Written by Staff Writer
A heated aviation debate is brewing following two recent comments by Jamie Bakewell , an editor at the British magazine PrivateFly, on whether flying should be seen as a “responsible recreational activity.”
In the written responses he sent to dozens of aviation enthusiasts , he argued that “commercial airlines feel absolutely no responsibility to the general passenger, so don’t feel obliged to provide pampering amenities at inflated prices.”
According to Bakewell, airlines make it “impossible” for people to afford air travel by not providing reasonable prices and amenities for economy passengers. He also expressed frustration at the lack of sympathy shown to injured passengers who fly during bad weather, arguing airlines should compensate injured passengers when unavoidable circumstances force air travel to be cancelled.
Some aviation industry observers saw Bakewell’s comments as proof that full-service airlines such as Qantas and Virgin “want to keep pricing down” for air travel and are “great at extorting customer fees for options they don’t need or offer.”
“It is more than reasonable that passengers should expect good information, service and hygiene during the nine-hour trip, but both airlines are trying to intimidate you into being a passive passenger,” says Damian Wall of the British Airline Pilots Association
Tony Blowers, chief executive officer of the independent UK aviation newsletter “Boeing Insight,” wrote a series of blog posts disputing Bakewell’s claims on the authority of the industry.
Bakewell’s “exciting new idea” may be “an utter nonsense that could cost thousands of lives,” Blowers wrote. “People would only take to the skies for exciting trips if they knew every little detail.”
Meanwhile, those in the London based aviation blogosphere began sending messages to international airlines and denouncing Bakewell’s comments as “some kind of carnival of bigotry” against the legacy of British business aviation.
“Jamie is absolutely wrong to think that a two hour delay can excuse it from having to provide a new outfit for their injured passenger. A doctor, nurse, or anyone who could provide treatment at short notice would be amazed at people’s attitude to their injured customers,” wrote Zaky Mahmoud in his popular blog “Aircraft Historian.”
Bakewell defended his comments in an interview with CNN.
“The BA flight attendants are very conscious of this,” he said. “If you ever have to get off a plane it is a very tough experience. It is very moving. You get a sense of helplessness.”
“There are very few other jobs in modern life where you could be sitting there in a row and literally bleed to death if something goes wrong.”