Saturday, July 2, 2011

Adventures in Air Travel. Failure and Success

Anyone who travels by air these days, knows the frustrations that go with it.  Between the airlines nickeling and diming us to death with hidden fees, charges for everything but breathign air, tactical cancellations of flights (they can almost always get away with blaming weather), and the horrors that are inflicted on us by the incompetent,  totalitarian, and soon to be unionized TSA, meaning even the most incompetent and corrupt of them won't be able to be fired. 

However I've got a bad news-good news story to relay to my tens of readers.  This past week, I was flying from Memphis to San Francisco, with a plane change in Salt Lake City, and everything was going swimmingly right up until the airplane's door was about to close.  Then 2 mechanics came on board, and there was a long conversation between the crew chief and the captain, and shortly after, we heard the bad news.  A careless dunderhead of a baggage handler struck the airplane with a belt loader and broke an antenna.  Under Delta's Minimum Equipment List (MEL), that the FAA approves and enforces, that is a no fly restriction.  I figured immediately, that I'm not going anywhere that night, as there was no other possible connection after this.  However, the captain told us that it was just the antenna for the inflight internet service and they should quickly get this resolved.  Well one hour goes by, with frequent updated by the outstanding captain, who was great through all this, and then 1.5 hours, and finally, the Delta maintenance management gave the go ahead to depart.  All the passengers knew that we had missed our connections, and many of us asked to get off the plane and rebook for the next day, but the ground service agents in Memphis wouldn't allow it.  I asked why, and the agent with an obvious "Memphis Attitude" (who was mostl likely was a former Northwest employee and treated us with the former Northwest Airlines customer service approach) told me, that that would cause her to file a lot of paperwork and it was far easier for her to make all of us SLC's problem.  Really nice, eh?

Ok, we arrive in SLC 2 hours late, and I experienced the exact opposite attitude from the folks there.  They had portable kiosks opened up with a dozen CSR's passing out vouchers for lodging and meals as well as boarding passes for the earliest flight the next day.  What a difference 2 cities made.  I ended up at a rather upscale airport hotel (yes they do exist once again), vouchers for 2 meals...well, $6 vouchers, but nont the less, it is better than anyone offered us in MEM.

To top it all off, I got bumped to first class on the flight to SFO, meaning that I could take the snacks from the basket myself and get a shot of Bailey's in my coffee in the morning.  So kudos to the Delta CSR's at SLC for really providing customer service to people who really needed it.  I got to my destination a bit late but not worse for wear.

TSA in SLC was as incomepent as any other airport I've been through.  I got directed to one of those "low level" x-ray machines, along with a half dozen from my line.  Well all of us ended up getting the pat down because one of those soon to be unionized government employees, didn't know how to operate the equipment and all the images were unreadable.  The guy who patted me down went a bit further, sticking his hand down the front and back of my pants, and seemed to really be enjoying it.  I finally told him, in my usual tactful way, "Hey why don't you just give me a blowjob and be done with it."  He smiled, winked, and I went on my way extremely creeped out.  Remember folks they are from the government and here to protect us.

So there you have it, the good, the bad and the ugly all within about 15 hours.

As I posted earlier, ain't air travel grand?

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