Category Archives: air travel

There Is No Pie in the Sky

There’s a rumor out on the Interwebs that Delta Air Lines is thinking about a discussion of how it might possibly consider reintroducing complimentary hot meal service on long domestic coach flights.

My favorite message board remark, so far, on this possibility: “The only thing more offensive than the airline meal was when the airlines stopped serving them.”

The truth of this rumor is probably irrelevant. Delta may or may not be having meetings where executives bandy about the idea of giving coach passengers hot meals. Executives are forever bandying, which is what passes for leadership these days. It doesn’t matter because Delta will never, ever in a million years do it.

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The Shifting Ethics of the Reclining Seat

I’ve always liked the Ethicist column in the New York Times Magazine, to which people write with ethical dilemmas. My favorite was about reclining airliner seats.

Travelers face many questions of conscience but this is one of the more immediate and personal. Should you recline your seat into the space of the person behind you? What if the person in front of you does it to you? (As with most dilemmas involving air travel, it’s magnified in coach.)

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The Chaos of Airfare Forecasting

Here is a bold claim: I can predict airfares as well as the airfare forecasting tools on Bing Travel and Kayak.

Which is to say, not terribly well.

And here’s a prediction. That will change. I won’t get better but the computers will. Like Deep Blue over Kasparov — or maybe more like Deep Blue over the president of a high school chess club — the machines will triumph because programmers will refine and improve their forecasting models.

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Travel Light, Board Early

I flew American recently and was permitted to board earlier than my assigned zone because I had only a small carry-on that fit under the seat. I really liked that.

A recent Associated Press article describes the logic behind the new AA policy and explains other strategies that other airlines are testing as a means to speed up the boarding process.

The article doesn’t mention it, so please allow me to point out that the boarding process slowed down substantially when the airlines* imposed checked bag fees. Passengers now feel impelled to overstuff their carry-on bags, which then can’t be wedged into the overhead bins without a crowbar and a barrel of grease, which means the line backs up down the jetway while the passenger flails away at the American Tourister until a flight attendant confiscates it and gate checks it.

And I can’t blame the offending passenger because I’ll do the same to save $25, if I have to. And there’s actually no point to pointing that out because those fees will never, ever go away. But I feel a little better for reminding everyone of whose fault this is.

*Except Southwest and JetBlue.