Why is there no alternative airline industry?

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If its customers are to be believed, the reason the alternative health industry exists is because of how poorly doctors treat patients.

Yet when it comes to poor treatment, the medical industry can’t hold a candle to the airlines. So why is there no alternative airline industry?

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Why is there a alternative health sucker born every minute, but no customers for an alternative airline industry?[/pullquote]

Why aren’t people paying random individuals they read about on the internet to fly them to their destinations in the same way they pay random individuals they read about on the internet to “treat” them with various nonsensical methods like homeopathy and cranio-sacral therapy?

Why are they so practical when it comes to airline travel, choosing only government certified purveyors, recognizing that they will have to compromise to get where they want, but so gullible when it comes to healthcare, sure that there must be an easier, less uncomfortable way to get treated for or cured of a serious illness?

If they (falsely) criticize the medical industry for merely treating their chronic diseases instead of curing them, why don’t they complain that the airline industry never teaches them how to fly but forces them to come back over and over again whenever they want to go somewhere?

And why do they trust that airlines take them where they want to go rather than imagine that the airlines are drugging them with hallucinogens to make them think they have flown somewhere else when they’ve never left the ground? After all, if you are foolish enough to believe that vaccines are an elaborate government conspiracy to give the population autism, you will believe anything.

Consider the many unflattering similarities between the Big Air and Big Medicine:

Both the airline industry and the medical industry are effectively monopolies.

If the average person wants to fly, he or she has no choice but to deal with the airline industry. If the average person wants to treat, cure or even prevent many serious illnesses, he or she has no choice but to deal with the medical industry.

Because they are monopolies, neither devotes serious effort to customer service.

The airlines cancel flights, bump passengers for no better reason than because it suits them. In addition, they have no compunction about delaying flights by hours just to have mechanics check to be sure everything is working right. Don’t like waiting? Too bad for you! Similarly, doctors make patients wait for hours in their offices and that’s nothing compared to the hours you will wait if you visit an emergency room. Don’t like waiting? Too bad for you!

They don’t listen.

Pilots have zero interest in how you think they should navigate to your destination. They don’t care what you believe you know after reading about flight on the internet; they won’t even talk to you about it. Doctors aren’t especially interested in what your Facebook mommy friends told you about your child’s symptoms. They might talk to you about it but even then, they will probably ignore your views on the subject and offer their own.

They don’t care about your comfort.

Leg room in airline seats; I rest my case! Hospital johnnies; another indisputable sign of lack of concern.

They have high barriers to entry.

If you are dissatisfied with your treatment by airlines, you can’t simply set up your own and you are not free to use airlines started up by individuals if they fail to meet the elaborate government standards for commercial flight. Similarly, you can’t simply call yourself a medical doctor if you haven’t graduated from medical school and you can’t obtain a license to practice unless you’ve completed additional years of training.

They make mistakes.

Mistakes by the airline industry are remarkably rare, but when they do happen they are often spectacular disasters that lead to the loss of many lives. Doctors and nurses make mistakes, too. They are far more common, though fortunately most do not lead permanent injury or death.

Given all the similarities, why is there a alternative health sucker born every minute, but no customers for an alternative airline industry?

I suspect the reason is simple: air travel is much more accessible to the senses than medical care.

You can hear the airplane engines.
You can feel the plane take off and land sometime later.
You can see that you are in a very different place when the plane arrives at its destination.

What do your senses tell you when you are being treated for or cured of a disease?

Not much, since most treatment occurs over days, weeks or even months so gradual change is not appreciated.

And your senses tell you nothing at all in the case of preventive care. You didn’t have measles before vaccination, for example, and you don’t have measles afterwards.

Indeed, when treatment or cure occurs over a relatively short period or can be easily perceived, there is no alternative health analogue. You don’t find many “natural” orthopedic surgeons for example, since people feel the acute pain of a fracture, feel the relief that pharmaceuticals offer, see the difference that splinting or casting makes, and feel the difference when the bone is healed.

The bottom line is that alternative health exists because you can trick people into believing you are treating them even when you are merely lightening their wallets, but you can’t trick people into believing that you have flown them to another place if you’ve never left the ground. The customer has to be a lot smarter to understand healthcare treatment than to understand airplane travel.

It has nothing to do with how you treat people and everything to do with their ability to understand something they cannot sense directly and immediately.