I should have known it would be a bad travel day. I mean, to start it off, it was US Air. I know I could call them “Useless Air” but that is a cheap shot. I could call them "Uvula Air" (the “useless” appendage hanging at the back of the throat) but that would be too cheap and easy. "Urethra Air" gets closer to the mark. How about “Incompetent f-wads Air” or “Flaming sack of sh-t Air” as each accurately describes them.
Remember – in libel or slander cases, truth is the final defense. It is not libelous as I can guaran-frickin-tee you that I could easily amass several thousand signature of people that agree with the above assertion.
Anyway, my flight to Pittsburgh was gone. It never existed. One could say “canceled” but that implies there was an intention of the flight actually taking place. I think they offered this direct fight merely to let people think it actually existed. Then they cancel it so their Philly and Newark flights will be full. My evidence is twofold: 1) there was no information available as to why the flight was canceled. Sunspots? Beri Beri among the pilots? Spontaneous dental hydroplosion? No idea. And then 2) I am supposed to get some sort of message from AMEX or US Air that the flight was canceled. It is supposed to be e-mail but I think they write it on a scrap of paper and throw it in the street hoping that I will find it.
I was put on the 3:30 PM Philly flight , that was now leaving “around 5:00”. Note that in US Air-speak “around 5” means really 5:59 PM. That was what I thought based on the display above the gate – Flight departing 5:59. So I went at about 4:15 to get a quick bite – thinking I had plenty of time.
I returned at 5:15 to see a different flight number leaving to Philly at either 7:00 or 7:19; depending on if you looked at the gate doorway or the gate counter display. Now that is either a screw-up or one big-ass plane. I asked the lady where’s the 5:59 plane; she replied that it had left, and they had paged me.
Now one rule I have of air travel in the post-911 craze is never get mad. If you get mad you can get arrested. I’ll tell the conversation in reverse order. I asked how loud was the announcement, and where was it broadcast, as while eating I heard Southwest ask for the lady going to Philly (on-time I hasten to add) and the US Air flight looking for the guy going to Chicago. I did not hear any call for US Air to Philly, and I did note that I am especially astute when my name is concerned. I should also parenthetically add that my hearing is still good – I have listened to the “mosquito ringtones” available for teenagers’ cell phones. These are so high a frequency as to be inaudible to adults. I can still hear the 16 kHz tone, which is not bad; my wife can hear 18 kHz (note wives can often be considered “carriers” of male hearing loss; heart attacks too); my kids can hear near or above 20 kHz. The lady replied they broadcast it all over the airport. We were at a quandary to explain how I did not hear it.
Okay, so I didn’t hear it – but the best was her response to my question about the posted departure time. “Oh, you can’t go by that” was her statement. “But that’s all I got” is what I replied. Apparently if a flight is delayed, the airlines – when receiving the “go” message (how about “go to hell”?) they just GO! I did get a space on the 7:00 or 7:19 flight.
And of course two things happened. We boarded at 6:12 for a 6:30 departure, natch’. I also went to the men’s room before boarding (a personal habit) and - of course - the announcements faded to inaudibility once inside the bathroom right across from the gate.
So what did we learn here, dear reader?
Southwest can apparently fly on-time.
US Air is staffed by poltroons.
US Air does not pay their CEO enough.
Update - now trying to leave Pittsburgh for Newark NJ; and got an earlier flight. It is of course now not departing on-time and is listed as "update @ 6:00" which does not mean the flight will leave at 6 PM. Note as I site here typing Continental has had flights leave for Newark.