illustration from New York Times,“A Frequent Sufferer’s List of Airline Grievances,” by Boris Pramatarov
Gary Shteyngart, Slate Magazine and the New York Times all have plenty to say about the woes of flying. But are they being fair?
October 11, 2012
WHEN THE HELL did everyone become an aviation expert?
On September 29th, The New York Times published a caustic diatribe against American Airlines written by the novelist Gary Shteyngart. Mr. Shteyngart had an unpleasant experience on American while returning from Paris, and decided that, as he put it, the airline “should no longer be flying across the Atlantic.”
A few days later, a letter to the editor picked up where Shteyngart left off, railing about delays, rude airline workers, crowded cabins and overpriced tickets.
Then on Tuesday, Slate’s Matt Yglesias took a turn skewering American, in the process caricaturing the responsibilities of airline pilots.
These sorts of rants have become painfully trite and predictable, riffing on the public’s well-established hostility toward All Things Airline. Let’s face it, the U.S. commercial air sector is about as unloved an industry as exists, short of the people who manufacture land mines and leg-hold traps for coyotes.
But while some of that contempt is justified, much of it is not. Let’s take a closer look at airfares, service, safety and security…
The full story is up now in the Daily Beast.