Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Airline Industry will be next with their hands out. Wait.....

When the story is finally written about the death of our great society, there will no doubt be a very large chapter dedicated to the A-merry-can airline industry. What a joke!

There ought to be a law forbidding airlines from refusing to serve food on flights over three hours long. Are you kidding me? God bless the flight attendant who saw that poor Mrs. Field was starting to look like one of those poor children in Darfur and decided to sneak some cookies our way. And I don't mind paying for airline food, but a dollar for a cup of coffee served in a cup that belongs in a Suzie Home maker set is a bit much. And don't even get me started on the ball of confusion that is the check in process and the rip off that goes on there.

I was robbed at gun point a a kid in Jamaica once, and I think this felt just as bad. "Sir you can't carry that bag on it look a little too big." "Really, I carry this bag on all the time." "No sir you will have to check it. You already checked one, so that will be $25 for the second one." Did I mention that the first one was $15? Add Mr. Fields usual two checked bags filled with Philly's finest wear which must accompany her whether she wears them or not, and you get the idea of why I think US Air Capone was in rare form today. Hey, at least I could finally claim them from the baggage carousel. I could dedicate an entire blog to my adventures with that as well.

Oh well, all is well that ends well. I am off on the road now, but I will be blogging everyday and keeping the fields alive with the sounds of your voices. Why? Because I am hooked on this stuff, and because I always have something to say.



Unknown said...

Last month we had to pay $40 to change seats even though the seats were empty. All of these mismanaged companies do whatever they please, saying the intrusive government should mind its own business, and then when they fail, they say the government should step up and protect them. And we're happy because we've never had pretzels before.

rainywalker said...

By the time they get to us the silk purse will be full of dust!

Anonymous said...

Field, I agree. The airlines are a bunch of rip-off artists. There will be a big chapter devoted to the airlines when America meets its waterloo.

The way things are looking it might not be that far off. I hope I am wrong.

Peace, bro.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...


"By the time they get to us the silk purse will be full of dust!"

LOL! Nope, I think the purse will be full of holes. :)

Bob said...

Notice that the surcharges haven't fallen along with the fuel prices. Maybe after Christmas, when the bosses have pocketed their year end bonuses.

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

Whelp, I guess the secret to success in this day and age of tickle down economics is be a CEO, mismanage the company funds, after the company fails, get your bailout money from Uncle Sam, and live happyily ever after on your own private island.


Hey FN!

I am cracking up that you said the coffee cup is the size of the ones in the Suzie Homemaker set! *LOL*

*LOL* I didn't even know there were men who remembered that popular set! All the little girls wanted one! You must have a few sisters if you remembered that!

Tooo hilarious!

The last time I was on a flight, food was permitted on the plane. I hope this doesn't change.

One of my friends carries a few packets of sweetened iced tea mix and ask for ice water on the flight.

Another friend was on a flight and pulled out a bag of bagels and cream cheese and a bidding war erupted in her section! Four bagels fetched $17 in less than 8 minutes!


The flight attendants never understood what the "$2 over here!" and "$3!" shouts were all about.


By the Mrs. Field planning a year-end post for your blog?

rainywalker said...

GrannyStanding for Truth,
I stand corrected. The silk purse will not have dust or holes in it. They will have given it away too.

Anonymous said...

Southwest stopped charging for the second bag some time ago.

The industry started charging extra for services when the price of gas was over $3.

But now that gas is much lower (I saw the first price below $1.50 a gallon yesterday in Albuquerque), are the airlines going to pass these savings along to the customer?

Yeah, right.

Anonymous said...

Brother Field...enjoy your break. The struggle for economics make all the people suffer. That was a big sticker shock to pay for one bag. Situations like that can put a damper on your fun to be robbed and you can't holler. It's wild how airlines and airports can force absolute compliance . Not that you will go off...but you have to walk a fine line when you complain.{ Sister Granny} When I see how those CEOs receive sooo much pay, I wonder whats so special about them because we enrich them when they fail. Only in America.

field negro said...

Granny,yes, I do have an older sister:)

And you all are right,the price of fuel is going down,but it's not being passed on to us.

field negro said...

Thank you StillPanther! I will try. But I just never take a break from life:)

Christopher said...

Everyone wants a handout.

It began with Wall Street crooks and criminals -- many of whom happen to be friends and even family members of the Motherfucker from Midland.

I never thought for a minute bailing out these scalawags would help Main Street and it turned out I was correct all along.

Odd, that the GOP and even many liberal bloggers, opposed giving the U.S. automakers a bridge loan to help them survive. But hey, white collar jobs are always more worthy of savior than blue collar jobs.

I say we should help everyone. How about us consumers who carry balances on our Visas and Mastercards? I would appreciate a bailout. I've been working and paying taxes for 20 years. Where is my break?

Just keeping it real.

Mithras said...

Flying USAir out of Philly will get you abused every time. The only airline that still treats their customers decently (well, they did as of the last time I flew, in April) was Southwest.

Anonymous said...


May you and Mrs. Field have a safe and fun-filled, satisfying holiday season. And, lots of thanks for this blog/forum. Look forward to your continued work in 2009.


La♥audiobooks said...

Hey Field, yeah I bet "carry ons" have now reduced to hand bag size. You have me worried even more. I never do check luggage, I am always scared my stuff get "lost", or someone might take up the wrong bag. This is x-mas time, too much opportunity. And I don't want "thousands standing around" to mangle my shit either. I always felt they need to find a better secured way about the check in luggage system.

Anyway, all week I've been thinking over all the things I plan to pack in our "tiny" carry ons. I always take these 2 carry ons with us on the plane (my daughter's carry on is practically empty when we go). I don't pack much stuff because I usually shop til I drop when I reach to my destination. Depends on all the things I buy, I might just mail them USPS. I'm also carrying a hand bag which happens to hold my laptop. What do you think?

I have a nasty feeling some US Airways underpaid worker (who acts as if they have financial stocks in the company) will try pulling some mess. I'm just trying to see snow- damn it.

Anonymous said...

I'm pissed @ the size of bathrooms. Why won't the airlines eliminate the backrow of the plane so I can walk straight in instead of sideways and maybe I can turn around and sit without touching all four sides of the cubicle? God forbid you have to change a diaper or take a toddler to pee. I don't know if there ever was a time when people could fit but certainly not now a days!

Hathor said...

Go online get max measurements of a carry on bag. Take a cloth measuring tape and a printout of the airlines requirements when you board. That way you can be helpful to that person who thinks they can guestimate the size.

tjwash said...

All airlines have something about them that blows, but USeless Airways...gag. They take sucking up to whole a new level.

They suck on ice. They suck so bad, a gravitational vortex forms around their corporate HQ that pulls meteors down from the oort cloud.

Never have I flown an airline where the flight attendants are so damn temperamental and moody. And don't get me going on how many effing times I have been delayed on one of their flights because of employee incompetence.

Thanks for reminding me how much flying sucks for the regular Joe-commuter as well.

My job flies me so damn much, and have been at the top rung of United's frequent flier program, for so long that I sometimes forget. 99 percent of the people that travel by air don't get their own dedicated check in lines, priority lines through security, and free first class upgrades.

Hell I piss and moan about having to sit in coach. So thanks for keeping it real for me.

Gua said...

This is exactly why I haven't flown since 9/11. I remember when flying used to be so elegant. Now not so much!

Carol (Aquariusmoon) Duhart said...

The airlines need competition badly. Support high speed rail 250mph plus, and suddenly the airlines will remember customer service and reasonable rates again. Its just that they are the only comfortable *yeah right* alternative right now, and they know it. (Try riding 500 miles any other way available now).

TrueBlue said...

I'm a Certified Road Warrior and despise airline travel, but I always try hard to see it both ways. I try to do that with everything, so why not with the airlines that have been so much a part of my life?

I don't think food is a major issue. Look, you can buy go-aboard food at airport terminals. If you want to eat on the plane, do that. The food's always better anyway.

I think other issues are more important. The biggies from a customer point of view are leg room, scheduling, and staffing. The feds should have a minimum leg room standard, and enforce rules regarding how long a plane can sit on a tarmac before the people have to be let off. Two hours is what I'd require.

Staffing's a biggie because, as staff levels decline, service is reduced past the breaking point. On some airlines, it's like flying in a prison with wings.

The flip side of all this is that the traveling public is hooked on discounts. It's what the system is set up to do, i.e., force the lowest possible fares. We all search for them, and it's understandable and logic within the system that arose after airline deregulation.

But the discounting has just killed the airlines, which are now unable to operate profitably. It has placed everything at risk, from customer service all the way to (and this is frightening) aircraft maintenance.

The biggest factor, in my opinion, is the one that never gets mentioned: The growth of private air forces. Today, every Fortune 500 company has its own jets. I've been on them a few times, and it is a completely different experience. No crowds, no security checks, no waiting, no layovers, no backtalk from anyone.

By definition, anyone on a commercial domestic flight is a powerless person, a peon. Anyone with power is flying on a private airforce. Conditions on commercial airlines have deteriorated because there isn't anyone on those flights who can call up their buddy on the board of United Airlines, etc., and make the sort of complaint that will be heard.

There are two areas of commercial service that remain any good: The shuttle flights between New York and Washington and New York and Boston, and international business and first class. This is entirely because you still find powerful people there.

The airlines need to be re-regulated, and at some point I think they might be, if for no other reason that the coming depression will wipe out the corporate air forces and put the executives back onto commercial flights.

The result of re-regulation, if it occurs, will be improvements in the things that have deteriorated, but also will be an increase in air fares. There is no free lunch. If you suck money out of the system, eventually it collapses.

TrueBlue said...

One other thing: It has been many years since I have allowed myself to get upset at a member of an airline crew. In fact, I remember the incident. I was transferring through Atlanta in the summertime, and they stuck a couple hundred people (including me) into a plane in the hot sun and then didn't turn the A/C on.

People were gasping for breath, and I was afraid that some old people might be in real trouble, so I got up and asked the flight attendant, "What kind of people are you, anyway? Do you want to kill people on this plane, because that's what will happen if someone doesn't turn on the air conditioning." Five minutes later, the A/C came on.

But at other times, I've tried really hard to be kind to the crews, because I think they have an impossible job. I've literally stepped in between people who were yelling at crew people and told them calmly to shut up. (I do a great thousand-yard stare, if I may say so myself.)

You've got to stay civilized on an airplane, and in the terminal. The crews and gate agents really appreciate it. Oh, and never get onto a plane before visiting the rest room in the terminal first. You just never know ...

joy316 said...

Way off topic but I saw this on HuffPost and thought that you would help spread the word. A tragic, tragic story:

field negro said...

Grinder, you make some good points, and I usually stock up on terminal food before I hit hit the plane. We were jut runnung late this time, so I couldn't grab a bite. As for commercial air travel, hey, until I get that G-4, this is it for me:)

Anonymous said...

Flying is for people who are under six feet tall and weight less than 180 pounds. Not for the rest of us.

I'd probably save money and have more breathing room if I packed myself like a sardine inside the trailer of an eighteen-wheeler like my border crossing people when they come to A-merry-ca.

Anonymous said...

Hey Field,

Did USAir install coin-operated bathrooms on those planes yet like in those old-school Southwest Airlines commercials?


Mrs. Chili said...

Safe travel, Field. We're watching the flight status of brother-in-law coming in on USAir (we call it "Useless Air" from Alabama to New England. Along with delays and crappy service, he'll be experiencing a 40° temperature drop from there to here. Poor bastid.

(oh, and I was vaguely amused that my verification word was "omama"

Anonymous said...

I pity the people of Philly--They virtually have no choice but to fly US Scare. That is absolutely the worst airline in the world. PERIOD. I refuse to fly US Scare. The last two times I was on that wretched excuse for an airline, I was shipped through Philly and both times, I was required to spend the night at the airport because a connecting flight to DC mysteriously never appeared and no on was informed in time to switch to another airline, get a hotel or rent a damn car. NEVER AGAIN. This is one airline I hope goes into bankruptcy again and never comes out. The people of Philly are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

OMG! You couldn't be more right. I'm so sick of flying I can't stand it. People trying to save money drag too many bags on to the plane so that you can't even fit the smallest of laptops in the overhead compartment...the cattle call that is boarding...the extra money to sit in a row that isn't even premium, the $9 might as well take Greyhound--at least you know the trip will suck by bus.

Anonymous said...

See, the REAL problem with domestic airlines is twofold:

1st: These companies insist on going forward with their outmolded and outdated 1950's business simply can't work in the modern world, from top to bottom;

2nd: Deregulation is necessary--otherwise you'll need government subsides like the foreign carriers to even have a domestic air industry...

GrannyStandingforTruth said...

To add insult to injury, I read yesterday that the Congress has given itself a $4,000 raise.

TrueBlue said...

Yeah, Field, wouldn't it be nice to have your own jet or access to one. I was on someone else's airforce about four or five times and it as very nice. The only thing it had in common with commercial airlines is that you flew through the air.

Anon 6:40, the world airline in the world is the one you last got really screwed by. :-) When I lived back East, I was no fan of U.S. Air, but I understand Continental does their best to set the lowest standards these days.

Anon 8:40, I would like to know what you consider outmoded about the airline industry's business model. To me, it seems like a straightforward situation: they can't make enough money to cover their costs, so they're cutting services and flights.

I don't agree about regulation being synonymous with subsidies. The regulated system before 1978 was not subsidized. If we returned to those days you'd just have much higher airfares, that's all. I think the public would go batshit about it, so that's why we don't do it.

Today, the real cost of flying is much lower than it used to be. The result is that service is much worse than it used to be, there's much less room on the planes, and much less slack in the system. It's more efficient these days, but less comfortable. Not only that, but the expansion of service to a great portion of the population has brought every Clampett on board, or at least it did until the economy blew up.

I remember one summer in the '90s when there was a major price war and fares fell through the floorboards. Oh God what a nightmare if you were a business traveler. Call me a snob, but some people should be forced to stay on Greyhound where they belong, like white trash trailer dwelling woman whose kid's diaper overflowed in the seat in front of me and drip, drip, dripped onto my shoe. Christ almighty was I ever grossed out.

One thing that I had seen predicted in the past few years was a rise of air taxis coming with the federal approval of very small, very cheap jets made by some Japanese and Brazilian companies. That was supposed to start happening right around now, but I'm wondering if that will be a victim of the depression.

One interesting thing I saw is that once they put the Boeing 787s in service (if that's not killed by the depression, too), a side benefit is that they'll be pressurized to 6,000 feet instead of 8,000 feet. This is a big deal, because they'll be able to put more humidity in the air in the cabins, so when you do get a meal everything won't be so dried out.

Or so they claim. We shall see.

ch555x said...

ROFL! I don't fly much, but it was sort of a stinger getting on a plane a few years back and getting trial-sized snacks instead of the full-course meals back when I was a kid.

momo said...

Thanks! This is reminding me to pack some snacks for our trip.

I took the train to Chicago a few months ago. Well, I tried to, but they put us on a bus for the trip there because the train was so late. On the way back, I enjoyed the ride, but compared to rail travel in Europe, it is clear that we are woefully behind. I wonder if there will be any investment in upgrading the railroads as air and car travel get more expensive?

Anonymous said...

My Girl went to Germany this past Thursday to see her family for the holidays..meanwhile at the airport Dulles check in this lady flying to India (my guess) had a bag that was - I guess "overweight" and was the only bag she had and they wanted to charge her $150!!! I was like "ooohhhh dip!!" They trying to get everything they can outta your ass, so yeah I can see them asking Uncle Sam for my money.

field negro said...

Ye granny, the members of congress are my HN and HHNOTD.

I am so glad I am not alone with my experience flying "US SCARE". BTW, I like that name. Anon I might have to use that.:)

Anonymous said...

Midwest Airlines wasn't half bad the last time I flew them, but they cost more.

Then they were bought out. They're probably like all the rest now.

Anonymous said...

I like to travel so I get myself onto the cheapest major airlines that I can just so I can go. I consider myself lucky to be able to fly in my income bracket I would be down in steerage for weeks in a prior age. Think about it; 23 hours and you are in Bangkok not 3 months around the Horn. 17 hours to Sydney, 12 hours to Paris. Normally middle class people could not travel like that.

I hate to say it but everything that I have seen says that we are not paying the true cost of air travel and since we really do not want to pay we/I really have no cause for complaint if we are flying on someone else's loss.

I would like airlines to be a commodity, I don't need hand and foot service and servile stewards with their little menu cards, I just need a safe seat at a true cost that is the cheapest available.

I absolutely agree with Grinder that good calm manners go a long way at the airport and in flight. I swear we have gotten the last two seats on a flight (not together) but on the flight because we did not stand and berate the counter help. We have been given access to the 1st class lounge because we sat on our luggage and waited at the counter for 30 minutes when the computers went down and were then sympathetic to the ticket agent when they came back up. (No the screamers at the very next desk did not show up in the lounge.)

It would be nice not to have to go through the rigors of the preflight security, but whose is that fault? Certainly not the airlines.

The best flights are on the supported national flag carriers. We had one on Korean Air that was not to be believed. The leg room through the entire airplane was huge and they left one empty seat between everyone in those 3 person rows. Air Tahiti Nui has great service, so usually does Air France. However, last time we were on Air France was what I consider to be the worst flight I have ever had. Usually flights are cold this flight the temp was so high I was starting to show signs of heat stroke.

Germany seems to do the security best and they are very thorough. (Only place I have ever been patted down.) But the security people are very polite and they have chairs close by so that you can sit down to put on your shoes. For some reason the security at LAX and NY are amazingly grumpy, short fused and downright impolite.


TrueBlue said...

I would like airlines to be a commodity, I don't need hand and foot service and servile stewards with their little menu cards, I just need a safe seat at a true cost that is the cheapest available.

Well, then you've gotten your wish. By the way, the worst airline of the day is United. As I write, I've been on hold for 53 minutes and counting. You all might have read that we've had a foot of snow in Seattle, and that means there's no way I'm going to be able to get out of here on Tuesday. I'm flying on frequent flyer miles, and you can't change a frequent flyer ticket on line. Grrrr ...

TrueBlue said...

On hold for an hour and 55 minutes now.

tjwash said...

On hold for an hour and 55 minutes now.

Good luck with that...Denver is effed up, Ohare is effed up, and Laguardia is effed up. United has people back up for days on canceled flight because of snow and ice storms everywhere.

Welcome to winter travel...

Anonymous said...

I hope you and Mrs Fields and the fam have safe travels... and yes the airlines are the next to ask for money.

Anonymous said...

I am going out tomorrow with luck. 23rd is one of the busiest travel days. $900 + for 1 ticket roundtrip. On Xmas it is $400 less. I don't think that I have gotten what I want yet. Experts say we are still not paying the true cost. (Does anyone really know what it costs to run a real plain jane safe airline?) All of the hinky rules> I suppose that real world we would buy a "space" and pay total poundage.

Anonymous said...

Man I thought I was the only one. Airtran just got me for an extra $80 one way for two bags we always use that they now claim were oversized. The truly fugged up part about it is I have to pay the same extra $80 on my son's return trip, and get this. One of the bags will be absolutely empty on the way back. I could have maybe understood if it was about weight, but that plane didn't get any smaller when the gas prices went up.

And it's not just the airlines Field. Keep a sharp eye out and you will see that nickel and dyme shyte coming at you from a lot of different directions. Quite a few industries as well as government entities are slipping in a surcharge here and a surcharge there. I'm not even going to get the list started because I know the folks in the field will be happy to provide a list.

At some point in time we are going to have to start discussing the simple fact that fraud, theft, deception, and profit taking at the expense of everyone around you will be the death of us all. A few keep trying to get rich at the expense of the many. And when the wheels fall off because we did nothing to try to fix this, I hope people don't sit around during the chaos that follows saying "Nobody could have forseen this".

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