are in. The U.S. Department of
Transportation has released the results for the year 2007 and the news isn’t
good. My first thoughts were of my
Stepfather, Dave. Why? Dave is an interesting fellow. A ham radio enthusiast and IT professional,
you can entertain Dave for weeks at a time with very little more than a
computer, a good monitor, a radio, and an internet connection. To see this rare bird leave the nest is
pretty rare. Hell, to see him leave his
workstation is a rare treat all by itself!
When he does venture out beyond the range of his antennas or his
wireless router, he regards the world with a unique set of eyes. Most notably, he sees what, in his mind, just
“ain’t gonna work.” It doesn’t
matter what you’re doing at the time, Dave will find a problem with it. If Dave walks up on you in the kitchen (for
example), and he sees you making chili he’ll ask you, “What are you
doin?” You put aside your surprise
that he’s standing, live, in the kitchen in the first place and you tell him,
“I’m cutting up some meat to make chili.” “Well, that ain’t gonna work” he’ll
say, “You gotta cut them pieces up smaller, don’t you know that, Jeanine? I’ll go back to the computer and find a good
chili recipe. Then I’ll e-mail it to you
while you’re standing here in the kitchen!” Whatever works, Dave!
“effort” (if you can call it that) made by our domestic airlines is
not good. Here’s a link
to the story if you’d like to read the details. The bad numbers are up, the good numbers are
down. For example during the first five
months of the year,
airlines could only manage an on-time arrival 74% of the time. That was the lowest since the DOT started
keeping records! They also managed to
lose 5.9 bags out of every 1,000 bags checked.
That’s not bad, until you consider that in 2006 that number was only 4.6
out of 1,000 bags. The most startling
statistic for me was that only 675 complaints in TOTAL were logged during the
month of May. That month followed a
month that had some of the longest “stranded runway wait times” ever.
How do you
fix it? You don’t! You can take steps to make sure your own
experience is a positive one. Take
earlier flights so you have one to fall back on. Don’t check bags if you don’t have to. Learn to pack “small.” If the airlines cause you be late, even for a
minute, call them and register a
complaint! Don’t berate them or be
rude just politely call and say, “Hello, you made me 42 minutes to my
meeting today and I don’t appreciate it.
They’ll never fix what they don’t believe to be broken.
So those of
you who don’t travel every day or every week or every month, when you do
finally walk out of your house and into the airport for the first time in a
year… be prepared to shake your heads and say it, “That ain’t gonna