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The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

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The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby 4everconchordsfan » Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:22 pm

Thought that maybe a topic of trains, planes & automobiles might be in order. Your thoughts on the actual logistics of airline travel.

On a personal note, I've worked in the travel industry for too many years to count. I've worked the small family owned travel agency enviornment, travel agency franchise enviornment, groups & cruises, and in reservations for a major U.S. based airline (ATA Airlines which went bankrupt). Currently my work includes making airline reservations for specific promotions for 20 U.S. based airline carrier's. Yup, im the reseravation agent that you hate, the one you yell at. The person who tells you that you can't have the promotion because it's capacity controlled, or you can't travel on the blackout dates blah, blah, blah. Fun!

So, in my job I hear complaining every single day. Whether it is the seat assignment, the fare being too high, the lines too long, the check-in format on the airline's website bites the big one, you name the complaint & Ive heard it.

Thought it might be interesting to hear your air travel stories. What is your pet peeve, worst flight, most interesting character or celebrity you've encountered at an airport or in-flight, favorite or most hated airport? Tips?

I have noted that we have a 'travel' thread & 'off on holiday' type thread but thought maybe we could be specific to airline travel gripes here.

You're a person. That person over there is a person. And each person deserves to be treated like a person. So what is wrong with the airline industry today?
Last edited by 4everconchordsfan on Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby Amanda » Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:53 am

[Lily's voice] It all comes down to money, 4ever [/Lily's voice]

The big airlines having to compete with the low cost ones..it's tough. I won't bore you with the details but I work for one of the big ones.. and I see month after month less people are travelling, more flights drop off the schedule and the airlines can only think of what can they charge for that they're not charging for already. I remember 6 years ago when I started.. and now they charge you for checking-in luggage!! and they want to charge for printing out your boarding pass!! 6 years ago..giving snacks and drinks during flights under 2hours was the norm.. now they charge for that as well!! and the service is dropping.. it's embarrassing.

Sorry for ranting :rolleyes: I LOVE to travel and I LOVE my job.. but sometimes I think airlines should be more customer focused ..I now it's a business and not a charity but happy customers are what keep us in business..not charging for using the loo!

Back on topic..
Favourite Airports: San Francisco, Bangkok and Barcelona :wink:

Most hated: JFK (new york), CDG (paris), LHR (london), Amsterdam and Rome..awful! CDG is beautiful and new but it's humongous and the staff is not very nice. the other ones are just old and shabby..

Pet peeves:
-middle seat in the economy cabin.. it gets worse by the row.
-The in-flight entertainment box under the seat in front of you.
-Flying standby.. and not getting on the flight
-Untidy lavatories
-poor in-flight entertainment

Worst experience:
Flying out of Traverse City, MI. The flight had had a delay of 2 hours coming in due to technical problems. It was one of those small aircrafts that only seats 50 people. When we finaly take off and we're about a mille high.. the engines sound like they've shutted off and we start to descend... after a few very long seconds we hear the sound of the engines starting and we go up again.. couple of minutes later.. they sound like they're losing power again and we start going down.. I've never felt death so close. The girl sitting next to me started to cry.. I was about to.. we rose again .. i was praying everything i knew.. and even though it only lasted 30 minutes, that felt like the longest flight of my life. I didn't dare to look out the window for the rest of the flight. Apparently a private jet had entered into our air space and we had had to dodge it. :cry:
After we landed safely in Detroit I had to ran to take my connection to Amsterdam.. a 9H flight over the Atlantic so I was kinda forced to overcome any fears if i wanted to make it back home.

Tips
ALWAYS check-in online as soon as you can to make sure you get on the flight and avoid over-booking and long lines at the airport, travel as light as possible, try not to check in any luggage.. bear in mind that you probably don't need half the things you packed.. and the other half you can buy at your destination. Be nice to the lady at the check-in counter..she assigns your seat and the seats of those travelling with you.. and she is the one who may or may not charge you for excess luggage :wink:
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby mohumbhai mania » Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:07 am

I could write more, but my beef is just that I hate airports and getting off planes. I feel mobbed. I love flying, being in the plane. I get all cozy, like I'm in my own little cave. And I travel with as little as I can humanly get away with because I figure there are laundromats and clothes stores everywhere.
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby Sherry » Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:10 pm

Taking a leaf and borrowing from Amanda :)

Favourite Airports: Singapore, Changi airport *sigh* Best place ever for a long stop over. Cinema, swimming pool, deck for some fresh air, play areas for small children in all terminals. They don't mind you using their sofas for a nap. Great showers with hairdryer supplied. Massage. Gym. Great coffee and games area plus loads of computers for internet access while waiting. I can happily pass 4 or 5 hours there while flying long haul and changing flights. Beats getting back on the same plane after a 45 minute refuel. Good food also in some of the restuarants.

Heathrow to fly out of, terminal 4. For the Harrods shop alone :lol:

Most hated: JFK - That runway is just too short! Plus I hate walking out the doors and the first breath of fresh air I take is so fume filled it chokes me. And that feeling doesn't go till I get away from New York and go up the coast a bit.

Pet peeves:

Too much make up on the air stewards. Yes male air stewards, that means you too :lol: I've never know so much make up on peoples faces as when I fly. Its scary and off putting.

Loos on board a long haul flight after about 6 hours in.

Sitting next to someone who snores.

Sitting next to someone who is wearing perfume or aftershave. When flying long haul, don't do it. It changes up there and is not pleasant to whiff.

Checking in. I hate those long queues. Hence we booked our specific seats for out next trip already. And will do an online check in before we leave.

Worst experience: Can't say I have one that stands out. I guess being stuck in Heathrow for a few hours because my flight was delayed. Or the sitting on the runway for ages when we were supposed to have taken off ages before. O and don't enjoy heavy turbulence at anytime.

Ah ok I do have one. I was flying Amsterdam to Exeter (UK) as I often did but flew a cheaper airline for a change. One of those walk onto the tarmac, see a decent sized plane, go past it and then see your tiny tin thing :shock: :shock: :shock: It was a bucket with wings :shock: I kid you not. OK so it had 2 engines but it only seated about 8 people and you could see the flight crew behind a little curtain and therefore could see out the window during take off and landing :shock: Also the luggage was visable as it was simply loaded into a small space at the back of the plane. To go to the loo you had to open the loo door and then leave it open so it covered the walkway and clicked in to a catch. So in effect you were peeing in a gangway/rear space of the plane being shared with the luggage :shock: Also we made about 3 stops at small airfields and each time I got a great view :? :shock: of the landing and take off thanks to the lack of curtain :shock: Also we didn't climb much about 20,000, if that so the ground never seemed that far away.

Don't get me wrong, the trip was fine, uneventful but it really was flying small and basic and I didn't like it.

Tips - When packing for a holiday or long trip, pile everything you want to take on the bed, then halve it down the middle. Take only one half. OK so a few things need to be swapped because I want a particular top, but I replace to the pile only I don't add :lol:

Sip water when flying. Don't drink alcohol at all. You'll feel so much better for it after a long haul flight.

Get an inflatable neck pillow. They really do work wonders for a sleep.
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby deliriumtree » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:33 pm

Changi airport sounds incredible! :)

I've always traveled more by car. Only flown once but I really loved it! :D I flew from New Mexico to Florida, with a layover in Austin. Austins airport is like a freakin mall! I was laid over two hours and had a really good time walking around looking at everything. The taking off and landing are so exhilarating! Turbulence was pretty fun too, not that we had much of it! It made me giggle. The guy next to me thought I was insane. That's really nothing new..

One of the things I didn't like was seating. The first leg of the trip was nice. I had a window seat and really the plane wasn't too full. Then we got to Austin and we were being told to move up front and find seats. But, the guys in front of me, nor behind me wouldn't move. I was sandwiched in and some old dude kept yelling at me. "Move up front, sit down already!" I just shrugged at him and said "tell them that!" But, he just kept looking right at me and griping at me I guess cause I kept looking back at him. Still, rude! Finally, some nice elderly lady saved me and we talked about her various surgeries... and I told her about my hip pops out of socket and about my back and knee problems. Then took off her shoe and showed me some sort of oozing boil on her foot. Usually, I'm not that social but I guess if you just want to discuss health ailments I do pretty well. She shared her dried apricots with me and for a somewhat disgusting conversation it was really nice. I enjoyed having a friend for a little while. Then we were laid over somewhere else in Florida and some people got off, some got on. Apricot lady was one of those, so I shifted over to the window seat. Did you know florida actually looks like florida from outside a plane window? You can see the whole outline of the state from the plane window! I expected to see just land. But, no! You can tell what's water and what's land from up there. No inflight entertainment...well unless you consider boil viewing to be that. No meals. I could have had pizza at Austin airport but for some reason I kept going to OCD mode worried the plane would leave without me. So feeling I had to check back every 5-10 minutes sort of made eating a moot point for me. I hate being rushed when I eat. They did give crackers and stuff on the plane. Sodas, gingerale, maybe alcohol but I didn't drink yet then. That's a recent addition to my life. What I don't get are the peanuts! Every flight... peanuts! I have nut allergies. Why are those being handed out so freely? It's a confined space. True I can be in the same room as nuts. It smells like sulfur, death, skunk and rear end (things you are allergic to smell horrible as a bodily defense I'm told) to me. But, I know some people that can't. So I've always wondered about the thinking on that. :hrm:
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby Red » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:53 pm

deliriumtree wrote:Austins airport is like a freakin mall!

I really like the Austin airport. It's small but well maintained and the lines can be long but are always moving quickly. But the best part is the food! Austin is about 2 things: local businesses and food. So all the food at the airport is local restaurants. Including my favorite BBQ and Mexican places and a great pizza place. I like morning flights because I can get breakfast tacos or a BBQ sausage wrap before I take off.

The worst airport I've been to recently was Vancouver in August. It was a mess from construction and the lines were the worst I've ever been in. I stood in no less than 5 lines over a course of 3 hours just to get to my gate. And security kept pulling Ben aside and checking his ticket and passport. Are there many hippy/rock n roll terrorists from Texas out there? So many people around us in line missed their flights and the staff didn't care. There was no special line for people with small children or handicaps. And during the whole 3 hour line there was no food or drink or bathrooms available. I know they were getting ready for the Olympics but I doubt I'll ever fly out of Vancouver again if I can help it. Its sad because it was a terrible ending to an otherwise lovely and wonderful vacation.
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby Nancy » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:12 pm

Good idea for a thread, 4ever.

I have always loved air travel, and I'm sorry to see the quality slip. My first flight was a Pan Am from Boston to Heathrow, (I was with a college all-state choir going on tour) so if I didn't like it, I was really stuck! Luckily, I had a window seat and enjoyed it very much until it was time to sleep and we put our window shades down. One of the choir members had to say, "Did any of you guys ever see that Twilight Zone episode when the guy (William Shatner, by the way) lifted the shade and there was a monster alien outside the window with his face pressed up to the glass? Scared me for the rest of the flight.

I guess the only really bad flight I had was an American Airlines flight from Toronto to NYC. It was very windy and rainy as we left Toronto. (This was a commercial flight with the entire cast of Zorba, complete with Anthony Quinn on board) My husband and 2-year-old daughter and I were waiting to board, and we were thrilled when we saw Bob McGrath from Sesame Street, who was also on the flight. He came over and greeted Amy, who was thrilled. Once we got onboard, the Captain came on and said,"We're going to delay...no...there will be no cabin service due to extreme turbulence on this trip". (I kept thinking, it's only an hour, I can make it. Whoosh, as soon as we took off we were pulled every which way. Then the most frightening thing happened - as we were still climbing, what seemed like a lightning strike hit the plane - a bright light, then BAM, some sort of hit. Immediately the Captain got on and said, "Folks, we have not been hit by lightning, I'll explain when I can." He was like Capt "Sully" Sullenberger, the Miracle on the Hudson pilot, very calm. Eventually, he came on and told us it had been an electric shock. (like the kind you get when you cross a rug and touch something and it sparks during winter?) I was never so happy to get off a plane in my life. Besides the bad weather, so many people got airsick the whole plane smelled like...you know. But props to the Captain and crew for getting us there safely.
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby Emafer » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:21 pm

I hate having to take my shoes of in security. I think it's ridiculous. AND when I had to do it in Vail it had been snowing outside so the floors was wet and then I stepped in it and got my sock wet and had to wear a wet sock until I got home. LAME! Besides that, imagein the gross bacteria on the floor from people's gross feet. It's disgusting. Like a nasty locker room floor. I could get athlete's foot!
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby SheWolf » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:35 pm

Haha. I usually wear flip flops on a plane and my friend thinks it's gross that I walk barefoot through the detector. I like to freak out the germaphobes. :twisted:
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby kellysouthpaw » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:39 pm

SheWolf wrote:Haha. I usually wear flip flops on a plane and my friend thinks it's gross that I walk barefoot through the detector. I like to freak out the germaphobes. :twisted:

I'm not a fan of feet in general so I have problems with flip flops on anybody at anytime...
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby closet jemainiac » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:58 pm

Id rather have less of a hassle and wear jandals than mess around with tying shoe laces or some such. Heck I try to wear the most comfortable clothes I can if Im on a flight more than 40 minutes long...As soon as my tush hits the seat Im like..... :zzz:
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby SheWolf » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:15 pm

kellysouthpaw wrote:I'm not a fan of feet in general so I have problems with flip flops on anybody at anytime...
I'm having my foot operated on tomorrow morning and plan on documenting it's grossness along the healing way. You may want to avert your eyes if I decide to post pix here. :P
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby kellysouthpaw » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:19 pm

I just ask that you warn me before you post the pic. A simple, "heads up" will do!
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby Emafer » Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:27 pm

Shewolf- Totally gross about the airport, totally rad about the surgery documentation. Can't WAIT for pics!
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Re: The Flight Deck... Up In The Air

Postby deliriumtree » Mon Jan 18, 2010 12:45 am

SheWolf wrote: I'm having my foot operated on tomorrow morning and plan on documenting it's grossness along the healing way. You may want to avert your eyes if I decide to post pix here. :P


Hehe.. Put it in spoiler tags so people have to click on it first then go eeek! That would be awesome! Good luck with your foot surgery! :D

Oh man! I really wished I had eaten something now, Red. Maybe I'll be back and won't be as OCD first time flying and all.. :)
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