Flights during the holidays are such a blast – NOT!

PHOTO BY BLAINE HOWERTON. The sunrise over the Eastern Colorado Planes during a flight to Texas.

Blaine Howerton
the New SCENE Magazine

In November I was lucky enough to get to travel for 14 days of the month to 5 different cities. During my travels I took 12 flights on 5 different airlines (Delta, Southwest, American, Frontier and SkyWest).

The passengers and lines at the airports were generally easy to deal with. Except for a few entitled people who decided their business was much more important than anyone else’s so they “butted lines” (as my 9 year old says).

I was pleasantly surprised to see improvement on Frontier and Delta. American? Long story. Read on.

Not once did I have to pay for my one carry on item (or oxygen at my seat). They all offered me water and a 5 cent pack of peanuts. But I could only have one, that was always my limit.

I enjoyed the in flight entertainment when it wasn’t interrupted during the best part of the movie. These days many of the airlines have made it very easy for passengers to clearly hear and see the 7 minute promotional announcements by the flight attendants for frequent flyer clubs and credit cards. Yes, I timed it. 7 minutes. American’s pitch was the longest. I wondered if the flight attendants get a commission. I have heard that they do.

By the end, I had no more patience while having to listen to the 20 something (sitting next to me) as he was overly rude to his mother. He was smacking his gum. My wife will tell anyone. That’s one of my biggest pet peeves.

 

SELFY BY BLAINE HOWERTON. A big bad ass set of headphones with great tunes, helps with the holiday spirit while traveling.

 

I found myself using the noise cancelling blue tooth headphones I bought at a self serve airport kiosk. I like to turn them WAY UP.

Of the 12 flights I booked over the month 50% of those were either delayed or cancelled. 4 of those were delayed. 2 were cancelled. All American.

American stranded me in Charlotte after the Charlottesville airport shut down. We were in the air, ready to land. The pilot turned the plane around because he said the power went out at the airport. He landed the plane in Charlotte, and the crew shoved our bags off the plane in the rain. They made us walk down the plane door’s folding steps and then down the runway about 200 yards. They gave us no answers until 3 hours later when I was told they couldn’t do anything for me for more than 24 hours. No hotel offer, no alternatives. Just “s.o.l.” Not even sorry.

 

PHOTO BY BLAINE HOWERTON. American Airlines opens the door, fold down the steps and leaves the luggage in the rain for patrons in Charlotte.

 

So, I rented a car. 5 hours later I arrived to my destination city with a little 85 year old sweet lady who hitched a ride with me. She was stranded too. It was the highlight of my 18 hour travel day, maybe even my month. I still had my pack of peanuts, which we shared during the 300 mile journey.

Did I get any refunds for cancellations or delays? Nope. An upgrade? Nope. An extra pack of peanuts? Nope. In fact on my 2nd to last flight to Chicago on my last trip of the month, American told us the coffee maker was broken. But I’m from Colorado. I had a water bottle.

Flying this Christmas? Take my advice. Think twice about the best fare. Tune it all out with big-ass headphones and some great music.

 

 

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