Flying the business-friendly skies

Many business trips require me to endure the mother of all indignities: flying. Flying aboard a commercial aircraft has all the allure of sticking a needle in my eye.

Negotiating the friendly skies these days requires devoting at least an entire day to travel. This is particularly true after the demise of Reno Airlines. Now Reno is left with non-stop flights to anywhere, so long as “anywhere” is within two hours.

At one point, I see a security sign proclaim the approximate wait time. How’d I get in the line for Space Mountain?

After announcing the airline’s undying gratitude for my patience over the umpteenth delay, an airline employee cheerfully makes the next cattle call. I dutifully follow my fellow cows, er, travelers onto the plane. Moo.

I find my seat. It’s the middle seat, and rubbing shoulders with two strangers for four hours isn’t exactly my idea of fun. Not to mention there is just not a lot of room to move around. Sitting down, I ponder whether my cramped existence will cause me to throw a blood clot and suffer a stroke mid-flight.

My companions are two seasoned citizens on a gambling junket. Apparently, Social Security dollars were well spent. They spend the duration of the flight bemusing the state of Medicare. Ms. Aisle explains she would trade seats with me but a “personal condition” will require frequent trips on her part. I accept my fate.

As the plane begins to taxi, the flight attendants begin their safety shtick. I tune it out since I’ve flown enough times that I can recite the speech in my sleep. Besides, I have already identified the two closest exits and the exact number of seats and/or screaming passengers that I must climb over in the event a smoke-filled cabin makes it too difficult to see said exits.

One thing I do notice is that this particular plane is an Airbus. Specifically an Airbus 320. For the uninitiated, Airbus is a European aircraft manufacturer that is kicking the stuffings out of its U.S. competitor, Boeing. Things are so bad for Boeing that it recently closed its manufacturing facilities in Seattle and outsourced them out of state.

I’d be willing to bet that liberals and conservatives can probably agree that well-paying jobs are a good thing.

The way to attract well-paying jobs is to give well-paying employers an incentive to bring those jobs here—and to continue to incentivize them to stay. Something I’ll bet the folks in Seattle wish they had done for Boeing.

Many of my left-leaning critics have suggested that instead of cutting labor costs, big business should cut profits. I understand that argument. Of course, turnabout is fair play. Those critics are telling me that they’d be willing to take a pay cut every time that their employer hits an economic downturn. Isn’t that also fair?

Reality plays out a little differently. United Airlines, which is majority owned by its employees, for example, has been in and out of bankruptcy twice in eight years. U.S. Airways as filed twice in four years, Hawaiian Airlines filed for it just last year, and Delta Airlines has announced that it is weeks away from filing bankruptcy.

Big labor and, by extension, big government don’t make concessions until the grim reaper is at the door.

The reason Nevada has been the fastest-growing state with the fastest-growing economy is because of its business friendly environment. The next time someone wants to argue about how to destroy that, first check with the people in Seattle.