Thursday, August 21, 2008

Let's pick on a different airline

JetBlue invites abuse. It would be impolite of me to not accept.

That said, I just got around to reading the latest issue of BusinessWeek, wherein reporter Roben Farzad makes the rather compelling case that it is time to put a bullet in what's left of the brain of United Airlines and put it out of all of our misery.

I couldn't agree more. United has been a basket case for years. Its management are a bunch of well-compensated [fill in the blank] (don't forget - United CEO Glenn "Let Them Eat (Maybe) Pretzels" Tilton was paid nearly $24 million last year) who seem to be universally reviled by the rank-and-file employees.

There is an entire web site - - that tells in glorious detail the utter heinousness of the United flying experience.

During the Olympics this week, it's almost comical watching United Airline commercials, with "Rhapsody in Blue" playing in the background, trying to convince us what a pleasurable experience flying can be. If I were George Gershwin, I would be scoring perfect 10s doing Olympic back flips in my grave.

I even have a couple of doozy United incompetence stories that are so surreal, they defy logic. I'll share in due course.

Listen - I know that picking on the airline industry is like shooting fish in a shoebox. And I certainly know that I am not the first. Or the 50 thousandth. But, I think we can all agree that things are out of hand and someone has to do something. The way they treat paying customers is, in some cases, (and just in my opinion) borderline criminal. As I have stated and will continue to state: Selling a product you can't adequately deliver and support is an act of fraud. Fraud is a crime.

Somehow, the airlines have managed to lobby Congress to enable them to charge us, then strand us, and then hide behind their "Contracts of Carriage".

Let me see if I can simplify the language in the airlines' "Contract of Carriage" for you:

"We are incompetent. We know this. Congress knows this. Now you do. There is a good chance we will not be able to get you where you paid us to go. By buying this ticket, you are agreeing to our incompetence and accepting, in a legally binding fashion, that we have no obligation to do anything remotely resembling flying you from point "A" to point "B". If you are stupid enough to agree to such a ridiculous arrangement, well, then shame on you, dumb-ass."

Feel free to tell me if I have misinterpreted something.

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