Monday, November 08, 2021

SouthWORST Airlines

WARNING:  ONE OF MY RANTS

At one time Southwest Airlines used to be good.  They used to be reliable.  Okay… sort of reliable. Reliable enough. I’ve flown Southwest quite a bit because I go up to San Jose to see my son and his family. I also fly out of Burbank rather than LAX.  Longer drive to get there but a much less crazy airport.   Burbank Airport (formerly Bob Hope Airport — how soon they forget) is reminiscent of the airport in WINGS.  No jetways. You still walk onto the tarmac and up ladders to get to the planes.  Think: the last scene in CASABLANCA.

I’d like to think it’s the pandemic, but whatever.  Southwest has become a fucking nightmare. Cutting corners and losing loyal customers.  And seemingly not giving a shit. 

A few weekends ago they cancelled 2,000 flights, blaming it on air traffic control and weather issues.  Uh… no other carrier had to cancel flights.  That four-day meltdown cost them $75 million.  And how many irate customers? 

They were also in the news recently for one of their pilots saying some anti-Biden remark to the passengers.   And just last night a Southwest flight attendant falsely accused a bi-racial mother of human trafficking when it was in fact her daughter.  Oops.  That'll be a fun lawsuit. 

Now that people are starting to fly again, wouldn’t the best policy be to make them feel welcome and make them feel glad they chose your airline?  

I see no evidence of this with Southwest.  None.  Nor do I see any effort made to be on time.  And here's the thing:  If you can't depend on an airline they're worthless to you.  We'll live if we don't get peanuts, but if we miss connections, if we can't get where we're going -- we fucking HATE YOU.  No, not annoyed by you -- HATE. 

Halloween weekend I flew up to San Jose on Southwest from Burbank.  A 45 minute flight leaving at 10 AM.  It was two hours late.  Coming home the next night it was an hour late taking off, and then when we got to Burbank we sat on the tarmac for close to an hour until there was a gate.   There was a gate available but since our plane was staying the night and another plane was arriving and taking off again, we had to wait.  This is the same route they fly every day.  They haven’t worked this out yet?  Plus, when we got to the gate I noticed four or five empty gates.  We couldn’t deplane via one of those?  Even if they then moved the plane to the eventual gate later?  Better to inconvenience 150 people after taking off an hour late for a 45 minute flight.   Like I said, they don't give a shit. 

And at least our flights weren’t cancelled.  They were up to old tricks and a number of flights were cancelled from Burbank that Saturday morning.  Stranded passengers had to leave the boarding area, try to get stand-by, then go through TSA security again.   We’re not talking Thanksgiving weekend.  This was a Saturday morning at sleepy Burbank Airport.  

I’m also looking at prices and seeing you can go round-trip from LA to Chicago on decent airlines cheaper than what I paid to fly to San Jose.  Spirit Airlines is the world’s worst but at least they’re cheap.  

A few years ago I had to fly from Indianapolis to Minneapolis (my all “apolis” trip).  Thank God I flew Delta.  We boarded the plane and they discovered there was some mechanical problem.  But instead of just cancelling the flight they pulled some strings and got another plane out of the hanger and we were on our way only an hour late.  Do you think Southwest would do that?  Not a chance.  

I bet there’s not a single person reading this post who doesn’t have at least three airline nightmare stories.  (Feel free to share)  I know there’s a practice where the airlines purposely try to make you uncomfortable so you’ll pay be better seats, blankets, etc.  But it just seems it’s getting worse.  Southwest says “We know you have a choice, thanks for flying with us.”  They’re right.  From now on I’m flying Alaska.  Waiting on the tarmac for an hour at 10:30 on Sunday night to get to a gate while other gates were wide open was the tipping point.  Not that they give a shit, I'm sure. 

51 comments :

slgc said...

I'm going to give you a story from the other side of the spectrum. And it will make you drool with envy.

Seven years ago my husband and I took our Bucket List trip to Australia. We were flying home from Melbourne on Quantas, and our flight was delayed for two hours. As an apology, we were each given a $30 voucher that could be used in the airport restaurants or shops! We got drinks and picked up extra Tim Tam cookies and other souvenirs to bring home. It was so worth the delay (and since we had a long layover at LAX anyway, it didn't even affect our connection!).

Alan Christensen said...

I actually don't have an airline nightmare story. But then I don't fly as much as some people. And I usually fly Alaska; they're great.

Necco said...

Surprisingly, I've had no problems with Delta for years. Just flew last month through Atlanta without a hitch. Granted, one of the gate attendants was a total bitch, but the flights went quite smoothly, in both directions.

I haven't flown Southwest in 20 years. They used to be the "fun" airline. Perky flight attendants (male/female), and fun "snacks." HATED the boarding find-your-own-seat.

I went to the University of Miami in the early 80s, so the old Eastern was a regular. I remember the flights being smooth.

JR Smith said...

A few weeks ago, my fiancé and I flew back East to visit our elderly parents. It was a a four day trip with two of the four days devoted to flying from San Francisco to Elmira, NY via Detroit on Delta and back. All was well until we arrived at Detroit. SkyWest...the company that handles most of the feeder flights for Delta (and many other airlines), experienced some sort of computer issue. 700 flights nationwide were cancelled that evening including our flight from Detroit to Elmira. We stood in line for an hour to get vouchers for a hotel room and ground transportation. We were booked on a flight the next afternoon but were told that it was possible that the next day's flights might be delayed or canceled if they were unable to get the computers up and running again. We found a flight from Detroit to Binghamton, NY that was managed by another carrier, so we selected that flight rather than the Elmira flight. I asked about our bags and was told not to worry--they would be re-routed to the Binghamton flight. We asked about the best ground transportation from the Detroit airport to the Hampton Inn they booked us in and we were told that there would be " a million Metro cabs" in front of the terminal to take us. There were no cabs, just hundreds of stranded traveler standing on the sidewalk wondering what to do. We did an Uber. Spent the night in a very marginal Hampton Inn. Got back to the airport early the next morning and confirmed with the gate agent to make sure our bags were indeed going to be loaded on the Binghamton flight. We were assured that they would. Inquired again at the gate (since the Delta app had ceased working) and was told..."yes, your bags are at the airport and just need to be loaded. Don't worry." We arrived at Binghamton but our bags did not. Waited another hour for a agent at the Binghamton airport to assist us with locating our bags. The hour wait was necessary because the same person who checks you in also loads the bags onto the airplane, cleans the airplane and who knows...maybe even fuels the damn thing! When we finally got to speak to this overworked young lady, she confirmed that our bags were still in Detroit, apologized and said she would have them on the next day's flight and then have them delivered to us. We had no clothes, but at least were in New York State. We stopped at Kohls and bought some fresh underwear and something to sleep in. That night, around 11PM, we got a text message that said our bags were going round and round on the baggage carousel at Elmira! The next morning, I spent over an hour trying to reach someone at Delta to find out how to get our bags from Elmira to Binghamton. Finally, I called the main number at the Elmira Airport and hit a bunch of keys on my phone until a human answered. I found the gate agent at Elmira and we finally got our bags a day and a half into our trip. Oh...and don't get me started on finding an affordable rental car. All of the rental car places told me that they were short on cars, hence the $9 million dollar per day economy rental car charge. Flying these days just sucks.

Covarr said...

I haven't flow enough to have three airline nightmare stories, but after my recent honeymoon I've decided I'm done with American Airlines. We'd planned to leave from a bigger airport about 90 minutes drive from home; nothing too bad, but it was a lot cheaper than the nearest airport. That in mind, we bought early afternoon tickets so we'd have time for a leisurely morning and breakfast.

They rescheduled our flight to 7:30 am. This put us in a position of either leaving at like 4am or driving over the night before and spending a bunch of extra money on a hotel. We ended up going that route, because screw leaving at 4am, but the cost of a hotel completely negated the benefits of using this airport in the first place.

But hey, at least this meant we got a five hour layover in DFW. Who doesn't love spending several straight hours in one of the most crowded airports in the country during a pandemic?

We've got a Christmas trip planned next month. This time we're flying United, and we're paying the extra to fly out of our home airport (especially in winter weather, this is as much about safety as convenience). They may not be Delta or Alaska, but fingers crossed they don't screw things up for us like American did at least.

Darwin's Ghost said...

"a Southwest flight attendant falsely accused a bi-racial mother of human trafficking when it was in fact her daughter"

So Southwest are now employing Qanon followers as flight attendants.

Sue T. said...

The Pacific Northwest used to have two regional airlines: Cascade and Horizon. Cascade was nicknamed "Crash-cade" and Horizon was nicknamed "Hair-raising."

marka said...

Here my story.

I was living in Boston and flew down NYC for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Can't remember. The airline was some regional airline that I think had New York in the name (this was in the 80s). On my way back when I checked in the guy said I didn't pay enough for the flight. I had flown down without any problem, had confirmation that I had paid for the return flight and he wouldn't let me on the plane until I paid another hundred bucks. Still get angry when I think about it.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I'm just . . . never going to get onto a plane ever again, thanks to our Republican "Presidents."

It's bad enough that Bush started up this whole TSA thing where in order to board a plane, you either have to have naked scans of yourself taken, or you have to let somebody molest you to make sure you don't have any bombs in your underwear, but it's even worse that Trump started up this whole "real ID" thing where you have to have a star on your driver's license in order to even board a plane and fly within the continental US (and in order to even get that star, you literally have to have practically every single legal documentation that pertains to you and your life like birth certificates (big shock), marriage licenses, divorce decrees, etc.)

Somebody remind me again how it's the left that's trying to control us all?

Elf said...

Of course everyone has flying horror stories, but these kind of issues aren't specific to Southwest or any single airline. The same thing happened to either American or United (I forgot which) just a week ago or so.

The example you gave of Delta bringing another plane out of the hangar would likely not happen today because something like that requires enough extra crew to do something like that. They're all running with bare minimum crews these days.

That's also the reason they don't just open another gate when one gate is taken and another can use it: They don't have the manpower to man the extra gate.

So all it really takes is a few flights delayed due to weather, staffing or mechanical issues, next thing you know you've got three planes all waiting for a single gate, and the entire schedule falls apart like a house of cards.

Rich Johnson said...


I think it was called America West - one of those limited carriers that got swallowed up by someone sometime. In '94 I was flying back from Seattle to DC via Am-West hub of, wait for it, Columbus, Ohio. It had a plane bound for Washington National - 2 miles from my house - and another bound for Baltimore-Washington - 35 miles from my house. The BWI flight was 2/3 full. The DCA flight has 10 people on it. Darn the luck that the DCA plane suddenly had a technical issue, and the put those people (including me) onto the BWI flight. And as a bonus, we got a voucher for the big blue van to go to DCA. After a 45 minute wait before the one hour trip south. Four of us went in on a limo and drove semi-straight home.

Elf said...

@Darwin's Ghost: Southwest also had a pilot recently say "Let's Go Brandon" over the PA system.

@joseph Scarbrough: Trump didn't start Real ID, it was actually initiated by Bush, but full implementation has been delayed many, many times. https://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/history-behind-the-real-id-act.aspx

Eric J said...

Hollywood-Burbank had 5 names before it was Bob Hope Airport. One of them was also Hollywood-Burbank. I used to commute San Jose to Burbank on PSA in the 70's and maybe some of the 80's. In those days, Ontario was like Burbank. No jetways. You stood in line outside, then boarded on a stairway.

I kinda miss that. You had a better feel that you were flying on an airplane instead of being squirted into an aluminum tube for transport to the consumer.

Buttermilk Sky said...

This is a little OT but I wanted to share. Alitalia went bankrupt and ceased flying last month, laying off 10,000 people. The new national airline ITA only hired about 3,000 of them. Two weeks ago a group of (female) flight attendants gathered in the middle of Rome and silently stripped to their underwear to dramatize their demand for extended unemployment benefits. Actions like this might get the American labor movement back on its feet.

As a friend of mine said after spending a summer in Italy, "Fellini made documentaries."

mike schlesinger said...

I have become legendary on Facebook for my countless travel woes, which have been likened to "The Truman Show." The most recent one was a mere two weeks ago. Since Delta no longer uses Cincinnati as a hub, they've dropped all non-stops from LAX. So I flew American out of Burbank, connecting in DFW. We were about to take off when we were told that the plane was too heavy and SIXTEEN passengers would have to be bumped! Even after they'd gotten 16 people to voluntarily get off, we still sat for another hour, guaranteeing that all of us would miss our connections. I ended up spending the night in a hotel full of maskless people and given a very generous $12 meal voucher, getting up at 5:AM to make my new flight. But at least I got there, unlike in 2014, when I missed a film festival entirely because American tried to put me on the wrong plane and then said there were no seats available on any flight until the last day. The bastards wouldn't even give me any miles as a make-good. The only bright spot in this latest fiasco was that the flight attendants couldn't have been nicer and more helpful--but they still work for a crap-ass airline.

slgc said...

Joseph - do NOT get me started on Real ID.

Which is more about the NJ Department of Motor Vehicles than it is about TSA. Long story short, I have only been married once, and I made the mistake of changing my name when I got married 30+ years ago. The fact that I had legally changed my name has caused me more bureaucratic issues than you can imagine.

Deep cleansing breath....

Teri McG said...

Back in MY day.... Late '70s. Flew from LAX to Pittsburgh for my sister's wedding the next day. (I don't recall the airline, but it's likely out of business by now.) Airline lost my luggage. The next morning my suitcase was driven to my parents' door, 60 miles from the Pgh airport, in a town car.

iamr4man said...

Many years ago, my sister had a once in a lifetime opportunity it’s to visit Italy. A wealthy relative of her husband with whom she had gotten close, had rented a Chateau for the summer and invited her and her 2 kids to stay with her and her kids. She would be there for a month. My sister had my father book her the flight. He seemed to have a knack for finding the cheapest flights in those pre internet days. He did, but the flight involved flying from L.A. to New York, changing planes, then flying to Italy on a plane that was going to stop in France first. My sister thought this would be kind of a schlep with two young kids and decided to see if she could find a non stop. She did, but it was much more expensive. She decided to pay the extra money and flew on the same day. When she landed, she learned that the New York to Paris leg of the flight she had canceled had exploded shortly after takeoff. That was TWA Flight 800.
I alway wonder about the “lucky” people who got her seats.

Jeffrey Graebner said...

This year, I've found that a big problem is that the airlines are publishing and selling tickets on schedules that apparently are just wild guesses. We are taking a trip to visit my family over Christmas (they live in Florida, so wish us luck...) We have already had to completely change our flight schedule twice, including one switch of airlines. We initially had booked a flight on JetBlue, which left L.A. early afternoon and arrived in Orlando late in the evening. A couple months after we booked, they decided to change the flight to a red-eye. I don't sleep well on flights and I didn't really want to sleep through the holiday. That flight was the only direct flight that they offered from L.A. to Orlando and their connecting flight options weren't much better. We ended up just canceling (fortunately, airlines are no longer able to charge a cancelation penalty when they substantially alter the schedule) and rebooking with another airline.

We ended up going with American Airlines, since they offered a direct flight on almost exactly the same schedule as our original JetBlue reservation. A couple months after booking that, I received a notification that they had decided to remove that flight from their schedule and that they instead rebooked us on a non-direct flight that would include an almost impossible to meet (less thana an hour) connection in Dallas and that would get us into Orlando several hours later than we had intended.

At that point, I ended up just giving up on the afternoon flight entirely and switched to a direct flight (still on American) that leaves around 9 in the morning. Keeping my fingers crossed that they keep that flight on the schedule. Of course, that also required modifying my car rental reservation, since we will now be getting in about 5-6 hours earlier than originally planned. I called and was told that I had 2 choices. One was to just cancel and re-book the reservation, but that would increase the total cost of the booking by around $1,200. The other was to just modify the time on the reservation, but that would likely require them to charge us for an additional day and they were unable to tell us how much extra that would be. The agent seemed to think that would just be around another $100, so I'm taking the chance on that and hoping we don't get surprised with some insane charge. That's assuming they actually have a car for us when we get there, which I've heard isn't a sure thing these days...

Brian Phillips said...

One nightmare story wasn't due to the airline, it was the passengers and it was WELL before the pandemic. I'm surprised the plane stayed in the air.

My Mom was in her last years, so I was flying back and forth from Georgia to California when I could. On the way to CA, I found out that a very inebriated Country and Western band had gotten on the plane. One of the fellows made any number of rude remarks to the staff and no one in the band felt he was out of line. He was so belligerent, I spent as much time at the back of the plane standing just to stay away. Then something I have never seen before or since happened.

The captain came out of the cockpit and threatened to land the plane early and kick them off.

This meant NOTHING to this man. He just got worse. "They're gonna put me off in New Mexico! I cain't believe..."

No apologies to the crew by any of these enabling lunkheads. Had they stopped in NM, I would have either cheered or chipped in on the dolly rental to cart him off.

As far as bad experiences go, People Express was a DREADFUL time. It was like flying on a bus with wings. All I can say was that it was cheap, but we got there on time.

AirTran was notorious for overbooking both the customers and the crew. One pilot got on the intercom after hearing complaints and said, "We apologize for the delay, but we'll try to get you to _____ as soon as we can. You're tired, I'm tired..."


It was at this point that a good percentage of the passengers gasped.

Brian Phillips said...

Also, when Vanguard went out of business, they said, in essence, "We are closing. We aren't refunding your money for the trip(s) you paid for."

Anonymous said...

Haven't flown since 2015. Got tired of being treated like crap. Made me wonder what kind of skimping on maintenance was taking place. If I can't drive there now, I don't go. Saving money and not missing a thing.

Brian Phillips said...

We had a Friends and Family pass for Delta Airlines. We flew up to Detroit first class. Getting back was the tough part.

At this time, Northwest Airlines ruled the roost at Wayne County Airport, so Delta had only a couple of gates. We were told once, twice and three times that we couldn't get on the plane back home because the flights were booked and we were on standby. We were also told every time that we were going to be let on the plane, no problem.

I told my workmate (and then management, of course) June that the Good Lady Wife and I were stuck in transit. June said, "Well, you'll just have a lot of work waiting for you when you get back!" To quote Niles Crane, "Nope, still can't laugh about it."

As the sun set, we threw ourselves on the mercy of the desk attendant. She referred us to a flight that allowed us to get home via Chicago Midway, ironically this was a flight on Southwest. Outside of the crew, we were the ONLY TWO PEOPLE ON THE FLIGHT. We caught our connection and made it home late that night, so our "free" flight turned into $500 and a snide remark I didn't need from ol' Gripezella.

Does anyone else remember how it was flying Delta from the B Terminal of Detroit Wayne County? The A terminal has restaurants, a monorail chi-chi shops...the B terminal was accessed by a long motorized walkway through a tunnel with freaky music and visuals and when you got through the psychedelia, you ended up at a terminal with a Burger King and an eating area with a sign that made it look like it was a diner, but no, it was just stools and a bar.

Jim said...

F Alaska Airlines.

Your mileage may vary. I totally get that.

A cherished, unrepeatable-type event via a SHORT flight was ruined for us by Alaska Airlines. The worst part was, THEY WERE SPECIFICALLY CHOSEN TO AVOID THAT FROM HAPPENING. No mechanical, weather or pandemic issues were involved. No redress granted. No reasons given for their failures. Your mileage may vary.

I’d try Spirit again before Alaska, and I’d rather rent a scooter than chance another Spirit trip.

We long for the olden days of “Northworst”, which we flew constantly. Cannot believe I just wrote those words, and meant them. I’m not an alarmist, but airline passenger issues are perilously close to being a national disgrace…if they are not already.

Brian said...

Ken - you should write an email to Southwest. They need to know. Also they almost always give me some kind of travel voucher for future travel when I send in a complaint email. Southwest has twice cancelled flights on me. Once I had to travel the next day, which wasn't a big deal since I was on a personal trip. Another time, I had to change airports to get there the same day. In each case they gave me a $200 voucher after I wrote and complained. Tell them you're a famous blogger.

Ted. said...

I'm a big guy (six-foot-two), so I try only to fly on airlines that have a reputation for giving flyers a little more space, such as JetBlue. But then the last time I flew on JetBlue, they sat me next to two guys who were literal wrestlers. I don't know if they were professionals or amateurs, but they were both my height and as wide as any (allegedly) 'roided-out The Rock wannabes. Between the two of them their shoulders took up the space of two and three-quarters seats, leaving me jammed up against the window for six hours like a non-free-range chicken. When I asked to move, the flight attendant just told me that the flight was full and seating was the luck of the draw. I was in physical pain for days afterward.

So that's one more airline I've decided I'll never fly again (along with Southwest -- which always gives me the lowest boarding letter no matter when I buy my ticket, so I end up in the middle seat right in front of the rear lavatory -- and United, which is pure evil and can rot in heck forever).

So that basically leaves Alaska Airlines as the only decent one left. Or staying home, which is increasingly my preference.

Rick Kaplan said...

I love taking trains. I only fly when I have to be someplace fast or when the price of a sleeper on Amtrak is outrageous. I do fly Southwest almost exclusively because of lower fares than other major airlines and they don't charge you for luggage.

Michael said...

We have been loyal Southwest customers for years, and impressed with them. But, like you, I am finding them less interested in taking care of customers. And the fact that they didn't immediately announce the firing of the "Let's Go, Brandon," pilot and caved on the vaccinations has me looking at other options.

By the way, I told them about a problem related to service. I got an email apologizing for the flight cancellation and a $150 voucher. That wasn't the problem, but I'll use the voucher. If their complaint department is incompetent, I'm fine with that.

Mike Doran said...

My father was a veteran of the Army Air Corps in World War II; Twelve O'Clock High was his war.
After the war, Dad became a pipe-fitter.
He did quite a lot of travelling for his job, all over the country and around the world, always coming home with souvenirs and stories about what he'd seen and done.
As you might imagine, Dad did quite a bit of commercial air travel; if there had been frequent flyer miles in the '50s and '60s, he might have piled up a sizable record ...
When he retired in the '80s, he did a bit of traveling - but usually by car.
Dad ultimately came to detest commercial air carriers, much to Mom's distress; she would have preferred flying to places, but dad was adamant:
"Airliners today are like a CTA bus with wings."
Any Chicagoan will tell you that's not a compliment.

As for myself, I have yet to make my first airline flight.
Not scared or anything like that - I just can't think of anywhere I want to go to that badly ...

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Right now, I'm beginning to plan my first flight since January 2020.

I'm just going to be grateful to be able to do it.

wg

Steve Lanzi (formerly known as qdpsteve) said...

"@Darwin's Ghost: Southwest also had a pilot recently say "Let's Go Brandon" over the PA system."

Which no one sane should GAF about. What matters about pilots is their competency and safety record. Period. (Which thankfully also means that Alec Baldwin will never get a second career as a pilot.)

PS to Ken, have you ever flown out of Long Beach Airport? IMHO it's better than just about anything else in SoCal, with the possible exception of John Wayne Airport in OC. Maybe give it a try sometime. But be forewarned, there's a huge sign that says LGB in front. :-)

YEKIMI said...

Just about 40 years ago, took a flight on Delta to Tampa. Professional staff, friendly flight attendants. Took off on time, landed on time. My only gripe was when they rolled the liquor cart down the aisle and they got to me [and I ranted about this before] was they asked me "Coke of Pepsi?" I said "Rum & Coke" and the flight attendant said "Sorry, you have to be 21 years old to order that." I was 24 but looked like I was 15. Showed my ID but didn't help, she said it could be fake. 40 years later, boss booked me on Spirit airlines for a trip to Florida. Took off late, but pilot must have stepped on the gas because we landed on time in Orlando. But, sheesh, what a zoo! Only thing it was missing was chimpanzees swinging from the overhead compartments. Come to think of it, the chimps might have been more civilized. And the pilot managed to find the route with the most turbulence, I felt like I was in a Vitamix blender. Think he did it so he could keep the "seatbelts on" light lit for all but 15 minutes of the flight. Return flight, also on Spirit, but they had changed from the "A" concourse to the "B" concourse which are basically three counties apart. Orlando International airport is the size of some of the world's smaller countries and since I had to stop and rest sometimes due to a now crappy heart. It took me close to an hour to get from one side of the airport to another. No help from ANYONE as I my luggage across roadways, speed bumps, etc. Told my boss that I will drive down to Florida from now on even if I have to use a tricycle to get there. Yes, it'll add 2 to 3 days to my trip but ANYTHING to avoid Spirit airlines again.

Jeff Boice said...

The security arrangements post 9/11 meant that for trips under 500 miles you might as well go by car. The pandemic has messed up the schedules so bad that if you have to make a connection you're going to be stuck at the airport for 4 or 5 hours. And the airports are now crowded so unless you have access to an airport lounge you're stuck in airport hell.

For business flights, I was required to fly United. I came to detest United so much I refused to fly them for personal flights. I really liked Continental when Gordon Bethune was the CEO but then they were bought out by United (how did that happen?). Alaska and Delta treat me right.

sanford said...

We only fly once a year on Southwest to go to Spring Training and have never had any problems I am not sure why things have gone down hill like they have.

Jeffrey Graebner said...

@Rich Johnson, amazingly enough, it's actually America West that did the swallowing instead of being swallowed up. In 2005, America West bought US Air and adopted their name, since it was better known. In 2013, they then bought American Airlines and again adopted the better known name.

Darwin's Ghost said...

"Which no one sane should GAF about. What matters about pilots is their competency and safety record."

Not really, Steve. The pilot chose to share his opinion on President Biden with all the passengers. If he wanted to be judged solely on his competency and safety record, then the neo Nazi should have kept his fucking mouth shut.

But I'm sure you're sincere in what you say and totally not a hypocrite and you'd be cool with a pilot saying "Fuck Donald Trump."

Keith R.A. DeCandido said...

Spirit isn't even really cheap! They have low rates, but they also do EVERYTHING a la carte, so what seems like a cheap ticket turns out to really be a very expensive ticket once you pay for checked luggage, carry-on luggage, choosing your own seat, etc., etc.

---Keith

Kosmo13 said...

I'm glad someone on-line explained what "Let's Go, Brandon!" really means. I had thought those who said it were invoking the central character in "Boys Don't Cry" to show support for transgender people.

DwWashburn said...

There's a great small airline that flys out of Burbank. It's called JSX and they fly semi private planes. 20 seats, you only have to be at the airport 20 minutes before takeoff, free drinks, great service. Unfortunately they have a limited iterenary and I don't think they fly to San Jose from Burbank.

Ere I Saw Elba said...

I don't mean to go all Joe Biden, but we should just take a train. California in particular could vastly benefit from improved light rail transportation form LA to the Bay Area. This is not a perfect system, but it is vastly more efficient and less expensive and stressful than air travel.

Liggie said...

All this makes a strong argument for more high-speed rail lines in this country. They may not be as fast as planes, but for regional destinations they would be more efficient. No airport crowding, quicker boarding procedures, and you can get up and move to a dining or observation car instead of staying tethered to your seat. Along with the current Acela in the Northeast and the private Brightline in Florida, I'm interested to see how the under-construction Florida, Texas, California and LA-Vegas lines turn out. I also see potential for regional lines like the Pacific NW, Chicago-St. Louis, and maybe Atlanta-Nashville.

Necco said...

@slgc

"Drool" over a $30 voucher? Um, no. Drooling is reserved for a first-class upgrade (which I used to get in the 90s, when the airlines fucked up).

Necco said...

@ Kosmo13

You HAVE to be kidding me. I am assuming sarcasm.

Aaron said...

I just wanted to chime in... I've flown Southwest almost exclusively for 15 years (thanks to a once-great and now not-so-great rewards program) and have never had a single issue. I fly on average three or four times a year, round-trip. Delta I absolutely refuse to fly with ever again because of numerous problems (lost luggage, cancelled flights leaving me to fend for myself overnight in an unfamiliar city, etc). Same with United. Crazy how different everyone's experiences can be.

Sara said...

Tried to get a flight from Boston to LAX on Southwest around Thanksgiving. It cost just about the same to fly non-stop United First Class. Not kidding - and United First Class provides more than pretzels.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

@slcg Ah yes, I know what you mean. It's been a headache for my mom for that exact same reason: not only has she been married three times, but she also took her stepfather's last name when he legally adopted her, so those are four legal name changes she's gone through in her life, in addition to three marriages (and two divorces), so that's been tons of paperwork she's had to collect for Real ID.

Lorimartian said...

A few years ago, I took the train to the Bay Area...the inland route out of Bakersfield. While I could have driven to Bakersfield and parked, I chose to take Amtrak's bus that has a stop at Burbank Airport. It makes a few more stops in Canyon Country on its way to Bakersfield. The inland train trip took just a little longer than if I had driven, and while certainly much longer than had I flown, the stress level was close to zero. On the return, the bus brought me back to the Burbank Airport stop. The only disturbing element is that there is no security whatsoever...no passenger or luggage screening, etc., and any over-sized bags are placed together in a designated area so anybody could walk off with with your luggage. Thankfully, that did not occur. I'm a nervous flyer and really prefer not to.

Chris Juricich said...

All the airlines are terrible. Haven't been on a plane flight since I 'escaped' Manila to home further south in February, 2020. No interest, no desire, and thankfully no need to travel anywhere. Many friends are itching to go overseas and I'd enjoy that--but not yet...and not while it's so uncertain. I really would like to go back to Vietnam or Thailand, but I'm content waiting. At least now I can get a massage once or twice a week while I wait for intl travel to return to 'normal'...

JS said...

You would not believe the headaches I will endure not to fly. Sometimes you can't help it, but I will do anything - Trains or Automobiles - to avoid flying. I don't care how much extra time it takes.

I last flew Southwest about 20 years ago. I remember you had to get up early to log in and try to get a good letter so you could board in the first group and pick your seat.

I hate flying with a passion. I LOVE trains. If I have to travel, I am driving or going by train.

DyHrdMET said...

Alaska Airlines is a good one for up and down the west coast. I flew on it in the pre-COVID days when they had direct Newark-San Jose flights, and now on connecting flights to get me to San Jose.

Have you considered Amtrak to get up to San Jose and back? I might take less time with the delays you faced.

MikeN said...

Ken, the reason for the Southwest massive cancellation that they are lying about, and for their ongoing woes, is that pilots are angry at the vaccine mandates and are engaged in some sort of walkout, but without the support of the union(which would make it illegal).
Many people since they were going to be fired started taking vacation time and sick leave ahead of that. The airline backed off of their vaccine mandate a little bit, but the damage is done. People are not volunteering for overtime like they used to.

Southwest is definitely not as cheap as it used to be, but some of this is because they finally moved into the regular airports.