Monday, September 19, 2005

Fun with Pilot and Passengers

I'm back. Dammit, what a long day. More and more, the modern airline industry is incredibly frustrating. Once upon a time, flying was a privilege and a new and wonderous experience. Now...well...it sucks. It powerful sucks. Airplanes are slowly and surely turning into buses in the sky. I love to travel, but service, people, and vehicle are turning me away. I'm starting to feel that I need to learn how to fly and buy a crop duster like this one on the left here so I can fly myself. If I hate the service, then I have no one to blame but me.
This is how my travel day went. I am warning you up front: Everything I am about to tell you is true. I wish it wasn't, but it is.
There were no problems at security this time. My bag was sent through the machine three times because the guy was having a hard time reading something (I have no clue what). Fine, no big deal. The real fun began on the plane.
I am sore, and my knee and ankle have been hurting a great deal lately.
So I took an aisle seat. I love the aisle, because I can stand up and stretch and move around. From the moment I sat down, I knew life was going to be difficult. First, there was a woman sitting two rows in front of me that was directing traffic for the entire plane. This is a passenger, and she's telling one guy where to put his bags, then another woman to keep moving. It was very strange. I knew she didn't know these people, because the AA (Airline Attendant) quietly told the woman to sit down and stop. Shortly after this, a group of people show up to my row. "You need to move," I am told. (Notice it's not, "Are you sure you're in the right seat?" or "Could we switch?") "Excuse me?" I respond. "My two friends are sitting next to you, and we want to be together, so you're going to take my seat so we can be together." (Again, no "please," or, "Would you mind?") "Sigh, where are you sitting?" I decide to ask. Turns out it's a middle seat...in the back...by the bathroom. "Nope, sorry. I paid my money for this seat, and I want to keep it. See if you can switch with someone else." This does not go over well. First the group swears at me and calls me names. Next (my favorite part) Bossy Lady stands up and tells me I have to move. That's right: Another passenger is TELLING me I HAVE to move. "Excuse me, this is none of your business." This is not enough to appease her. "They want to be together. You have to move. A good person would move. Obviously you're not a good person." Let's remember, boys and girls, that I am VERY tired. I feel drained to the very core of my being after the last few days. I politely respond, "I'm sorry. I paid for this seat, which I chose. I will not move to a middle seat, because they didn't plan their travel correctly." This sets of Bossy Lady, who, while the rest of the plane is boarding stands in the aisle and berates me (She's a Minnesotan, no less). "I will not move," I repeat. Now the AA comes up. "What seems to be the problem?" (I know feel as though this little lady wants to be a cop. "Well, Officer Andrea, these people are disturbing my peace.") BossyLady begins to lay out a story where I am a tyrant who vowed to spill the blood of those who would have my seat. Even the woman sitting across from me is rolling her eyes. Bossy Lady's husband is grabbing her arm and trying to pull her down. I explain the deal to the AA. The response is not what I expect. "You should move," she tells me, "just take the seat." I take a deep breath and show her my foot, then I explain that I have not been asked nicely. "If they had asked nicely instead of telling me to move, I might have. However, because they were rude, I'm not moving. Sorry." Finally, another couple moves and everything works out.
The flight is horrible. There are not enough drinks or food for everyone. They serve the older passengers first, then the younger ones. There wasn't even water. I asked for a glass so I could get water from the bathroom and was told they were, "out." Maybe it was true, maybe it wasn't.
We went up and down the whole flight as well. At one point we dropped. I don't mean a bounce, I mean engine noise whines, and we go down a few hundred feet. That wasn't fun.
I hate complaining about it, but it just feels like the passenger doesn't matter anymore. I mean cutting pillows and blankets? That's cruel. The guy who sat next to me tried to sleep on his tray
and was told he was, "not allowed to do that." Why? What is it hurting? The food is atrocious. Instead of giving us pretzels or even a bad sandwich, we now have to see which of the four color boxes is on our flight and which food is in said box. We had grey, and the cheese was expired. That's a bad sign.
Oh and the electrical system was, "screwy," according to the AA. Several cabin lights and overhead lights would click on and off during the flight. One woman thought it meant that the plane would crash. She was really scared.
Look, I get that I'm a bad person for not moving. Maybe you agree, maybe you don't, I don't know. That's not the point. The point is that the consumer, who the airlines should answer to, is being screwed. As long as the shareholders get their cut, who cares about us, right?
Then again, as
Worm says, I'm just a intellectual rambler.
So, check into that airline before you fly it. Think of it this way: NWA is losing money everyday, cutting pilots, and about to cut more out of its in-flight service. Southwest? Looks fine. They're running very well. Continental? Made a huge turn around. Many industry insiders say that ALL airlines should be run the same way.
Then again, I'm just the ass in 20-D, who won't move. What do I know?

4 comments:

Suzie said...

I totally agree with you. I wouldn't move if someone demanded that I leave my aisle seat for a center one. If a person asks nicely, I might consider it. I have moved before to let people sit together before, but I've always been the one to suggest it.

Cat said...

I also agree with you!!! If you DEMAND I do you a favor, I will not do it, if you ask nicely, I most likely will do it. Especially a aisle for a middle... I mean what is wrong with people these days. I have moved before when asked nicely to do so. (They also bought me a beer on the plane for a thank you!)Good for you for sticking with it!
And as far as bossy lady goes, can you imagine being her husband... poor guy. People like that need a muzzle and a tranquilizer!

cat said...

leab, I have had overall great flights with Sun Country Airlines, and with America West, if they go the the destinations you are looking for! Just FYI

Boozhoo said...

Damn it! You're the one who wouldn't move for me to sit with my friends!! Jerk. :)