I’ll take the airlines. But please hold the advertising.

Face it, big airlines.  You suck.  You suck because you can’t keep your promises. You suck because you’re delivering the same or less service than you were a year ago, and charging way more for it. You suck because you can’t even throw in the lousy meals anymore. You suck because your advertising is a big fat lie.

Please American, Continental/United, Delta, and yes, even you JetBlue.  Please do us all a favor.  Stop spending tens of, no make that hundreds of millions of dollars on all that advertising only to fail us at the ticket counter, and at the gate, and in the sky and when we get our credit card statements.

Truth is, you don’t have exceptional service.  You don’t have the lowest fares.  You don’t have the best routes.  You don’t have the most flights.  You’re not really that convenient after all.

Come to think of it, it’s really funny how just about ALL your advertising focuses on those key benefits, when almost none of you can deliver on these basic promises.

Instead, let’s focus on the basic truths:  across the board, your service is on the scale somewhere between below-grade and adequate.  I don’t discount that there may be an exceptional and caring employee flying the skies on any given A320, but by and large, your staff is just going through the motions.

Your fares are out of whack, and on no discernible pattern. I recently researched a flight from New York/Newark to San Diego on Continental.  (I looked up to THREE months out.)  $1,064.  REALLY?  A thousand bucks?  I could practically get chauffered out there on that dime.  And, hey, JetBlue, those “discount” fares of yours are all but a distant memory now, huh?  When I compared, you were only about $200 cheaper.  Honestly?

And can I ever get on a flight that isn’t “oversold?”

What’s astonishing to me is that the basic laws of marketing, branding and social media all state that airlines should essentially wither on the vine and die, and lose share to the competitor that meets customer needs, and to a market that demands choice.  And yet, these behemoths survive.  Promises are being broken, word of mouth is almost entirely negative, (when was the last time you heard about an “exceptional” flying experience from a co-worker?) prices are going up, and now you’re getting charged for checked baggage and crazy needs like “legroom,” and big airlines seem to almost universally be having banner years.  Where is the competitor who “gets it?” Where is the market demanding choice?

So again, I state my initial request.  Please re-allocate your budgets.  Hold the advertising.  Take the 8- and 9-figure advertising budgets, and instead, just lower rates.  Just STOP with the checked bag fees.  And please stop making me sit in the middle of row 26 when I book a flight a month in advance.