Friday, 10 November 2006
Consumer Reports' tips for holiday flying
CR's tips for holiday flying -- sans sleigh (Consumer Reports, December 2006):
Air travel might not be merry this season. Passenger loads are at a record high, and at press time you could not even carry eggnog aboard unless you bought it after the security checkpoint....
If holiday flying is inevitable, arrive early. As Edward Hasbrouck, editor of "The Practical Nomad" (www.hasbrouck.org), says, "I think people undervalue the catastrophic effects of missing their flight."
There's more in the printed magazine and in the members-only portion of the Consumerreports.org Web site.
For more of my tips for air travel, see my FAQ's:
Posted by Edward on Friday, 10 November 2006, 18:05 ( 6:05 PM)
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Delta and USAir will merge for the benefit of the customer (??). Well, we have seen this in the past when USAir merged with American West. That merger was also in the interest of the customer we were told. Let us see what happened since:
Shortly after the merger the airline renamed the normal travel awards as "saver awards" and started to charge twice as many miles (50,000 domestically) for all award travels except for Tuesday's and Wednesday 6 am flights to nowhere.
Then customers could no longer talk to an agent, as staff was almost disappeared as machines replaced them.
Over the next 6 months the planes were "re-configured" as first class seats were reduced by upto 70% i.e. all 757 planes now have 8 seats instead of the previous 24 seats. So forget those promised upgrades...
Then the requirement for membership statuses was increased. To become a "gold member" you now have to fly 60 flights instead of the pre-merger requirement of 50 flights, or 125 flights instead of the pre-merger 100 for the higher statuses..
In the interest of "customer satisfaction" the bonus miles for the most common membership levels were also reduced by 50%.
Then endless commercials on all flights started with their customers as trapped "audience". Today you normally are subjected to several commercials or credit card "announcements" over the speakers. You cannot mute it or turn it off... Expect more....
Even before the merger, USAir started to charge for drinks at their clubs and the now have the industry's most expensive club system with the least amount of benefits (even if you fly 125 or more flights per year you still have to pay for access). So for all Delta members who are used to free drinks and free membership at Delta's Crown rooms - be prepared to pay...
So here we are again, and this time we are to believe USAir when they once more promise that this merger is in the customer's interest. If you believe it, we should have only one airline in the US (i.e. Aeroflot) and see if that will not make all of us happy.