Monday, November 14, 2005

Zagat Airline Reviews

Pan Am Direct Non-Stop Flights RTW

I would imagine that almost everybody has read a Zagat restaurant guide at some point, and perhaps even contributed to the next edition. Zagat and his wife came up with a winning formula for guidebook writing over a decade ago: solicit reviews from average citizens and publish them without pay. Voila. No pesky contracts, no royalties, no need to even keep their email address in your book. Just gather in the profits and enjoy your newfound prestige and fattened bank account. More power to them.

But did you know that the Zagat juggernaut is expanding into new terrorities, including their recent foray into the controversial subject of rating international airlines? I sure didn't, but now I see their business model expanding almost infinitely into every survey and poll ever taken at Conde Nast Traveler. You don't need to be a genius to recognize that the kindly Zagats of New York City are going to move aggressively into territories never minded by the likes of Conde Nast.

Best part of the Zagat airline survey book are the quotes from readers:

"The uncomfortable served the inedible by the indifferent."

"If they could sell space in the overheads, travelers would be stacked up like cold cuts."

"Need air marshals to protect passengers from crew."

"Cabin staff treats you like a stranger crashing a dinner party – only they don't serve food."

"Only an hour behind schedule and didn't crash – lived up to my expectations."

"If you're a transplanted NYer nostalgic for abuse, this is your airline."

"'I'm sorry, sir, but we've discontinued legroom.'"

"Once stuck I was, back of the plane
No pleasure I could at all feign
The tiny cramped seat, delays, mystery meat
And no upgrade made experience a pain."

"Best of the big full-service carriers, or in other words, the cream of the cr*p."

"Now I know what the cows felt like on the Chisholm Trail."

"Like Con Air – they'd even handcuff you if they could."

"Seats like bad lawn chairs."

"'Shut up, we get you there' could be their slogan."

"Seats should recline only so much – could have performed dental work on the person in front of me."

"Fares set by someone with a dartboard."

"Economy class is like the Bataan Death March with carry-on luggage."

"Like being shipped via UPS to your destination."

"Take it out back and shoot it."

"I'll start with the good: Web site easy to navigate. That's the end of the good."

"What's next, no seats? – wait, better not give them any ideas!"

"Nothing left to vote on – no food, no snacks, no pillows, no movies, no audio, no nothing."

"Gives whole new meaning to the word 'Airbus.'"

"What next, $3 to use the air vents?"

"Don't go unless you have a chiropractor and psychotherapist traveling with you."

"Challenging log-in, difficult ticketing, rude gate agents, wretched food and contortionist seating – what's not to like?"

"Feels like an airline going under – oh wait, they are."

"Next step is passengers dressing as flight attendants and serving drinks to save yet more money."

"Ground service and ticket agents explain what happened to the KGB staff when the Soviet Union collapsed."

"They treat lab rats better than they do passengers on this airline."

"Would rather take a donkey."

"Lost my luggage so often I keep a standard complaint letter on my PC."

"This is why the pope kisses the ground every time he deplanes."

"'Brown or gray?' could be the choice for dinner."

"Customer care rivals Sweeney Todd's."

"Could use economy as torture to get prisoners to talk."

"Only things older than the planes are the flight attendants – and the meals."

"'Good service' translates to 'we won't bother you if you don't bother us.'"

"Coach class is like the 7 th circle of hell."

"If you like bad food flung by crones, fly this airline."

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