Tag Archives: airlines

In This Day And Age…

I just don’t understand how freaking hard it is to install the equipment necessary to have wifi on all aircraft.

Wifi makes a flight go by what seems 3-4 times faster.

You know how airlines charge extra for checked luggage? In our case $25 more per bag on US Airways for a total of $50 for our one way flight. They should refund you for the total technological failure of not having wifi on all flights in the year 2013. The FAA should shut these goddamn airlines down that don’t have wifi. Fine the shit out of them. Ground these planes til they get their act together.

How is a media giant supposed to keep his finger on the bleeding edge of what is going on for his legions of loyal followers?

Listen, take a couple grease monkeys off safety check duty and get them up inside the cabin installing the necessary equipment to provide wifi. Cancel drink service for a couple weeks, use a lower grade toilet paper in the toilettes. Charge me up for the wifi, I don’t care. I’ll feel a whole lot better about paying for wifi rather than a checked bag, that’s fer shizzy.

Somebody get me a direct line to the CEO of US Air STAT, maybe I can explain to him or her just how important it is.

Bruce Tarr, Ann Margaret, forget about such pithy things like people losing their homes on Plum Island to major storms, let’s focus on much more critical agendas like making sure your boy Joey C has wifi on all his flights.

Thank you for your attention to this serious matter.

Next politician that tackles this matter automatically gets my endorsement. Fiscal cliff, fiscal schmiff, let’s solve the important matters first. Calls for an emergency meeting of the executive branch, no?

Give me wifi on all aircraft or give me death. Enough dickin’ around.

Some Travel Tips From Your Boy Joey Regarding Airlines and Booking Flights

Most of you may already know this but I think it bears repeating because I am sometimes guilty of making the same mistakes repeatedly.

When searching for airfares for my winter vacations I start early, about three months ahead of time and I check the regular websites for the best deals on flights.  The main website I use is Kayak which gives you some pretty decent customization options as far as whittling down the exact flight times and non-stop flights so you can only be viewing flights that meet your criteria instead of 1000 or so flights that have 2 or more connections or are red-eyes. 

I prefer early morning direct flight departures and mid day direct flight returns.  Kayak allows me to do searches for the exact flights that meet my criteria. 

The searches can be then filtered by cheapest price or best times or shortest route.  The way I usually perform my search for the best flights is this-

I check off

  • Non-stop
  • My flights are flexible (Plus/Minus 3 days)
  • Depart Early
  • Return Mid-day

Now I’ll check every other day or so until the flights I want come up within the prices that are reasonable to me.  For Florida this means direct flights at the right times for anything under $235 and for the Caribbean anything under $400.

Once I see those flights coming up I go directly to the airline’s site for which that fare is listed to se if it is listed for cheaper on the Airline’s website.  I figure that most times the airfare aggregator probably adds $10 or so to the costs to pay for their service.  some times it will be listed a little cheaper on the Airline’s website, sometimes not but it’s always good to check IMO.

Now here is the thing though that even I who I consider to be a pretty informed and savvy web travel person still to this day forget at times in the excitement to book a great deal.

Firstly there are the baggage fees that should be taken into consideration.

Here is an airline baggage fee chart from Kayak for reference-

American Airlines charges $25 for your first checked bag on domestic travel.

Jet Blue offers the first checked bag as free.

So when comparing the two 9 times out of ten I will book the cheapest fare the way it is listed on the Kayak site but forget about the baggage fees. A $225 flight to Miami on American actually will cost you more than a $240 flight to Miami on Jet Blue if you check one bag, but it won’t be listed that way on either kayak or on the individual Airline’s respective websites. now $15 isn’t a whole lot but then if you consider that you might be flying with a partner or children and it turns out to be three checked bags that would be $45 each way equals $90.  Ideally you can travel light and avoid checked bags all together but in many instances that is just not a reality.

The next point that I would like to make is that not all airlines are created equal and some don’t have TV or Internet on them.  I don’t know about you but I would gladly pay an extra $30 for round trip airfare anywhere in the country that offered tv and/or internet in the seatbacks in front of you. 

So now lets take the above instance of the flight to Miami on American for $225 which doesn’t have internet and only has a couple of TV’s in the middle of the aisles for which you may or may not have a decent view of and charges you an extra $25 for your checked bag.

$240 for a flight without a checked bag fee on a newer Jet Blue plane which offers wifi internet and individual TV’s in each seat is an absolute bargain.

Take your time when you are booking your flights and figure out what the baggage fees will be along with if the airline has wifi on your flight.  A flight to Vegas with internet access will literally FLY BY a whole lot quicker with the internet to distract you, I guarantee it.

From USA Today- A breakdown of airline fees

It is absolutely astounding to me the amount of bullshit that airlines are allowed to get away with.  It has become buyer beware to the nth degree but there are downright devious patterns of abuse that I’ve detected over the years and there seems to be no one that is looking out for the consumer.

As an example I offer up the bait and switch that I’ve fallen for two years running.  My last scheduled day off for the calendar year is May 15th and I work 7 days a week excluding major holidays until December 31st.  We plan vacations for the winter to get to the sun and planning those vacations is somewhat of a geeky hobby for me.  I try to get the best flights for the best prices and I check for my vacation dates on travel sites like Kayak almost daily in case a great fare pops up for direct flights. 

Just one abuse I’ve detected is that certain airlines will offer a direct flight at a decent price and then change it days later without allowing you to book a different flight and without paying exorbitant change fees. It goes like this- I’ll book a great non-stop flight and then two days later I get an email saying that the flight had been changed and now there will be a stop along the way.  Well the reason I booked the flight was because it was a direct flight and if anyone knows about traveling with small children and getting car seats through airports you know you DO NOT want to have to get off and on different flights or risk being stuck in the middle of the country due to inclement weather in Chicago or some other midwest hub. 

It wouldn’t be so horrible if they changed the flight on you and allowed you to opt out or get a refund because what you booked (a non-stop flight) is not what they are changing you to.  But no, they won’t budge on it and they say you can change each ticket for a $75 fee PLUS any change in ticket cost to the different flight.  THIS IS UNCONCIONABLE to me and makes me feel extremely violated.  It has happened two years in a row on the same exact flight so that is why it seems like this is by design and planned to lure customers in and give them the bait and switch with absolutely no recourse except to take it up the ass with crazy fees.

How is it that the airlines are allowed to get away with such shenanigans and malfeasance without any politician calling them out and protecting us?  The one place where I think there should actually be more government intervention and they are no where to be found but they are climbing up our ass in every other way like the latest plan to gain easier access to wiretap folks Facebook accounts.

We could write novels about the crap airlines are getting away with such as the baggage fees and how they advertise low fares on airfare checking sites like Kayak but don’t have to list their baggage fees which can bump the cost of those tickets up by 10-40% over what the price they list the cost of the flight for.

Well at least people can inform themselves about these fees and try to book on airlines like Southwest which don’t charge change fees or baggage fees.

This article on USA Today details all the fees that you should take into account before you book your flights-

Sources: Airlines, USA TODAY research by Gary Stoller

Click the picture to go to the full breakdown of add on fees airlines charge. 

image

Why Don’t Planes Have Cupholders?

Seriously, how hard can it be to put some goddamn cupholders on planes?

They make you buckle in for safety they make you stow your luggage completely under the seat in front of you.

Am I the only person in America that thinks that cup holders are a good idea to have as a convenience on planes.  You get a cup of coffee from the flight attendant and then have to juggle the thing around til its not too hot so you can enjoy it.  I swear they put grease on those tiny little trays and everything is sliding around on there.  I’m a nervous wreck until whatever beverage in front of me is fully consumed, and is that really any way to enjoy coffee?  Chugging it down quickly?  Hell no!

Try traveling with a two year old and soon to be four year old and al the gear that comes with trying to entertain them for a three hour flight and tell me you can enjoy any type of liquid refreshment in front of you on that teeny, tiny slippery tray.  Forget it!

The Mrs was the unfortunate victim of a lap/seat full of apple juice when Madeline inevitably spilled it off the tray in front of them.

With no change of clothes on the plane The Mrs had to sit in that sticy liquid for two hours til landing in Boston.  All that could be avoided I thought with the simple addition of cupholders.

I’m sayin it right now to any airline out there- I’ll gladly pay $5 more per ticket for a cupholder.  Get it done.  It just makes sense.

end rant