Don't fly if you can drive
What will it be like to be an airline passenger this summer? Let me know. Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
Never say never, but I am pretty certain I will not be flying this summer.
Part of this is just prognosticatory cheating -- we have a pretty full schedule in my family through Labor Day, so barring something unexpected, I don't know when I'd fit it.
But also: Well, have you flown recently? It doesn't sound like a lot of fun.
One of the big adjustments in the airline industry has been that business travel is down, but personal or pleasure travel is up. One doesn't make up for the other, because in general business travel is a lot more lucrative.
Beyond that, literally thousands of flights were canceled over Memorial Day and Juneteenth weekends in the United States. Some airlines are now cutting departures—United and American, probably others that just didn't send me their press releases— because they don't have the staff to fly them.
(Better than the alternative, which would be to schedule them and then have to cancel them.)
Still, probably the most viral thing I've seen on social media lately is from a flight attendant named Kristie Koerbel who posted some sage advice about how to fly this summer, if you must.
Among her tips:
Don't fly if you can drive. Her cut-off is anything less than a seven hour drive, get behind the wheel instead of in line at an airport.
Fly much earlier than you think you should: a full day ahead of when you need to be wherever you need to go, and on the first flight of the day if possible. Your odds of a delay or disruption are higher then ever, so flying early gives you a buffer.
Arrive extra early to the airport, and if you have layovers, schedule long ones. Again: buffer.
This is not the summer to save $100 by purchasing tickets through a third-party wholesaler. Buy direct from the airlines, so you have more leverage when you run into drama.
Don't get drunk. Take a shower before you fly, brush your teeth, ixnay on the erfume-pay, and for the sake of all that is good and holy in the world don't bring smelly foods like tuna fish on the plane.
Anyway, I could go on, but for a an open comment Friday, let's turn it over to you.
Are you flying more or less than you were, pre-pandemic?
What's your best or worst airline passenger story? (I'll share one of mine in the comments; it's a bit wistful in retrospect.)
And, let's go back to that point about business versus personal/pleasure travel: What's the one opportunity that would get you back in the air, if you're not flying already?
Let us know in the comments.
7 other things worth knowing today
The U.S. Supreme Court massively expanded its interpretation of the right to bear arms, declaring strict gun laws in New York and several other states unconstitutional. The ruling, authored by Justice Clarence Thomas, declared that the Constitution protects "an individual's right to carry a handgun for self-defense outside the home." (AP)
Another big decision: the Supremes took a big step toward limiting the effect of Miranda v. Arizona, which is the 56-year-old case behind the "You have the right to remain silent" thing that police say in every cop show. The right to remain silent still exists, but the decision "ensures that many suspects who are denied these warnings will have no legal recourse, even if they are wrongly convicted." (Slate)
The war in Ukraine: Casualties among Russian and pro-Russian forces are mounting at an unsustainable rate, British intelligence reports, raising more questions about the extent to which Moscow can maintain its current pace of operations amid limited progress on the battlefield. (US News)
The Jan. 6 committee hearings continue, with testimony about how former President Donald Trump sought inside help from the Justice Department to execute his campaign to reverse the 2020 election. Separately (well, I think) federal investigators searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark, the former Justice Department official who pushed the department, at former President Trump’s request, to get involved in efforts to challenge the 2020 election results. (NBC News, LA Times)
A Tesla critic says the company's factories are "money furnaces" losing "billions of dollars." Sorry, wait: That wasn't a critic; that was Elon Musk. “Both Berlin and Austin factories are gigantic money furnaces right now,” Musk said in a video interview with Tesla Owners of Silicon Valley. (Bloomberg)
A bloodhound named Trumpet won the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Wednesday night. Winston, a French bulldog co-owned by NFL defensive lineman Morgan Fox, took second in the nation's most prestigious dog show. (CBS News)
Photos captured the moment that a U.S. coach dove in the water to save American artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez, who fainted during a competition in Budapest. Scroll down within the story I've linked to. (BBC)
Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. Want to see all my mistakes? Click here.
Waiting to fly from LGA this afternoon to return home from a business trip! I've already been asked to volunteer to get bumped from the flight and Delta is still selling seats for the flight on their website. I have a lot of empathy for the airline's employees but this also feels slimy.
In air travel kindness matters. Was on one of my usual trips to Japan when we had an 'issues'. After takeoff I found out that power to our seat controls was out, and I was mad at me for not doing my pre-flight check. Seated next to me was a young 30'ish GE manager. We informed the flight attendant that our seats were inop, she apologized and explained that she could move manually for us. Ok, for now I'm fine, but maybe after dinner I will ask you to move it. Well, we learn Ms GE is highstrung as she goes off on a litany of sins, past, present, and future that this airline has committed against her. Flight attendant comes back, there's a captain in the other business class section who will switch with one of us. I think cool, I'm getting a captain for a seatmate !! Except I didn't as Ms GE went off again, so I accepted the move, with the caveats of I'll wait until the meal service is done and the captain will have a chat in the galley. Which is how it went, 20 minutes of flying chat with captain while switching seats and then to the new seat. And then, the flight attendant comes over to me, apologizes again (good customer service) and says here's 75000 miles for being so understanding. Ms. GE, well the captain earned his off-duty pay. And y wife loved the first class seats on our vacation that came from those miles.