HE SAID: Case of the Mondays?

August 9, 2010

I’m actually writing this Sunday night, because after four 10 hour tennis teaching days, capped off with day drinking on a boat, I think I am going to sleep until noon tomorrow…and I can do that since I have nothing to do for three weeks. Sweet.

This is NSFW…but is a hilarious Lebron commercial about the rumors that former teammate was ‘having relations’ with Bron Bron’s mom.

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My favorite current Brett Favre is retiring article (with subtle hints that Favre is a dbag)

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Not one of the new tracks, but the closing number at Arcade Fire’s “Unstaged” youtube concert last week at MSG.

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Because of the awful experience I had with US Airways this week, I figured I would provide you with google results for the term ‘US air sucks’…there is actually some funny crap out there.


SHE SAID: Case of the Mondays?

June 10, 2010

So, in keeping with my epic late-ness, here is my case of the Monday’s post … on Thursday evening.  And here is my list of excuses.

1. I’m in the middle of moving.

2. My son is graduating from nursery school tomorrow.  Yes, now they have graduations although the cap and gown have yet to make an appearance.

3. I was planning to write Sunday night, only we got delayed on our way back from this awesome wedding in VA (the entire wedding was in the pool at the end of the night – in full wedding attire).

4. I’m always always late.  It runs in my family.

I’m done with the disclaimers.  Onto the links …

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I think I could pack this site with awkward photos, but they seem to be doing a great job without my input.

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Now the biggest spill in history, here is a way to gauge the size of the catastrophic Gulf oil spill in a way that hits home.

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“At 51, I have decided fantasy should be limited to sex, not football.”
David Remnick comes out against fantasy sports.

courtesy the Awl

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Forget bungee jumping and sky diving.  This looks pretty awesome.  This was shot in Bermuda.


SHE SAID: US Airways

January 12, 2010

I don’t know the stats on how often this happens, but this past holiday season, I had the misfortune to be on a flight that was overbooked.  No, no one I know lost a limb or had a freak holiday baking accident, so I realize how petty my complaint is in the overall grand scheme of things.  But let me tell you how frustrating being third on the standby list is when you bought your ticket weeks in advance and were at the airport to check-in more than an hour in advance (this is Burlington, Vermont, not JFK – usually an hour is more than enough time).

I arrived, innocently thinking my biggest issue was going to be my golf clubs, and was informed at the counter not only that I was on the standby list, but that all remaining flights until Tuesday were booked.  It was Sunday morning.

I won’t go into depths about the rudeness of the woman I was dealing with behind the counter because I’m assuming that she had people screaming at her all morning about how infuriating overbooking is and so some bitchiness is to be expected.  But I did inform her, probably not for the first time, that overbooking was a terrible business model and that people were making plans based on the ability of her company to follow through with little details like having a seat on a plane for someone who has purchased a ticket.

I was inconvenienced.  The couple in front of me needing to get home to their child was pretty livid.  The woman going to meet her husband, in the states on break from a tour in the middle east, was in tears.  The scene at gate 8 was not a happy one.  A passenger who had just landed, whose bag had been torn to shreds in transit on US Airways, felt the need to use profanity at a high decibel and swear he was never traveling on US Airways again.  This outburst made me feel better for two reasons.  I felt better having not lost my temper, but he also said everything I was thinking and trying to refrain from saying.

I understand that airlines need all the money they can get right now.  I understand that air travel companies are hurting and while I grumble about having to pay $40 for a checked bag … I get that they need the money and I can deal with it.  I am okay with not getting meals too, they were pretty nasty to begin with.  I even understand delays.  As long as I get where I’m going, I can wait.  It’s usually still a heck of a lot faster than driving or taking a bus or walking.

But when someone has bought a ticket, planned a vacation or a trip, all the details that go with someone planning on being somewhere, you can’t tell them that you oversold the flight and they will only get on if someone else has opted to get off the plane.  Don’t sell them the ticket!  It’s not like they don’t know how many seats are on the plane.  And while I know if I got there earlier to check in I would have made the flight, I still think it’s ridiculous and that me having spent money and gotten my confirmation email should be enough to get me on the plane.  Would we tolerate ordering something on line, getting the email about it being sent and then hearing someone got to the post office to pick it up earlier and so it’s gone?  This policy should not be tolerated.

I vowed never to fly US Airways again.  Instead, I got to my destination on JetBlue, an amazing airline that doesn’t oversell their planes, offers more leg room, delicious Blue chips and individual TVs.  The ticket was a little more expensive, but I wasn’t charged for my checked bag and JetBlue did this amazing thing and got me to my destination.


HE SAID: US Airways

January 12, 2010

As someone who traveled through airports constantly over the past five years, I sympathize with anyone who has miserable airport/airline experiences.  I mean, I was the guy who looked into buying any URL that sounded like “www.airlineindustrycanlickmyballs.com.”  So, Nifer, I sympathize with you in this situation in every way.  Overbooking flights is a horrific way to do business, and as a result airlines are losing clients such as yourself (however, I’ve flown just about every major US based airline, and they all do it, so avoiding US Airways probably won’t solve your problem.)

However, my issue with you, Nifer, lies in the fact that you know airlines overbook; especially the Sunday after New Years!  Knowing this, and knowing that you do everything short grocery shopping and sex with your iphone, how the hell did you not think to check in online?! Actually, for the record, it would not surprise me to learn that you use your iphone in some sort of creepy cyber-sex way.  You are a seasoned traveler, who should have been able to avoid the situation.  And, there is no one that knows you that actually believes you got to the airport on time. No one.

That all being said, you got screwed by an industry that likes to bend people over all the time, in every way imaginable.  My trip this past weekend out to Hawaii (yes, I’m blogging from Maui, though I think I’m still enjoying my vacation as I am currently writing 10 yards from the Pacific Ocean), went incredibly smoothly, considering I had to fly through O’Hare – a shitstorm 12 months a year, even moreso in the winter.  But when I get on a 9 hour flight, I was really shocked I had to pay $9 for an effing roast beef sandwich (and by roast beef sandwich, I mean shitty stale bread with one slice of roast beef between it).  I’m not trying to compare my situation to yours in any way, merely trying to show no matter how good a flight goes, there is always something to complain about with the airlines.  For more, see an old blog.

While we are here, I’m going to briefly touch upon the new TSA rules pertaining to international flights after the recent attempted bombing.  The whole”can’t go to the bathrom last hour of the flight” thing really pisses me off.  Is this because a terrorist is more likely to blow up the plane right near the destination as opposed to somewhere over the atlantic?  If so, this really isn’t comforting anyone of the 300 or so passengers on the 777.  I have a better idea…how about the TSA hire competent people to do their jobs properly so nothing gets on the plane that doesn’t belong.  And in case TSA is reading this, I think you do a wonderful job, please don’t put me on any watch list, and search me everytime I fly.


HE SAID: Airports

July 7, 2009

Of the several thousand readers we have each time we post, one of you must work at an airport.  I have some simple questions that I would like answered by you, or maybe Nifer can provide some insight.

1. If I am flying direct, let’s say Philadelphia to Burlington, and I check two bags (at the same time, together), how is it possible that one ends up in Burlington but one gets left behind in Philly?

2. Why did I land in Burlington once, after a 16 hour travel day, to find out with my fellow passengers that our bags had been routed to Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh bags were in Burlington.  Now, I can understand if the call letters were similar, something like BTV & PTB, but I looked it up – they are BTV and PIT.  Extremely different.

3. Why do you bother seating me in a tight space, probably next to someone overweight and smelling like my ass after a big poo and tennis match, when you know we aren’t going to be able to back up from the gate due to “FAA Regulations” for 45 minutes.  Not to mention put us 50th in line for take off.  Meaning my total time spent on the plane will be triple what it should be.

4. If I pay you $50 for two checked bags, shouldn’t I be guaranteed some overhead space?  Instead, the two jackasses next to me jam their bags that should be fucking checked since they are FULL FLEDGED suitcases into the overhead compartment, leaving me to put my backpack underneath the seat in front of me with minimal leg room.

5. It’s so cliche to complain about airline food, but why do I have to crap my pants within three hours of eating it?  Is it something you put in the food?

6. There may be a simple answer to this, and it’s not even a big deal, I’m just curious – why can I use my cell phone after I land while we are taxi-ing to the gate, but I am forced to shut it off as soon as we leave the gate while departing?

7. I flew back from London a few years ago, my entertainment system didn’t work, and it was a full flight.  I received a $20 voucher next time I flew British Airways.  Are you serious? I can’t even begin to describe my level of frustration at this. I handed the voucher back to the agent and said, “I doubt I’ll be using your services anytime soon.”

8. I lied about the end of #7, I took it and walked away.

9. Speaking of on board entertainment systems, can you please warn which movies are suitable to watch when seated next to really old people or small children.  Because I was caught off guard when watching Monsters Ball next to a seven year old.  I had no idea Halle Barre was going to get taken down hard by Billy Bob, and I was extremely uncomfortable.

10. Why do 99% of the customer service people for every airline suck at life?  They are condescending, rude, and in most cases don’t know shit.  With the exception of one lovely AirFrance woman that helped me out recently, I can not remember walking away from a agent thinking to myself, “wow, what a positive experience I just had there.”  Hey CEO’s, these are the people representing you, get a fucking clue!

The airline industry isn’t going down the shitter because of the economy, it’s going down because people want to avoid it at all costs.  All of the above has happened to me, in the last 5 years, feel free to share your own gripes in the comment section.


SHE SAID: Airports

July 7, 2009

I concur in most respects.  Airports and travel through them in general sucks.  The only motivating factor involved is the destination.  Those of us traveling somewhere aren’t doing so with glee about the transitory level of comfort, dining options, entertainment, companionship, company, customer service … oh god, this is like counting rug fibers, I’m going to stop.

I traveled through JFK recently with my 4 year-old son and mother.  We were delayed at JFK for seven hours. We were told about every hour, that the successive flight on which we had been rebooked was delayed and/or canceled.  If we were delayed, we were canceled shortly.  Weather reports in both locations were clear and there was no bad weather in-between.  Had we been told at 8 am that we were going to be SOL for seven hours, we might have gone and had lunch in the city or to visit nearby relatives.  I would have at least changed my son out of his scull and crossbones PJ’s.

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I found out days later that a runway at JFK had been closed for construction for weeks and that they were accepting same amount of flight traffic with two thirds of the runway space.  If bad weather or wind entered the equation, at best one runway would be open with a flight schedule based on three open and operating runways.  Whoever okayed this hair brained idea was clearly interested in the daily monetary returns and not about customer satisfaction or returning business.  My four year-old could have foreseen that this was a terrible idea.  Granted, he’s the most brilliant child to ever grace the face of this earth, but still.  He’s four.  He’s in charge of his stuffed animals and brushing his teeth, not an airline company or a major international airport.

I booked us on three flights out of JFK, all of which were going within three hours driving distance of our destination.  One got out, we were on it.  The kicker?  Our checked luggage had gotten on our original connecting flight despite that we missed it while circling above JFK for an additional hour waiting for some runway space.  A mystifying fact.  We landed, drove to the other airport to get our bags, and then drove to our destination.  It was ten hours after we were supposed to have arrived.

A problem that could have been avoided or ameliorated throughout the day by both the airlines and the airport, but wasn’t even acknowledged.  The customer service agents, understandably, were overwhelmed with frustrated customers doing everything from gesticulating wildly and swearing to staring in quiet and restrained rage.

And that is where I’m going to disagree with you vehemently.  Because the people working for these companies are arriving in the morning, dealing with the shitstorm that is the organization and structuring of the company and the inevitable pissed off and frustrated customer, and then going home at night.  They are not the ones making the decisions that are screwing with the travelers plans and I’m going to go out on another limb and say that if the companies are so clearly not interested with the satisfaction of someone paying for their services, that they probably give less than a flying fuck about the satisfaction of their workers.  Being caught in the middle with people swearing and yelling in your face on a daily basis cannot be easy, to say the least.