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21 November 2008

The airlines? They suck. Let us gripe about them. [More:]

Last year at christmas, on my way back from Texas, I gave up my seat on a horribly overbooked US Air flight for the sole purpose of having a free ticket *this* christmas. That was the deal -- they gave me a free round-trip ticket. I had to stay overnight in a shitty hotel in Dallas, and I had to get up the next morning at 4 to catch the flight they put me on, but I figured the free ticket would be worth it.

Using this free ticket to go home next month is costing me $359, plus airport fees, plus $15 for my bag, plus another charge to sit by the window or on the aisle.

So much for my "free round-trip ticket."

I really, really love Southwest, and I'm never flying another airline again.
You wouldn't believe what I pay to carry my dog on the plane. In a bag the size of a purse! Stuffed under the seat where's she totally quiet the whole flight! It's such a scam.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 21 November | 12:34
Fuckers. Flying sucks. It's stressful, crowded, I always get sick after. I hate the security lines. The only airlines I can tolerate are Southwest and JetBlue.
posted by Claudia_SF 21 November | 12:35
Oh, right, I forgot about JetBlue. They're okay in my book too.
posted by mudpuppie 21 November | 12:38
I can't wait until teleportation is finally invented. I HATE HATE HATE flying. I hate airports, I hate airport security, and the stoopid NSA's stoopid behavior recognition patterns that are WRONG 99% of the time. I hate crabby fellow-passengers and overworked flight crews who can barely disguise their irritation. I hate how airline food has gone off the goddamn cliff. I hate JFK airport and their absolutely UNIMAGINABLY INEFFICIENT immigration and customs area.
I hate United Airlines with a searing hot passion and I hate O'Hare.
Flying, seriously, don't get me started.
posted by msali 21 November | 12:39
I stopped flying US Airlines to Ohio after they stranded me and a couple of thousand other people at Charlotte one weekend when they 'didn't have enough people' to fly any planes out on a Saturday night. There was not enough crew for one single plane? Puh-leease.

These days I fly transatlantic with American, and I now have enough airmiles for a free flight, which I plan to use towards my Vegas Big Birthday Trip next May (bunnies please note).
posted by essexjan 21 November | 12:40
Oh, and my 29,000 miles on United just expired in July, thanks, United. I guess I was supposed to keep track of when they expired, and buy some magazines or something, because I needed friggin' 30,000 to buy a ticket. Or I guess I was supposed to spend more money to buy more miles to fly your sucky airline.
posted by Claudia_SF 21 November | 12:43
Yeah, why don't we have flying cars yet? It would be so much easier to fly myself wherever I want to go. We're driving 6 hours with a toddler next week for Thanksgiving because I couldn't face the thought of holiday air travel. By the time we'd drive to the airport, park, check in, go through security, endure flight delays, wait for a gate upon arrival, wait for our checked bags ($15 each) and so on, we could have driven ourselves. Which we'll be doing. And you know what else? Gas has dropped below $2 here.

posted by Kangaroo 21 November | 12:47
Flying commercial airlines is for suckers. If it was up to me, I'd never fly anywhere.
posted by Eideteker 21 November | 12:48
I have to fly a lot, and my worst experiences have been by far with US Air. I'm sure there are budget airlines that suck worse than US Air, but at least they're cheaper. USAir costs about as much as real airlines, and they suck major ass. They caused me A SHITLOAD of grief.

And I agree with the Southwest comment, yay for Southwest, go Southwest, love them.
posted by matteo 21 November | 12:52
Flying commercial airlines is for suckers. If it was up to me, I'd never fly anywhere.

If it was up to me, I wouldn't either. Kinda hard to refuse, though, when your family is 2,000 miles away and you only get to see them once a year. Guess that makes me a sucker.
posted by mudpuppie 21 November | 12:53
Oh, and Pink Superhero, one day a smart airline will discover how much money -- in terms of high customer rating and repeat business -- is there to be made with a decent pet friendly non scammy airline for people who travel with their little pets. I mean, I agree you can't really take a Saint Bernard or a pony on the plane with you, but shit, cats and bunnies and little to medium size dogs shouldn't be much of a problem.
posted by matteo 21 November | 12:55
After the neverending horrorshow that was the airborne portion of my Seattle-Birmingham-Belize-Seattle trip last Feb (during which not. one. flight. of the many flights involved was even remotely on schedule, to list just one of the problems), I am never ever ever ever ever flying with Continental again if I can possibly avoid it. By the time I finally left Seattle airport at the end I was in tears. No, really. In fucking tears. With no luggage, and so many hours late that I'd missed the last shuttle bus into town. Which I wouldn't have missed if the skull-explodingly stupid airline rep at Sea-Tac had told me that my plane's luggage had been unloaded and claimed one of the first two times I asked what was taking so long, or at any point during the fucking endless time I spent standing not 20 feet from her desk waiting for my bag to magically appear, instead of reassuring me that it was still coming. Luckily I had thought to shove a jacket and some jeans in my carry-on, or I'd have been freezing all over, not just on my sandaled feet. I would also like to say that the night clerk at the el-cheapo Day's Inn in downtown Seattle is an angel sent directly from heaven, and would receive eleventy million dollars in my will if I had one and had eleventy-million dollars to give her. I would also like to say that TropicAir, a tiny Central American puddle-jumper of an airline, kicks Continental's ass all around the block. I love TropicAir.

Flying commercial airlines is for suckers. If it was up to me, I'd never fly anywhere.

If it were up to me, I'd have my own damned plane.
posted by elizard 21 November | 12:58
If it were up to me, I'd have my own damned plane.

Fair enough, but I enjoy taking the time and enjoying the journey. Backroads, on a motorcycle. If it were up to me, that's probably how I'd travel most places. I've never taken a long trip at sea, but I tend to think I'd enjoy that more than flying, so long as I had a few books with me.
posted by Eideteker 21 November | 13:01
Carry-on pony is a civil rights issue to me.
posted by mullacc 21 November | 13:12
This is why I don't go home for the holidays most years. It's too crowded, the airlines and airports can't cope, and it's the perfect time of year for snowstorms and other foul weather.

I'm happy to go see them some other time, but there's no reason it has to involve flying on the shittiest (and most expensive) travel days of the year.
posted by misskaz 21 November | 13:15
My family just drives everywhere. We have asses of steel. (Pops is driving to Minneapolis next year because he hates the airlines so much. )
posted by sperose 21 November | 13:30
when i booked my december tickets in june, prices for christmas time were double what i paid last year. good times. good times.
posted by stynxno 21 November | 13:35
I don't know that I've ever had a truly awful airline experience, which is amazing since I usually fly out of PHL--one of the worst airports ever.

Then again, I think I've only flown twice(!) since 9/11 and haven't been on an international flight in 9 years.
posted by jrossi4r 21 November | 13:49
Daughter flying SFO to PDX tomorrow on Alaska.

Fingers crossed.

(Not that it will do HER any good, but Alaska usually has unlimited NW beer and wine. So there's that.)
posted by danf 21 November | 14:23
Hey, show up at the boarding gate thusly and no one will fuck with you again.

I promise.
posted by danf 21 November | 14:42
Ugh. I have a 6:00 a.m. flight tomorrow. Crossing fingers...
posted by Stewriffic 21 November | 14:48
Stew - I think that the earlier the flight, the less chance you have of getting screwed around, schedule-wise. Every time I've had airline problems, it's because I was trying to fly after noon (which doesn't bode well for my christmas trip this year - both legs leave after 4pm).
posted by muddgirl 21 November | 14:52
I fly between California and Europe a lot, and I just stay the hell away from the American-registered carriers. Air New Zealand from LA to London is almost always the cheapest if you book from their website, in incredibly friendly and comfortable, and on one flight I was offered an entire bottle of champagne - in coach! - to "go with that orange juice". I'm sure they have their problems, especially on domestic NZ routes where there might not be any competition, but yeah, I'm a very, very satisfied customer.

And and and, since the LA-departing sector is the continuation of a longer Auckland-London flight, check-in takes like five minutes, which when you're standing next to the massive-out-the-door Virgin Atlantic line is worth a definite chuckle.

I'm a fan of Ryanair too, actually - they're the only airline that can get me from an airport (Bydgoszcz represent!) within four hours of my house to anywhere else I'd want to go.
posted by mdonley 21 November | 15:54
You know, for all the hassle, I still like flying, at least when I get a window seat and the sky's clear. You can see the planet from way up there and it's magnificent. How can there possibly be so many mountains?
posted by tangerine 21 November | 16:00
The TSA people ask "how are you doing?" and if you just stare at them they ask again until you tell them. I try to be polite and so I try to keep my mouth shut. I assume this is some screening to make sure you speak English but I always fail the first time. I don't mind flying much otherwise because it usually means I'm being paid to go someplace.
posted by jessamyn 21 November | 18:54
I love Southwest too except for the unassigned seats. I don't understand why they think this is a good idea. If they want to save time, there are better ways.

I took the Air New Zealand flight once from London to LA, and it was indeed great.

posted by lukemeister 22 November | 00:53
aaaccccck THERE COULD BE A GENERAL ELECTION as soon as april!!!!!! || The afternoon I've had, I needed a laugh.