Flying in America: it ain’t easy

There were a couple stories about air travel this month, one of which was very well-known, and the other which indirectly affected me personally.

Of course, the former involved a video showing a man removed forcibly from United Airlines flight from Chicago to Louisville, and left battered and limp, after he boarded because United determined it needed a flight crew to be in Kentucky. He was, BTW, a doctor, 69, and Asian-American.

Oscar Munoz, the CEO of United, had recently been named PRWeek U.S.’s Communicator of the Year for 2017. But until he issued a stronger apology, calling the confrontation “truly horrific” and that “no one should ever be mistreated this way,” the responses from the airline were astonishingly tone deaf, using the word “re-accommodate” to describe the passenger’s removal.

Most interestingly, people used humor to define the situation more clearly.

“United! Putting the “hospital” in hospitality!”

New photo of United Airlines asking for volunteers to deplane.

“United Airlines – No Inconvenience Too Large or Too Small!”

“United States contracts with United Airlines to oust Assad.” – from Michael Rivest. Assad, of course, is the Syrian dictator.

Jimmy Kimmel Creates A Brutally Honest New Commercial For United Airlines

“And he wasn’t even wearing leggings!” – a reference to some United passengers, who were related to employees and thus flying for free, recently not allowed to board because of their apparel.

There are more on Twitter.


United Breaks Guitars- Dave Carroll, a goodie from a few years back that was revived

It was also an informative time:

How airlines like United choose who to kick off a flight

The Deeper Scandal of That Brutal United Video: The footage is shocking. So is the law.

The United Story Isn’t About Customer Service. It’s About Class Warfare. “When corporations can openly beat their customers and deny them service, why would they even bother trying to be nice?”

United should have used the Asoh defense.

I found a couple apologists for the airline, suggesting that the overbooking happens all the time to keep prices down, which may be true. And yet it’s no excuse for the treatment the man received. Nor is the victim’s criminal record an issue.

The other flying problem involved Delta Airlines. There was severe weather in the Atlanta area on Wednesday, April 5. A good friend of my wife, Dee, was trying to fly to upstate New York the following Saturday with her husband and son, but their flight from Atlanta to Albany was first postponed then canceled. They tried a couple more flights – they actually had tickets for one leaving in FIVE MINUTES -but they were thwarted.

I checked the weather for ATL and it was clear, yet I hit on a website that indicated that there were more canceled flights originating from Hartsfield-Jackson than any other airport in the WORLD. The reason, I discovered, was the same as the United situation times dozens; flight crews were not where the planes were taking off, even three days after the bad weather.

Eventually, our friends did fly into Newburgh, just north of New York City. They drove up to Catskill, we drove down to Catskill, and we all had a lovely meal together.

United decided to deplane a customer, by force. Delta, with a larger issue, canceled flights. Airlines are having real difficulty in the US this month.

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Angry people: airline seats, nudies in the Cloud, tobaccoless CVS

disk_discs_compact_It’s 4:40 a.m., and if I were a independently wealthy/retired, there are any number of recent topics I might write about. But I’m not. So some scattershot thoughts before they go totally cold.

Reclining seats on planes:

I’ve long hated airline travel; it’s a flying bus. The recent spate of fights over someone trying to recline his/her seat, and was inhibited by the person behind, have gotten so bad that three flights were diverted in ten days. This is inevitable, given the fact that the space between seats is getting smaller as the passengers, collectively, are getting larger. Of course, this totally screws up not only the lives of the passengers on those flights but those on connecting flights as well.

Mark Evanier reminded me that airline passengers’ occasionally schmuckiness is not just a recent occurrence.

Physical music

Part of the reason I’m strapped for time, actually Continue reading

Flying v. reading minds; talking about racism; baseball

Chris from Off the Shore of Orion starts off the Ask Roger Anything jamboree with:

You can only have one of these three powers: infinite strength, the ability to fly, or the ability to read minds.

Which one would you pick, why, and what would you use it for?

I decided to deconstruct this. How often have I said, “Boy, do I wish I were stronger so I can do X?” Not that often, in the grander scheme of things. Maybe during my many moves, but many hands make light work. Besides, I’d probably end up schlepping stuff for others far too often

I’ve wanted to fly since I was a child, had the flying dreams and everything. It would save time, and time is a finite, not a fungible, commodity. Thought that would be it.

However, the idea of the ability to read minds was too intriguing to pass up. Continue reading