Monday, June 20, 2016

"Would You Like To Look At The Whine List?"

Today’s post was originally a contributing accessory chronicling our recent adventure “Back East”, a darker hue in a tapestry of overall satisfaction, if you will.  Or even if you won’t.

Now it is a blog post all its own, and I am worried that, although none of the specifics are inaccurate, or even exaggerated, its current undiluted presentation may create the impression of obsessive overkill.  

Nothing big went wrong.  We were not buffeted by turbulence and the airplane – thankfully – did not go “Boom!”  But, to me at least, that feels like a forgivingly low bar in response to the question, “How was your flight?”

Okay, enough excuses.  If my observations feel like a litany of annoying squawks, so be it.  Who knows?  Maybe you’ll actually identify.  Not as a complainer; hopefully, you have a more equanimitous temperament than I do, but as a similarly disgruntled “Passenger of the Sky.”    

Fasten your metaphorical seatbelts.  Here we go.

Our projected American Airlines ininerary:

L.A. to Toronto to visit my family, Toronto to New York City to attend a Bat Mitzvah, then back to Los Angeles, and home. 

It turns out we could actually do that.  But we were informed that that particular travel plan would cost us two thousand dollars more than if we flew:  L.A. to New York, New York to Toronto, Toronto back to New York, and then New York to Los Angeles.

Think about that.  The more practical version of that journey – fewer flying miles and one less plane ride – three legs of the itinerary instead of four – would cost two thousand dollars extra.  (Aside from the inconvenience of the less practical version, I also did not appreciate giving the inscrutable “Sky Gods” an extra crack at me.)       

Anyway, four flights it is.  Which explicably – because they did not explain it to us – costs less than three.

Moving on…

Using our Mastercard, we have accumulated thousands of “Air Miles”, which we now wish to apply – as popularly advertised – for an upgrade to “Business Class.”  We were pretty sure we would get one, as we were making our reservations two months before our departure.


“We’re all booked up.”

Think about that.  They prevent you from using your “Air Miles”; then later, they take away your “Air Miles” because you didn’t use them.

Good Grief, Charlie Brown!  What a scamola!

We now flash forward to our evening arrival in New York.  To save space, I shall leave out describing the forty-five minute delay waiting for our baggage to come out, destroying all hopes of seeing the beginning of the ballgame we had previously bought tickets for.  This description would have been longer, but I deleted the expletives.  

Hold on, though.  I am just getting started.

The next day, we check in at Kennedy Airport at 7:30 A.M. for our 9:25 flight to Toronto.  (The one that cost us two thousand dollars less to include.) 

Around our scheduled “Departure Time”, we are informed that our one-hour flight to Toronto will be delayed an hour – immediately doubling our travel time – because the plane scheduled to deliver us there has been inexplicably – because they did not explain it to us – delayed.

When the plane finally does arrive, passengers are boarded, the plane backs away from the gate… and then it stops, at which point the pilot comes on, explaining that the plane is malfunctioning and we must return immediately to the gate.

The plane arrives back at the gate – which took eleven seconds, as we had not traveled that far – the passengers are instructed to “de-plane” and we re-enter the terminal, where we wait for them to either repair that plane or provide us with a replacement.

We spend numerous hours in the airport, departing – finally – at 3:00 P.M., arriving in Toronto at four. 

Finally Tally, Airport To Airport:  Eight-and-a-half hours, for a one-hour flight. 

Which we would never have taken if it did cost not us two thousand dollars extra not to.

While I’m piling on the airlines here, on more occasions than is statistically ignorable, after extended plane flights, I almost immediately develop a cold.  As I, in fact, did this time, and I am still sniffling two weeks down the line. 

Is there a problem with “Airplane Air”?  Or am I simply allergic to “No leg room”?

Our trip home was actually a surprise.  We got an upgrade to “Business Class.”  (We’d been on the “Waiting List”, though we’d been advised not to get our hopes up.)  We were also told we would arrive in Los Angeles early.

No good, that one. 

Airports have a place for airplanes that arrival early and it is not the “Arrival Gate.”  It’s the Tarmac.  The “Arrival Gate” is inevitably unavailable, because they are not ready for the plane that arrived early, accommodating the previous plane, which arrived on time. 

The appropriate response to a pilot announcing, “Hey, folks, looks like we’’ll be arriving early” is not “Hallelujah!’  It’s

“So what?”

The capping indignity?

We taxi up to our gate, where it inexplicably – because they did not explain it to us – takes thirty minutes to open the door so we can get out.  Hardly a fortuitous happenstance for us chronic claustrophobics. 

It’s funny. 

On two occasions while we were in Toronto, when two unassociated service people learned we were from Los Angeles, they asked us the exact same question:

“Did you drive?”

At the time, I found that hilarious. 

Now… I don’t know… 

How much worse can it be?


Fred from Scarborough said...

Years ago our 9:00 a.m. departure left at 3:00 p.m. We were informed that our flight was leaving "on time" because our scheduled flight had been cancelled. Same plane, same passengers, same gate, no apology.

DD said...

Nice report. I was going to say good story but that might make you think that I don't believe you. But having been a frequent victim of the airlines for at least 50 years, I have no problem believing you or Fred, or anyone else who has a nightmare to report.

Is it safe to assume you are home now and not still sitting on that early arriving plane at the jetway, waiting to be sprung?

Tonight I was geeked to watch the Dodgers-Nationals game, and I don't recall ever being geeked for the Dodgers, except, yes, once last year. Tonight was supposed to be Kershaw against Strasburg but when I finally got it tuned in, there was no Strasburg! WTF?!?!