Saturday, December 5, 2009

Feed 'Em and Water 'Em

Those who fly regularly on US-based airlines are probably familiar with the "service" on the carriers. I rarely fly on them, but when I do, I've noticed the service continues to go downhill. My flight to the US yesterday on a US-based carrier was in a word - awful.

The flight attendants were not there to help. I had been told a few years ago by a relative who is a flight attendant that the main objective was to "feed 'em, water 'em and get them the hell off the plane." I'm not even sure about the feeding and watering -- after yesterday's flight.

They barked orders at passengers: "move out of the way, don't line up at the toilet" and they essentially acted like everyone was in their way. When it came time to serve "lunch" -- there was no "would you like something to drink," it was "what do you want?" It was asked that way every time by several different flight attendants. Maybe it is part of the training.

There was an on-screen advertisement between movies suggesting that it you were hungry, you could order from the menu in the airlines' magazine. The turkey sandwich looked pretty good -- a bit expensive at 9 bucks, but I was hungry. I rang for the attendant to place my order. Fifteen minutes later, no one had shown up. Luckily, an attendant was running up the aisle and I flagged her down.

She had never heard of the menu and admitted "I have no idea what you are talking about." As she was leaving she informed me that lunch would be served in 20 minutes. It was -- a tuna sandwich about the size of a pack of cigarettes.

This was an 11 hour flight so the airline would have probably made a lot of money if it had served the food listed on the menu in the magazine. I'm sure I wasn't the only one that was hungry. Some of the other "meals" included gravy with a few small pieces of beef, a few pieces of pasta with a few slices of vegetables and a pastry with chicken.

When the flight arrived in the U.S., I noticed that the handle on my Samsonite had been broken by the baggage handlers. When I went to the airline baggage area I was told that that was normal wear and tear and it wasn't covered. (Another airline, Air France, had broken a similar handle on another one of my bags two years ago and paid for the repairs.)

The baggage claim office yesterday, then gave me a long list of other things not covered by the U.S.-based airline -- which begged the question: what was covered? I was informed by the attendant that about the only thing the airline would make right is when a hole is ripped into the bag. Then he added: "but there are no guarantees even then."

Sunday, November 29, 2009