You are now free to move about the internet

This latest video from a grounded jet in  New Windsor, N.Y continues to remind us that for airline customers, happy has left the building. Airlines’ level of service seems to be in a perpetual state of decline.

Normally, when customers become unhappy with a company’s product or service one of two things happens: either the company improves or it can go out of business. Until recently airlines have avoided this because their customers have not had many realistic alternatives short of staying home. But trains, on-line conferencing and the unblinking eye of crowd-sourced journalism from social media sites like Kontain could create a convergence of rapid change.

The trains that could upset  the domestic airline business are in Asia not Europe. For starters check out Shanghai’s Maglev. This cute little train set a speed record in 2003 of 311 mph (for comparison a 737 cruises around 500 mph). Technically, I suppose you could make the case that the Maglev is actually really, really low altitude flying since nothing is touching terra firma.  The Chinese plan to expand on this idea in the next decade with two-day service between London and Beijing and beyond.

The continued travel pain associated with flying coupled with next generation on-line conferencing is leading many companies to the conclusion that they can replace some air travel with video conferencing.  Hours of non-productive time spent getting to the airport, shoes on/shoes off security and waiting for 10,000 feet before turning on one’s approved electronic devices can now be recovered.

As for adding on-board Wi-Fi, it sounded good….until people started using it to stream video of passengers in lockdown.


~ by keithphilpott on March 18, 2010.

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