Why Aren’t Millennials Demanding That Airlines Offer Better Service?

Millennials.AirlinesAnomalies are some of my favorite things. Maybe it has to do with Sesame Street always pointing out “one of these things is not like the other.” Or maybe it has to do with my appreciation of the French refrain to celebrate differences (vive la difference). But my eyes are always attracted to the things that are different from most other things.

One of those things that has really been preoccupying my eyes lately – and in turn, preoccupying my thoughts – is the state of air travel and the willingness of millennials to do nothing about it.

This is after all the Uber and Lyft generation… the TripIt and Kayak generation… the Airbnb and Kid & Coe generation… the Gate Guru and WAZE generation… the social, mobile, collaborative, adventurous and passionate generation. To quote a dear friend of mine in reference to millennials, “They will not suffer fools.”

And yet, somehow, someway, the airlines are getting a pass. The airlines. Those uncomfortable, undependable, uncaring flying machine companies whose only promise – more like brand suggestion – is to eventually get you and your luggage where you are going… maybe.

Why? What am I missing here? Millennials are not demanding, but the are discerning. They know what they want and how they want it and when they want it and they will do whatever it takes to get it. Except when it comes to airlines.

I have heard and read that millennials don’t mind air travel in its current state because they don’t know any better; they weren’t around when air travel was easy and comfortable and fun and dependable, so they don’t have high expectations. I refuse to believe any of that.

Air travel in America sucks, and millennials know it; they experience it every day. Limited direct flights, lack of comfort/legroom, high costs and excessive added fees, unpredictable delays and cancellations… not to mention the peanuts. They cannot like it, so why aren’t they changing it?

That’s my question. I don’t have any answers. I just needed to put it out there in the hope that some driven, industrious, passionate millennial will adopt the cause, carry the flag and change the industry. Please… and thank you.

Jim Sweeney


Jim is a veteran of the agency industry and the founder of Sweeney. He is uncommonly passionate about the idea of creating and implementing insanely great marketing campaigns that achieve insanely great results. He pioneered the full-service, full-circle agency model and continues to forge new ideas in an ever-changing industry. And he is accessible to everyone about anything, seemingly all the time, serving as a mentor to all agency personnel and clients.