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An airline that needs to die, as soon as possible

Makes me angry just reading this. If our country had a saner transportation mix, airlines could focus on the stuff they're objectively better at (long-haul or overseas flights) instead of trying to keep alive this retarded hub/spoke model for domestic flights. Would only have helped this situation indirectly, but still - this kind of thing is precisely why I'm flying Southwest on Monday to Nashville and driving 2 hours to Huntsville instead of flying a 2-leg on one of the legacies (which would save 30-60 minutes).

And, by the way, If we didn't have incredibly stupid landing charges at most US airports that charge by the weight of the plane rather than by the time the plane ties up the runway and/or traffic control, we'd have already killed off most of these stupid legacy nightmares. It's time to make this change now - which would restore a rational air traffic model more like what you see in Europe and Japan (hubs for international travel, not domestic). If it kills United dead as a side-effect, that's just an added bonus, isn't it?

This entry was posted in the following categories: Economics , I Told You So , Politics (Outside Austin)


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I guess things like this would be why they couldn't keep their old slogan, "Fly the Friendly Skies".

I just got back from a vacation that totaled nine flights (including all legs) and I can't say it helped make me a fan of any of the airlines involved:

1) British Airways -- I had two carry-on sized cases (or so I thought). Checked one at Terminal 5, Heathrow, and then was asked to check the size of my bag before entering through security. Wouldn't you know it but the stupid rubber feet of my bag wouldn't fit (the bag's volume was within the limit) but no amount of arguing would let me off the hook (in the meantime dozens of others with obviously larger bags were being allowed to pass). I should have just tried to enter through another security gate but instead went back to check my carry-on. Excess baggage, I was told. What? One extra bag on an international flight -- not even the worst US carriers are that stingy. Sorry sir. Ok, how much? 75 pounds. ($150). What!!! 75 pounds sir. Ridiculous! I was not about to give BA anything, so I ended up buying a $50 tote bag from a baggage store, unpacking my carry-on and leaving it at the airport. Saved me more and I could do with a new roller carry on anyway.

2) South African Airlines -- from Cape Town to the Kruger, we were an hour late already before we all boarded (a flight attendant got sick and they had to pull another one off her flight home) and then we were all told that the plane was too heavy and *all* the luggage had to be offloaded and sent on later the same day. One guy made a big fuss (apparently they still allow the cockpit door to be open to surly passengers in SA) saying he'd packed his meds in his case (silly man). But there were no exceptions. In the end we arrived too late for the game drive we had that evening and the luggage didn't get to us for another 24 hours -- including our one video camera). Someone on the plane asked why we were overweight. The answer -- someone put in too much fuel for the flight. Great.

3) Mauritius Airlines - we were sitting in the lounge at Johannesburg Airport with 45 minutes to go before take-on when we were asked to proceed to the gate. It was about a 10 minute walk. Half-way there the airline announces final boarding and that anyone not at the gate risks having their baggage removed from the airplane. Incredulous, we and other passengers make a mad dash for the gate and sure enough, it seems that everyone else is on board. The plane is barely 1/3 full and so people start asking what all the rush was about. "We like to get our planes in the air early" was the reply. Yeah, after bullying them all on to the plane first, it seems.

4) Delta. Ignoring the crappy 30 year old planes, Delta oversold the flight from Heathrow to Altanta -- there were at least 12-15 people who would not get on the flight. I was asked at check-in if I would volunteer for 1000 "Delta dollars" and a free night in a 5-star hotel to stay an extra day. I said I would so long as I had exit rows on the flights (as I had that day). After a month away from home I was ambivalent about staying another night, but what the heck. The only problem is you still had to go though all the same fuss of check-in, security, getting to the gate before they decided who they wanted to stay. I did that. They called names, but not mine. Then they said, we still need volunteers, so I went up and said "Hey -- I already did, but you didn't call my name". "Yes, we did, Mr Walters" (Yeah, they got the name wrong). I still had to wait 10 min and then they said "It's okay -- we don't need you now after all". Thanks a bundle. And then to cap it all off they managed to get some standby luggage on the plane which had to be offloaded before we could take off. Oh, and when I tried for an earlier flight from Atlanta to Austin (from a full flight to a 3/4 full flight) they still wanted to change me $50 (this was after I spent 5 minutes arguing with a Delta official before they would even let me approach the re-check counter after clearing customs.).

The vacation was great fun and would heartily recommend South Africa as a place to visit -- especially the safari experience. It was wonderful. It's just a damn shame you have to fly to get there.

A month ago, I got stuck on the Vegas tarmac for about three hours on a Southwest flight.

Yesterday, I received a $200 voucher from southwest in the mail. I hadn't complained to them about the delay. They simply did it on their own.

This is why I fly Southwest whenever possible.

Oh, and I agree absolutely that our pricing system is screwed up.

Just more examples of why we drove for this New England trip. Even the flat tire once we got here was easier to deal with than airport security.


It may get you there 2 days late, but at least you expected it...

:D :D

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