Saturday, January 17, 2009

Airport Idiots

Example: Boarding in Chicago for a flight to LAX. TSA decides to do a random check of passengers as we board the plane. Haven’t seen one of these in a while. Can’t say it made me feel more secure. TSA pulls a 60 something year old lady behind me carrying bags like your grandmother would carry on her first flight. If she was a terrorist, we have won the GWOT.

Example: So, during this TSA shakedown, the first guy in line to board the plane (you know the guy, he lurks by the ropes and dashes to the front of the line) is stopped by the gate agent. With a dozen TSA agents around. Something isn’t working with his boarding pass. This guy starts screaming at the agent. “This is ridiculous. I was rerouted. This is your fault. This is ridiculous!!!!!” You might be correct, dumbass, but not smart. He ended up boarding last. Oh, and he was about a 5’2” nebbish with 100 pounds of carry-on crap, and he already had his inflated sleeping pillow around his size 13 1/2 neck. It had an Alabama Crimson Tide logo embroidered on it. Somewhere, Bear Bryant wasn’t happy.

Example: Walked into the Hudson News stand as my acid reflux was doing the Macarena after my pepperoni, black olive and onion pizza. Needed some antacids. Asked the young lady with the tattoos and the piercings behind the counter if she carried any antacids. “Huh?” was the response. I realized I had just woken her from a nap. And she didn’t speak English. “DO YOU CARRY TUMS?” I screamed, like this would help. It actually did. A guy who did speak English showed up and got them for me. She then rang me up. And gave me the wrong change. I still have the extra 32 cents.

Example: American Airlines was once the airline to fly for business. They were efficient. They catered to business travelers’ needs. They were efficient. (The exterior of American planes aren’t painted because their CEO years ago figured that all that paint weighed a lot and cost more fuel. Where are you Bob Crandall? We need a Secretary of Commerce.) Today, American is a Greyhound bus with wings. The American people hate the TWA people they acquired, and vice versa. The surliness of the customer service staff would be better used at Gitmo. They know how to make a guest understand the rules. Once upon a time, if you asked for olives in a drink, they had them. Now, they laugh. Even on international flights. Please, Cathay or Singapore Airlines, buy American.

Example: So, the airlines make the schedules. Not the customer, right? They tell you when you will take off, and when you will arrive at your destination. Right so far?
Then why is it you land on time, but then have to sit on the tarmac for up to an hour for a gate to become available? Didn’t the folks at the arriving airport have a heads up that we were coming in? Who schedules this stuff, Amy Winehouse?

Example: Many airlines have outsourced most if not all of their reservations call centers to India. I understand the concept. I don’t understand the execution. Meaning, I don’t understand Hinglish (that’s Hindi mixed with English). English has a certain flow and meter to it that are important to communication. When yodeled, English is hard to follow. That’s what the nice people in Mumbai and Bangalore sound like to me. “SO mr. BURKS you WANT to GO to VASHINGTON on THE terteenth? “ Ah, I will call back. Not. Did you know that Jet Blue figured out how to hire the nicest people in the world who speak perfect English and have them answer the phones? For the most part, they are housewives in Utah. That’s right. Utah. Jet Blue did research to find the nicest people with the most understandable English to answer their calls. And they let them answer the phones at home. Please Jet Blue, buy American. And United. And Delta. And add those wonderful TV’s in the seatbacks.

Example: On September 11, 2001, terrorists used commercial airplanes as a combination of guided missile and hypersonic transport to 18 black-eyed virgins in heaven. And, you should feel great about the response of our government. We have now announced our “intention” to “announce” new rules “sometime soon” to regulate the security of private aircraft. We have done basically nothing in over 7 years to prevent a terrorist from grabbing a private plane at Doodlebug airfield and flying a few hundred pounds of plastic explosives into a nearby building. (By the way, if you hear of something like this happening in your area, head to the nearest mosque or Islamic learning center. That is the one place the plane won’t be landing.)

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