Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | July 8, 2013

Not A Frequent Flyer . . . Or Even An Occasional One

NoPlanesWI always thought it was interesting how airlines could just cancel flights out of the blue, for no good reason except that they weren’t able to sell enough seats to make the run profitable.

If you are a flyer—and I’m not—I imagine it goes something like this: “Yeah, well, we don’t have enough people flying, so we’re just going to cancel the flight. Good luck to you now.”

It seems to me that the purchase of a ticket should be something akin to a contract, and it should be honored by both parties.  After all, they have your money, and you have a bought-and-paid-for ticket.  Just try canceling or changing the ticket after you’ve bought it.  See how that works out for you.  I’m guessing you will be opening your wallet wide and watching as the 50- and 100-dollar bills fly out like ducks in a marsh following a gunshot.   But then, I don’t know.  Like I said, I’m not a flyer.

On the other hand, when the airline cancels your flight do you get a discount on a new flight?  Do you get an overnight stay at a hotel—courtesy of the airline?  What about a free dinner or breakfast?  What if the canceled flight means that there is no way to get you to your destination in time for whatever meeting or event that was the whole purpose of the flight.  Do they even refund your money?  These are questions I don’t know for sure.  Like I said, I’m not a flyer.

All that I do know for sure is that when I sell something, I need to deliver the goods or I am committing fraud.  Do that enough times, and I’ll eventually end up in jail!  Why isn’t the same true for airlines that commit fraud by taking your money for their goods and then not delivering?

I don’t get the whole air travel thing anyway.  To me, it goes something like this: Pay a small fortune for a ticket; drive an hour to an airport; get there two hours before the plane leaves; spend an hour getting radiation treatments and a complimentary colonoscopy; contend with rude and impersonal ticket agents and gatekeepers; finally board the plane (if you are lucky), but then have your overhead luggage sent to the cargo hold because it is too large or there is no more room in the overhead bins or they need the space for a backup black box or something; have a flight attendant (steward or stewardess, if you are from my era of flying) use their official aviation shoehorn to get you into your seat, whereupon you are wedged like a 2″ round peg in a 1″ square hole between two overweight former NFL players whose last showers where taken at the end of the last game they played . . . in 2003; pay 9 bucks for a stale turkey sandwich with half an ounce of turkey hidden somewhere behind a well-preserved, oversized leaf of lettuce; or don’t pay 9 bucks for the sandwich, because you have quickly realized that you will never be able to eat it as your arms are now crossed in front of you, locked in place by the NFL players on either side who are each at least a third of the way into your seat; find yourself along for the ride as your plane taxis out and sits motionless on the tarmac for two or three hours, waiting for clearance to take off even while the air-conditioning somehow manages to break down (as it always does when planes sit out on the tarmac for more than 5 minutes)—you could complain and ask to be let off, but you know that doing so would bring men in blue suits with badges who would accommodate your request, but then take you to a basement room in the airport where they would administer another round of radiation and a second colonoscopy;  finally endure (which is putting it mildly) your flight, if you are one of the lucky ones, and arrive at your destination—hey, you could have been rerouted to Greenland!; then, of course, find that your luggage didn’t arrive with you, but that it was sent to China—and six weeks after you arrive safely home, your luggage arrives via FedEx at your house, but you are missing some valuable jewelry and electronics, even though you find a set of chopsticks that you are sure you didn’t pack.

Now you have gone through all of this and taken a full day to fly from Grand Rapids to Atlanta.  In the same amount of time, you could have had a nice road trip, stopping along the way to see a few sights and eating a couple of nice meals in a couple of nice restaurants—and all on your own schedule!  If time were not a factor, and you really wanted to enjoy your trip, you could have traveled by camel—in much more comfort than an airline seat and breathing better smelling air, too!

As I’m writing, I’m getting excited to take another trip.  I think I’ll quit right here . . . and go saddle up my camel.

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