Before I run my suggestion to the airline industry past you, allow me to vent a bit about their stupendous stupidity. Well, may be not all airlines, but American Airlines in particular.
Last Tuesday I was about to embark on a trip to a place that had risen to the top of my dwindling bucket list – Santa Fe, New Mexico. In an uncharacteristic example of orderliness, I’d packed my bags and placed them at the door. I knew exactly where all my paper work was, and had even parceled out Marcel and Marceau’s freeze-dried raw food in 14 containers so that all the pet sitter had to do was add water. I’d placed these in a snaplock storage box so Marble couldn’t get at them,
and placed Marble’s special canned food in the cat carrier so he also couldn’t get at them, either. Yes, they were unopened cans, but I’ve learned never to put anything past Marble.
I had just fed them and was ready to rinse their dishes and head out when the phone rang. And oh yes, may I had it was about 5:40 AM. My plane didn’t leave until 10:00, but LaGuardia Airport is a little over an hour away, and I had to park the car at an off site parking lot before taking their shuttle to the terminal.
I was just about to run water in the sink when the phone rang.
Recording: This is American Airlines with a change to your itinerary. Due to a delay for your connecting flight, you will be leaving from Newark at 12:15.
Me: NEWARK?!?!?!? I can’t go to Newark.
First of all, given NY/NJ traffic, there was no guarantee I could make it to Newark. And even if I could, I already had parking reservations at LaGuardia, and my traveling companion, who was flying from San Diego, was meeting me in Albuquerque at 3:30. Since her plane was getting in at 12:30, she was already waiting three hours as it was.
Recording: Press 1 to accept this change. Press 2 to reject it.
Me: pound pound pound (on 2 of course.)
Recording: Please wait for the next available agent.
Well, luckily at that time of morning, the next available was instant. The good news was she managed to get me on another flight from LaGuardia and my new connecting flight at Dallas/Fort Worth would actually get me to Albuquerque an hour earlier (if I could make the connection in an hour) The bad news was it was leaving at 9!
Well, I grabbed my bags ran to the car, like a bat out of hell, and actually made it to the airport on time. Ah, all was going well ——— until the pilot came on the PA.
Pilot: I don’t like the sound of one of the engines so I’ve called for maintenance to come and check it out. They’re on their way.
My seatmate: We only need one engine. Let’s go.
After nearly an hour, I was ready to agree with him.
We finally took off, and luck was finally with me. When I got to Dallas/Fort Worth, I learned that the plane going to Albuquerque was delayed, and I still had a chance to make it, even though I was at Gate B, and the plane would be leaving from Gate E. This involved going up the escalator and taking the SkyLink train. At gate E, I found out that not only was the flight delayed, the plane was taken out of service and they were “looking for another plane.”
Well, they finally found one, and it got me to Albuquerque, but not much earlier than the originally scheduled flight.
Fortunately, all went well. We had a wonderful three days in Taos, followed by a wonderful three days in Santa Fe, and my flights back to NY went like clock work.
Now, as to what all airlines do wrong………
Don’t you think it would be better to let the people sitting in the back of the plane (like me) board first? This would do away with the back-up in the aisle as the front people jam their carry-ons into the overhead bins.
It would also mean that the big wigs and fancy shmancies in First Class wouldn’t have to sit there so long as we peons filed past.
What do you think?