Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Unfriendly Skies

There was a time when traveling by air was a pleasurable, luxurious and restful experience. What happened? There used to be trusted airliners like Pan Am and TWA, Trans World Airlines. They are gone now. Travel Agents used to hand you all you needed. Now you have to book your own flights. Pilots were the epitome of professionalism and handsomeness. Now many pilots are removed from flights for arriving to work intoxicated. There was a standard for stewardesses to be beautiful, thin and all within the same height. Now they come in all shapes and sizes. If you are into gay guys who like to bend over and hand you a drink, you will find him on a flight. If your flight was delayed for any reason or cancelled the airlines would offer you complimentary hotel rooms for a night. Now people sleep on the cold floor in the terminal. If your   flight was delayed  sitting on the runway they used to offer you complementary blankets, pillows drinks and snacks. Now you are told to shut up and sit down indefinitely. If you dare to go to the bathroom the entire flight will be cancelled. Quite often there would be empty seats next to you and you could spread out. Now flights are usually overbooked and you have to give up your paid seats for flight personnel or get beat up and dragged off the plane.  Do you wonder why frustrations are high on air travel these days and horrific tempers are raging in that small space of an airplane?
Related imageTraveling by air has become a living nightmare. There was a fistfight on a plane at the gate in Japan on ANA Airlines. Two girls were thrown off a flight for wearing stretch pants on a United Airlines flight. A doctor was assaulted and was dragged off another United Airlines flight bloody and with broken teeth after he refused to give up his paid seat. A family was thrown off a Delta flight because they refused to give up their paid toddler’s seat. American Airlines took a stroller away from a mother with two babies on board. United also killed a passengers large bred bunny on a flight with no explanation. This is all so outrageous it should be scenes on those old Airport comedy movies from the eighties. But this is no joke it is our present reality. Why?
Congress is having hearings on how air travel can be improved. I am not sure how much progress they will have on the subject since they are now on another two week vacation they voted for themselves. They are so rich that they probably take only expensive private planes everywhere and get to avoid the evasive pat downs allowed in some of your most private areas by the TSA. They also get to avoid getting their belongings taken away too. Most people get their shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and shaving cream taken away which is pretty much everything a terrorist doesn’t use but you can’t have it either. They just walk on their flights. You have to strip down first and remove your shoes, belts and all your valuables   during  the two hours you need to arrive early for your flight. Could all this have something to do with tempers flaring?
United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz was at the Congressional hearing but no executive is even addressing the problem where it starts with the various costs for the same seats on the same flights now! There is no apologizing for the price gouging. You can be bumped from a flight because of the type of ticket you buy.  United Airlines policy says, “ The priority of all other confirmed passengers may be determined based on a passenger’s fare class… frequent flyer program membership” as stated in their United Airlines Contract of Carriage. So, simply buying a ticket is not good enough.

Do you even know what fare class you are buying? Most people search to try to find the cheapest deals. Ask anyone sitting near you waiting for the same flight and no two people will have paid the same price for their same type of seat. Prices can change usually to a higher price while you are booking the flight. With Memorial Day approaching and you want to get out of town quickly. They say to be a loyal flyer with the same airliner. You might not get thrown off a flight if you have a spending record with the airline. Avoid hub-to hub flights. Choose off days to travel not busy times or days when business travel is at a peak. So, Bon Voyage maybe! Take your chances with the friendly skies!

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