Monday, June 02, 2008

A Cautionary Tale

I flew back from Phoenix last Friday afternoon to JFK, USAir of course. Boarding begins right on time, about 30 minutes from scheduled departure. Near the end of the boarding line are the two young ladies with seats next to mine. Each is wheeling their carry-on down the aisle. Let's just say these probably weren't regulation size. Their attempts to fit things in the overhead are unsuccessful. Does this deter them? No...they keep trying. After five minutes of this fiasco, the flight attendants take notice. Their response? Remember, this is an old line carrier where the employees just don't care. They make several announcements over the PA. No response from the two in the aisle. Another three minutes go by before one of the flight attendants finally fights her way past the remaining crowd to tell the girls they have to check their bags. Arguments ensue. Finally the bags are loaded below.

Normal loading, they close the plane 10 or so minutes before scheduled departure. We were on target for that. Instead, the door is closed 7 minutes after scheduled departure. 17 extra minutes. You sure you want that extra revenue? Do airline accountants understand the difference between revenue and profitability? Given that the industry in its entire history has lost money, probably not.

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