US Airlines

Travelling on american airlines (whether American, United, Continental or Delta) is mostly a very dispiriting experience.  Every single Asian airline has multiple times better customer experience.  One might even be tempted to think that British Airways is good (in comparison).   I think the fundamental problem is that everything on US airlines is processed to within a millimetre, but with the convenience of their business and its staff rather than the customer. I haven’t even taken off yet, but this flight has all the signs of being a terrible one. The problems started when the wrong plane was delivered.  There were 10 fewer first class seats and an unspecified number of fewer seats overall on top of an already overbooked flight.  They first offered benefits to those in first class to move into economy.  This was not successful, so they had to forcibly downgrade 10 people from first class.  Then they had to find 10 plus and an unspecified number of overbooked economy to give up their seats.  To entice people, they offered 400 Delta Dollars.  These are like ordinary dollars except they are largely worthless (because they can only be spent on “some” Delta flights and Delta shopping).  I’ve had these before and could find no way to spend them (within their expiration time). A few students naively accepted the first offer, but there weren’t enough volunteers.  They allowed some people on the plane so that they weren’t too late and gradually kept upping the offers.  Some started haggling.  I’m not really sure why, because 400 Delta Dollars are worth pretty much the same as 1,000 Delta Dollars…The Delta agents refused to negotiate …only to cave in minutes later. The Delta staff have tried to put a positive spin on things.  Apparently, we are extremely fortunate that we are flying at all as they could have just cancelled the flight. Delta don’t serve food on this 4 hour 45 minute flight, but they do have food available for purchase and small glasses of drink for free.  Unfortunately, the food cart does not fit on this replacement plane.  We are therefore delayed because we are still waiting for further volunteers and because they are waiting for the right sized food and drink cart.   The woman in front was asked if she minded moving to accommodate a family who wanted to sit together.  She refused, but then started to shout.  I’m a million mile flier on both United and American.  This is why I never fly Delta.  The people who fly Delta are the dregs of society.   This has not endeared her to those around her.  I hope she nevertheless enjoys her 4.5 hour flight.  The Stewardess was surprisingly tolerant of this behaviour. Breaking News:  The Stewardess has just made an announcement over the tannoy: “If you are one of the highly strung people who cannot keep their temper, please notify us so that we can arrange for you to be removed from the plane.  We recognise that flying can be a stressful experience, but some behaviour just isn’t acceptable”.  There was a lot of cheering from this part of the plane. More Breaking News: The woman in front of me is now on the phone to a loved one and is recounting her woes.  She again is calling the people around her “horrible, vile people”.  I strongly advise her not to fall asleep on the plane.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Melville Bishop on March 30, 2012 at 9:42 am

    I feel for you Julian – a long flight back to HK and having such a horrible start. You did not say if you were bumped down and whether you get a refund in real money if you do.
    Sun shining here not a plane or cloud in the sky and opera tonight.


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