Last week I flew to Dallas, Texas on Southwest...and of course had the all-too-familiar concerns I'm sure all flyers are saddled with now:
"Is my flight going to be delayed...or cancelled?"
"Is the security line going to be 3 hours long?"
"Am I going to lose a kidney if I step in to this questionable 'dance venue'?"
(scratch the last one...that was Vegas last year...)
So I arrived at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport about 2 hours before scheduled departure, got through security in about 15 minutes, grabbed a surprisingly NOT expensive coffee and took off on-time.
Was this a dream? All I've been reading every day (as I do my dutiful research for this very publication) is horror stories about hours-long security lines, cancelled flights and all manner of irate passengers losing their marbles as they get stranded at the terminal.
It's not a dream: I got lucky.
(Well, not entirely. Southwest...your internet was crap. Unusable. C'mon guys...you're better than this.)
The Airlines Get a 'Do-Over' at Will (They Cancel Flights on a Whim...Who's to Stop Them?)
Anyone who's followed the airline industry even casually knows the 'cluster-fugazi' that has followed the easing of the big 'P'.
Here's a mere sampling:
- In April Alaska Airlines announced they would cut 2 percent of their flights because they don't have enough pilots.
- Delta said they would cut 5 routes in the fall: Providence, Albany, Minneapolis and others for routine adjustments (translation: "we don't have workers".)
- On the call front, customers of Qantas lost their minds as phone wait times reached 5 1/2 hours for customer service and ticketing issues. (NOTE: I don't think I would have the patience...unless they served me wine...)
- Alaska suspended service between Anchorage and Honolulu due to staff shortages.
- And maybe the worst of all...British Airways pretty much cancelled EVERY flight at London Heathrow and Gatwick on multiple days.
I think you get the idea.
'Just Add a Bunch of Airline Routes and See What Sticks? Cancel The Rest'
Now, in the interest of being mildly fair (don't worry...you'll learn to 'get' my humor soon enough), there has been an avalanche of carriers reloading their route network and adding flights left and right.
Ah...but that is the point:
Carriers are adding flights as fast as the Kardashians can add more butt implants without 'seeming' to make allowances for exactly how they are going to get workers to work said flights.
Maybe this is the plan:
"Let's book every flight we can...we'll see how many of them we can actually staff, then drop the rest. But let's also make it really difficult to give people their money back."
I'm sure the people who've been raked over with this method are super impressed with their strategy...
Who's Cancelling The Airline Bailouts? *Crickets*
Normally, I would largely defend the airlines. It's hard (if not downright impossible) to turn a decent profit with an airline in the present day...not even counting the 2020 fiasco.
But I'm finding it 'reeaaal hard to be the shepherd'...eh, to feel sorry for them when they willingly took billions in bailouts due to the 2020 mess.
(Side Note: I defended the federal government for bailing out the airlines. At least 2 of them would have gone under had they not)
We are now seeing record travel numbers as the world no longer has to wear diapers on their face and act like their neighbor is the Walking Dead.
Maybe the carriers could *gasp* book less flights to match the number of employees it has and then add more as they get more staff.
"That's stupid Kenny! That makes too much sense!"
The best course of action? Get trip insurance. It won't make the cancellations and airport lines go away but at least you'll have drinking money and some Botox appointments.
Leave a comment below (let's commiserate) and join our Email Insiders Group for some airfare relief...
...because my gut tells me this isn't ending any time soon...
[Photo Credit: Carlos Coronado used with permission]