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, January 28, 2009

This and That

As I sit at home not traveling (which means I am not working), I have time (for a change) to pour through the various humor and commentary that comes my way across the Internet. Here are some recent examples and my reactions to them, plus details of a final kick in the pants from Tahiti's Moorea Pearl Resort.


In case you missed getting this captioned photo of last week's USAirways Hudson River rescue, there it is above.

Just like the Titanic but without the band playing. I wonder if First Class passengers will get any more in compensation than the flat $5,000 offered by the airline to everybody else.


This was sent to me with a note claiming it to be the funniest complaint letter ever sent to an airline:

Hard to know if the letter’s true, but the unpleasant on-board food photos look all too familiar. The author might be sorrowfully surprised to learn that very similar slop and unrecognizable goo is often proudly served from premium class galleys on airlines worldwide.

Because I’ve seen it all many times before in real life, I did not find the letter surprising or funny. Maybe that’s a sign that I've been permanently jaded by 40 years of flying.

I commented to Joe Brancatelli that, compared to such sorry so-called "free" food as described in the letter, the buy-on-board deli sandwiches on AA that I've tried have been delicious. His pithy retort hit me hard:

"Look what we're down to: not hating the paid sandwiches."

So right, Joe.


Recently Delta sent me an email broadly outlining 2009 Medallion benefits. As a lifetime Platinum, I read through them with some curiosity. After all, I have accumulated 5,120,000 miles on Delta since the SkyMiles program was launched way back in the early eighties.

That's right: over five million miles. Some years I would easily top 200 segments on Delta.

But not any more. As I read through the email, it dawned on me that 2008 was the first year in almost 40 years that I did not fly on a single Delta segment.

Mind you, I didn't leave my old flame in a huff. For several years I tried to stay married to Delta. But gradually I slipped away from booking DL after repeated insults and abuses, canceled connections with no back-up, disastrous and incompetent service, insufferably rude employees, and absurd delays at hubs like JFK combined with a complete lack of shame or sense of responsibility to one of their most loyal customers.

I was even a Delta Flying Colonel, an honor that had to be earned by bringing business to the airline repeatedly over years. That is, until they abandoned the FC program.


If you read my multi-part story of our Tahiti trip, perhaps you will recall the many shortcomings I documented during my family's 12-day stay at the wannabe-worldclass Moorea Pearl Resort on Mo'orea. Not content with the long list of deficiencies I cataloged, the Moorea Pearl added a cherry on top by billing me twice on my American Express card after I left.

This is particularly ironic since the Pearl has a policy of printing an advance copy of the bill for patrons to review many hours prior to checkout. I found several discrepancies on my advance bill, all of which were corrected long before I signed the final bill at the front desk just before heading for the airport. The front desk staff, all of whom knew me well by checkout time, was very satisfied that the bill I penned was correct.

But not the next day's staff, apparently, as that's the date on the second charge. Amex has of course removed the dupe from my statement and has opened an inquiry with the hotel to determine why they charged me twice for $1232.

Is this any way to encourage guests to return?


Blogger boj said...

We gave up on Delta many years ago, the final straw was refusing to give us a row of seat (despite asking several days in advance) when my wife and I were traveling with our 4 year old son. Best they could do was 12A, 13A and 14A, I asked them who was going to watch my kid for me.

1/29/2009 9:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Should you need a short-haul into Toronto from Newark or Chicago, try porter Airlines - one class of seating (34" pitch) on Q400 turboprops; snacks and beverages (including alcohol) included with your flight, and competitive pricing - it's quite a shock the first time you fly with them and realize that they actually want your business.

2/02/2009 6:20 PM  

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