April 23, 2017

United Airlines must be really glad that this American Airlines character got caught abusing a passenger.

"American Airlines flight attendant 'whacks a mother in the head with a metal stroller while she holds her twin babies and reduces her to tears' - then is filmed challenging a passenger to a FIGHT and yelling 'hit me!'"

A social force has been unleashed and who knows where it will end? The passengers feel empowered and feisty, and the flight attendants cannot maintain peaceful order within their sweet, smiling persona anymore. The iPhones are ready to record video that MSM and social media snap up and viralize.

The airlines try to compartmentalize: It's just United. It's just this one rogue flight attendant. I don't think so. I think this is the new normal: Passengers in rebellion and flight attendants in over their head.

105 comments:

Michael K said...

Cattle sometimes stampede if the stress is enough.

Steve said...

Yes, but will The Revolutiona get me better seat space. I don't think so.

Paco Wové said...

Obviously, passengers just need to be given a healthy shot of sedative before being loaded on the plane. Maybe that stuff they give you before a colonoscopy. Then the airlines could just stack people like cordwood, and no worries about "meal service" or "in-flight entertainment".

St. George said...

Don't worry...Scott Adams will have the answer this afternoon.

Angel-Dyne said...

(Your headline cracked me up.)

Has anyone verified that the attendant deliberately whacked that passenger in the head with a stroller? I'm dubious. Or was it more a case of things getting heated and the attendant trying to take/maneuver the stroller and inadvertently getting a whack in?

At any rate, as others have observed, plane travel has gotten so nasty and stressful that we're only going to see more of this kind of stuff happening. I don't see the airlines doing anything to improve the experience as long as people are willing to fill their planes. Like the other half of the miserable flying experience, TSA obnoxiousness, everybody complains but nobody organzies and revolts.

Chuck said...

But in the United Airlines case involving Dr. Dao's removal, it wasn't flight attendants, right?

That is what I never got, about the popular rage at United. United did what was right (apart from not offering a bidding war to choose the passengers to be bumped).

United's flight attendants didn't drag Dr. Dao off the plane; O'Hare airport police did that. In the end, Dr. Dao was resisting law enforcement. Not fighting with flight attendants.

Still, I get Althouse's point with this blog post and I think she is right. Another example of smartphone video changing our lives.


Viking In Winter said...

That fat queball of a flying waitress needs an ass kicking. These assholes get a little power and forget who they are working for. They have learned too much from the TSA pucks.

Fernandinande said...

The woman's stroller was too big to bring on the plane; it had been tagged as such and they told her not to bring it on.

AJ Lynch said...

I have never seen a passenger take a stroller onto a plane. They are required to leave at the end of the boarding ramp. This foreign lady was obviously trying to get PAID. And she will get PAID.

whitney said...

I know it's not feasible for everyone but I'm so thankful that I can go to my grave without ever seeing the inside of another airport

Angel-Dyne said...

Economy class air travel in the 21st century.

rhhardin said...

It's lucky nobody was stabbed with a plastic spork.

Sam L. said...

At Instapundit today: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/union-defends-american-airlines-worker-after-fight-with-passenger/article/2620988

Chuck said...

Fernandinande said...
The woman's stroller was too big to bring on the plane; it had been tagged as such and they told her not to bring it on.


Well said. It is certainly not always true, but it is usually true; the more that we dig into these stories, the more often we find that it was a hysterical passenger and not a draconian airline at fault.

Up above, I wrote that United did the right thing. I really should have written, United did the right thing by calling the police, without its flight attendants having to act as police.

MayBee said...

I don't understand why I'm supposed to be outraged with every single event.
Why is this American Airlines thing national news?

We can't see what happened.
I'm sorry if she got hit by a stroller she was trying to take on board when the FA told her she couldn't.
But she is crying way too much. And the passenger didn't need to get involved. Cooler heads were already handling it.

This story isn't for us. I'm not going to get involved in the Summer of the Airline Outrage.

Ambrose said...

One PR strategy for United could be to send fake passengers on to other airlines to refuse to follow instructions and see what happens.

Oso Negro said...

Althouse said "the flight attendants cannot maintain peaceful order within their sweet, smiling persona anymore"

Unequivocal proof that you don't fly these days.

Deb said...

Althouse said "the flight attendants cannot maintain peaceful order within their sweet, smiling persona anymore"

Unequivocal proof that you don't fly these days.


Yeah, definitely not El Al.

Oso Negro said...

Blogger Chuck said... That is what I never got, about the popular rage at United. United did what was right (apart from not offering a bidding war to choose the passengers to be bumped).

Chuck, the popular rage at United is the accumulation of many discourtesies, incompetencies, and grievances accumulated over the years. Plus, people who were regular customer of Continental (including me) still mourn the merger. It was easy to tell the difference between legacy crews after the merger, based on their demeanor toward the passengers.

Patrick said...

Twins, eh? So this was one of those weaponized strollers. Huge. Built like tanks. My only experience with them is when someone tries to take them on public transportation. They aren't good in that instance.

Chuck said...

Oso Negro said...
Blogger Chuck said... That is what I never got, about the popular rage at United. United did what was right (apart from not offering a bidding war to choose the passengers to be bumped).

Chuck, the popular rage at United is the accumulation of many discourtesies, incompetencies, and grievances accumulated over the years. Plus, people who were regular customer of Continental (including me) still mourn the merger. It was easy to tell the difference between legacy crews after the merger, based on their demeanor toward the passengers.


So I take it you agree that the Dr. Dao incident, by itself, was overblown. Only in the context of an "accumulation" of things like "discourtesies" can anyone get upset.

The one good thing about the video of the Dr. Dao incident was that it showed what a hysterical loon Dr. Dao was. There's absolutely no doubt, that Dr. Dao's case escalated to physicality for the simple and sole reason that Dr. Dao refused an order of airport police, and then forced them to drag him off the plane, all the while screaming, "Just kill me!"


robinintn said...

It's interesting to see the story change depending on people's points of view. Was it a "small collapsible stroller" or a "big ole double stroller flopping around the aisle"? Was she told as she boarded that she could check for stroller space in the overhead bins and had the stroller snatched before she could explain or did she refuse to comply with orders to gate check her tagged stroller? Do "rules"/"aviation laws" forbid strollers in the cabin or are they considered carry-ons? Was she overreacting to a harmless accident in search of a payday or was she cracked on the head by an overly-aggressive, entitled union thug? Etc.

FullMoon said...

Blogger Chuck said...

Fernandinande said...
The woman's stroller was too big to bring on the plane; it had been tagged as such and they told her not to bring it on.


Well said. It is certainly not always true, but it is usually true; the more that we dig into these stories, the more often we find that it was a hysterical passenger and not a draconian airline at fault.



"Olivia Morgan, who was standing in the door to the cabin with her eight-year-old daughter when the incident occurred, said the woman had been looking for a space to put the collapsible stroller.

A female flight attendant had given her permission to look for a storage space as it folds up small, but said she would have to check it in if there was no room.

The American Airlines website says small, collapsible strollers can be checked at the gate. There is no specific rule about not putting them in overhead bins.

'She was looking for space when the male attendant tried to take it away from her... and she said she told him the other attendant had told her it was okay to look,' Morgan said.

But that wasn't good enough for the man, she said.

'The flight attendant wrestled the stroller away from the woman, who was sobbing, holding one baby with the second baby in a car seat on the ground next to her,' Morgan said."

Every once in awhile, it pays to actually follow the link provided by AA and read the story before commenting. . Not everytime, just sometimes.

FullMoon said...

Southwest flight 2074 out of John Wayne airport yesterday, pilot came out after everyone was seated, introduced himself, walked length of plane,chatting with passengers and answering questions.

tcrosse said...

Did anybody interview the Tough Guy who was ready to settle the FA's hash ? I wonder what he saw to piss him off.

Michael K said...

"Southwest flight 2074 out of John Wayne airport yesterday,"

Aside from international and Alaska, I have not flown anything but Southwest in years, Once they got online checkin set up, I have seen no reason to change.

I was once an American gold level frequent flier but they pissed me off once too many times.

Mark said...

"United Airlines must be really glad that this American Airlines character got caught abusing a passenger."

I shouldn't think so. This only reminds and reinforces what United did by comparison since after this incident, the attendant was immediately grounded and American management immediately apologized while United did the opposite.

David Begley said...

We need to break up Big Air.

Leslie Graves said...

There's a lot going on in that video. My favorite parts are about the blonde lady seated next to the male passenger who keeps popping up to defend the crying mother-of-twins. The blonde lady, who is almost certainly the male passenger's wife, tries to get her husband to stop popping up and intervening. She tries this in a variety of ways but they are subtle.

My other favorite parts are the other passengers who are gradually allowed onto the plane in spite of the drama. They are just trying to get on the plane. As they step over the threshhold, what do they see? A crying woman holding twins. An irate man a few seats back who in some frames is in the aisle and at other times standing up in his row either preparing to lunge into the aisle or retreating from a recent lunge. They probably also see that one of the passengers is holding up a cellphone and taking a video of the whole scene, and they are smart enough to realize that they are gonna be in a video that will probably go on the internet. They all have a similar expression on their face. I'm not sure what the feeling is that goes behind that expression. It might need a new feeling word: "That feeling you have when you step onto a plane and realize that a drama is happening which is being videotaped by a passenger and you have two tasks...to twist and slip your body past the folks involved in the drama so that you can get to your seat and to put an expression on your face that will cause no one on the internet to criticize you or really take any notice of you in that video, as it inevitably goes viral."

Clark said...

I'm a frequent flyer. I welcome this. I'm not sure what makes airline employees feel entitled to treat their customers so poorly. Something had to give. The airlines will benefit from their flight attendants having to second guess themselves. Their initial instincts have proven poor enough to warrant it.

Sebastian said...

In my limited flying experience, the passengers have been far more rude and obnoxious than any flight attendants. Will airlines start recording any flight from beginning to end, just to cover themselves against stupidity, hysteria, and gold-digging?

Mark said...

United did what was right (apart from not offering a bidding war to choose the passengers to be bumped).

Every part of that sentence is factually and legally wrong. First, it was not a case of passengers being "bumped," i.e. denied boarding or denied a seat. The rules pertaining to bumping apply before boarding. In United's case, the passengers were already boarded, they had boarded at United's invitation. Thus, the bumping rules did not apply. This was also not a case of the flight being oversold. Instead, a different set of rules applied, the rules pertaining to removing a passenger. And none of the allowable reasons to remove a seated passenger applied.

dreams said...

If something like that happen when I was on a plane, it would upset me because you're all close in and unable get away from a bad situation and it's already kind of claustrophobic.

Mark said...

I'm not sure what makes airline employees feel entitled to treat their customers so poorly.

A bully-thug mentality that so many "servants" of the public get when given a little authority -- whether on board or at the TSA checkpoint or at the local DMV or cable company, etc. This mentality gets reinforced especially in air travel by the fear people have that if they don't take it and protest instead, they will end up on a no-fly list. The result is an abuse of power.

Mark said...

A bully-thug mentality that so many "servants" of the public get when given a little authority . . .

I left out a huge group there -- teachers.

The Godfather said...

Last night we happened to watch on TCM a 1951 movie called Three Guys Named Mike, with Jane Wyman as an American Airlines stewardess. It was a reminder of how different air travel used to be. For one thing, it was expensive, so passengers expected and received pretty good service. Probably for the same reason, the passengers all dressed up like they were going to church. The planes were a lot slower, so the trips took longer. Empty seats were scattered throughout the plane, and passengers weren't crammed in like cattle.

In those days, if you were just an ordinary Joe or Jane, you probably couldn't afford to fly, so you took the train or the bus. Now, thanks to deregulation, you can afford to fly -- but you're flying on a jet-powered Greyhound. I guess that's progress.

Fernandinande said...

FullMoon said...
Every once in awhile, it pays to actually follow the link provided by AA and read the story before commenting. . Not everytime, just sometimes.


She links to fake news too often.

http://www.tmz.com/2017/04/22/american-airlines-video-stroller-mother-twins-employee/
The mother of twins who was allegedly struck by a stroller by an American Airlines flight attendant tried fitting the double wide buggy on the narrow plane after being asked to leave it off ... TMZ has learned.

We're told the woman had the stroller tagged by employees at gate check-in and was asked to leave it at the bottom of the jet bridge before boarding the flight so it could be stored underneath the plane.

http://www.travelswithbaby.com/blog/flying-american-airlines-with-a-baby-toddler/
"American Airlines will not accept strollers weighing 20 lbs. or more at the gates of its flights. ... be aware that many standard, full-feature strollers also weigh in over this limit." (not to mention double strollers).

http://www.tsatraveltips.us/flying-with-a-stroller/
American Airlines – “Each ticketed customer is allowed 1 stroller. Only small, collapsible and light strollers (up to 20lbs/9kgs) can be checked at the gate. Any stroller that weighs over 20lbs/9 kgs, is too large or is non−collapsible must be checked at the ticket counter.”

http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2017/04/23/american-airlines/
We don’t know exactly what happened, but it seems that the mother tried to bring her baby stroller onboard the aircraft. That’s not normally allowed on flights within the US, so the flight attendant stopped her.

Fernandinande said...

Fullmoon said...
"The American Airlines website says small, collapsible strollers can be checked at the gate. There is no specific rule about not putting them in overhead bins."


There's the fake news: she didn't have a "small, collapsible stroller".

FullMoon said...

Fernandinande said...

FullMoon said...
Every once in awhile, it pays to actually follow the link provided by AA and read the story before commenting. . Not everytime, just sometimes.

She links to fake news too often.

http://www.tmz.com/2017/04/22/american-airlines-video-stroller-mother-twins-employee/
The mother of twins who was allegedly struck by a stroller by an American Airlines flight attendant tried fitting the double wide buggy on the narrow plane after being asked to leave it off ... TMZ has learned.


One story says she had permission. One says she did not. The woman was from Argentina. Did she bring the stroller on the plane when she came to America? If so, it would explain her believing she could bring it again.

EDH said...

What prejudices me against the crying women is her backpack, more specifically her obliviousness to its obtrusiveness.

It demonstrates to me her self centeredness.

I hate these motherfuckers with huge, deep backpacks roaming around like it isn't blocking and bumping into people constantly, especially in tight quarters.

At least the other female passenger with the Dorothy of Kansas hair boarding with a backpack seems conscious of its presence and adroitly adjusts her movements accordingly.

Clark said...

Sebastian, I'm glad you were willing to admit your experience is limited. Your comment certainly suggests it. Airlines decided to make flight attendants feel good by exaggerating the scope of their duties. It was likely done to appease a union...akin to giving someone a fancy title instead of a raise. In so doing, they created a nasty little cabal of entitled nannies out of a group that better served the industry when they knew their duty was to serve their customers. Now they believe they are somehow supervising them. It has created a stressful environment for both the attendants and the passengers. The recent evolution of customers willing to push back is a positive ste toward rectifying this unfortunate situation.

EDH said...

And why does she need the stroller in the passenger cabin?

Lem said...

Althouse said viralize.

Amadeus 48 said...

I think Althouse says she doesn't fly because she hates the conditions to which passengers are subject. I assume that is why she and Mead take 2,000 mile driving trips.
So, Ann, when was the last time you climbed aboard one of these commercial wonders?
Statistically speaking, commercial air travel is very safe, but also rather uncomfortable. It is also often, but not always, relatively quick. Life is full of trade-offs.
My wife won't go more than three hours in a car, so we fly everywhere longer than that. American Air all the way. I hate United.

mockturtle said...

It's not unheard of--or even unusual--for airline personnel to give conflicting information. Traveling with babies isn't fun for anyone concerned. This wasn't handled well.

Fernandinande said...

FullMoon said...
One story says she had permission. One says she did not.


The linked story said she had permission and also said that she didn't have permission. That's one way fake news works.

All 18 of these double-strollers weigh more than 20 pounds (the lightest is 27 pounds):
https://www.babygearlab.com/topics/getting-around/best-double-stroller

EDH said...

The other female passenger with the Dorothy of Kansas hair boarding with a backpack is "poetry in motion."

"SCIENCE!"

EDH said...

If I was officious intermeddler guy I would have instead asked for the name of the female passenger with the Dorothy of Kansas hair.

EDH said...

If it were up to me I'd let female passenger with the Dorothy of Kansas hair bring a gas powered leaf blower on board the plane.

Lem said...

The negative side effect of the feel good viral video is that we feel less queasy incorporating the camera into our lives leaving less and less room for privacy and anonymity and intimacy and not letting your right hand know why your left hand is saying what is saying... are you writing this down?

Have you noticed how the iPhone came camera now starts by sliding your index finger across the screen? you don't have to find it among the myriad of other apps. The least reliable of all the apps is getting the most mileage.

Lem said...

and another thing.

Why do we still need flight attendants?

EDH said...

"Anything so innocent and who moves like that just gotta be named Lucille."

Big Mike said...

@Lem, we need flight attendants in case of emergency. Go watch "Sully" again, at least the part where they have to ditch.

Which is why that flight attendant needs to be reassigned to a non-flying job. If he can't keep his shit together when he's under stress then he'll be no damn good in an emergency.

Jake said...

I've seen crocodile tears before. The woman in the AA video was crying them.

MadisonMan said...

I don't have much sympathy for people who fly with two young kids. You brought it all on yourself Lady. And don't get me started about the monstrous stroller she tried to roll on the plane.

Disclaimer: I've only flown been on 30-some flights this year.

Bruce Hayden said...

I too much prefer Southwest to United or American. Used to fly a lot on United when I was flying back to Denver every other weekend, first from Austin, then Phoenix. Then I discovered Southwest, and they started flying into the new Denver airport. Couple years I broke 100 flights with them. And never really dissatisfied with them. Still my "go to" airline, but while they don't gouge on last minute flights, they also don't provide last minute steals either. Frontier is decently good and friendly, but nickels and dimes too much for my comfort.

Never did like American. Price would occasionally put me on American on my bi-weekly trips to Denver, and, it was the worst for treating non-frequent travelers as cattle. You would board after the large first class cabin had been filled with mostly frequent fliers not paying any more for this flight, and sit in tighter, harder, seats than provided by their competition. Then they would draw the curtain so the first class cabin wouldn't be bothered by the riff raff, and we couldn't see their white table clothes and free drinks. And, of course, the surliest flight attendants got to work the cattle car.

Figuring that they might not be that bad, put my partner on American recently for a round trip between DEN and PHX. Southwest always gives me a gate pass to get her to the gate on the way out, and meet her on the way back. Always. Frontier is also good there. Need to do it to carry her luggage and to help her find her way. American? Grudgingly, I got a gate pass on the way out when the alternative was getting her a wheelchair (which she refuses to use on general principles). Meeting her? No way. I was firmly told, repeatedly, that it was company policy not to give them (despite having gotten one several days earlier at the same ticketing counter). The woman would not be budged. Did I want to get her a wheelchair? That was my only alternative. I was not going out on the concourse to meet her, period. Company policy. Well, my personal policy then is to never fly American, and, in particular, never to book anyone else on that airline. Last airline I would fly (even after United) or book anyone on.

William said...

I travel on the 2nd Ave subway. It's the most expensive form of travel known to man. Per capita, it's far more expensive than the average yacht. For all that money you don't get much glamour or many amenities. Still, it's a better form of conveyance than air travel.

wwww said...

I flew in the 70s and early 80s. Something like this would have never occurred.

We dressed for flights. Women wore heals. Children also dressed for flights. People treated each other with respect and gentility. Flight attendants gave great customer service. Passengers were treated excellently.

Families had priority boarding. Free to check bags. Food served for everyone on flights. Attendants brought special treats and toys for children. Small models of airplanes. Children were taken care of by the attendants and, as a result, much less likely to disrupt a flight.

But it was more then food being served. It was the attitude of the airline and the attendants. All passengers were treated as if they were first class. A passenger could make a request, and the attendant catered to the passenger. In turn, passengers generally behaved as if they were in church. No one would have worn pjs or yoga pants on a flight.

dhagood said...

@whitney: I know it's not feasible for everyone but I'm so thankful that I can go to my grave without ever seeing the inside of another airport.

this. i hate everything to do with airplanes and airports and i used to be a pilot.

Big Mike said...

Getting back to the tag for this post, I don't think United is st thrilled with the contrast with this incident at all. That flight attendant has been grounded pending investigation and the family was upgraded to first class for the balance of their international trip.

Ann Althouse said...

Not only won't I fly, I can't even bring myself to watch these viral videos.

I can't take the abuse. It's not as though I'd be helping humanity by flying or watching airplane abuse.

Michael K said...

Company policy. Well, my personal policy then is to never fly American, and, in particular, never to book anyone else on that airline.

My last American almost-flight was about ten years ago. I was a frequent flier with gold status most of the time. Most doctors don;t fly that much but I had been doing some expert witness stuff around the country. I arrived for my flight 43 minutes before departure and American, I learned, had a policy that you could not check in less than 45 minutes before departure.

I was not allowed to check in and they would not move me to the next flight to Chicago. All I could do was standby.

After some discussion, I went home and booked on Southwest the next day. I have not flown American since. I had about 30,000 FF miles that finally elapsed.

Michael K said...

Anything under 500 miles, I drive. The rest Southwest., We did have to take Alaska last September to AK.

Leigh said...

Ann, I hope that you're right about a revolt brewing. Flying is just horrific. First, we get photographed naked while we stand there spread-eagle, in our socks. At least they've taken the radiation machines away, for God's sake. Then we get tested, swabbed and probed again if we look funny or we're random passenger #421. If we opt out of the naked people picture machine, we get sexually assaulted (after we've been made to wait at least fifteen minutes in front of the entire line of passengers who wonder if we're terrorists). Then we finally make our way to the coneyor belt to round up our suitcase and computer (if they haven't been stolen). Distressed and thirsty, we pay $5.00 for a bottle of water and roll ourselves to the gate. Finally we get on the hot airplane, where the flight attendants are sweating, and we hope there is room in the bin for our luggage, and then we stuff ourselves into filthy seats. A clean, normal-sized seat-mate is a miracle. Once the flight has taken off, the huge man in front of us reclines his seat so far back that we can see the top of his head.

Forget it. Unless there is a family emergency or I'm going to Europe in business or first class, I will not fly. It is a degrading beat-down.

Etienne said...

Airports and airlines are no place for peasants. That's what buses and trains were for.

The industry needs to raise airline ticket prices to the point that only the bourgeoisie can afford them, and would be dressed appropriately for travel with other Caucasians.

Then they can install bigger seats and reduce the armed forces surrounding the gulags we call airports.

Michael said...

EDH

When I am slammed in the head with someone's backpack I give it a violent return shove. What is it with these assholes who are oblivious to physics. I don't shrug it off.

The guy in first class is why there will never be another terrorist taking over an airplane. The FA's bulging neck veins suggest he had a serious mad on. I would have asked the pilot to not allow that fucker to serve that flight. That dude was way out of line.

Althouse loves these stories which validate her fear of flying in a "rational" way.

Michael said...

Etienne

Correct.

0_0 said...

Even Southwest has imperfect employees.

I was first in line (having arrived first) and, was almost first on board (after the more privileged). I got the seat of my choice, aisle seat on the first forward-facing seat.

As the plane filled, the seats facing me and the two beside me were filled by a group of young ladies that were traveling together. I had sort of noticed the group when they were at the gate desk while I was in the boarding line.

A flight attendant came to me after the door closed and told me she needed to relocate me. I wasn't sure why, but for years I had respected flight attendants for their safety-related functions, not as uniformed waitresses. I assumed she had a good reason.

After moving me 6 rows back, she sat the 6th young woman with her other 5 friends. This is why I was moved? The FA then disappeared to her jump seat for takeoff.

Once airborne, the first time she walked past I asked for her mane. "***", she brightly replied. I said, your full name, please; she asked why, probably thinking I was flirting or trying to pick her up. I am informing the airline what you did to me today- I related to her the original version of the preceding paragraphs. She had this OMG look on her face, and she apologized, but I said that didn't help me, squished in my new seat.

She avoided me the rest of the flight- not too hard, I've never been on a long SW flight. But as we deplaned, she was waiting for me, looking like she was about to bust out crying. She asked if there was ANYTHING she could do to make up for moving me; the obvious thought popped into my head, but I was grumpy, wanted to leave, and hoped she had learned a lesson.

Maybe I should've tried to get her fired. Maybe she went on to be a better flight attendant. I never saw her again.

Bruce Hayden said...

@De K - Part of all my flying on SWA was for business. I was in a law firm with offices in San Jose, Reno, Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, and Albuquerque. After I left, I think that they have added Denver, LA, and maybe some more places in the southwest through merger. At the time, all SWA cities. Firm policy was to use them for two interrelated reasons. First, there was no rebooking fee (which can get expensive for law firms). Secondly, they don't gouge on fares bought a day or two out. I can remember finding $250 next day fares from DEN to PHX, when United was charging $800. Bought a month out, United might be comparable, but they (American and Delta) really cranked them when you got close to the day to fly. So, I would find myself being requested the next day in one of our other offices. Vegas, in particular. SWA Business Select was only maybe $15 over full fare at that point, and that would give me early boarding, extra mileage, etc. getting out and back to esp Vegas and San Jose, and back to my desk by mid afternoon, all in the same day, became routine. Still, maybe 5 years down the road, I still find flying easier than driving, even under your 500 mile limit. I still pretty much fall asleep on the takeoff roll, and usually wake in time for the drink orders. Good book helps, and now an iPad (or 3). When flying out of MT, I can fill one of them up with her TV shows, which makes it easier for her too.

My partner though is a different story. We are heading north shortly, and I will be pulling a small trailer (mostly for a treadmill). I want her to give me maybe three days, and then have her daughter put her on SWA to Spokane, where I would meet her. She is adamant though - she wants to drive. I can make better time without her, and have XM radio to fill the time. I tend to rotate through talk, golden oldies, and humor. The only thing that we can agree on is the Elvis channel. I wish that we could reverse rolls, with her driving, and my meeting her in Spokane (or Missoula).

Etienne said...

Althouse loves these stories which validate her fear of flying in a "rational" way.

So you think there are no people left who don't enjoy cattle cars? Do you think the Jews forced into cattle cars to the extermination camps were "irrational" for not enjoying the experience?

People who go to airports have one thing in common. They like being fucked in the ass.

Then they point at those people who don't like being fucked in the ass, and say they just have a fear of flying.

I'll tell you, flying used to be a wonderful experience. That all changed after deregulation.

Anyone brow beating someone for not being assimilated to ass fucking, is nothing short of a Hitler youth, or a free-ranging moron.

I haven't flown in an airline since 1993. I don't say that with any pride. I say it as a condemnation of the industry.

Consider also, that the US government taxes these airlines, and then blows the money elsewhere. The aviation industry is like the rest of government - dilapidated.

Earnest Prole said...

The revolt against abusive airline service reminds me of the revolt against bad police. For many years peaceful, ordinary people were were told their only two choices were order and chaos, so therefore they needed to accept whatever was dished out. But with the advent of ubiquitous video equipment, the times they are a changin’.

Michael K said...

"I can make better time without her, and have XM radio to fill the time. "

I bought my present car low mileage used because they changed the design of the Honda Pilot. Whoever was the previous owner had subscribed to Sirius. They pestered me for months to subscribe but I haven't. Now, I commute to Phoenix and might change my mind but I asked them once when they don't include Audible books.

Now, I listen to Audible books on my iPod which hooks into the radio.

I hated Southwest when they began because you had to get a number at the gate for boarding order. That was bad enough but, if you had a connection, the boarding order had to be new. I always wound up in a middle seat on the second flight. They fixed that with online checkin.

Bruce Hayden said...

@leigh - my record for security was shortly after 9/11. I was still flying United, and I needed 3 flights to make Premier Exec that year. Normally, I could fly in two hops from SLC to PHX, but found a route with three for the same price - SLC to SFO, SFO to LAX, and LAX to PHX (Southwest, of course, does it in one, and probably Delta too, having a hub there). I got patted down at all three gates (after having gone through regular security first). They were doing extra screening on 2-3% of the passengers, which meant, in reality, picking one of the first to board (stupid because they, like me, were inevitably the frequent fliers), and one of the last. So, I would have been 1st in SLC, 2nd in SFO, and was last in LAX, due to the previous flight getting in late (United flights are almost always late out of SFO, one of their hubs, esp in the summer, since fog cuts flights there down to a single runway, and fog is a good part of why it is so pleasant there at that time of year).

One of the reasons that my partner doesn't like flying is the TSA security. Setting off the metal detectors, she routinely has to get felt up by TSA agents. Often, they are respectful and gentle, but not always and has had bruises days later a couple times. Again, one of those reasons that govt unions are such a bad idea. Things may be a bit better now that I got her enrolled in TSA PreCheck. Good investment, except that PreCheck lines seem to be longer than regular security lines these days, thanks to its popularity.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Hayden said...

@Dr K - I definitely remember the days when they passed out boarding cards on SWA. Not fun, esp with connecting flights. New system is a lot better, esp since connecting flights get the benefit of the earlier flight time for the 24 hour window for getting boarding passes. When I was flying a lot, I would be in A16-30, as a frequent flier, if I booked more than 36 hours in advance, or A1-15 as Business Select if I did not. But then, it doesn't always work. My kid called me yesterday from the Denver airport, on the way to Dulles for a conference. We hadn't talked in a week or two, and this was our chance to catch up. Turns out, they were in the C's. Got their boarding pass that day. Why? They were under the weather the day before, and were frantically putting together their presentation for tomorrow. And forgot? Asked about Early Bird? (Usually $10-$15). Forgot. They usually fly Frontier to see their SO in SLC, or United to see their mother.

Never have gotten into audiobooks. I do some of my best thinking behind the wheel. But my partner's ex, who has been doing the PHX/MT trip every other week for half the year for better than 30 years loves them. Unfortunately, for those along for the ride, he is going deaf, maybe even more so than I am. So it is a bit load, esp for her, with her sensitive ears. He apparently mostly listens to detective stories,nwhich she thinks is humorous, since they tend to have a lot of foul language, which he otherwise abhors. The volume turned up high on his audiobooks, limited bathroom breaks, and a new girlfriend are a good part of why she now flies, even when he is going the same way at the same time.

AJ Lynch said...

EDH said:

"If it were up to me I'd let female passenger with the Dorothy of Kansas hair bring a gas powered leaf blower on board the plane."

Now I got to watch the video and check out Dorothy.

Chris N said...

I keep joking plane travel will have arrived when airports look like bus stations.

Lockers, bums, not much assurance of safety or comfort.

Remember that Canadian guy who lost his head riding Greyhound.

I mean LOST HIS HEAD

AJ Lynch said...

Chris N:

Yep and the head chopper just got a new name and the Canadian govt paroled him so he is back amongst us.

LilyBart said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LilyBart said...

Everyone seems to think Southwest is so superior, but honestly, I don't see it. I live in Denver and have flown with both Southwest (Den to Love Field) and with United a lot for work and pleasure. The customer service is "uneven" with both airlines. FAs with Southwest are just as capable of being rude (pro tip: don't ask for pretzels instead of the peanuts they hand you or you'll get the 'evil eye'). But the biggest 2 problems for me with Southwest is: (1) they're late every damn time - which makes connecting fights a problem, and (2) the no reserved seating sucks for me I usually do earl- bird check-in and get my aisle seat. So far so good. Then the "C" people start coming, and all the fat men looking for the most comfortable center seat, and spy me - a 5'3" 125 lbs woman - and think they'll be more comfortable sitting there. And they are because they're half way in my seat! This happens almost every time I've flown Southwest. I end up leaning into the aisle to accommodate their girth. And then other passengers and the drink cart hit me in the shoulder as they pass by. I HATE HATE HATE flying Southwest for this reason and prefer United - with assigned seats, I far more likely to have a normal sized person sitting next to me!

Chuck said...

LilyBart said...
Everyone seems to think Southwest is so superior, but honestly, I don't see it...
...

I have low expectations with Southwest, and so I am almost never disappointed. I expect them to get me from point-to-point at low cost. They do that pretty well. And they have better boarding experiences because their customers have been encouraged, by pricing (or lack of pricing, to be a little more to the point) a checked bag or two at $0.00.

Have you flown Spirit? They are cheap; and they are almost entirely a la carte. Buy a ticket, pay for it. Bring a bag, pay for it. Bring another bag, pay more for it. Check a bag, pay for it. Etc.

Michael K said...

But the biggest 2 problems for me with Southwest is: (1) they're late every damn time - which makes connecting fights a problem, and (2) the no reserved seating sucks for me I usually do earl- bird check-in and get my aisle seat. So far so good. Then the "C" people start coming, and all the fat men looking for the most comfortable center seat, and spy me - a 5'3" 125 lbs woman

Southwest on time starts to slip as the day goes by. Take early flights and they are on time. Not sure how that gos with other airlines.

Do the other airlines allow you to reserve the seat next to you for thin people? Not sure how that works.

mockturtle said...

I remember having to take Air Wisconsin quite a few times back in the day. Still there?

Michael K said...

" Unfortunately, for those along for the ride, he is going deaf, maybe even more so than I am."

I am, too. I find wearing my hearing aids helps with more than volume. I like the Bernard Cornwell novels and they are often read by men with British accents. Some of the readers do multiple accents (pretty neat actually as some of the early Sharpe series are about India.) and that is hard for me to get all the meaning. Hearing aids help.

I listened to the French Revolution course on great courses. Now I am listening to "Dead Wake," about the Lusitania sinking.

Audible is about $15 / month and I can't get through all the books fast enough. Great Courses are also included.

Tyrone Workman said...

I'm old enough to remember when flying was actually fun. And yes, it was with airline deregulation that all changed. Deregulation led to greater competition and lower fares, but also smaller seats, cramped conditions, and more passengers, creating the cattle car experience. But it changed flying in another way: lower prices opened air travel up for just about everybody. Whereas people used to be dignified and classy, or tried to be, now you have all manner of sketchy and dodgy characters doing all sorts of things. Being a flight attendant is much harder work than it used to be. Then you add the TSA aspect, and flying somewhere nowadays is like running a medieval gantlet.

Michael said...

Etienne

Au contraire. I arrive with PreCheck and then go to the Clear line where I place my fingers on a pad and am then admitted to the very front of the pre check line. I pass security with my shoes on and without a ziplock bag of toiletries which remain as they should in my Dopp kit. I proceed to the airline club and if it is not crowded I have a latte and then I stroll to my gate and board in first class. I put on by Bose noise cancelling in ear buds ( never the clunky headphones) and click them on. I then commence to read and work til touchdown. I manage a couple of hundred thousand miles a year in the air by choosing these steps to make it easier.

Michael said...

Oh, and when I travel overseas and return to the US I go to the Global Entry lane which puts me in the front of the line and insures I have zero problem with baggage.

Bruce Hayden said...

Traditionally, I have had a much better on-time experience with Southwest than I ever had with United. United had the problem of their SFO hub, which meant that they were pretty well assured that if they had planes flying through there, they would e late for the rest of the day, since they seemed incapable of making up lost time. And that meant that much of their west coast operations were late, day in, and day out. On the other hand, one of my first experiences with Southwest was Austin to Dallas and back. The plane was 20 minutes late into Dallas but on time by the time we got to Austin. They picked up 10 minutes on the ground, and the other 10 on the short hop between those two cities. Out of 300-400 SWA flights, I can't remember missing a connection. Did with United on several occasions (nothing worse than watching them shut the door as you are connecting from one of their other flights). And, then there is American. On one connecting flight through DFW, they announced that our connecting flight was on the next concourse. Rushed over there (and it is a big airport), only to find that the gate has been moved back to the gate next to the one we disembarked from. Needless to say, rushed back to see the doors closing in front of us. Sorry. Rules. Can't reopen them even though our lateness was their fault.

Earnest Prole said...

This reminds me that the only thing more boring than listening to people talk about real estate is hearing their flying stories.

wwww said...

I'm old enough to remember when flying was actually fun. And yes, it was with airline deregulation that all changed. Deregulation led to greater competition and lower fares, but also smaller seats, cramped conditions, and more passengers, creating the cattle car experience. But it changed flying in another way: lower prices opened air travel up for just about everybody. Whereas people used to be dignified and classy, or tried to be, now you have all manner of sketchy and dodgy characters doing all sorts of things. Being a flight attendant is much harder work than it used to be. Then you add the TSA aspect, and flying somewhere nowadays is like running a medieval gantlet.


this this a thousand times this. The experience in domestic first class is similar to an economy seat in the 70s.

@Michael 2:57
Will have to try the Bose noise cancelling earbuds. I usually leave the Bose earphones at home and wear the earplanes, but earplanes don't do much to cancel the noise. Have flights coming up and will try to adopt your good attitude.

Jane the Actuary said...

So let me get this straight: the woman claims a flight attendant told her it was OK to bring the stroller on board, and this is being taken as "proof"? Who was that flight attendant? Was there any confirmation? Or was she just making up the claim that she had permission?

It seems a bit obtuse to take a statement on airline policy about either checking strollers at the gate or the ticket counter, and turn that into, "well, they don't explicitly say it's not allowed to bring them on board"! I have never seen a stroller that folds down small enough to fit into the size of the "on board luggage" maximum dimensions.

Michael said...

Wwww

You won't regret the Bose!!

Michael K said...

I go to the Global Entry lane which puts me in the front of the line and insures I have zero problem with baggage.

I tried to sign up but the web site would not accept my passport info. It wanted the date of issue and expiration. I tried entering them in all configurations and it would not accept any. I know you have to go to LAX in person but I never got that far.

I have a new passport and may try again but I fly so seldom.

cubanbob said...

For those planning to get TSA Pre-check spend an extra $15 and get Global Entry. You get the same benefit as pre-check plus the additional benefit upon arrival from an international flight. For those who drive across the border into Canada as long as everyone in the vehicle has Global Entry you get expedited and less hassled and the program has reciprocal rights with some other countries (with certain conditions).

Being a big guy, I always buy to seats so as not to be hassled and preferably in the first row. Domestic first class seats depending on the aircraft often times aren't much wider than coach so they aren't worth the extra cost compared to buying two coach seats. Flying is definitely more aggravating and stressful than it was pre-deregulation but it certainly is much cheaper when adjusting for inflation. Indeed, I remember paying $400 in 1974 for MIA to LGA on National Airlines roundtrip-about $1,600 today.

LilyBart said...

cubanbob said...

Being a big guy...


I'm sorry if I sound like a jerk - people come in all sizes. I'm just saying that the Southwest's unassigned seat plan just hasn't worked out very well for me.

tcrosse said...

If I had to fly between SFO and Argentina with a couple of little kids, I'd cry too.

LilyBart said...

wwww said...
I'm old enough to remember when flying was actually fun. And yes, it was with airline deregulation that all changed.


And also the entrance of the low cost carriers. As a result, a lot more people can afford to fly than when I was little. When I was a kid, almost no one I knew traveled by plane except with rare expectations. Family vacations and holidays usually came with a long car trip. But the 'affordability' comes at the cost of comfort and service. So which is better, expensive comfortable travel available to only the top 10% or so, or cheap but uncomfortable travel? At least with the major airlines, you still have some options if you're willing to pay for them.

Perhaps we ought to start calling it steerage instead of economy and people will understand the trade-off! (meant as a joke)

LilyBart said...

Michael K said...

Do the other airlines allow you to reserve the seat next to you for thin people? Not sure how that works.


No, but at least with assigned seating I have a chance, and its not every single time like with Southwest. My husband suggested (jokingly) that I put a sling on my 'inside' arm to discourage the big guys from sitting next to me. My daughter suggested I wear one of the 'germ' masks. Any other ideas?

MayBee said...

So let me get this straight: the woman claims a flight attendant told her it was OK to bring the stroller on board, and this is being taken as "proof"? Who was that flight attendant? Was there any confirmation? Or was she just making up the claim that she had permission?

Nobody but the attendants onboard the plane can say definitively anyway, because nobody else knows if the overhead space has been taken up.
I've been on plenty of planes where they have to start gate-checking carry ons just because there's no more room in the overheads.

I have no outrage for this or the leggings situations. Stop trying to make me outraged at everything all the time, social media!

Michael K said...

"Any other ideas?"

No but I have occupied the middle seat next to a very large guy who ate all the way from Las Vegas to Orange County,

The people who schedule my trips neglected to get the pay extra option. Government contractor, you know.

The Godfather said...

BTW if you'd like to get a sense of how things were when air travel was a real luxury, read Ken Follett's "Night Over Water" about a transatlantic flight from Britain to the US at the outbreak of WWII. He gives you a sense of how much the ticket price was by comparing it to the cost of a small house. Really good book, available through the Althouse Amazon portal.https://www.amazon.com/Night-Over-Water-Ken-Follett/dp/0451173139/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492985520&sr=8-1&keywords=books+night+over+water

cubanbob said...

LilyBart said...
cubanbob said...

Being a big guy...

I'm sorry if I sound like a jerk - people come in all sizes. I'm just saying that the Southwest's unassigned seat plan just hasn't worked out very well for me. "

No offense taken and that is why I never fly SWA.

"tcrosse said...
If I had to fly between SFO and Argentina with a couple of little kids, I'd cry too."

Back in the eighties I used to do fly Pan Am flights 440/441 every other month. There were times I nearly cried from murderous rage.

Merny11 said...

I also hate getting whacked by backpacks - I just want to push those people right back. I think half the problems started with charging for bags, which caused everyone to start cramming more and more into the overheads and under the seats. Loading and unloading takes FOREVER as a result. I am out of patience before we even take off.
And Air Wisconsin became Midwest which was bought out by Southwest - I think ...

Michael K said...

"if you'd like to get a sense of how things were when air travel was a real luxury,"

My mother-in-law was the personal representative for Jane Russell all through her career, from the time Howard Hughes signed her. My MiL worked for Hughes before that and had many good stories about him. We went to a New Years Eve party one time and sat at the Hughes table. I had to have a security check before I could sit there at the party,

Jane used to sleep on the floor of airliners on long trips, like to England or Australia. Some, like Pan Am Clippers, had bunks in the rear of the plane.

If not, she slept on the floor.

wwww said...
This comment has been removed by the author.