Frustrations on a Plane

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I guess I've had pretty good luck with planes... there've been delays, and bad storms, and my bags wound up someplace nicer than I did at one point. But, I've never spent a night at the airport, and even when there was a big delay, the gate agent found me a seat on the next flight out. And when I missed my plane altogether (stuck in traffic), they just added me to the next load. (No 10 hours on a tarmac for me, with overflowing toilets, thankfully. But check out the "strand-in" being put on by the Coalition for an Airline Passengers Bill of Rights.) My biggest complaint is probably the lack of information (some might say lies). The "weather delays" on sunny days, the sudden fare jumps, and the oversold flights. And these days, good luck finding any service in the customer service area. Even the employees seem to be fed up with the airlines. We all have horror stories from our plane trips, but WHY is this summer so bad it's been dubbed the summer of hell? If you fly, or work in the industry, what's going on?

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Could you pls ask the guest to speak on the lack of infrastructure investment? For example, if the security buffer is being extended, we need to have a larger lobby / check-in areas to accommodate all the waiting customers in queue. It is a madhouse at some airports w/ a complete lack of organization to properly process all the customers in an efficient and courteous manner.

Sent by David | 2:14 PM | 8-21-2007

I had an argument with a gate attendant over the status of my baggage on a delayed flight and when things became heated, she called the police and had me arrested. No charges were filed, but the airline is required by law to submit a report of the incident to the TSA. How common are such incidents and what recourse is there for people like me?

Sent by samantha | 2:14 PM | 8-21-2007

The delays and such could be tolerated if the airlines communciated with passengers setting in the airports or in the planes. This summer I was meeting a plane in San Francisco coming from Salt Lake City. I knew from a txt message by the passenger that the plane was late. However, it was not posted on any board in SF or known by any agent until I went up, asked and made the agent check!!! Why couldn't they have just been honest and put up the information. That lack of respectfull communciation is what I cannot stand.

Sent by Teresa G - Northern California | 2:15 PM | 8-21-2007

A major cause of the problems is the "race for the bottom"; that is, each airline is trying to be cheaper than the others. That drives the airlines to cut cost and turn into commuter carriers.

Each airline wants to have more flights, so they schedule more flights per day per airport than the airports are capable of handling. The FAA should limit the number of takeoffs and landings per hour to the number that an airport can reasonably (in normal, not unusually perfect, weather).

Sent by John Shaw | 2:16 PM | 8-21-2007

How much would tickets cost if we paid the inflationary adjusted cost of tickets from back when plane flying was great?

Sent by Jonpaul | 2:22 PM | 8-21-2007

Just like with the Bridge Collapse in Minneapolis, is this a case of neglecting our infrastructure?

Sent by Jonpaul | 2:23 PM | 8-21-2007

I don't understand how, when you are connecting and your first flight is delayed, you get to the gate of your second flight which is in its final boarding but no longer has you on the roster beacuse they have given your seat away and proceed to not take responsibility, you have to go on standby, stay over night in some random city, and all the while the airline refuses to own up to the fact that they have booted you from the flight for a higher paying customer and you get no free ticket. I have actually been told they don't OWE me a hotel room or anything. Refusal of responsibility is ridiculous!

Sent by Heidi | 2:25 PM | 8-21-2007

I'm curious, too, about recent weather patterns and flight delays. In the last year, I've had the rockiest flights I've ever experienced. Is it possible that already limping airline industries are also facing more difficult weather?

Sent by Katherine | 2:27 PM | 8-21-2007

I think the problem is airport mismanagement. Who's in charge anyway, the airports or the airlines? Our trip to India and back through Chicago O'Hare and Heathrow was a total disaster and although I lay a lot of the blame on the airlines, the airports and their systems seemed woefully archaic for modern day travel.

Sent by Ellen | 2:29 PM | 8-21-2007

Another point about attitudes of employees includes their work rules. My wife is a Flight Attendent for American Airlines and when you encounter her, she may have been flying for four days of ten to fourteen hours of flight time per day, with 4-6 hours of sleep a night. These are the people who will get you out of a burning plane.....

Sent by David | 2:29 PM | 8-21-2007

What about the antiquated ticketing computer systems the airlines use? I was stuck in Minneapolis this weekend on my way to Cleveland after I missed my connecting flight due to weather delays. The agent at the gate was unable to place me on standby for any of later flights. I had to run to each gate as they flights were scheduled in order to just be put on standby.

Sent by Frank | 2:29 PM | 8-21-2007

Does all of this talk of building more airports and increasing traffic take into account the environmental impact of these increases?

Sent by mark | 2:31 PM | 8-21-2007

Airlines underestimate the power of simple courtesy. Not all flight attendants/counter people are taking out their frustration on customers, and when they are good humored, I really notice. In a recent flight with AirTran, for example out of Chicago O'Hare (which is almost always a mess), ticket agents were making jokes, handing out little freebie coupons and small flight discount certificates. This was in the case of a two-hour delay, whereas 12-hour delays with Northwest and United have offered no niceties at all, but, instead, curt, info-withholding agents who seem like they'd as soon hit you as look at you.

Sent by Diane, St. Paul | 2:31 PM | 8-21-2007

Please explore how exactly 911 and the dot com disasters caused the airlines to fail and continue to fail 6 years later.

Sent by Jan Grantham | 2:33 PM | 8-21-2007

I think the biggest problem with flying today is the ridiculous so-called security that travelers must deal with when they arrive at the airport.

By the time they are done having their liquids checked for no good reason, having their shoes checked for no good reason, submitting to unnecessary travel document and identity checks, it's no wonder people arrive at the gate angry and frustrated.

Also, due to the TSA's ridiculous liquids policies, more people are checking bags and that is causing more delays both before and after their flight.

I think the best solution would be to eliminate the TSA and go back to private security companies with sensible, rather than stupid security practices.

Sent by Roger Shaw | 2:34 PM | 8-21-2007

Thanks for having this discussion. I've had a miserable experience with USAIR this summer. They bumped me from a flight, cancelled a flight, and then gave me one practically unusable voucher to make up for it and they have no compunction or remorse about the impact of their practices. Even if they would honor the voucher for a direct flight, it wouldn't make up for the two extra vacation days I had to take when they stranded me in Albany. I've already written them four letters expressing my disgust. I've also written to my senators asking for stiffer laws regarding bumping and cancelled flights. Every time I fly now I hear the attendants asking for volunteers to give up their seats on the other departing flights, as every plane is overbooked.

When they run themselves out of business, I don't want to hear it and I don't want them bailed out. They don't want to treat passengers with quality service and pay the CEO a ridculous amount of money. Remind me how much money the executives make? Take a look on Yahoo finance at the insider trading...

They have no conscience.

Sent by Crystal Hall | 2:34 PM | 8-21-2007

All the airlines should follow Southwest's business model. I am a travel agent and I have never had Southwest cancel a flight for any reason BUT weather. Southwest will ALWAYS allow passengers to re-apply the unused value of tickets. They also allow name changes. The other airlines should pay attention!

Sent by Molly | 2:35 PM | 8-21-2007

It seems that as passengers display any legal civil disobedience or standing up for some basic rights, the airlines hide behind TSA and have the person arrested. TSA has become an excuse for the airlines to not have to fix their problems. To me, this is the scariest precedent that is being sent. Why can't people yell and bang overheads if they're stuck for hours with overflowing toilets. Isn't there a point to where the tarmac waits are kidnapping?

Sent by RIta | 2:36 PM | 8-21-2007

One of the things which would really help the delayed passenger would simply be better access to information. The usual experience is that there is one overworked desk agent who is constantly saying that there will be some announcement in 15 mins., at which time the announcement is that there will be another announcement in 15 mins. I'd like to know if I could get some lunch or go to the bathroom or get a magazine, etc. etc. The other place where information is sorely lacking is the rebooking line, usually several hours long, and when you get to the front, you find out you're in the wrong line. Or you could use your cellphone and talk to someone in Bangalore who is clueless.Occasionally there is someone working the line to point you in the right direction, but the usual experience when a flight is delayed or canceled is that you're wandering around completely unable to figure out what to do next. And god forbid if you have to stay overnight - finding a hotel or getting a taxi means a search to figure out where you can get info about hotels and taxis (particularly at large airports like the dreaded O'Hare, black hole of American air transport) and several more hour-long lines waiting

Sent by Vicki Smith | 2:37 PM | 8-21-2007

We need to develop bullet trains like they have in Japan, or other countries. For that mate I tried to develop a multidestination trip, and could find no othermeans, except air other than a car to do it.

Sent by Astrid Fuller | 2:38 PM | 8-21-2007

I had the gate employee tell me that this flight is "always cancelled". How does the airline get away with that and we need to have access to that information while booking.

Sent by Terri, San Francisco | 2:41 PM | 8-21-2007

One thing that could be done that would help relieve some of the heavy air traffic along the east coast (Boston, NYC, Phila, Wilmington, Balt, Wash) would be to have regional helicopter service using one of those large Ospry helicopters or the old Hughy helicopeters (obviously refitted for civilian passengers.

The other thing that could help would be to use regional airports, example: Philly's international airport is over croweded, yet the Philly Northeast airport and the New Castle Airport (in Wilmington are under used).

Sent by Mike Cannatelli | 2:41 PM | 8-21-2007

NIMBY? Who wants planes flying over their homes? Do your guests? In Philly they want to fly planes over the homes of 1/2 million people, thereby destroying their lives and the property values of their homes. This, instead of continuing to fly over the river and to cut delays by a less than 3%. They also acknowledge that most delays are due to weather, which I think is in God's hands. It is easy to say those folks are obstructionists. But the speakers are never willing to have the planes fly over their homes - just mine.

Sent by Ruth Mills | 2:41 PM | 8-21-2007

I think that the way that airlines price tickets gives everyone a sense that they're being ripped off from the moment they buy a ticket so they have no obligation to be nice to airline staff.

It's also very frustrating to me to hear the airlines' repersentative say that US airlines are such a mess b/c of 9/11. What happened to all the money that was given to and loaned to the airlines after 9/11? Should we have just let them go out of business?

Sent by John | 2:41 PM | 8-21-2007

The answer to the problem has always been the V-22 Osprey. Whether it is publicly known or not, the V-22 initially had no military mission; however the civialian authorities divised it as a means ofpoint to point transportation of passengers. The only way they could certify the technology was to "proof of concept" on an expendable "population" (THIS HORRENDOUS PRACTICE HAS BEEN DONE TOO MANY TMES IN THE PAST). With this technology, the hub system would be obsolete (for local commuting and parking lot to parking lot commuting may be possible.

Sent by Andrew D. Brown | 2:43 PM | 8-21-2007

Oil depletion protocols call for the phasing out of common air travel, so why aren't we discussing European style, hi -speed, intercity passenger rail? I went at 300 KPH between Amsterdam and Frankfurt A/M, vs less than 100 KPH bumpy between Albany and NYC airports. As petroleum rises above $100 barrel, it makes little sense to increase global warming and waste a fossil fuel on old technology, right?

Sent by Hal Bauer | 2:44 PM | 8-21-2007

In light of the tightening oil supply and aviation's huge carbon footprint, i think it is delusional, even suicidal, to speak of increasing the number of flights. Perhaps the sane solution is to work on demand reduction, i.e., improved high-speed rail, improved computer conferencing capacity, and a psychological campaign that will encourage people to re-examine a)whether they a)need to go at all, and b) what's the hurry? In any case, increasing air fares to reflect the full environmental cost of flying would go a long way towards solving this problem.

Sent by martin holsinger | 2:44 PM | 8-21-2007

NIMBA?? Pt2Pt??
Where do I get some peace and quiet? More flights are not the answer. The answer is to put more mass transit on the ground. The answer is to force Airports to cooperate by having mass transit between them. The answer is force Airports to pay residents for the damage their jet noise (higher stress, shorter life), jet fuel (coronary damage, asthma, shorter life) and other pollutants cause. Airlines could put quieter, more fuel efficient engines on their planes but choose to equip them with just the minimum the FAA requires. Cities with Airports should be forced to publish noise impact maps, with frequency and Realtors should be forced to let perspective buyers see this map.

Sent by Dan Kien | 2:47 PM | 8-21-2007

9/11 was six years ago. Airline service stunk before 9/11 and it stinks now. If the airlines didn't operate like cattle cars, overscheduling and and setting up the system up to fail its customers, airports wouldn't come to a halt every time it rains in Milwaukee or Omaha. Bring back government regulation and keep the greedy airlines from mistreating its employees and us passengers.

Sent by Mike | 2:47 PM | 8-21-2007

I believe air travelers should understand the possible risks involved before making the commitment to take a flight. First of all, just as with any type of travel, delays happen and are not always controllable. Airlines themselves have a lot less to do with atual departure and arrival times than most passengers are aware. Airlines are completely at the direction of Air Traffic Control which result in delays at the ariport and on the tarmac, even gate changes.... People need to know that the airlines are concerned about their ability to operate as scheduled and want to deliver passengers to their destinations on time. And, if they are going to stay in business, they can't keep handing out hotel rooms, transportation, and food for events they have no control over.

Sent by Laurie | 2:48 PM | 8-21-2007

Historically speaking, how does government subsidies fit into the picture? After 911, could you ever imagine the U.S. government allowing "American Airlines" to go out of business? If the government indeed does bail out the airlines from failure, what incentive do they have to suceed?

Mark
-Nashville

Sent by Mark Crowell | 2:50 PM | 8-21-2007

Now here's an outlandish idea to reduce the pressure on the airlines: IMPROVE THE RAILROADS, AND GET REAL HIGH SPEED RAIL TRANSPORTATION IN PLACE (especially in the Northeast). If Japan, France and other countries can have 200 mph trains, then so can the USA. Instead of treating air and ground transportation as separate problems, use them together to effect the best possible outcomes for passsengers.

Sent by Harold Flantzer | 2:50 PM | 8-21-2007

I second the comments about need for infrastructure and simple courtesy. During a flight on delta we were stuck on tarmac, waiting for the contractor to load the (ahem) food(pretzels).
what was so appalling is that the delta staff made the delay worse by very thoroughly lambasting their own employer, and asking the passengers to complain to delta about their use of contractors, and quite forcefully said that "this woldnt be happening if they werent using contractors."
I got the feeling that the delta employees were almost holding us hostage in their fight against their employer. Obviously delta has significant problems, but the airing of sour grapes by our flight attendants was NOT attractive, and almost made me sympathetic towards the airline. the delta crew actually asked the passengers to complain to delta about their use of contractors..

On the other hand, small courtesies go a LOONG way to making things right( I felt that the delta employees behavior was extremely unprofessional) and unnecessary. they could have informed us "the delay is due to wait times for loading of the snacks from our service providers.

I wouldnt have remembered that; however, a year later, I remember their audacity and inappropriateness.

Sent by Marilyn Root | 2:51 PM | 8-21-2007

I resent the comment by the caller who suggested that passengers demand "champagne service" while paying $40 a ticket. As an infrequent air passenger, I demand no more than the minimum, which should include good communication and friendly service by flight attendants. One shouldn't have to be rich to be treated with reasonable service. The difference between a smile and a sneer shouldn't be money.

Sent by Meredith D. | 2:58 PM | 8-21-2007

I was listening to part of this topic today on Talk of the Nation. I heard a caller who worked for one of the airlines complain that people want 'champagne service' but don't want to pay the price for it.

Funny, I was always taught that in customer service you were to treat everybody with an equal amount of courtesy. I didn't know we had to pay for politeness from airline employees. I thought that was their job. Politeness is not the extra perk. The meal on real dishes, alcohol on the flight, those are the perks. Politeness should be a given with any customer service job.

I have been in enough customer service positions to know that if you are going to get rude with a customer you either need to step away or possibly find another profession. Unfortunately I have found that people working for many of our airlines are rude. This may have to do with burnout with the overflow of customers but the airlines also asked for it. It's the only business I know that complains because it has too much business.

Can you think of any other cartel such as U.S. airlines that can't make a profit?

I also take offense to the notion that the customers hold blame in this. How else are people supposed to get across the country now? Busses are less of an option. Passenger railroads are a novelty. It's either the airlines or the automobile. I think the airlines have developed a utility company attitude especially in airports dominated by one airline such as in my hometown of St. Louis where American has most of the flights with Southwest a competitive second. If you don't want to fly either of those carriers you are out of luck. United, U.S. Air, Northwest, Delta, etc all have limited routes and gates in our airport. Southwest is usually good, at least in St. Louis. Houston is another story. Southwest employees at Hobby were just plain beasts.

I guess from this post you can get the idea that I have little sympathy for the airlines.

Terry Moses
St. Louis, MO

Sent by Terry Moses | 3:12 PM | 8-21-2007

I felt the host and his guest minimized the experiences of many whose experiences of being "jailed" on the ground or denied access to their flight. I count the 36 hours it once took my husband and I to get from Seattle to RI as one of our worst experiences. We arrived safe and sound but our needs and comforts were completely ignored and, as another blogger noted neither airline or airport personnel were at all disposed to take responsibility for their actions.

Sent by Virginia Winstanley | 3:44 PM | 8-21-2007

I also take offense to the last caller on today's program and the response of the studio guest. So the airlines basically got in the last word in the program by blasting the very people who are paying their bills.

I don't expect champagne service but I do expect polite staff, a clean environment and on time service. I think that is what everyone expects.

I agree with the other writers who mention the lack of investment in rail. Just remember - Republicans on the Transportation Committees in Congress have been trying for years to "railroad" Amtrak. It is time we all contacted our Senators and Congressmen and implore they reconsider those votes.

Sent by C Temple | 3:52 PM | 8-21-2007

what happened to the "customer bill of rights" after that 12 hour debacle a few months ago? was that even mentioned?

Sent by tim | 4:06 PM | 8-21-2007

Mr. Foust suggested that passengers ought to be informed of the on-time performance of a give flight before they book it - but the airlines don't want to provide that information. That information is available for flights world-wide at http://www.flightstats.com/

All flights are not created equally and some are definitely worse than others. Know before you go. Arm yourself with information at flightstats.com

Sent by David W. | 5:15 PM | 8-21-2007

I'm a mid-level manager in the operations of a medium-sized US airline. I don't blame the passengers for our problems - instead, there are other causes.

1. The current competitive environment for airlines leads them to drive up passenger loads with low fares and connecting traffic. They won't however spend the money to update their systems or add staff to help deal with these additional passengers - or their bags.

2. Fuel prices have climbed in the last four years, putting more pressure on the airlines to cut costs.

3. Airline management talent isn't there. The best & brightest steer clear of the industry because of the low salaries and terrible stability. Pay is low in general in this industry and that shows in the quality and morale of employees at every level, including the "front line" that the passengers deal with.

(The only exception to the low salaries are certain unionized groups, whose typical conflicts with management usually lead to passenger suffering as well.)

4. The TSA. Security theater increases passenger dissatisfaction of the whole flying process. The airlines spend far more time and money than most people realize dealing with seemingly-random regulation changes from the TSA, which usually come down less than 24 hours before they're effective.

Combine all of the above with an overwhelmed and outmoded Air Traffic Control system.

I have no solutions to offer other than re-regulation, and even then the customer probably loses with higher fares.

Sent by Tom | 5:45 PM | 8-21-2007

Thanks for your report today. Nothing is worse that getting no information or false information when you're flight is late or has been cancelled... I do alot of business travel and recently discovered flightstats.com This website gives me moment to moment, correct info about flights anywhere in the world. They'll send you an alert message when your flights have been cancelled or re-scheduled. We can't seem to improve the airline industries problems or performance, but having access to correct information enables me to make my own decisions in the moment.

Sent by Kathleen | 5:51 PM | 8-21-2007

The dumb thing is that airlines are skimping on things that aren't expensive. On an American Airlines flight to London they did not give us the little baggies with an eyemask and headphones and earplugs. They would sell you these $1 amenities for $2. Ok, I brought my own but it really signified how much they cared. I spent about $600 on that flight and was on it for 9 hours and they wanted to charge me $2 for headphones?

I also had another lovely experience with American Airlines. Weather made delays at La Guardia, and when we arrived the baggage hall looked like several baggage trucks got knocked over. There was enough luggage to be from 3-4 planes all over the floor. The baggage carousel my flight was supposed to be at was supposed to have luggage from two flights but I counted bags from at least six - I don't think any baggage was coming off on the right carousel. There was a 45 minute line just to file a lost baggage claim. Then they entered the information incorrectly. Apparently a woman accidently picked up my bag but when she contacted the airlines and told them they didn't get back to her for at least four days, when she tracked me down and contacted me directly. Since I was leaving town again that day, I gave them her contact information, and once she got the bag back to them it took them four days to get the bag back to me because they lost it again. I believe the same person who was given the bag couldn't find it when the airport was called. Then the airline refused to reimburse me for dress shoes I had to buy for my second trip because I hadn't gotten prior approval from their customer service department - which doesn't have a phone number and was taking a week to respond to email requests. (There were three days between my trips - this was impossible.)

On the same flight the pilot loaded us on to the plane, at the same time telling us that we would have to sit in the plane waiting for 30 minutes. Why not let us sit outside the plane for at least another 20 minutes?

Another beef I have is when they keep the fasten seatbelt sign on long after turbulence. Sometimes it's for a four hour flight. The pilots seem not to understand that out of a few hundred people, a few will have to use the bathroom in four hours.

I don't expect premium service. I expect the service I pay for. When I fly in Europe or on European airlines, I get twice the service, often at half the price. I know some of the airlines are subsudized but given how often we bail out our airlines and the huge tax breaks we give them, we functionally subsudize them, and the subsudies aren't sufficient to explain the disparities in the service or the price. I know it can be better when run competently but American airlines just aren't run competently.

Sent by Christine Nattrass | 6:10 PM | 8-21-2007

Today's airlines discussion should be followed with a half full discussion. My weekend experience USAir, Phoenix, Vegas, Pitttsburg and return was flawless. Left on time and landed early all three times. No checkin waiting and everyone was nice. An inflight medical code was also responded too with perfection. (Could not call in-cell phone didn't work. I tried.)

Sent by William Victoson | 6:35 PM | 8-21-2007

I was distressed by your guest James May insisting that 'we' (tax money?) need to invest in the infrastructure of the airline industry meanwhile the few at the top of airline companies are giving themselves raises and cutting the salary for their employees!

Shouldn't THAT money go back into the industry?

Why should this business model be tolerated and encouraged by bailing out those who have mismanaged this industry and becoming rich in the process?

I was dissappointed that you let his statement slide and did not point it out.

Sent by Chris | 9:24 AM | 8-22-2007

I haven't been able to find any actual news story about "passengers banging on the overhead bins and clapping and then being arrested" - anyone have a link?

Sent by John Doe | 11:39 AM | 8-22-2007

well John Doe, I did a Google search for "airline passenger arrested" and found these links, among others. Nothing popped up in the first few pages about "passengers banging on the overhead bins and clapping and then being arrested"
http://houston.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/pressrel07/ho03302007.htm
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,202738,00.html
http://groups.google.com/group/strandedpassengers/browse_thread/thread/eb5b3cbb67bf7b87
http://www.travelnewsdaily.com/archives/003733.shtml
http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,133579-c,consumerrelatedlegalissues/article.html

Sent by tim | 1:20 PM | 8-22-2007

Air Traffic Control = safety, Airlines = profits. The Airlines are in business to make money for shareholders and the senior MANAGEMENT. Your safety is unimportant. The airlines keep saying that separation can be reduced using GPS, what happens when a 2 day solar storm makes the GPS satellites unusable?
The airlines want to reduce separation on the runways, that can be done but only if you reduce the safety margin that is built in for aircraft missing the high speed turn off or inability to stop as expected on wet runways. Do you want safety expectations as a priority in air traffic or do you prefer business expectations to rule your flight? America this is your choice.

Sent by Levi | 5:56 PM | 8-22-2007

Strictly speaking, of course, the word "tarmac" means a type of construction material ("tar macadam"). It is trademarked, I think. On the ground, airplanes move on "runways," "ramps," and "aprons." Few ramps are made of tarmac; most are concrete.

Sent by Karl | 12:01 PM | 8-24-2007

All this talk about the Summer of '07 being the worst summer for air travel has me a bit baffled.

Between June 9 and August 20, 2007, I've taken 17 different flights on two continents with four airlines. I experienced no major delays (defined in my mind as 15 minutes or longer), no missed connections, and no lost luggage.

Service was superior on one airline (QANTAS), great on two (American and Southwest) and passable on the last (US Airways).

Maybe I've had an extraordinary streak of good luck, but I have thoroughly enjoyed my Summer of '07 air travel and intend upon taking to the skies again in the near future.

Sent by Carol Pettit | 8:06 PM | 8-25-2007

Like so many things we like to complain about in life and blame others for, the reason air travel stinks is OUR fault. Yes, airline service is going down hill but do we stop buying tickets, no. I know some people have to fly for many different reasons, but until we stop purchasing tickets for those 'voluntary' flights that we don't have to take, the problems will continue and just get worse. Like gas prices and high priced tickets to sporting events, the prices will not go down until Joe Public starts sacrificing. That's something it appears we are not even close to doing. Personally, I stopped taking vacations where I had to fly a long time ago. I walk or ride a bike whenever I don't need to drive and I never would pay more than $10 to watch a grown man (or woman) play a game. If I had a job where I had to fly, I'd quit. I'd mow lawns for a living before I would fly on a regular basis. Life is just too short.

Sent by Tony Straw | 7:01 AM | 8-31-2007