Airlines was selected as the world’s best airline, the best cabin crew, best first class, and best first class lounge. Airlines in the Persian Gulf are growing while airlines in the U.S. are largely dependent on cost cutting, fees, and consolidation for profits. While there are many reasons for the situation, debating the past is unproductive. Finding solutions for the future is where it’s at.

A past CNN survey found that people would be willing to pay more for better service. Former Continental Airlines Chairman and Chief Executive Larry Kellner believes working out internationally accepted environmental standards, modernizing the nation’s air-traffic control system, and devising a faster process for negotiating airline labor contracts would make U.S. airlines better. Another opinion says clearing the airport grid and bringing back Rule 240 (putting passengers on other flights if it gets them there on time) would do the trick. Yet another recommendation is to charge by the pound like UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Another recommendation was to merge the two largest airlines, but now, they’ve already merged with someone else.

It is reminiscent of the economics project in college where we were given five variables to modify at our discretion to bring about the desired results. Only 1 or 2 people achieved the required economic growth. While most of us tweaked a little with each variable, the winners picked one variable and made a significant change. Surely someone out there can build a virtual business model with adjustable variables and solve our airline problems. Otherwise, one of these spring breaks, we might be flying Etihad Airlines to our sunny destination.

   

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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