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Industry Redesign Requested

Taylor Design is in the design and service business, so we know a bit about both. Last week’s United flight to and from Chicago for a meeting illustrated the airline industry’s dire need for a design and service revamp. From beginning to end, our simple one night business trip was a miserable experience, illustrating severe service shortcomings and dreadfully poor design decisions. For example:
– Since airlines charge $25 for bags, everyone brings them on the plane. The overhead bins quickly fill up, leading to an immediate stall and confusion in the boarding process.
– On the jet, the seats no longer align with the windows, due to the airlines pushing them forward to fit more seats in the cabin. So not only are travelers crunched for leg space, they can’t even look out the window.
– The terminals at both LaGuardia and O’Hare were packed with people in every direction, with travelers laying on the floor, sitting on trash cans, or standing for lack of seating. Clearly transit planners did not anticipate growth, or they would have designed the terminals to be much more expansive with a better traffic flow.
– Our flight arrived 4 hours late to Chicago and 4 hours late returning to New York, so forget about planning. The delays were mainly due to the weather, so I can’t complain about that, but communicating the delays via my phone was confusing and often wrong.
The list goes on and on—based on previous experiences from TSA body searching to missing luggage to getting bounced due to an overbooked flight—leading one to wonder when someone in the airline industry will take a time-out and look at their business model from the passenger’s viewpoint.

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