The Liberty Gazette
November 13, 2012Ely Air Lines
By Mike Ely and Linda Street-Ely
Linda: Our space here is usually devoted to the good and wonderful stories that come from the world of general aviation. There’s good reason for that – we have a very important general aviation airport here in Liberty that is a vital part of the National Airspace System. Supporting our airport and its critical role as part of our nation’s network of landing facilities, as well as promoting its huge potential as an economic generator for our area is a way for us to contribute to our community. We don’t often reflect on airports served by commercial airliners, but found a couple of current studies on airline passengers sort of interesting.
One study is being undertaken to measure the stress level of passengers as they enter airports that serve airlines, and how that stress affects them while at the airport. All airports, not just big commercial ones, compete for business and it behooves them to be the best they can be. A bad reputation can easily lead to loss of tourism, convention and business dollars, so they actually study this stuff. In fact, I’ve seen charts and graphs produced by Skyscanner, showing the minor ebbs and major flows of stress levels from the point of entry to a major commercial airport, through check-in, to the purposed illusion called “security” that violates our rights (that’s my description, not Skyscanner’s), and finally locating the gate. Once the passenger has made it successfully through all these obstacles stress levels begin to finally drop a bit. Once beyond the unconstitutional, humiliating and pointless groping travelers become captive to grossly over-priced goods and services (again, that’s my frank and honest description), just as the stress levels begin to ebb. And do you know what airport planners call this time? Happy hour. You, the traveler become somewhat “happier” and the airport becomes – you guessed it, much happier, because it is in this time you will contribute to their non-aeronautical revenue. An Airports Council International survey showed non-aeronautical revenues (parking, magazine and coffee sales, etc.) accounted for 46.5 percent of airports' income worldwide in 2010, so you can see how important happy hour is.
Another question opened up in our discussion forum on whether or not to inform airline passengers of wait times through checkpoints. Now these discussions take place in an international arena, and the American reaction to such theory favors strongly the preference for truth, no matter whether that truth is good or bad news – just tell us the truth, whether the wait in this line is three minutes or thirty minutes. I found it interesting that airport management from other countries were less interested in telling the truth than they were in controlling public behavior. Alas, our own government has clearly moved in that direction as well. But we the People have not.
When it comes to that control mechanism veiled as “security”, the feds are working on “risk-based security” and the potential of identity management. They say it’s so they can streamline the process and make it more efficient and less stressful.
It used to be that the benefit of going by air was the convenience and speed realized over that of travel by train or car. Unless and until this farce called TSA is abolished, you might say you’re better off driving, but I’d say go get your pilot license and fly yourself.