an airplane buried in snow

an airplane buried in snow

Well, here we go again. Apparently, it snows every winter in parts of this country. Someone should tell the airlines because it seems as though they are taken by surprise every year. I think it’s worse this year because, with so many planes taken out of service, they’re flying full and passengers who have been cut loose from their ticketed tethers couldn’t get re-booked for days. I read about one woman whose flight was cancelled on a Friday and she couldn’t get a seat until the following Tuesday; that’s five days stranded somewhere. Air France puts people up in hotels.

It’s commonly known that a manager who does the same thing time and again, expecting different results, is an idiot. This rule applies to us all really. I don’t get why the airlines don’t get it. Perhaps they don’t want different results.

I think jetways (those accordian walk ways) are definitely part of the problem. I flew all over Europe last year and I used a jetway only once. More commonly I walked out to the plane or I was bused to a plane sitting out in the back forty. Any airport with acreage can ditch their jetways; it would feel like unclogging a drain or finally experiencing relief from constipation.

The other practice I don’t understand is filling a plane with people when you know the plane isn’t going anywhere in the next three to twelve hours. In winter, it’s going to park and wait to be de-iced. Or it’s going to park and wait to get permission for take off. If your plane is number fifteen or thirty or fifty in a waiting line, why are you on it? There’s plenty of time to get you onto a bus and bring you to the plane when it’s closer to take off time. And some of these waits are longer than a full day at work. While your employer cannot deny you your federally mandated breaks or lunch or even so much as a glass of water, the airlines can. It’s barbaric.

I’ve read that only the federal government can change the rules. So was it the government that made a rule that you can be sequestered for as long as the airline desires, and that your physical needs will be met only at the discretion of the airline?  I don’t think so. And I don’t care what the rules of carriage say; there is a higher ground when it comes to treating people ethically, with respect and dignity.  Dogs get treated humanely, probably because there’s an SPCA to protect them. This particular dog got a flight cancelled all by himself.

I read a story about a woman whose flight was cancelled after waiting for three hours on the tarmac for the plane to be de-iced. A dog on the flight needed to be taken back to the terminal. By the time the dog and it’s owner got off and the plane got back into the de-icing line, it was too late and the flight was cancelled. I’d have chucked them both out the door and let them trudge back to the terminal on their own; it would have been good exercise for the dog. Or called a taxi.

Then there was the family of six who sat on the tarmac in Vermont for three hours and they missed their connection in Cleveland that would have taken them to Florida. No airline had any seats for them southbound to anywhere until six days later. Hotels were booked with stranded passengers. Rental cars had been scooped up by passengers who decided to drive. Imagine. Stuck in Cleveland with suitcases full of summer clothes.