Monday, April 14, 2008

Where are the good ol' days?

If all had gone as planned, I would have left Ithaca at 3 p.m. on Friday on way to Chicago for my best friend's wedding shower. If you caught any of the news about the airline industry this weekend, you know that many, many flights did not go as planned - including mine. Suffice to say that I spent 22 hours "traveling" - including 16 hours in LaGuardia airport - and never made it to Chicago. Over that time period, I was scheduled to be on six flights on two different airlines.

The many hours I sat around musing about my situation made me think: The airline industry has really tanked over the past few decades. When I was a little kid, I remember flying as a really special experience. You got dressed up, you were treated really nicely, you hardly ever got stuck in an airport. I know all the reasons why flying is different now - there are twice as many flights in the air using the same airports and runways, the issue of security is TOTALLY different, and flights are much, much more affordable (leaving less revenue for carriers). But, darn it, I would pay a little more for some better service. I know FAA decisions and fog are factors beyond airline's control. But when you have to sleep on the floor in the airport, a pillow and blanket would be a nice gesture.

Outside magazine had a similar thought recently. Read it here.

6 comments:

Sharon said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry you missed Jen's shower. Hopefully it's all cleared up by the wedding!

Alison said...

This January my flight was cancelled in Dallas, and I was automatically re-routed and re-booked on a flight that got me home TWO DAYS later. When I went to the gate attendant and very politely told her that wasn't acceptable (the whole "missing two days of work" thing), she acted like I was a horrible, snotty b**** for daring to complain, rather than a customer who had spent more than $300 on a plane ticket. I understand that the industry is in poor shape, but that's no excuse for the customer service we get.

Amy W. said...

Having gotten unexpectedly stranded in Denver en route to Seattle (and never actually making it to Seattle) I feel your pain. I would definitely cough up some extra bucks if I were guaranteed to reach my destination...

A2Girl said...

maybe we should start a travel blog to have a place to commiserate about flying....I can tell you that I will pay an extra $100 NOT to fly through Chicago as I have never gotten through there w/o a delay or cancellation

Candie said...

dude!
Too bad I didn't know you were there! you could have spent the night on my sofa bed. I had a similar problem coming home from Dallas. I found that the people at the counters aren't a big help at all. As soon as something goes down call the ticketing people cause they know way more and are more willing to help. I would only fly American if I had to now.

Dave said...

Sorry to hear about your traveling nightmare, Sheri.

Last year when my connecting flight to Austin via Memphis was grounded due to weather, I started out with a mere $10 voucher, and, simply by being friendly and patient with the person behind the desk, I ended up with a complimentary hotel room and a first class seat on the 7am flight the next day. I ended up scoring a connecting flight on another airline, so I didn't have to take Northwest up on their hospitality, but boy was I surprised. Even though I'm not sure how far it'll get you in every case, I'd say it pays to be as patient and understanding as humanly possible with the airline staff when they're getting pounded by frustrated travelers.

At any rate, I figure that one experience used up all of my good traveler karma, and the next time I get into trouble, I'll probably end up doubly screwed somehow. I'm all about the direct flight now. Connections are almost guaranteed hosation.