Friday, August 3, 2018

Airport Hell | Lefsetz Letter

The problem is you can’t get out!

Now if you’re following your airline history, you know it’s a legendarily bad business. The runway is littered with bankrupted airlines, Pan Am, Braniff, Eastern…the list is endless.

But now, but NOW, airlines are incredibly profitable, because they’ve figured out YIELD!

Bottom line? Flights fly full.

So I’m inured to the procedure. The endless wait at security, at the gate, the reason executives (AND DEEJAYS!) fly private is TIME, they’re not making any more of it and if yours is precious the two plus hours you waste before your flight is now productive time. Then again, the have-nots will keep telling anybody with a life that we have it good, that they were born in a field and crapped in an outhouse and the rest of us are abusing them and therefore Trump got elected. There you have it folks!

And the truth is my non-flight experience is everybody’s experience. Our infrastructure has gone to hell, because no one wants to pay anymore, taxes are bad, you’re entitled to your income without deductions, and the truth is we live in a society and what affects one of us affects us all…when a butterfly flaps his wings in Japan…

So I’m on the plane. Sans upgrade. Yup, that’s another scam, they tie you to an airline so you have status, so you don’t have to pay for baggage, so maybe you can get an upgrade. And the hoi polloi take their entire belongings with them on the plane, so there’s no luggage space, because they don’t want to pay and nobody wants to wait for their baggage, but…

I can’t travel that light. I’m willing to wait. But for how long?

And the girl next to me is skinny, but she’s got B.O. Really? Isn’t this part of the social contract, that you shower before you go into public?

But that depends upon parents. That’s where we learn this stuff. And too many of today’s parents are dingbats. It’s the basics that count, table manners, cleanliness… But these are the same parents who go blast the principal when their kid is sent home with a note.

But I grew up in a different era, where your parents weren’t your best friends, you were AFRAID OF THEM! And sure, my dad hit me with a belt and a brush and I’m probably traumatized forever but I knew if I screwed up in school I wouldn’t get into a good college and my future would be sacrificed… Life is all about delayed gratification, and I’m aiming this at you baby boomers, taking social security early. Do you really want to make that bet? What if you outlive your money? Happened to some friends of mine, they had to get a reverse mortgage to get by, but at least they owned real property. As for me dying before I hit the crossover point, I’m willing to make that bet, the government can have my money, I just don’t want to be without when I need it. As for working in your late eighties… GOOD LUCK! No one wants to hire you, you’re too old, and probably too infirm to boot.

So we sat on the tarmac for three hours. Even though there was bright sunshine outside. The pilot said there was weather somewhere. But at the three hour mark you’ve got to go back to the gate where we sat for another hour before they canceled the flight.

But this is the kicker, since they book the flights so full, I CAN’T GET OUT UNTIL TOMORROW NIGHT!

That’s right, despite flights on the hour, there are no seats. You’d think they’d build this potential problem into the system, but NO! Capitalism rules, stockholders must get their due, screw the customers!

I’m on the phone with my travel agent, you probably don’t have one. They took away the full-serve gas stations, there’s no help anywhere in America unless you’re willing to pay for it, and most people aren’t, so there is no option, but since I paid $65 extra for my ticket I got through immediately to find out I could fly business on Jet Blue for $1499.

I didn’t want to pay that.

As for getting out on the Jet Blue 10:50…I’d need approval from American, and they wouldn’t give it.

So, the FIRST flight I can get out on is 9:30 TOMORROW NIGHT!

I’ve got to go back to Connecticut, and come back here, and I didn’t realize I was so pissed off about it until I started writing this.

No one knows what’s going on. The pilot, who has been with American for 23 years, after 7 in the Air Force, said it was air traffic control, the system is too antiquated, it couldn’t handle the rerouting after the weather dissipated. Furthermore, there was the issue of him timing out. BLAME THE UNIONS!

No. I’d rather have an alert pilot behind the wheel.

Are you catching this? This isn’t about my personal disappointment, I’ll live, but our whole screwed-up country, where money rules and people are irrelevant to the point where we’re no longer humans, just numbers on a spreadsheet.

But you want to be able to fly cheap.

Then again, smartphones are ruining the world.

Thank god I had my iPhone, so I could see that Jet Blue flight was delayed three hours and probably won’t get out tonight either.

But no, I’ve got to shut it down, stare into space, because some wanker parents and intellectuals think technology is bad and we must be protected. Huh? Technology is what is gonna get me to Los Angeles in the first place!

And this screed won’t make a bit of difference. Tweet the airline, think you’re special!

But none of us is special, the joke is on us. While we’re busy fighting amongst ourselves the corporations are divvying up this world and they don’t care about us, but without customers they’re HISTORY!

But you’re too busy e-mailing fake news to prove you’re right. That’s right, my inbox is filled up with people who refuse to go to Google or Snopes to see what they’re saying is false. Don’t you get it, we’re all on the same side!

The immigrants are doing jobs you don’t want to.

The addicted are scarfing opioids so Purdue Pharma can get rich.

But the problem is the TAKERS!

How many takers are there?

I’m not a taker, you’re not a taker, we fight amongst ourselves when we are the problem.

We’ve got to pay folks.

For better infrastructure, for a better society. We all can’t live behind gates, we all can’t fly private. Just because your wheel wasn’t broken in a pothole that does not mean the next person’s won’t be.

And if you think you can get the attention of the CEO, if you think he’s gonna see my tweet, take my phone call, solve my problem, you’re dreaming.

I pay for AppleCare so my computers and phones are protected.

I pay for insurance so if I get sick I won’t have to pay for my ski pass. Yup, that’s another story today, someone got cancer and wants their money back but they didn’t buy the INSURANCE! Is Vail supposed to give them their money back so the world at large can feel good?

Protect yourself. Know that we’re all brothers and sisters, in this together.

And now I just got a text that my driver can’t pick me up.

There you have it!


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