March 5, 2014 - I've always been an aviation enthusiast, and eagerly looked forward to almost any commercial flight. It's sad to say, but it has been quite a long time since I was equally enthusiastic about the companies (i.e., corporate management) operating those commercial flights.
The airline companies have worked hard to discourage the general public's enjoyment of air travel. Crowded cattle-car aircraft, delays and cancellations, lost luggage and endless fees have dumped a lot of cold water on all but the most hard-core flyers. What little enjoyment of travel the airlines haven't managed to kill off, the government has stepped in to help.
I must pull over here for a moment and explain that I'm writing exclusively about US-based carriers. I exclude foreign-based carriers from my comments simply because I've taken only one international flight in my life, and that was 44 years ago.
Why come down on them yet again today? Phyllis' flight to Dallas was cancelled this morning, in theory because of weather conditions in Dallas. It appears that American Airlines cancelled almost every flight headed into Dallas before noon (I checked the 9:00 am to Noon time slot). Was it necessary? UPS landed four flights on time. Spirit got two in, both on time, and even American got one safely on the ground, on time.
It would appear that cancellation of this flight was not really necessary. The aircraft itself was coming out of Las Vegas into Charlotte, and even before the cancellation, it was already in the air on its way here. The impact on just one passenger on one flight: loss of a day (probably more) with her mother, a valuable vacation day wasted, and the extra time and expense to drive from Phoenix to her final destination.
Oh, did I neglect to mention it? Even when re-booking her the next day, they claim they simply cannot get her to her original destination. But yeah, they're keeping her money just the same.
Multiply that impact on one passenger by approximately 120 passengers per aircraft, average, and by 104 cancelled flights in that 3-hour period. That's quite a lot of passenger goodwill lost, and most of it wasn't necessary!
If you're young enough, it seems to you that it has always been this way. Unfortunately for me, I remember when it was quite different. Airlines used to appreciate their passengers, and treat them as honored guests. Airlines worked hard to do everything right, every time. They treated passengers with respect and courtesy, and tried to make the air-travel experience enjoyable. At the company level, they respected their employees, and treated them as the professionals they were.