Monday, June 30, 2008

Weekend Travel

Well, end of month and end of quarter so I had to go home to Dallas this weekend and do my quarterly filings and all my normal bills.

So here are some travel rants…

First off Southwest Airlines…
(sorry Tammy) I used to fly American and I used to book my travel. Orbitz has this really cool program where you key in your cell number and they will send you updates about your flight. About 2 hours before departure time they call you and tell you the flight status and the gate number. Then if anything changes they keep calling you to keep you posted. It’s an awesome program! I have been sitting at a gate before waiting for my flight to show up and I get a phone call telling me the gate change 5 minutes before the gate agent came on the intercom and announced it. Super cool!

When American quit flying my route I switched to Southwest. They do not allow booking through Orbitz. You can only use the Southwest site. So I no longer get notifications of issues.

I was little late getting out of work Friday so I was stressing to get to the airport on time and only after I stress my way through security do I find out my flight is going to be an hour late. All that stress just wasted! I could have put that stress to good use on something else and now it's just gone!

Later on the board changed and showed the flight two hours late. Then later the board changed and showed it 2 ½ hours late. During this time the bored looking gate agent did not make a single announcement. I only found out the new status when the plane did not show up and I walked over to the boards again. Grrrrrr.

Once we were seated on the plane the pilot announced that they had gotten behind earlier in the day due to the storms in the Midwest Friday and they had been trying to catch up for hours. Fair enough, I was watching that system on radar Friday and that flight crew did the right thing not trying to land in that mess. Good job. Also another high five to the flight crew for letting us know why we were all so late.

It sure would have been nice if the gate agent had done that about 2 hours ago.

Here is my question though. Since they had gotten behind schedule earlier in the day why didn’t the boards reflect the arrival time more accurately? Why keep putting us through the exercise of "it will be here shortly" only to delay it again? Very frustrating. If you are hungry and someone tells you dinner is in 3 hours then you deal with it. But if they tell you dinner is going to be ready in an hour then an hour later you go, "KIDDING! It's still an hour away!" Then again in an hour you go KIDDING! Only to do it again people start getting ticked off! Just tell me its going to be two or three hours out in the first place and quit teasing me!

For those of you with no knowledge of airline operations, rest assured Dispatch knows exactly where every plane is at all times. The company knew that plane was 2.5 hours behind; they simply chose not to notify us customers.

Hulk want smash! :)

Now a small rant for airport management…
What is the deal with airport TV’s? OK, airport management, here is a real brain flash for you… if you are going to invest the money in hanging TV’s from the ceiling and then buying cable or satellite for them then you know, what the hell, turn the volume up so we can actually HEAR the TV. I mean what a concept, moving pictures AND sound! Whoa, way too high tech I guess?

And hey, when did they pass that law that every single TV in the airport MUST be tuned to CNN?

Oh, while I am on that topic how about a quick rant about CNN?

For two hours Friday while I waited for my plane all CNN talked about was the big Hillary and Obama unity festival. They talked about how they were dressed, how his tie matched her pant suit, how they were seated in relation to each other and what it all meant. I do not mean commented in passing, I mean IN DEPTH analyses of what it meant that his tie matched her pant suit!

This is *news*? This was just "Entertainment Tonight" only with politicians instead of celebrities. (a fine line there I know)

Then the Larry King show started so I thought cool, maybe something interesting will come on now. Nope, just more of the same; Still it did get interesting though, Larry King brought in two body language experts who deconstructed Obama and Hillary’s body language during their respective speeches. It was like John Madden football with the clicker, they would freeze frame and analyze hand gestures, facial expressions and body postures and compare them to the words spoken. After maybe 20 minutes of this both experts concluded that they were both being deceptive. They probably did not really like each other at all in spite of the verbal love fest.

What? WHAT? Politicians telling bold faced lies? On TV? In front of their supporters?

I. Am. Shocked!

Thank you Larry King for bringing this ground breaking never before known news to the airwaves! I never even suspected career politicians could be dishonest before. I am still just a little shell shocked at this glowing insight but I think I will be a better person for it in the long run so thank you Larry King!


Crazymamaof6 said...

that is exactly why i don't watch the news. bored in an airport or not. OH and have you heard that they found ice on mars last week? did that make the news once yet? seriously? total crap. whining about GAS prices and suppliers, and HMM political crap, and there was real news to be shared, and NOTHING WAS MENTIONED!

fun.trip. glad it was great! sounds spectacular.(sarcasm is it lost on you?)

tammy said...

Poor Rob.

I get ticked at some of the gate agents too sometimes, and I'm family. They can be so snotty. But in their defense, SWA has doubled their work loads, and they deal with A LOT of stupid people {think Brittney-fish and worse, all day long}. The airplane prolly was just one hour late when they announced..then there was prolly a ground delay program for the departure or destination airport...or the enroute airspace may have closed...a lot of things can happen depending on where it's coming from, and how many stops it has to make before it gets to you. But I agree, just let us know as soon as you know.

And it is no fun for the flight crew to be late either. Many times they're sitting in the airport waiting for their airplane to get there too. They don't get paid any extra if they end up working later, either. Luvpilot got to his hotel 4 hours later than he was supposed to last night, which meant 10.5 hours on the ground to eat, (which at 1:00 am means hotel bar food -yum!), sleep, get up, iron a shirt and do it all again today.

And SWA will notify you too, of your flight status via email, cell, PDA, pager, you just gotta sign up for it on their site.

On the upside, if the economy stays like it is, all the airlines will fold so we won't have to worry about late flights anymore.

This is what Luvpilot said: We don't know...shit happens...we're sorry. :)
{And, it was American that left it's passengers trapped onboard for 11 hours...not us)

Wow. long comment. Am I a little defensive? - lol

So here's my theory on politicians: The people we need most in office are too smart to run.

Charlene said...

~~sneaking head out from pillow~~~the airlines and politians both lie~~yeap~~maybe they are scared of the truth~~or our reactions to it~~

Stacey said...

Clearly you are in desperate need of the dyson. It's on its way.

Crazymamaof6 said...

wow loads of insight from tammy.

Shamelessly Sassy said...

haha. This is my first time stopping by, great blog!

Major Tom said...

So, like, what's wrong with the 210?

House of Jules said...

Somebody needs to win the lottery & buy their own airline... but I'm not naming any names. ;)
House of Jules

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

CrazyMomma- I knew about the ice on Mars! Not from TV though. :(

Tammy- “And SWA will notify you too” Wow! I have got to find that! I am an SWA “A-list” member so I wonder how I have never seen that on the website before.

“{And, it was American that left it's passengers trapped onboard for 11 hours...not us)”

I hear that! You never heard *me* praise American! I praised Orbitz! Plus- SWA has clearly kicked AA’s ass on the DAL-STL route. :) AA quit flying it. :)

We have the same theory on politicians.

Charlene- Some very deep thoughts there considering your condition today (migraine)

Stacey- Oooooo! I get the Dyson on the boat for the Holiday weekend?! Whoo hoo!

CrazyMomma- Yep! Tammy is on the ball today!

Shamelessly Sassy- Well thanks but really, this was a mediocre rant at best. I can do much better! :)

Major Tom- Uh, $5.54 per gallon Avgas X 17 GPH fuel flow X 3 hours (SPI-TKI) $282 one way or $565 round trip for fuel alone to fly the 210. SWA = $179 round trip. When avgas was $2 a gallon you could not catch me on an airliner except for a mechanical. Now I am an “A-list”-er. :(

Hell, just the climb to 20,000 foot before I even settle into cruise costs me $80.

Yeah, I am bummed too. Don’t get me to ranting about what a crock $140 bbl crude is though.

Jules- Buy my own airline? That reminds me of one of those “jokes” that is really just wisdom couched in the form of a joke. The joke goes, “Do you know the best way to make a small fortune in aviation? --- Start with a large fortune! :)

Melek said...

i used to love flying. now i know it's going to just be hell, so i tried to get to the airport with very low expectations. generally when i dont expect to be on time, is when i actually get there early.

i agree about the gates. if they would just keep us in the loop, we wouldn't be so fussy!

and yeah, lets change the channel. i'm sick to death of CNN. how about some Seinfeld (i dont need the volume for that, i already know all the lines).

Sauntering Soul said...

I don't travel very often, but when I do I am sick to death of CNN by the time I get on my plane.

Astrogirl426 said...

Re: Airline rant, darlin', we could've asked the same question when that JetBlue fiasco took place, the one where they made their passengers sit on planes for approximately 8000 hours without food or sufficient potty service. My own theory is that, like you, I know they know exactly how delayed the flight is, but they keep hoping beyond hope that a miracle will happen (I imagine them saying a little prayer: "God, if you'll just make this plane on time I promise I'll never ask for anything ever again!"). Need I add that I hate flying (commercial)? It's reason #389 to just drive the motorcycle anywhere I need to go (not that I need a reason). :)

And don't get me started on CNN. Let's just say, I recently was involved in a potential business deal with them that fell through because they tried to low-ball us, and kept coming back with, "Those numbers just aren't going to work for us." And then after jerking us around, telling us they were just going to "try to develop the same thing in-house." Fuckers.

Robin said...

This reminds me of all the times my family has spent in hospital waiting rooms. We learned fast, to get there early so you can control the television or you are stuck watching Jerry Springer all day. I tell you after that you would be begging for CNN.

Writergirl said...

First time responder, long time reader (not really just wanta to say it). Nice rant.
I like a good rant, any day of the week.
But, patience much?
At least you got cool material for your blog.

House of Jules said...

"Wisdom couched in the form of a joke" should be the tagline for my blog.
House of Jules

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

Melek- Me too, I used to just love it! :(

Sauntering- I think it’s like an allergy - its cumulative exposure. The more CNN you see the more it makes you sick! :)

Astrogirl426- Yeah, airline rants are all too easy huh? Sorry CNN pulled out on you! :(

Robin- Now there is a great plan! It’s like war huh? Control the territory! :)

Writergirl- Yeah my life has been boring lately, no good blog topics (at least that I would actually blog about!) So a trip by airline these days does always seem to be blog worthy!

Jules- I just adore how modest you are. I guess being married to Jeremy Piven would do that to a person though. ;) :)

Andie said...

and that, my friend is why I don't fly southwest OR watch CNN. ;)

Glad you enjoyed your fireworks, though!