Air travel can be a humiliating, dehumanizing and even torturous experience — at least according to my e-mail inbox.
One piece of conventional wisdom has gone unchallenged during our ongoing debate about class, privilege and human dignity in air travel: that the elites sitting in the big seats are subsidizing everyone else’s low fares.
Maybe it’s time to challenge that conventional wisdom.
“Maybe first class passengers aren’t so special after all”
One of the most troubling travel stories of 2014 was a report that airlines are considering a new class of service — and I use the term “class” loosely — called economy “minus.”
“Let’s kill economy class”
They played by the rules, and lost. Now they want my help in righting a wrong.
“There were several events that made the trip less than enjoyable,” says Rod Mourant. “From our perspective, the most irritating were Delta’s attitude and their baggage policy. Through actual experience, we found out that Delta’s carry-on and checked baggage policies are a joke.”
“Delta Economy “Comfort” fell short — can we get a refund?”
With good reason: The seats have 38 inches of “pitch” and are 19 inches wide, a sharp contrast to the medieval 32 inches of legroom and 17 inches of seat space in economy class. (Seriously, folks, that should be illegal.)
But try as hard as they might, the Roccafortes couldn’t avoid Torture Class on their transatlantic flight.
“We arrived at Charles de Gaulle three hours before our flight to check in and were told that the flight was very full,” remembers Lisa Roccaforte. “The woman that checked us in told us we may be moved to business class.”
“Downgraded on Air France, but where’s their refund?”
Hey buddy, wanna sign up for a credit card?
OK, that wasn’t Citi’s come-on when it asked Jerry Mandel if he was interested in an affinity card that would help him collect American Airlines miles. But it probably should have been.
“Who benefits the most from your airline affinity card? (That’s not a trick question)”
Being separated from your family while you’re traveling is every child’s worst nightmare. Every parent’s, too.
But Daniel Fitzsimmons recently experienced a different kind of separation anxiety, thanks to US Airways.
“Pay a seat reservation fee — or your kids don’t fly with you”
I‘m considering an outright ban on certain cases, and maybe you can help me make a decision. I already have an informal moratorium on recovering missing frequent flier miles and mediating expired-passport problems, although every now and then, I’ll let one slip in.
Walter Miller brings us another kind of trouble today: the involuntary downgrade/insufficient refund conundrum. After I tell you his story, I’ll explain why I think his type of problem may deserve to be blacklisted.
“Should I add involuntary downgrade cases to my “do not mediate” list?”
Patricia Sweeney says she suffered multiple insect bites on a recent Delta Air Lines flight from Atlanta to New York. “The bites were most likely bed bugs or fleas,” she says. “I had a severe reaction to them and developed an infection.”
But that wasn’t the worst part. Sweeney, who later that day made a connection to another Delta flight to Shannon, Ireland, notified her flight crew about the bites. She says they gave her three choices:
“Bitten by bugs on my Delta Air Lines flight to New York”