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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)