Streetwise Professor

May 10, 2014

SWP’s Law of Airlines

Filed under: Uncategorized — The Professor @ 7:05 am

All airlines suck. Corollary: the one that sucks worst is the last one you were on.

I travel a lot. So I am familiar with the various forms of abuse that airlines dish out. The best thing that can be said of this experience is that it does give one an understanding of how to manage the pain.

Case in point. Flying to Charlotte direct from Houston on United yesterday afternoon. Well, supposed to be flying from IAH to CLT. Actual flying, not so much. Boarded the plane on time. Sat down. “Sorry, folks. We have to de-board. There’s a maintenance issue they didn’t tell us about.” Two hours of sitting around later, United cancels the flight. It rebooks me on the “next available flight.” Get this, this flight is an 0600 flight to Charlotte–via Chicago. Seriously? That only adds about 6 hours onto the trip.

This is the fourth cancellation on United I’ve experienced in the past 8 months. Two of those international.

But like I said I do have some experience in handling this, so I looked and saw that US Air had a direct 0830 flight. So I booked that. Then I called United and, um, persuaded them to cancel my outbound leg and refund half the fare. This took 3 phone calls until I found the accommodating agent. Before that it was “United policy is that we book you on the next flight. You can cancel the entire trip for a refund.”

Persistence pays.

So as of yesterday, United sucked worst. But they’ve been supplanted. Woke up this morning to an email that the US Air flight was delayed 2 hours for “crew rest.” A couple of weeks ago I had a 3 hour delay on US Air: another maintenance issue.

Maybe as a public service I should announce my travel plans so you all can avoid being on the flights that theoretically are supposed to take me where I want to go.

United will have its chance to reclaim the crown on Wednesday. After that Lufthansa.

I hate them all.*

* Actually, my one experience on Brussels Airways wasn’t bad. Beginner’s luck, maybe.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. I’ve flown Lufthansa, Delta, Aerosvit, and Aeroflot across the Atlantic and have to say that in the last couple of years, Aeroflot has been the best. Aerosvit was the worst.

    Comment by AP — May 10, 2014 @ 12:02 pm

  2. UAL out of Asia is appalling–business class is nothing more than coach with more reclining. 2-4-2 searing in business on a T7. I fly DL a lot, reasonably good, better than UA and AA, but over the years they’ve lost my bags more than statistically possible–4 times is a lot on one line. EK, EY and QR are the best, despite the ALPA noise about them being unfair competitors.

    The Pilot

    Comment by The Pilot — May 10, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

  3. In my experience, best airlines are Asian (Singapore, Cathay Pacific) and Middle Eastern (Qatar and Emirates); in the middle European airlines, and at the bottom of the pile, way down there, the American/US airlines.

    Comment by Tim Newman — May 11, 2014 @ 1:14 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

Powered by WordPress