Knowing is Half the Prattle.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Your perception of air travel as a kid and an adult.

When you're a kid you think that airplanes have to have something to do with magic.

When you get older you start to notice other things. I'm flying on US Airways from Los Angeles to New York. Everwhere you turn, I'm getting pitched another way to spend my money. Here are the ways I counted on my last flight.

  1. When you check in they offer you the chance to upgrade your seat for an additional charge
  2. If you're carrying an extra bag (ie: more than 2), they'll check it for you for an additional $85. Umm... no thanks.
  3. When you get on the plane they show you a special set of ads for other airline vacation packages.
  4. Then they do the saftey information and show you a movie trailer.
  5. You can rent headphones for $5
  6. If you want the meal, another $5
  7. You can buy alcohol
  8. They have the free airline magazine which is basically a stack of advertisements between magazine covers.
  9. The entertainment consists of plugs for the NBC fall lineup
  10. And yes you can take your copy of Sky Mall with you.

Then you notice the real magic. I was in Philadelphia and "due to inclement weather" my flight to New York was delayed for 3 and 1/2 hours and then is cancelled. Why my flight is cancelled and another identical flight is allowed to go is a mystery to me. Maybe it's that magic thing. So what is US Air to do? Put me on another flight? Sounds logical. Apparently not to them. Instead, they cancel the flight entirely, magically spit my luggage out into the baggage claim area and say they are putting me on a bus. Um... a bus? The following mini conversation ensues.

Evan: So I have this plane ticket and you're putting me on a bus. Isn't this a bit odd?
Corporate Airline Lackey: No, we do this all the time.
Evan: So do you compensate me for this?
Corporate Airline Lackey: No, your flight was cancelled due to the weather.
Evan: But I paid for a plane ticket.
Corporate Airline Lackey: We don't owe you anything because we're getting you to your destination.
Evan: So dog sled, rickshaw, walk me to my destination, is all fair game?
Corporate Airline Lackey: Yes.
Evan: (pissed silence)
Corporate Airline Lackey: Talk to the FAA, they grounded the plane. Look at your ticket we're not responsible.

umm..... OK so basically I'm left with two choices.
  1. Get pissed and demand a plane seat whereupon they schedule me for a flight of their choosing probably sometime tomorrow or sometime next year.
  2. Get on the charterd bus

I have to be at work tomorrow so it's on the bus we go.

My US Airways Transportation.

Out of spite, I made sure that my seat was not in an upright position for departure and I brought liquids with me. Take that!

Now we (the other people from my flight and I) are on this bus. People keep asking the bus driver how long it will take to get to New York. The bus driver won't say anything, just "it depends on traffic". We're driving and driving into the night. Did I say that this is 2AM EST and I've been non stop traveling since 3AM PST? As we're driving we keep turning off on to small roads. Um shouldn't we be taking highways? Then we pull into an obviously closed gas station. The bus driver gets out. He's not getting gas. He's looking for someone he can ask for directions to NY. He's totally lost. Nice. No one working at the gas station (obviously), we're off again to find an open gas station. Eventually we find another gas station and get directions. Remember when he said the time it takes to get to NY "depends on traffic"? He neglected to say that it also depends on whether or not you know how to get there. At this point I go to sleep on the bus. This is all I can take.

Eventually I get home and it's straight to bed. US Air needs to change their slogan from "Fly With Us" to something more appropriate like....

"Travel* With Us (* Traveling means that we can cart your body to your destination by any means we see fit)"

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