Pointless Journey

Michael Carlton (June 14) spent a lot of time and money--and you spent a lot of page space--on a report of very little value to your average reader. Carlton flew overseas on four airlines in rapid succession to evaluate their service. He flew first-class. While one can sympathize with Carlton for not wishing to endure the indignities of coach for 45 almost continuously airborne hours, the fact remains that few of us ordinary mortals will ever experience the pleasures of the first-class cabin.

But that isn't the main reason I think Carlton's marathon journey was pointless. It's his implication that the service one experiences up front is an index of what can be expected back where the common folk sit.

Another reason Carlton's adventure produced little meaningful information: He flew on four routes. Experienced travelers know that service standards vary widely from one route to another, even on the same airline. The reason: competitive pressure.

Oh, well, it's nice to know which airline serves Tattinger Brut and which one Dom Perignon; that's important stuff to the average traveler. Too bad Carlton didn't stay a while in Europe or the Orient so that his effort wouldn't have been a complete waste of time.


Garden Grove

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