Allen On Travel

A 30 year veteran of world travel (but knows nil about Orlando-area attractions), Will Allen III writes about his weekly odysseys by air on business and how the airlines rob him--and you--of time, the most precious commodity on earth. Time: It's all we have, and the airlines routinely take it from us. This blog challenges the airlines to keep their basic promises.

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

Born 1948 in Kinston, NC and raised there in beautiful eastern North Carolina, I now live in Raleigh and commute around the country and the world.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

American Eagle On-Board Service Anomaly

On a recent very late American Eagle flight, when the FA paused at my seat with the beverage cart, he unexpectedly leaned down, invading my personal space in a big way. Cocooned reading Jared Diamond's great book GUNS, GERMS, AND STEEL, I hadn't seen the guy coming, and, naturally I recoiled in horror at his unwanted behavior. Well, as far as one can recoil on a 44-seat Embraer RJ--maybe two or three inches.

Whispering, and with furtive glances at my neighbors, the Flight Attendant asked me to verify that I was indeed William Allen, and he brandished his on-board passenger name list under my nose, tapping his finger beside my name, which was underlined.

Taken aback, and worried now that perhaps hidden TSA cameras in the Lilliputian lav at the rear of the passenger cabin had broadcast to Dick Cheney an incriminating video of me stuffing a paper hand towel into the toilet bowl against regulations, I hesitantly acknowledged that, yes, as far as I could tell, I remained the infamous William Allen.

Continuing in a whisper, apparently so as not to alert surrounding passengers (difficult on a cramped ERJ), the Flight Attendant said that due to my status as a Platinum I was entitled to either a free snack box or bag of cashews--my choice!

Although I wasn't really hungry, I took the nuts. I didn't want him to notice my enormous relief that apparently no camera had yet been installed in this particular airplane.
No sense turning down gifts, anyway, especially when I get so little these days (AA cancelled my flights home the previous Friday again, for instance, due to another mechanical, and I ended up on Delta for the umpteenth time).

Why, I wonder, did this occur? Why this miniscule crumb of generosity to punctuate a near perfect record of hard-hearted austerity at American Airlines? It certainly never happened before, including the previous flight from Raleigh to my connection point, nor has it happened on any AA Eagle flight since.

Perhaps it's just another form of exquisite torture designed by the cretins in AA Marketing to once in a while build up the smallest hope that airline service is improving when, actually, of course, it's not.


Blogger Entrecomputer said...

Why did he not just ask.. William, would you like some nuts? What was the risk, 50 cents?

6/29/2006 9:57 PM  

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