I’m not a high volume traveler, but in the last 6 months I have traveled on a more frequent basis. And by travel I mean fly from Atlanta to about three other places with some regularity. I have the flights I would like to get on, and the ones that I try to avoid. And my preferences are driven by time and convenience.
Before I moved to the Atlanta area, I connected in ATL dozens of times. You don’t even have to travel to or from the south to still find your way to the Atlanta airport as part of your trip. I met a passenger the other day who started her morning in Jackson, MS and was trying to get to Omaha. While it might seem logical that she was in Atlanta at that point, she got there by way of Memphis, and from Atlanta was headed to Milwaukee. Obviously, this is not the path from her original ticket, but once her first leg of the trip got disrupted it went downhill.
Yesterday I was heading to Milwaukee via commuter plane to catch a flight home. We were a little late pulling away from the gate when the attendant informed us that we still had to go through de-icing, and so some of our connections were in jeopardy. Almost everyone on this flight was connecting to somewhere else, and there was this collective groan that emerged with the announcement. It was a groan of discontent. I heard the person behind me ask his row mate, “Do you think that’s really necessary?”.
It was sort of painful to walk up to the gate in Milwaukee and see the jetway pulled away from my Atlanta-bound flight, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes.
When I buy a ticket, or when my company buys me a ticket, the money spent isn’t just for transportation from point A to point B. I am paying for the gate agents, the airport gate fees, the maintenance of the plane, the luggage handlers, and most importantly, the experienced experts who make the calls regarding the safety of a flight. In a weather situation like yesterday’s, I pay them to make the decision to de-ice, even though it will create scheduling ripples throughout their system. They don’t want to delay flights, but they don’t want disaster either. I sincerely believe that if the people on the plane yesterday could vote on the de-icing process, I would have been on the short end of the vote.
On the other hand, why the airline books tickets with a 25 minute connection, in Wisconsin, in February, is beyond me. The boarding process is underway before you even get there.
Do you have a peeve about safety practices that you believe don’t protect you? Would you want to put plane de-icing up to a vote? Not me, thanks.
The words rang true for me today: Let’s be careful out there!