Review: American 737 MAX Business Class Miami To Quito

Introduction: Staying In A Cloud (Forest)
Review: American 737 MAX Business Class Miami To Quito
Review: JW Marriott Quito
Review: Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador
Review: Dining & Activities At Mashpi Lodge
Review: Quito Airport Lounge
Review: American 737 MAX Business Class Quito To Miami


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We arrived at Miami Airport at around 5:30PM, plenty early for our 7:20PM flight to Quito. Unfortunately Miami Airport has some of the worst security lines in the country, in my experience, in particular for Pre-Check.

The Pre-Check line was really long. Fortunately I have CLEAR, though only Concourse E has a CLEAR checkpoint, so stupidly we walked over there, figuring it would be quicker than the Pre-Check line.

Unfortunately there’s not even Pre-Check in Concourse E, and we ended up waiting for over 30 minutes. Oops.

Since we were flying to South America we had access to American’s Flagship Lounge, so we hung out there for about 20 minutes. I won’t be reviewing that lounge again, since I did so pretty recently.

Our flight to Quito was scheduled to depart from gate D12, which was about a 15 minute walk from the Flagship Lounge. While there’s a train connecting areas of the terminal I’d usually rather walk, but sometimes I forget just how long the walk is.


American Airlines departure gate to Quito

Boarding was scheduled to start at 6:35PM, a full 45 minutes before departure. Usually 737s board 30 minutes out, but on international flights they board earlier.

On principle I never identify myself as a blogger or ask for special permission, though in this case I had contacted American in advance to request to board ahead of others so I could get pictures of the cabin, given that this was my first 737 MAX flight, and this plane is so widely talked about.

American 939
Miami (MIA) – Quito (UIO)
Wednesday, October 10
Depart: 7:20PM
Arrive: 10:28PM
Duration: 4hr8min
Aircraft: Boeing 737 MAX 8
Seat: 3E (Business Class)

I shared my general thoughts on American’s new 737 MAX in a separate post, so check that out for all of the cabin details. American’s 737 MAX aircraft have 16 business class seats, spread across four rows in a 2-2 configuration.

In reality these are marketed as “first class” seats on domestic flights, while on international flights they’re marketed as business class seats.


American Airlines 737 MAX business class cabin

Economy features just 30″ of pitch per seat. Without TVs or anything, this cabin sure looks pretty… basic.


American Airlines 737 MAX economy cabin


American Airlines 737 MAX economy cabin

Unfortunately in business class legroom is much worse than it was on American’s other 737s. In fairness, American had some of the best pitch in the industry on their other 737s, so this is quite disappointing by comparison.


American Airlines 737 MAX business class cabin


American Airlines 737 MAX business class cabin

My bigger issue than the lack of pitch was how damn hard the seats were. The seats really lack cushioning, to the point that they’re quite uncomfortable for longer periods of time.


American Airlines 737 MAX business class seats


American Airlines 737 MAX business class seats

The seats also barely recline. I guess that’s a double edged sword. On one hand it sucks when seats recline a lot to the point that you can barely have your laptop open in first class, though these seats recline so little that you can’t really get comfortable.

Much like in economy, there are no personal televisions in business class. There aren’t even overhead monitors. This plane has the technology of a regional jet in terms of passenger experience (and not even a nice regional jet at that).


American Airlines 737 MAX business class cabin

I thought the seatbacks were poorly designed as well. In theory there was a literature pocket in the seatback, though it was impractical for storing anything, since anything you placed there would just slide right through. You’d think they would have a little pouch for placing a cell phone or glasses.


American Airlines 737 business class seats


American Airlines 737 business class seats

The tray table folded out from the far armrest, and could be folded over in half. When folded over in half there was a little stand that could be raised if you wanted to place an iPad or something there, since that’s the only way you’d stay entertained.


American 737 business class tray table

Then the center armrest could be raised, as there was a small storage pocket there, as well as the outlet (both 110v and USB).


American Airlines 737 MAX business class seat armrest


American Airlines 737 MAX business class seat armrest

Overall this is just a very sad hard product.

On the plus side, I was happy to see that American had the proper international business class pillows and blankets onboard, which sure help in getting comfortable. American has Casper bedding — while not my favorite bedding in the world, it’s still pretty nice.


American Airlines business class bedding

The flight was reasonably full (economy seemed to be full, while there were four open business class seats) so boarding took a long time. At 7:20PM the flight attendants passed through the cabin with water and orange juice.


American business class pre-departure drinks

It’s interesting to note that this crew was Lima based. American has some crews based in South America. These flight attendants aren’t allowed to work domestic flights within the US, so instead they typically operate a lot of flights to/from South & Central America. So they might have a three day trip where they fly from Lima to Miami, have a layover, then fly from Miami to Panama to Miami, have a layover, and then fly back to Lima, for example.

I imagine they’re paid less than American’s other flight attendants as they have different contracts. Culturally I also get why American hires these types of crews. On many flights to Latin America, a vast majority of passengers are Spanish speakers. So it’s logical to be greeted by someone who speaks perfect Spanish and decent English, rather than the other way around.

However, I’ve also never had a good Lima based crew either. They range from “meh” to “bad,” and this crew was no exception.

At 7:25PM, around 50 minutes after initial boarding, the captain stood in front of the cabin and announced that one passenger didn’t show up, so they’d have to remove his luggage from the plane. He said that should take about 10-15 minutes.

Then 25 minutes later he announced that there was a problem with an indicator light, and that maintenance was on the way.

Now, at most airlines you’d think the crew would come around and start offering a drink service in business class at this point, since it was clear it would take a while. Not this crew. They just sat in the galley and talked.

Eventually the captain announced this delay would be more serious than he initially thought. “The critical navigation system isn’t working, and that’s a problem.”

A couple of maintenance people boarded the plane, and the captain sat down in one of the business class seats and started watching a show on his iPad (which, for the record, I’m totally fine with, since he presumably wanted to leave space in the cockpit for the maintenance crew to work freely).

Around this time, almost two hours after initial boarding, the crew served mixed nuts and did a beverage service in business class, so we both ordered white wine.


American Airlines pre-departure drinks during delay

A few minutes later the first officer tapped the captain on the shoulder and said “it’s broken.”. The captain then announced that to passengers, and said we’d soon deplane. He said “you’re flying on the special 737 MAX, and this is the only type of 737 we have capable of flying to Quito, so we’ll see if we can find another one of those.”

So a few minutes later we were all ushered into the gate area. I guess we could have gone back to the lounge, though if I can find fairly empty seating with a power outlet, I’m just as happy in the gate area as in the lounge.


Where we hung out during our delay

At this point the gate agent announced that they’d work on finding another plane, but said that in the meantime they’d be bringing out refreshments into the gate area.

American’s 737 MAX 8 fleet isn’t very big, so at this point I started looking up the tail number of every 737 MAX 8 they had, to see which of these was in Miami, or was headed for Miami. To my surprise there was only a single 737 MAX 8 bound for Miami (several others had just departed Miami), and that plane was coming from Orlando. So my guess was that this would be our plane, or our flight would be canceled.

Secretly I was hoping they’d upgrade us to a 757 of 767, since those planes are also capable of flying to Quito, though I knew there was a fat chance of that happening, given the logistical challenges of crewing the flight. 😉

After sitting in the gate area for over an hour, I followed up to ask what happened with the refreshments they promised they were going to offer everyone. I didn’t ask because I was hungry, but rather because I find it to be horrible customer service to promise to bring free food and drinks into the gate area and then not do it.

The gate agent’s response was “I don’t know why they said that, by the time they bring them you’ll be on the plane.” Nice.

The inbound plane ended up landing from Orlando at 10:30PM. They turned around the plane pretty quickly, and by 10:50PM they started boarding, over four hours after our initial boarding. It was the same crew.

The cabin was exactly the same, though frustratingly they had worse bedding on this flight. Rather than providing the same business class bedding they had on the previous flight, they provided premium economy bedding. I get why they did it, since presumably the priority was to get the plane out as quickly as possible.

American business class bedding

At 11:15PM the door was closed, and by 11:20PM we pushed back. Since the 737 MAX has no TV monitors whatsoever, there’s a pre-recorded safety briefing audio tape, and then the crew goes through the motions in the aisle.

Our taxi was quick given how late we were departing, and we were airborne by 11:35PM, for our 3hr30min flight to Quito. This was my first flight on the 737 MAX (I think), and I definitely noticed that the plane is significantly quieter than other 737s.

Service began about 40 minutes after takeoff with drinks. Since they served the mixed nuts on the ground, the usual mixed nuts weren’t offered this time around. I just had a glass of water to drink.


American Airlines business class drink service

Next up there were warm towels.


American Airlines business class warm towel

Then it was time for dinner. The purser came through the cabin to take meal orders. “Beef or lasagna?”

In reality I knew the choices were as follows, based on being able to pre-order on aa.com:

  • Cheese lasagna with pomodoro sauce
  • Beef fillet with cipollini onion, asparagus, and quinoa

Neither of those options sounds particularly appealing, but I chose the beef. Dinner was served about an hour after takeoff, with everything on one tray, except dessert.


American Airlines business class dinner service

There was a small side salad that was basic.


American Airlines business class dinner

Then the beef didn’t look very appealing, though at least it tasted a little bit better than it looked. Which isn’t saying a whole lot, but…


American Airlines business class dinner

For dessert there was caramel ice cream, served in a glass.


American Airlines business class dinner

I checked out the lavatory after the meal. The 737 MAX is known for tiny lavatories, and the lavatories are indeed very small. This is the business class one:


American Airlines 737 MAX business class bathroom

And the one in economy might just be even smaller:


American Airlines 737 MAX bathroom


American Airlines 737 MAX bathroom

American’s 737 MAX 8 aircraft are supposed to have Viasat high-speed wifi. It was free on this flight, but presumably that’s because the coverage zone is limited. As it turns out, the wifi literally only worked for the first 15 minutes of the flight. I don’t think that was a one-off, because it also only worked for the last 15 minutes of the flight on the way back.

Best I can tell, Viasat’s coverage map is supposed to look something like this, though clearly that’s not actually the case, at least on the 737 MAX aircraft I was flying:

So without wifi, personal televisions, or any streaming entertainment, I ended up trying to sleep for the rest of the flight. By the way, I think there’s supposed to be streaming entertainment even when wifi isn’t working, but it wasn’t working on this flight.

I don’t think I actually got any sleep, though I did get some rest.

I never did see the crew pass through the cabin again.

At 3:05AM the captain announced that we’d be starting our descent shortly, and landing in 15 minutes. Since Quito is at an altitude of just under 10,000 feet, the descent was really short. We touched down in Quito at 3:20AM, and were at the gate five minutes after that, about four hours behind schedule.

One last interesting note — when we actually departed, neither the pilots nor the cabin crew ever once made an announcement apologizing for the delay. Not that it’s their fault, but usually at a minimum when you land and they say “the local time is 3:25AM,” you’d think that would be followed up with a “we apologize for the delay.”

American 737 MAX 8 business class bottom line

We were looking forward to a quick flight to Quito, though that didn’t end up happening. Of course mechanical delays can happen on any airline, so I don’t blame American for that.

What I do blame them for are these really uncomfortable 737 MAX aircraft. The seat padding and recline are terrible, so it’s pretty tough to get comfortable in these seats.

Furthermore, their handling of the delay wasn’t good, between the generally lazy crew, and the ground crew, which promised refreshments but never did offer them.

Anyway, we were happy to be on the ground, even if it was the middle of the night at this point…

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Comments

  1. Nothing about this plane or the service provided seems designed with the customer experience in mind.

  2. On the 737 800 on VA similar no screens but you can just download the VA ap and watch the entertainment on your own device. Do American not even offer that ?

  3. Just curious, was a full dinner served in Economy Class?

    Flew nearly that exact route MIA on American Airlines to the now closed Quito Airport back in 2008 on remember what felt like an ancient 757 and remember getting a full dinner on the way down and breakfast on the way back.

  4. “…this case I had contacted American in advance…”. This is nice that you “contacted” AA rather than “reached out”, as seems to be the way millenials communicate.

  5. As an Emerald you can use the Flagship Check-in facilities in Concourse D. They’ll skip you to the front of the security line 🙂

  6. I am flying MIA-SXM out/return 1 and 4 December respectively. Any idea if the flight will be on a 737 Max or standard 737-800 or is it quit random?

  7. As the CEO of a tech company it was enough for me to experience the AA experience (Awful Airlines) just once to cancel our multi-million dollar a year spending on AA

    Post 911 they have become abusive and have very poor customer service. I encourage others to not pay for such poor service. I increased our corporate travel spend but will refuse to fly anyone in our company on AA. Sad to say, but their demise is not far off as others see the value of good service. Bye bye AA.

  8. thanks Lucky for suffering for us. What a royal POS this plane is. I would rather fly anyone and anything else and I am AA platinum for life. How do we find out the exact planes AA are utilizing on flights?

  9. I never really understanded how US carriers always have “free upgrades for Elites”. There are not many airlines outside the US that offer that perk, but with this kind of service and food (plastic cups?!) on US carriers it is not really an improvement anyway over any economy experience at other airlines in the world.

    This airline seems from a fourth world country, because even my Air Koryo flight had better seats, better food and much nicer service.

    Like Qatar Airways CEO said: ‘We are winning’. On the other hand, its also quite easy to win from AA.

  10. Wait there’s no streaming entertainment option? When are they planning to add that functionality or is it still TBD?

    If they’re not going to put TV’s in, they should at least make sure they don’t put these planes in service until the streaming entertainment is installed…

  11. Sounds no worse than Easyjet on comparable length flights in Europe – and they don’t have business class.

    And those toilets are bigger than many cubicles in ladies loos.

    I agree it’s a miserable experience but sadly the European market has proved travellers will tolerate it.

  12. I stayed at the JW Quito in early June and posted a brief review on FT. Looking forward to your review.

  13. This will eventually be the norm as the entire single aisle fleet gets “densification”. , Furthermore, they have started swapping old for densities planes leading to awful seat changes (row 15 I think goes from MCE to a row in front of the exit row that doesn’t recline).

    They fly this as a 5+ hour red eye from lax to Mia.

    Even on the two glass 321t I bring a pillow to sit on if I’m in coach. Having to fly these planes will end my time with AA.

    Thanks for the review!!!

  14. “Overall this is just a very sad hard product.”

    Eventually South Americans who pay a ton of money to fly on this airline’s worst planes (767, 737 MAX) are gonna go with the competitors. Can’t blame them.

  15. I also don’t understand the bit about no streaming entertainment? Even the screenshot posted clearly shows the link for the free entertainment. Maybe you just meant that to read you did not utilize the streaming entertainment?

    I flew on these seats and the econ seats on a project oasis bird. I actually didn’t mind the economy seats, I liked the little tablet holders with individual USB and power outlets. I agree the first class seats were uncomfortable and it is a shame they went with the little tablet flap down on the tray table instead of a similar seat back mounted tablet holder.

  16. Why did they need to find a 737 MAX specifically, to replace your plane that had gone out of service? Why wouldn’t a normal 737 work? It’s only a 3.5 hour flight.

  17. Does anyone have a chance to compare the new layouts of 739/7M8 between AA, UA and DL? When the ‘Oasis’ news broke out, I thought Douggie was the leader to the bottom, but DL and UA seemed to feature similar smaller bathroom now? I flew UA in its new 739 over the weekend, first time ever, and was surprised to see the bathroom just as in the pics on AWEdbaAAL’s 7M8.

  18. They should follow Delta’s lead. Sell this as Premium Economy for the same price. You still get the same revenue while lowering the customer expectation by a lot. They did the same this with Basic Economy, it wasn’t cheaper, the price is the same but now you only get Basic.

    No matter how much people are praising Delta, they are the biggest (smartest) Devil is disguise.

  19. My friend refuses to fly AA for their consistently delayed flights where it stays consistent whether domestic or international flights. He thinks that even UA does it better. Who am I kidding! Of course, he would rather take an Asian based carrier flight for better service and on-time flights.

  20. Meanwhile when there is a significant delay on United, the captain and purser both make a long and detailed apology for the delay upon landing with explanation for the cause and the proactive offer of goodwill they provide to all passengers. Talk about night/day on customer experience. United and American are clearly going in different directions…

  21. AA used to give everyone in business class a portable DVD player with a binder full of movies. Is that gone too?

  22. @Lucky, is that you? don’t you remember you can use the Flagship Check-in at MIA? they will escort you to the front of the TSA Pre-Check line…

  23. This just looks and sounds like an awful passenger experience on every level. Why on earth would anyone fly AA on this route if there are any other choices available.

  24. To echo @Steven M, the mostly Colombian passengers on my recent AA trip from Cali, Colombia to Miami were as a whole some of the best-dressed and poshest looking I’ve ever seen – in the front and back of the plane. Money is obviously not an issue for the frequent flyers from from Latin America to Miami – so why keep flying AA when Avianca/LATAM/Copa offer the same routes with infinitely kinder service?

    Here’s hoping AA loses enough market share that they’re finally forced to reevaluate this whole pathetic Doug Parker era attitude.

    FWIW had the same experience with the WiFi on that flight as well. The map looked like I’d be fine for at least the hour; in reality it kicked on over Key West – leaving basically 15 minutes of use.

  25. Between the total lack of award space on AA and their awful service/planes, UA has them now beat easily. UA saw that AA has went complete trash and has taken advantage. As of right now, UA has saver award level space every single day in March from their IAH hub to HKG in economy and nearly every day in business (with the exception of 4 days). This is similar for other months too on UA. AAdvantage comes nowhere even close to this (Could you imagine if AA had something even close to this from DFW? I can’t) and is a pathetic excuse for a FF program. I quit AA and this just reaffirms why. Thanks for the write up Lucky!

  26. If you are going to have no TV’s, you better at least design a kickass phone/tablet holder for the back of the seatback. Should be able to hold a variety of devices and should be able to have an appropriate viewing angle, even if the seat is reclined.

  27. The seats look hard as a rock in the photos.

    I also find the lack of any IFE/TV screen hilarious. AA’s safety video has to be one of the most expensive, over-the-top pieces of nonsense I’ve ever seen. I’m shocked they didn’t waste a few thousand more to install a few screens to keep showing that abomination of a video.

  28. @Lucky
    Some of those pictures of the cabin actually look like they were taken in black & white mode. Only by looking closely you can see color of the safety cards/magazines in the seat back pocket. Very drab looking.. Thanks for the post.

  29. EasyJet provides an excellent service to a myriad of European destinations. Plus – they are cheap! AA, like other American carriers, provide atrocious customer service and a basic soft product.

  30. United’s new(ish) first class seat on the 737 MAX and A320 series actually is pretty good. It reclines a lot, has good seat padding, and kind of cradles forward while still reclining to make the seat actually very comfortable in comparison to a standard recliner seat. Yes, it doesn’t have a built in IFE, although with a good Personal Device Entertainment system, that doesn’t really bother me that much. Honestly, based on your description, the new American first class seat is really much worse in terms of comfort than the new United one.

  31. Thanks for your review
    It just confirms my awful experience with AA. I only use it if no alternative in my itinerary. Mainly to South Ametica

  32. Quite a downgrade from my last UIO-MIA-UIO with American 2 years ago. It was a 757 with flat beds. Brutal.

  33. I’m in Qatar airways business lounge (doh). What a difference from American carriers. I have never had better business class service on the plane. The business lounge is so clean that I could eat off the bathroom floor and staff have asked me many times if I need anything. It’s embarasisng to have the quality of products in USA. Plastic cups in business class….

  34. this is what we get when we elect politicians that allow monopolies to happen, while at the same time keep foreign carriers out.

  35. @Mike AA does not have any 73Gs (737-700). Presumably, an A319 could not operate the route due to crew and Quito is hot and dry so the 738 could have issues there.

  36. Six of us flew JFK/LAS 3 weeks ago on AA F class really PE. Friendly check in agent, we used the Admirals Club lounge I could have taken my wife to the Flagship lounge but declined to so we could stay with the rest of the relatives. Nice lounge and friendly staff. Enjoyable flight with friendly cabin crew food was average and wine selection…mmmm! I guess us Aussies get spoilt; we flew PE on QF to New York and home ex LAX, great service, food and J class wines poured in PE.

  37. Service problems to SA is not new.
    I flew AA first class RT to South America years ago. So long ago there was no business class—prob the 90s! Flew DFW to Santiago down—great flight and service —probably a Dallas-based crew. Back was from Buenos Aires to MIA. The service was so horrible I actually wrote to AA (back then there was someone to actually write to) and complained. The crew was invisible and unengaged and clearly not US based with minimal skills in English. I am definitely NOT a “nationalist” (I bleed blue) but if the cabin crew is there “primarily for my safety” and I’m travelling a US carrier, I at least expect to be able to understand it when the flight attendant speaks English—in case of an emergency.
    AA graciously refunded a large sum of the miles I used for the trip. Would that happen today?
    And as an aside—if AA is getting so many different complaints about this MAX aircraft it’s sad that they don’t get the hint and make some revisions for the aircraft that haven’t been delivered?
    And yes, if it matters I’m Plat for life and slowly moving miles to UA (my only choice living in Chicago—but a good one), also to avoid having to fly BA for every international flight.

  38. It’s not just the passenger experience that’s degraded.
    737s are nearly useless for cargo (except for some small priority stuff and human remains).
    Everywhere AA replaced a 767 or 330 with the 321/7M8, they just gave free market share to the competition. Not just to Latin America (though it’s most noticeable here), but also US domestic and Transatlantic.

  39. This is so sad. America is a first world country, why can’t the airlines reflect that? Why strive for mediocrity when they can at least attempt to get on Qatar’s level? Why, why?

  40. @Jason it’s a common plate in south america. In Brazil we have “bife acebolado”, which basically is beef with fried caramelized onions on top. its delicious.

  41. Wow – that cabin might just be a cure for ADHD!!

    Anything American is typically large, ostentatious and brash, except for the cabin on the airline bearing the name…

  42. RE: “This is so sad. America is a first world country, why can’t the airlines reflect that? Why strive for mediocrity when they can at least attempt to get on Qatar’s level? Why, why?”

    @shar,

    When a country, and most of its businesses (in this example, airlines), is being controlled and run by greedy, soulless, immoral, liars, crooks, thieves, criminals & charlatans, as the USA now is, and this airline, whose two letter ticketing code, “AA”, is seen by most industry experts, reviewers/bloggers and ordinary passengers, as standing for “Always Awful”, as this review by Lucky makes clear this formerly great, but now awful airline has become, this is EXACTLY what one would expect to be the case!

    A terrible, awful, airline that buys a fleet of planes so awful, the CEO who signed off on the purchase after he took over, and later directed his staff to pack in as many teensy, weensy, no legroom seats as possible along with loos so small that there have been published reports of passengers becoming trapped/stuck inside, refused to fly the awful planes he bought until only after nine months of relentless shaming by well-known bloggers, prominent magazine writers and columnists (especially Chris Matyszczyk at Inc. Magazine) and several others (including myself, who was a regularly featured, bylined columnist between 1999-2004 at a leading industry trade publication, PlaneBusiness Banter) forced him to.

    Part of the problem is the decade between 2008, and the present, where three consecutive administrations from BOTH of the major political parties (Bush/43, Obama & our current liar/thief-in-chief) have become completely captured and controlled by the airline industry’s well paid army lobbyists (and other liars/shills/sycophants) largely operating at the behest, and in futherance of their own exceptionally narrow parochial interests, of the banks/institutional investment class/hedge funds, such that progressively over the past ten years any sense of meaningful competition was successful killed-off (DL+NW; UA+CO; WN+FL [nb: Southwest + AirTran]; US+AA; and finally, earlier this year AS+VX [Alaska Airlines + Virgin America], and a government facilitated, and seemingly now permanently sanctioned, cartel is not just in place, but also has become untouchable and immune to (desperately needed) anti-trust enforcement and other regulatory oversight that one would otherwise normally expect when toxic cartels using oligopolist business/pricing models as our airlines now surely are, emerge.

    I mean seriously, when an industry, ANY industry, shrinks by half the number of companies from ten to five, and then chases three bottom feeders that offer substandard and inferior products, and who collectively have a combined market share smaller by half than the smallest airline in the industry’s cartel club, is it any wonder airlines as awful as “Always Awful” American now is (but really most of the mostly profoundly terrible airlines the world’s supposedly richest country now or in human history is home to) exists?

    Worse, yet, while of course it’s hardly surprising that businesses are led by (shock) liars, charlatans and greedy, soulless people (who don’t buy the crap they sell to everyone else like the CEO of Always Awful Airlines has more than made clear by his own actions where he practically had to be dragged by his ears by his PR department to quell the media uproar that he had yet to be seen flying aboard one of his atrocious new planes for nine-months or so after they entered revenue service), is that there yet still remain a great many people who love being abused and ripped off, and whom actually fall for the many myths, lies, and cons that really are nothing more than the exact types of consumer frauds virtually every Economics 101 textbook the world over describes as being textbook examples of what happens to companies in industries described in vivid detail in the chapters called “Cartels” and “Oligopolies”.

    – Horrible customer service: CHECK

    – Intentionally, and badly degraded products designed to force consumers to pay more for less: CHECK

    – Opaque pricing instead of transparent pricing: CHECK

    – Hidden fees and other deceptive, predatory, punative fees: CHECK

    – Every company offering essentially the same (awful) products sold with the same deceptive, predatory, confusing pricing strategies: CHECK

    – Every company pretty much “emulating” the other in terms of seating “densified” seating configurations, paltry seating sizes, tiny (and much fewer) bathrooms, extra fees, excess fees, penalty fees, punishment fees, imposition of deliberately created inferior products (e.g., basic economy, or “sub-human class” as many call it) to create a caste system and force people to pay more for less or much more for what they ordinarily would get in industries with properly functioning competitors seeking to earn money by offering BETTER PRODUCTS AND BETTER CUSTOMER SEEVICE: CHECK

    – High barriers to entry for others to offer new, and better products (as in REAL, MEANINGFUL, normally functioning COMPETITION): CHECK

    All that and more are the things most rational minds would agree are what they experience whenever they fly nowadays, and especially after the death knell for competion in the airline industry happened about five years ago in 2013, when the current CEO of Always Awful (and ever worsening) Airlines, Dougie P, finally achieved his long held ambition to take-over yet another airline (he was CEO of America West when the engineered the takeover of US Airways; then failed when he sought to takeover Delta [imagine that – he actually thought he could get away with that insanity 😉 ] before finally successfully engineering the takeover of legacy American after years of toxic labor disuptes between management and the airline’s unions led to it seeking Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection to break its labor contracts and weaken its unions).

    And, well, here we are – with mostly awful airlines like Delta being deemed the “best” of our otherwise exceptionally bad airlines where the only arena in which they now “compete” is which airline can treat its customers worst – and get away with it.

    And that ain’t gonna change until all of us as consumers demand better by either refusing to pay more for less with each passing year – and of course, if enough of us stop believing the abusive lies, falsehoods and outlandish “alternative facts” they’re being fed that FALSELY CLAIMS that “we’re to blame for the bad service, crappy planes and deceptive pricing practices” that oh so conveniently result in a teensy, weensy sliver of the population cashing in handsomely with outrageous, obnoxious, obscenely large multi-billion dollar stock buybacks that do nothing more than take money out companies that passengers paid in expectation that much more than is presently being done would be REINVESTED in the products sold by these companies instead of simply seeing their hard earned money sucked up by a cozy cartel that knows there’s enough biz to go around as it is now, there’s no chance for a viable competitor to emerge anytime soon, and as such can act with reckless abandon as little more than a vast conduit to transfer wealth from business and consumers who must rely on this protected cartel/oligopoly for everything – and get away with it.

    Whether people realize it or not, or accept it or not: our airlines have become a cozy cartel and have already implemented the types of toxic oligopolist business models and pricing practices that normally are seen by businesses in industries that are cartels and oligopolies.

    Or don’t take my word for it, as several prominent academicians, economists, a leading university research study, and experts in anti-trust laws have also said this is so over the past six months.

    Our airlines have become a cozy cartel with business models better fitting what one sees in oligopolies than in industries with healthy, functioning, COMPETITION.

    And we’re paying a price for that – call it a “Greed Tax” being levied by those who benefit from this cozy arrangement… but when you’re always paying more for less with each passing year, and no upstart is chomping at the bit to offer MORE FOR LESS as one would otherwise expect to see in the marketplace… then guess what?

    Yep, that’s right, you’re paying more for less because there’s a toxic cartel manipulating the market to its own advantage because it knows it can.

    And if one is always paying more for less – they’re being ripped off by what one can call a greed tax when huge, and obscenely huge amounts at that, of the money they pay to a company is fast tracked into nothing more than funding ever more and ever larger multi-billion dollar annual stock buybacks!

  43. @DeltaCharlie,

    Actually, that pathetic, sad & depressing cabin is even more TORTURE for those with ADHD than it is for most passengers who don’t have it.

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