Thou Shalt Fly American Airlines – No, I Bloody Won’t!

The airline, British Midland (BMI), has just announced it is curtailing all long-haul flights out of Manchester, England, from January 2009. This will include transatlantic flights to and from Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Since 2001, BMI has operated one Manchester flight a day into, and from, Chicago.

The loss of this route means the only service between O’Hare and Manchester (non-stop) will be operated by American Airlines. British Airways advertise the route, but don’t operate any aircraft on it, instead diverting all their customers to the one AA flight.

The cost-cutting decision by BMI came as a direct result of a takeover of the company by the German airline, Lufthansa.

Once again we are seeing a degradation of service to the public. No longer is there a choice for passengers wishing to fly to northern Britain from Chicago, unless of course one is foolish enough to book via Vladivostok or Kazakhstan.

Throughout the world, as companies merge or are swallowed up by the huge corporates, choices for the consumer dwindle until options are no longer available. The western world makes such a fuss about communism – state ownership resulting in little or no choice for the consumer; literally, a question of take what you’re offered or do without – but is there any difference in real terms between state ownership and corporate monopoly? Both achieve the same result: total control over you and me.

It’s unlikely the demise of BMI’s service from Chicago will effect many who read Sparrow Chat. Only those like myself, who use the service regularly – though only once or twice a year. When I do travel back to Britain, though, I don’t wish to fly with American Airlines. I don’t like the way they do business; they’re more expensive; I don’t like their aircraft – there’s no individual entertainment system on AA’s Boeing 767’s, unlike BMI’s Airbus 330, and the food’s crap.

More importantly, I hate being told I have to purchase a product I don’t want, at an inflated price due to lack of competition.

In future, I’ll fly Virgin Atlantic to London, Heathrow, and then drive to my destination. So, stick that in your cold, stodgy burgers, American Airlines!

Unfortunately, as corporates grow even bigger and ‘small business’ is run out of town more often, lack of option will fast become normality for us all.

[1] “BMI abandons long-haul services out of Manchester”, FT.Com, November 6th 2008

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2 Replies to “Thou Shalt Fly American Airlines – No, I Bloody Won’t!”

  1. I’m with you on this one, RJA. There are no direct flights anymore from here to any part of Europe due to monopolies. So to get from here to Dublin I’d have to backtrack to Toronto (total of 6 hours airtime), schlep into London and backtrack to Dublin. Wait times at airports are appalling. A whole twenty four hours of my life would be chewed up for a trip that should only take 3 hours from St. John’s to Dublin. Not to mention the appalling discomfort as to what passes for airline seats these days. My dog has more leg room in cargo.
    And I won’t travel through the US anymore until they stop profiling and harassing my good friends of colour.
    I know it is impossible to stop flying but I sure would love to teach them all a lesson for a year with a complete embargo by the public on unnecessary trips.

  2. I didn’t know about that, RJ! I haven’t been back to the UK since 2005, but we were tentatively planning a trip for next spring.
    Looks like choices will be limited. I travelled via Chicago to Manchester on the 2 occasions I returned to Britain, and both times on AA. It was okay, no complaints from me. I have to take a 2 hour flight to Chicago from OKC, so it’s a long boring trip, with hours to wait at O’Hare.

    There are flights to Manchester from Atlanta (Delta) – we’ll probably opt for that. Fares have doubled since 2005, too – Woe is us!

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