Archive for the ‘Air travel’ Category

‘This customer needs service’

April 11, 2017

A United customer-service agent faced with an overbooking situation prepares to “re-accommodate” a passenger.

Not content to settle for losing/destroying its passengers’ luggage, delaying/canceling their flights, or simply leaving them stranded well short of their “final destination,” United has taken customer service to a whole new level undreamed of by Samsung, Comcast or your friendly local DMV:

Just kick the shit out of the troublesome sonsabitches.

C’mon. You knew it was coming. United specializes in employing the unemployable, the sort of authority-mad misfit who can’t make it as a mall cop, Klan enforcer, or presidential press secretary.

Sooner or later one of United’s goons was going to segue from daydreaming of the good old days euthanizing puppies in Leach Field, Alabama, to siccing the dogs on some passenger who not only didn’t want to get boned, but wouldn’t even pull his pants down on command.

As usual, this pissy attitude trickles down from the top. CEO Oscar Munoz should be sentenced to flying coach for a few years to see how long it takes him to become “disruptive and belligerent,” and if he were to be “re-accommodated” by a size-13 boot to the balls, well, I don’t expect many United customers would shed a tear.

But y’know what? Fuck us and what we think. United stock actually closed up after all this bad noise. America’s commercial airlines are enjoying record profits (United made $2.3 billion in profits last year). Overbooking flights pays off.

So shuddup, siddown and enjoy our in-flight entertainment: a gladiatorial match featuring four passengers selected at random. If you’re lucky, we won’t “re-accommodate” you at our cruising altitude of 36,000 feet, the way we just did your luggage.

Two wheels good, four wheels bad

October 17, 2016
Some people call this "morning." They are misinformed.

Some people call this “morning.” They are misinformed.

It was four wheels this morning. Bad.

Herself is off to Tennessee for a combo business/pleasure trip (a lab-librarians’ powwow in tandem with a visit to Herself the Elder), and then she’s zigzagging home via Colorado and Utah (running a half-marathon and maybe camping with a gal pal).

The leaves may be falling, but the roses are hanging on.

The leaves may be falling, but the roses are hanging on.

Thus Your Humble Narrator was required to rise at dark-thirty to chauffeur ‘Er Ladyship to the Duke City airport.

I dislike driving anymore. I particularly dislike driving before the second cup of coffee, in the dark, surrounded by deranged ‘Burqueños who thought “the “Fast & Furious” flicks were drivers’ ed.

Still, we got there, and I got back, and there was this lovely rose waiting for me just outside the kitchen window.

It ain’t all bad, this early-morning stuff.

 

Bluesday

January 26, 2016
There's a slight chance of snow this morning. Doesn't matter, I'll be inside cooking chicken soup as a deterrent.

There’s a slight chance of snow this morning. Doesn’t matter, I’ll be inside cooking chicken soup as a deterrent.

The Crud is undefeated and still champeen. It finally got Herself, the last holdout in the Maryland Four, and as I understand it the past couple of days have been as unpleasant as a close working relationship with Ted Cruz.

She’s on her way home as we speak, and I hope she (a) left The Crud back in Maryland, and (2) in her weakened condition doesn’t collect another bug from the pressurized aluminum test tube busy folks use as transportation in these modern times (que viva Air Subaru, baby).

Freelance rumormongers don’t get sick days. We don’t work, we don’t eat. Especially if we’re too busy barfing to cook.

Deep doodoo

January 24, 2016
Nope, no snow up there.

Nope, no snow up there.

Thirty-six inches: That’s the final tally from Maryland, where the digging out has commenced.

"It snowed how much? Where? Let's never go there."

“It snowed how much? Where? Let’s never go there.”

Adding insult to inundation, the gut rumble that started working its way through the kinfolk beginning with the brother-in-law has so far claimed 75 percent of the clan, with only Herself spared (so far).

Meanwhile, the mom-in-law’s flight back to Tennessee got croaked by the storm, so Herself the Elder is enjoying a little extra recovery time before clambering into an aluminum tube full of fresh viruses for the trip home.

This whole clusterfuck was intended to give her the chance to inspect a couple of properties with an eye toward relocating somewhere down the road.

I bet the trip made Albuquerque look like the Garden of Eden. The place has its warts like any other, but the snow rarely arrives three feet at a time and the only time anyone ever shits themselves is at the thought of living in Maryland.

"'Maryland,' you say? Sounds like Hell to me."

“‘Maryland,’ you say? Sounds like Hell to me.”

Here comes the sun

December 21, 2015
Woo hoo, break out the sunscreen!

Woo hoo, break out the sunscreen!

Happy winter solstice to thee and thine. Once again I will not be attending the annual illumination of the inner chamber at Newgrange — the 5,000-year-old monument is not among the locations served by Air Subaru — but I will be there in spirit.

The weather wizards say we can expect a high in the upper 40s today here in the Duke City, but it won’t be long now before this space is devoted to bitching about the intolerable heat. To everything there is a season.

Blow Hard

February 26, 2015
As far as GOP candidates are concerned, renowned kingmaker and fixer Mister Boo says he'd treat Christie just like a Bush.

As far as GOP candidates are concerned, renowned kingmaker and fixer Mister Boo says he’d treat Christie just like a Bush.

That’d be a good title for a movie about Chris Christie, though I’m not certain that Bruce Willis can put on enough weight to land the lead role.

The smart money is saying Christie’s presidential aspirations are stuck in traffic on some bridge somewhere, and that this whole charade may have less to do with the White House than with landing him a cushy talk-show gig, which could come in handy if New Jersey moves and changes its name the next time the Mouth That Roared leaves town on a “trade mission.”

That sounds about right. One thing Chris Christie will never run short of is ass to talk out of.

Strange beverage

March 16, 2014
The sky is crying.

The sky is crying.

Oh, ’tis a fine soft day in Charlotte, North Carolina. Ninety-three percent humidity is good for the skin after a long day spent drinking watery green beer with a few thousand of your closest friends followed by a nap in a shamrock-colored puddle of pee under the old F-350.

I managed to skirt the no-fly list once again and am squatting in the Charlotte airport awaiting the next pressurized aluminum tube full of viruses bound for Chicago, where I understand the climate is likewise good for preservation, especially of things like wooly mammoths, Ben and Jerry’s, and other frozen goods. Just as well, as I’ll be chilling there for at least a couple of hours before catching a Ford Tri-Motor for Bibleburg and Chez Dog.

Skipped the final day of the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, as two days gave us a pretty good look-see at all the touring bikes that weren’t there and I like to rassle my travel arrangements early, especially when I have so little say in how they get made and turn out. If some TSA dude is gonna beat on my kidneys with a mop handle I want to get it over with early, is what.

Meanwhile, Mr. Deme is in Detroit, where he reports he is sipping a Miller Fortune.

“All I can say is we really needed High Life in another package with a bit of Malt Liquor Bull added to it,” he adds.

I recommended a chaser of Listerine, or perhaps some Park Tool chain cleaner.

“That’s next,” he said.

Good morning, Charlotte …

March 14, 2014
A room with a view.

A room with a view.

… why so chilly? Please don’t make me wear pants on a Friday.

The flight out was uneventual, thanks for asking, which is to say that it sucked. The good thing about my connecting flights in Denver and Chicago being late is that I did not miss them, which seemed a high order of probability when I set out yesterday afternoon. And why is the under-seat space bigger in a pond-hopping turbo-prop than in a 737? Just asking.

Lights out came around 2 a.m. local time and lights on came way too bloody early. It’s barely above freezing and my shorts and T-shirts will stay in the closet for a while yet. But that closet is 23 floors up in a Westin hotel, so, yeah, I got that going for me, which is nice.

Now it’s time to grab some grub and scope out the North American Handmade Bicycle Show.

For everything there is a season

January 28, 2014

Herself almost made it home last night, if you will concede that Denver International Airport qualifies as “almost home.”

The weather was moderately evil, and Herself’s flight from Chicago to Bibleburg was rerouted to Denver, a change of schedule about which I was blissfully ignorant until hanging a left off Powers onto the airport road after a very slow drive on icy, snow-covered streets.

“Where are you?” asks Herself, and I figure I’m about to get an earful for being late picking her up.

“Coming up on the airport,” sez I. “Where are you?”

“In Denver,” sez she.

And that’s the way things stayed. I hung out in the cellphone lot for an hour or so, waiting to see if the situation would resolve itself. United was waffling on whether the 15-minute flight was go or no-go, saying the Bibleburg airport was closed (the airport’s website proved useless on the iPhone, The Gazette had nothing about it, and I was feeling cantankerous and forbade myself to investigate in person).

Anyway, long story short, I motored back to Chez Dog to await instructions, United finally canceled that DIA-COS flight altogether, and I arranged a hotel room for Herself, who — having been scheduled to touch down in Bibleburg at 8:03 p.m. Monday — finally hit the hay at two-ish Tuesday in Saudi Aurora. Now she’s due in at 3:15 this afternoon. So it goes.

While awaiting dispatches from the front I learned of Pete Seeger’s passing, and this morning, in his honor, I decided not to go a-tilting at the windmills of customer service. It was late, the weather sucked, and the harried minions who seem like knee-jerk shitheels at first glance are just working stiffs, like us. They probably don’t like being United employees any more than we like being United customers.

Pete, that unreconstructed old commie, would have sung them a song.

Remembrances

• “Pete Seeger: This Man Surrounded Hate and Forced it To Surrender,” John Nichols, The Nation

• “R.I.P., Pete Seeger,” Charles P. Pierce, The Politics Blog

• “Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94,” Jon Pareles, The New York Times

• “I simply wanted him to know that I loved him dearly,” Arlo Guthrie

Nothing out of the ORDinary

January 27, 2014

united-flightYou know you’re fucked when United gives you an estimated date for your flight home.

Herself is wheels up, jetting from Philly to Bibleburg via Chicago’s O’Hell International Campground, and on a whim I checked her flight status on the United website. The result of my inquiry is posted above. Seems the Soviet-surplus Aeroflot PS-84 inbound from Duluth ran out of bathtub vodka (for either the windshield washers or the flight crew) and is at least 90 minutes behind schedule.

A charging station in O'Hell. Has USB and everything. Hi, Uncle Sammy, it's your trusty taxpayer Herself, just keeping the iPad full of electrons.

A charging station in O’Hell. Has USB and everything. Hi, Uncle Sammy, it’s your trusty taxpayer Herself, just keeping the iPad full of electrons.

Happily, knowing through bitter experience that O’Hell is the aviation equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle (or perhaps the Hotel California), Herself has all her must-have items in her carry-on bag in case she has to kip in a plastic chair at Mickey D’s.

When reached for comment, Herself replied succinctly, “Shit.”

On the bright side, O’Hell apparently has these nifty little charging stations to keep one’s personal electronics ticking along like Chinese watches. All the better for the NSA to keep its files up to date, don’t you know.

• Late update: Well, she got onto that delayed flight, but now the Bibleburg airport is closed due to inclement weather and the sucker was rerouted to DIA. And after such a fun drive too. Funny, everything seemed to be on schedule right before I left Rancho del Perro Loco. The guy with the shovel must’ve knocked off early.

• Extremely late update: After dithering a bit, and herding people off and on and off the plane, United finally canceled Herself’s flight from DIA to Bibleburg, leaving her stuck at DIA around midnight, and from the sound of it their minions were none too helpful in (a) booking a Tuesday flight or (2) helping her find a place to lay her head for the evening. I may have to shout at some folks.