ARE U.S. AIRLINES THE MOST HOSTILE IN THE WORLD?

If recent reports are anything to go by, the answer is a resounding yes. Who could forget  the doctor being dragged off the United Airlines plane just last year? How about the recent incident on a Southwest Airlines flight where a mother was ordered to prove her own child was hers, despite travelling with both required passports? We ourselves are currently having our own issues with American Airlines.

Compare these passenger experiences to those on the consistently voted best airlines in the world, and the treatment of customers is completely different. The airport and onboard experience is welcoming rather than hostile, and people are treated with dignity and not as though they are guilty until proven innocent.

Frequent players on the world's best airlines lists are Middle Eastern airlines such as Qatar, Etihad and Emirates who take service to a whole other level! Asia's Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific also show up often, as do Lufthansa and Britain's Virgin Atlantic. As you can see, not a single U.S. airline in sight!  

As paying customers we expect and deserve a certain service from those with the power to shape the start and finish of  our trips. There's nothing worse than making amazing travel memories during your time away, then having them literally knocked out of sight and mind  when United Airlines drags you off the plane!

From our perspective U.S. airlines need to drastically up their game, especially with competitor airlines rapidly growing their routes and devising enticing reasons to fly with them. We're noticing a shift in travellers when making the decision of who to fly with as they factor in experience  just as much as cost to ensure the sanctity of their vacation.

WHAT IT TRULY MEANS TO TRAVEL WITH PURPOSE?

There has been a recent surge in trips based around purpose and giving back so we want to break down what that means. In order to do so we need to dip our toes into an entirely different field to look at what people overseas actually need from us (if anything at all) rather than what we decide they need from us. And by us we're referring to those who donate money to charity, purchase products for good and travel overseas in order to help others or volunteer. This is usually coming from a beautiful place of good intentions and we never want to see this stop, but we do think it’s important to be critical too, so we can truly focus on those we are “helping”.

A story that struck us a few years ago came after the devastating earthquake in Haiti when an unbelievable amount of aid was dumped into the country. This was all coming from a good place, and the immediate relief after any disaster is absolutely necessary, but when that lasts too long we start to prevent the rebuild of lives and instead become enablers of dependency. While some people thrive in that circumstance and are happy taking the aid that continues to flood into their country, many others are driven, passionate people who want to stand on their own two feet. They do not want to be reliant on others for housing, food and water, some of the most basic rights of every human being on the planet.

Back to Haiti where two guys were running a successful solar panel business before the earthquake struck. They had developed technology, built their company and were rapidly growing their sales. Life was good. After the earthquake an unbelievable number of solar panels, solar lights etc. were shipped to the country for an extended period of time. What that meant is that once these two men were ready to set their business back on track, they had no customers because everyone was taking the free solar goods delivered by the west. You see the catch 22 here?! 

It can all too often feel as though the interference from the West is designed to suppress, and from some governments that is quite literally the case. Sometimes we need to take a step back to assess the bigger systemic issues rather than focus on sending a pair of shoes to Africa, from a North American business. Instead why not ensure the money is going to an African company making shoes in Africa like Oliberte

So next time you're on a purposeful trip or just taking time to reflect in the new destination you're in, why not ask locals what they actually need in the short and long-term, because it is important to differentiate between those in order for progress to ever be made. Then on your return home decide where you want to put your efforts, because you may just discover that it's advocating for change at home that can make all the difference to someone's life overseas.