10 June 2010

No Fly Zone.

Note: This is a rant. This is only a rant. If this were an actual newsy post, little red linky things would appear in the text, alerting you to further reading or confirming the post content. They're aren't any. This is only a rant.

As of now, if we have to travel anywhere in the US less than 12 hours drive away from Baton Rouge, we’re taking the SUV. And even if it’s more than 12 hours, we may still drive. I have had it with commercial airlines.

Last week my daughter, a friend, and her friend’s family drove 8 hours to their family’s camp in Tennessee, just over the Mississippi line. Cost (gas and eats for all) - about $80.

My daughter and her friend left yesterday to come back by plane from Nashville. Cost (more than $200 each for tickets, plus $50 for eats in the airports. Scheduled time to make the journey: 5.5 hours. The actual time it took this particular airline to get them from Nashville to Baton Rouge?

18 hours.

E… I… G…H…T…E… E… N… H…O… U… R… S. Count ‘em:


Their flight was late getting out of Nashville, so they missed their connection in Atlanta. They were told there was a flight at 9-something PM to Baton Rouge, but it was booked. They could 1) wait, and hope space opened up on the 9-something PM flight, or 2) book a flight in the morning.

We called the airline and asked where they would put a 16-year old overnight if she couldn’t get on the 9-something PM flight? Not their problem, we were told. Weather. Act of God. Thankfully, my daughter’s friend had an aunt outside of Atlanta who agreed to put them up, and bring them back this morning at the crack of starlight to meet their new flight home. Which, actually made it.

To add insult to injury, my daughter’s checked bags were on the 9-something PM flight last night to Baton Rouge, leaving her with no fresh clothes or preening gear in Atlanta. Trust me - an unpreened teenage girl in day old clothes is not at all happy.

Between this kind of customer service and efficiency, and the professionalism and efficiency of TSA’s bi-pedal sloths, I don’t want to get anywhere near a commercial airport anymore.

If travel is going to take this long, bring back trains!

1 comment:

Doug Stein said...

The hub-and-spoke model was designed to make airlines lives easier - not ours. (To be fair, it also was supposed to add multiple redundant paths between cities. Unfortunately, airlines still don't have enough excess capacity to serve you when a connection "breaks".)

I agree with your analysis - anything less than 8-12 hours is not worth flying. Moreover, part of the reason the airlines are in thr toilet is that lucrative business travel is off. All of us who do business find that many trips can be replaced by webconferencing, phones, and email. You don't eliminate all business travel (since there are certain high-value meetings that have to be face-to-face), but the reductions are real and do kill profits at airlines.

Air travel used to be "cruise ships in the sky" - now it's an old Greyhound with wings.