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Can You Guys Stand One More Article on the United Airlines Incident?

Posted by V the K at 11:41 am - April 13, 2017.
Filed under: Airlines Suck

Because this is so right on, I tell you what. Airlines have basically become part of the Government. Federal law gives airline personnel essentially the powers of law enforcement; disrespect a flight attendant, and she’ll make sure you leave the plane in handcuffs.  So naturally, airline employees behave with the same arrogance and contempt for the public as Government employees.

Airlines, private companies, have been told they are “essential,” and are treated as such. They get government subsidies, they get government powers (you have to do what they say or risk legal action), and low and behold, they have started to act like government employees.

They do not act like they are beholden to the public. They do not act like they are providing a service. They act like they are beholden to their bosses, and the public are these annoying sheep they have to heard, and it is perfectly alright for them to push the sheep around if they aren’t cooperating.

You want to talk about abuse of power? Give a service person the power to have anyone who pisses them off arrested, and make it so broad, that the absurd result of you being arrested for arguing is no longer hyperbole, but what can actually happen.

This isn’t just a reaction to the man being bloodied, this is a reaction to the entire rotting industry that has taken its power, the power as government pets and too little competition, and run with it to run roughshod over the customers. This is a reaction to the people in charge telling us little people to sit down, shut up, take what we’re given, and go quietly to the back of the bus when someone more important comes along.

On a tangentially related not, there’s a new European budget airline called “Level.” Don’t you think their planes look like tubes of toothpaste? Doesn’t “Level” sound like it could be the name of a mouthwash?

If You Can’t Laugh…

Posted by V the K at 2:27 pm - April 11, 2017.
Filed under: Airlines Suck

At least United Airlines Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Customer Service has produced some hilarious memes. I am kind of eager to see how the tactic of bringing up the victim’s past bad behavior (swapping prescription drugs for gay sex) works as a PR strategy.

Doing What’s Legal Versus Doing What’s Right

Posted by V the K at 10:24 am - April 11, 2017.
Filed under: Airlines Suck

I have been a bit gob-smacked by people in web forums and on social media defending United Airlines violent removal of a passenger from a flight from Chicago to Louisville. Some say, “That’s the policy. When an authority figure tells you to get off a plane, you must do as you are told.” One person even said the passenger was “trespassing on private property,” so removal by force was warranted.

Contractually, United was within their legal rights since every ticket they issue contains a provision allowing them to kick a passenger off any flight for any reason. Legally, United was within their rights to use local law enforcement to strong-arm a passenger off of its aircraft. (Their right to leave said passenger bloodied is a bit more of a gray area.)

But this is a question of business practices, not rights. A restaurant can theoretically use force to remove me from a table in the middle of a meal if a higher-paying customer demands my table. If they do, then I can decide never to eat there again, and to publicize the incident so that others may decide not to eat there as well.

United overbooked the flight, then boarded it anyway. (Screw up). After the plane was full, they discovered they needed more seats to move a flight crew to Louisville. (Screw up) They did not offer passengers sufficient compensation to entice enough of them to give up seats. (Bad decision). They did not look for other ways of getting their crew to Louisville; such as another airline, or a flight to a nearby city. (Bad decision). They resorted to the use of an arbtirary system (bad policy) to choose a passenger to be forcibly removed. They then dispatched law enforcement personnel (bad decision/bad policy) who ended up physically assaulting a passenger who did not want to give up the seat he had paid for. Then, facing a PR backlash, they weaseled and attacked the passenger … again (bad decision).

United maybe didn’t violate any laws, but their handling of this episode was wretchedly bad. And they fully deserve the backlash they are getting. The flying public is now aware that if they buy a ticket on United, they have no guarantee of keeping their seat, and they can be bloodied and dragged out of the plane by armed guards if they object. They can make their purchasing decisions accordingly.

Customer Service at United Airlines

Posted by V the K at 3:59 pm - April 10, 2017.
Filed under: Airlines Suck

Incidents like this are why I avoid United Airlines as much as possible.

United overbooked the flight. United decided at the last minute to kick people off the flight to make way for their employees. And then they take out their incompetence on the passenger.

Spirit and Allegiant are reputably sh1tt1er airlines, but at least they achieve horrible service effortlessly. United seems to put a lot of work and thought into treating passengers like crap.

Gay TSA Employee Loses Job Due to Heteronormative Intolerance

Posted by V the K at 8:08 pm - April 14, 2015.
Filed under: Airlines Suck,Gay Culture

Obviously, the Patriarchy is uncomfortable with a gay man expressing his identity on the job.

Two Transportation Security Administration screeners at Denver International Airport have been fired after they were discovered manipulating passenger screening systems to allow a male TSA employee to fondle the genital areas of attractive male passengers.

“He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows (the male TSA screener) to conduct a pat-down search of that area.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Smart Phones and Rude People

I saw this article on Yahoo Monday about a TED talk Sergey Brin gave last week, where he discussed the ways that he finds his smart phone “emasculating.”  I don’t have a strong opinion on that topic, but it’s also partly because I don’t have a smart phone.  I’m not really a luddite as much as I am true to the Swiss, German and Scottish parts of my ancestry in my frugality and my reluctance to adopt the latest fads, especially when those fads come with a monthly fee I’d rather not have to pay.

I only have a rather primitive cell phone, and I rarely use it very often.   I remember back around 2000 watching the Oprah show one day when Oprah confessed she didn’t have a cell phone, and she couldn’t understand why people needed to be available that way at all times and in all places.  While I’m sure Oprah has relented and gotten not just a cell phone but a smart phone by now, I still remember her remark in resisting that particular technology.

But while I might not have a smart phone, most of the other folks I know or encounter have one.  And that brings me around to my topic of the moment.  I’m less worried about whether or not smart phones are “emasculating” than I am about their tendency to make people more self-absorbed, oblivious, and frankly rude.

I’m appalled at work when I see people checking their smartphones during meetings, but I see it all the time.  And then there is the matter of the folks who text (or play “Angry Birds”) while walking or crossing the street or, worse, while driving.

My particular gripe at the moment is something that I see more and more frequently when I fly these days, and that is people who flout the rule against using their cell phones during flight.  Maybe it is an unnecessary rule, but it is still a rule, and ostensibly a rule put in place for everyone’s safety.  Nevertheless, I’ve witnessed people within my line of sight who don’t turn off their phones when instructed, or who furtively turn them on in mid-flight to start texting or checking e-mails (and I’m not talking about a flight with wi-fi), or who hide them away only to have them ring during flight.   On one of my most recent flights, a phone rang and a guy took the call and started talking as we were going into the final descent before landing.   I’m not a frequent flyer, so if I’ve witnessed all of these things, I can’t be the only one.

Maybe I’m just being a grouch, but it seems to me that the advances in communications technology have desensitized many people (and not just the Alec Baldwins of the world) to the demands of common courtesy and common sense.

America’s Worst Airlines

Via Forbes.com….

As air travelers’ summer of hell draws to a close, stories of canceled flights, lost luggage and late arrivals abound. But while it might seem that the whole system is a mess, which carriers are actually the biggest culprits?

Other than Jet Blue’s much publicized ice storm fiasco in February, customers seem to be engaged in a general rage against the industry machine. And it’s true that some common annoyances, like long security lines, come courtesy of the government and tend to affect airlines across the board.

The Top Ten Worst, according to Forbes are:

1 – Atlantic Southeast (Delta carrier)
2 – Comair (Delta carrier)
3 – American Eagle (American carrier)
4 – ExpressJet
5 – US Airways (*shocking!!!!*) –
On-time performance: 68.3% (third worst), Baggage mishandling: 8.6 per 1,000 passengers (seventh)
6 – American Airlines
7 – Mesa Airlines (United carrier)
8 – Delta Airlines
9 – United Airlines
10 – Alaska Airlines

But we need more than the just the provisions being pushed in the “Air Passenger Bill of Rights.” 

Some of us actually want/need to get from one place to another in the same day.  And we want to be treated like customers (or at least human beings).   For example, if I owned a restaurant that satisfied my customers only 50-60% of the time, and had only nasty waiters and waitresses, that restaurant would be out of business tomorrow.

In addition to the Bill of Rights’ ideas to force the airlines to stop holding us hostage on the tarmac, we actually need the airlines to simply do their jobs:  Get us there on time and treat us with respect.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

How Bad Does US Airways Suck Week

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 8:16 pm - June 23, 2007.
Filed under: Airlines Suck,Post 9-11 America,Travel

I have been traveling a lot the past few weeks and I’ve come to the conclusion that US Airways is completely falling apart. And I’m not the only one. Over the past two weeks alone, I’ve heard story-after-story of massively delayed flights, lost luggage, rude US Airways employees — it seems to have gotten worse since their infamous computer meltdown this past March.

So, since I’m doing a lot of flying this week… I am proud to declare this “How Bad Does US Airways Suck Week.” Starting with my flight today…

Our scheduled flight departure time was 4:00pm with arrival in Charlotte at 5:55 pm.

ACTUAL departure time from gate in Ft. Lauderdale:5:45pm. ACTUAL arrival time at gate in Charlotte: 7:30 pm.

Net loss of my time from flight delay: 1 hour, 30 minutes.

Additional wait time for luggage: 30 minutes.

Total time taken from my life today from US Airways: 2 hours!!

At the end of “How Bad Does US Airways Suck Week”… I’ll be calculating my “lost life time” and sending US Airways a bill for that time.

And all of you get to watch!!

-Bruce (GayPatriot….written via mobilephone while waiting for luggage at Charlotte-Douglas Airport)

US AIRWAYS MELTDOWN CONTINUES…… IS ANYONE PAYING ATTENTION?

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 8:24 am - March 29, 2007.
Filed under: Airlines Suck,Post 9-11 America,Travel

I don’t know how US Airways is escaping the wrath of the news media and late-night comedians.  Nearly a month after the computer systems from US Airways and the old America West were mergedthere are still major problems.   I can tell you from first hand experience this morning that the kiosks at Charlotte-Douglas (one of US Airways’ hubs) are still not functioning properly.  Also, there have been problems every time I have checked in at any US Airways counter since March 4th.

The desk attendants just throw up their hands and sigh… meantime the waiting lines are longer than they ever were before the computer merge on Sunday, March 4th.  The real problem, as always with the airlines, isn’t so much the computer issue as the “people issue.”   US Airways refuses to get more people behind the counters to help out if they know the computers are still working.

And more distressing is the attitude of the union workers who, in my opinion, are enjoying this season of “screw the passengers”.  I honestly believe, based on overhearing a number of flight attendants, gate agents and counter agents during the past three weeks, that the workers are in a “slow down” period and taking advantage of the computer problem to make things worse for US Airways.

What the union workers forget is that they are making life worse for their fellow Americans who, unfortunately, rely on our air traffic system for commerce and family connections.

I only wish the news media were hounding both US Airways management and the workers’ unions as much as JetBlue was hounded during the recent snowstorm issues.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

LUGGAGE FOUND!

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 12:55 pm - February 19, 2007.
Filed under: Airlines Suck,Post 9-11 America,Travel

I just got a call from US Airways in Charlotte.  The luggage is back at the Charlotte-Douglas Airport and should be to my house this afternoon.

I want to thank all of those involved in helping to get it back, especially Vince, Graham, and Sean at KYW and WBTV.  Thank God for a slow news day yesterday!

But honestly, why should anyone have had to go on a one-man Internet/media rampage?  All I wanted US Airways to do was their job in Philadelphia and match up missing luggage claims with the actual bags that have been sitting there since Thursday.

Sign me up for the Passenger Bill of Rights, baby!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

Amazing Luggage Race Ends: No Winner, No Luggage

**UPDATE** — KYW-TV 3 in Philadelphia aired the story this morning (click here to view it).  I am still laughing.  Just so you know, I don’t wear expensive underwear (just Hanes)… it is all about principle!! 

To my amazement, I didn’t get one enterprising yoot to take me up on my offer to find my luggage in Philadelphia Airport for a $1,000 prize.

Not to my amazement… US Airways still hasn’t secured my luggage either.  I do have promises as of last night that someone was looking.  And that, if found, it would be flown to Charlotte today.

*not holding breath*

I’ll keep y’all posted!

-Bruce (GayPatriot)