“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Travel Part One

Is it just me, or are the major airlines really providing abysmally poor service? I travel almost every week, and consistently I have a poor experience.

This week, it took me ten hours for a two hour flight! I got to the airport bright and early, as instructed by the TSA, and found out that the airline had cancelled my flight, but somehow had failed to notify me after I checked on the flight from my home. (I live ten minutes from the airport).

Don't get me wrong; when I arrived, the ticket agent did his job, but the airline itself is consistently poor in its performance. The flight that I was scheduled on was cancelled because somewhere in the world there was poor weather the day before, and they could not get an aircraft to DFW to provide a flight. This goes along with the poor planning and scheduling that I experience weekly. DFW is the hub of American Airlines, and they cannot find an aircraft? I could understand this if it was an anomaly, but this is the standard operating procedure.

And EVERY time (for the last five trips) that we have arrived on AA in DFW, there has been a plane at our gate, regardless of whether we are early or late. So we sit, on the tarmac, waiting.

One of my favorite things is how the airline places the blame for departure delays on the passengers. During yesterday's debacle, after many of the passengers had waited in excess of six hours to catch this flight, as we boarded, we heard the flight attendent saying this: "We cannot move the plane back until everyone is seated, so please move to your seat and be seated." As if we were lollygagging about, joking and laughing! Somehow it is suddenly the passengers who are delaying the plane from rolling back! WHAT? I have been waiting for hours, so at least have the courtesy to let me get to my seat and get my stuff put away!

I mean, why does it take forty minutes for a major airline to turn a plane when Southwest can do it in twenty, and guess what, when I board a SW plane, it actually appears as though someone HAS cleaned it! Last week, after our forty minute wait (which was after an hour plus delay), my seatback and the one next to me had someone's lunch and newspapers in the pocket. So what were they doing for forty minutes?

Then we get on the plane, and the seats are so small that I literally cannot fit between the armrests (and no, I am not obese, I am 6'5", and about 245), and once I have gotten into the circulation-blocking seat, my knees are pressed against the seatback in front of me. The minute the flight leaves the ground, the person in front of me dutifully lays their seat back, causing me intense pain until I beg them to lean forward a bit.

The 'service' is, well, no much quite frankly. In order to save a few dollars, AA has now removed pillows, food, and anything else that was actually for the customers, and has become the modern Aeroflot (for those who flew this wonderful airline, you know what I mean). The attendents are misnamed, they are quite often inattentive, and while it used to be the norm, it is now a welcome change to get a flight crew who seems to care.

I understand that the flight attendents have a lot to deal with as well, but is it too much to be at least courteous? I think not. Everyone at the airline seems to have adopted the 'I am going to do my job and very little else' attitude. Ticket agents are not friendly, merely functional. Gate agents are a bit better, and, to be fair, there are always those shining examples of wonderful service as well, but they are becoming more and more rare, and I fear that they will become extinct in a few years.

And here is the kicker! I paid 1500 for my last flight! So, it is not like the fares are properly priced for the bare-bones service that is received. And, of course, lets blame the price of gas etc etc etc, yet I paid this price before the gas situation!

I am just venting, but I am so sick of this type of service that I am about to cancel my AA cards, and simply fly an airline that wants my business, and I know of several that I have had consistently good service on, such as AirTran, and Jet Blue. (I know, I have a few horror stories about these as well, but the key word is CONSISTENTLY)

Part Two will allow me to vent about the passengers... :-)

P.S. My entire family has worked for, or does work for American Airlines or another major carrier, so I understand those frustrations as well, but I truly believe that the service has reached an all-time low, as has morale...

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