Category Archives: Airlines

United we stand, United we fall

Its fair to say that most of my flying in recent years would come down to 3 current Airlines, American, Delta, and Aer Lingus. There was also US Airways, but they are now part of American, so…lets talk about someone else!

As far as I can remember, I’ve only ever flown twice on United Airlines in my life. The first, around the turn of the century, was an uneventful trip to Richmond, Virginia, via Chicago from Heathrow. It was in fact my first solo trip to the US, and all I vaguely remember is the long queues at Immigration in Chicago. So long that they actually took my case and loaded it onto my next flight before I got through to get it.

The second, and final time was a flight to Seattle, and though the service was OK, the fun started when I got back to Chicago. At Seattle they had been surprised when they couldnt issue my boarding pass for my second flight, but then I found out why, when I got to Chicago, they’d cancelled the flight, not that they really seemed to care! I actually got out that night, after complaining, via Heathrow, but obviously was late into Manchester, and they didnt do as requested and inform the people picking me up over here as to what was happening. So that was it, never again, I pledged. In fact, shortly after that, the Chicago route changed, first to British Midland (equally as bad), and then American (decent service), and I found it easy to ignore them after that.

So yes, I’d forgotten all about United until recently, and their ‘magic moments’. I dont know enough about their rules for people flying on free/reduced company tickets to comment too loudly on the recent leggings issue, but it was children, not likely to be assumed to be airline staff, so heavy handed was a fair comment. Not as heavy handed as at the weekend, clearly! Just when Delta thought they might get bad publicity for their cancellation issues because of weather in Atlanta, along come United to rescue them, and make them look like saints! Hopefully you’ve heard the tale of how not to deal with paying passengers, to get staff travelling for free on a plane, surely?

Heard tonight that their share price has fallen dramatically, presumably on top of all the bad publicity everywhere, especially on social media, so…I dont think United will be having so many insufficient seat issues in the near future! Hope not, anyway! Seriously, one social media disaster is bad, but 2 in about a month, oh dear me! The CEO blamed the passenger, no one else, absolutely unbelievable. Ah well…

Right, video time. Frightening to realise this is nearly 50 years old, and I remember it, but…For those who remember the 80’s reincarnation of Brotherhood Of Man, this isnt them! This, as Tony Burrows probably gives away, was a session version from 1970. Not one member of this group was in the second band, but anyway…

Delta dawned, and made me proud

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a member of a couple of airline loyalty schemes, 2 of my preferred trio from the past life. I have no idea why I never joined Aer Lingus, but besides that…Yes, the conglomerate now known as American, who gobbled up my other loyalty scheme with US Airlines, and Delta.

I’ve checked American’s site, and changing my name, and gender, while keeping my mileage stored there, not seemingly an issue. No, not actually done it yet, as it will be next year before I fly with them at the earliest. Irony, their miles only last 18 months, so I had to give back 1,000, to keep the other 34,000 via a charity scheme, but thats fine by me.

So then I look at Delta, expecting it to be the same situation, but no, you cant even change your name by yourself, let alone your gender. Must be crazy when people get married, but anyway…The big snag? Well, on their website, it says that to change such things, you have to send it in writing to Atlanta. Yes, fine if you’re in the US, but if like me, you’re in the UK, not a serious option, especially if you might be booking with them in a month or so. I know, I could open a new account, but again, I have about 35,000 miles on the scheme with them, and even if I’m never likely to travel enough for an international flight, fitting in a US domestic one, hmm, as they dont expire, ever!

So, nothing ventured, nothing gained, I sent in a question about the matter, and included in the attachment, the deed poll of my name change, and half expected them to say, fine, but you need to send it to our UK office or something. No, the first working day (Monday) after I did so, I came back home to a lovely email saying all was fine, account was changed, name and gender, and wishing me all the best for the future!

To be fair, the September trip, if its into Boston, and out of Boston, I’m flying Delta after that! I prefer them anyway, as you get more leg room options than Aer Lingus. If either way involves flying via Hartford, its probably going to be Aer Lingus, and make my knees suffer, simply because they have the direct flights, that Delta doesnt to that airport. But yes, if its only outward from Hartford, I might look at Delta, now, all the same.

OK, video time. Fine, it took me seconds to come up with this one. A not greatly edited version of the obvious song, but its live, and not only do you get Helen Reddy, you get Glen Campbell too

Oh, and while we’re talking transgender airline moments, 50 days from today, my first flight as a woman, cool! 😀

I’m Airline, Fly Me

Earlier today, while trawling through the headlines at MSN, I came across a list of the supposed best 10, and worst 10 airlines in the World. Now, forgive me, given how much of these sort of things are personal taste, and about getting the right, or wrong flight, and things can lead you wildly astray. But anyway, curiosity, and all that, I went and took a look.

As to the best 10, I’ve only ever flown on 2, and one of those (British Airways), has never jumped out at me, as being that great. The other was Air Canada, about a decade ago, and I must admit, I was impressed. The fact I havent flown with them more recently is down to the fact that the 1 time I flew to Canada since then, Air Transat had the direct flight from Manchester, so hey…
Up until now, I’ve had concerns about returning to Canada, as a woman, because their security/immigration folk are supposed to have changed the rules that you have to look like the gender on your passport, and well, up to recently…Can do it again now, without issues, if I ever get enough money to do so.

The one I thought that might have made it, and didnt, was Jet Blue, who seriously impressed me when I flew with them. But as I say, these things are personal taste, so…

I’ll be honest, the worst list had a few culprits that I wasnt surprised to see there, from past experience. Easy Jet, and Ryanair, no, I wouldnt rush to fly with either, given the choice. Aer Lingus also made the list, and I will say that their express flights are an awful experience in economy. Their long distance flights wouldnt win any awards, for leg space, service, or food, but I have been known to bite the bullet, because doing Immigration in Ireland is a million times easier than doing it in the US, compared to certain airports over there!

But the one that surprised me, on that list, was Virgin Atlantic. Third worst, seriously? I first flew with them in April, it was great, one of my better flights of all time. And yes, they matched it in October too. Now I know I might not be the most demanding passenger in the world, but they would be on my praise list, not bad one! I know, that was the premium economy experience, but I saw the other seats, they didnt look that bad!

A couple of my ‘favoured’ airlines made neither list, American Airlines, and Delta. Yes, I’m in their frequent flyer schemes for a reason! If you asked me to pick between the 2, probably say Delta, but I’d happily fly with either, or most definitely, with Virgin Atlantic. Certainly would rather fly on any of them to British Airways, for sure.

But if anyone wants to pay for me to do flights on these other airlines, purely for survey purposes, I wont say no.

As I say, surveys are funny things, arent they?

Right, the video. I dont think I’ve used this one before, and besides its a lovely song, if I have.