Saturday, February 26, 2011

AirTran *and fliers*- Our Experience

We just returned from a short vacation to San Juan, Puerto Rico (which was nice) and took Air Tran Airlines. It was an interesting experience. Most of the customer service people were friendly and helpful. Some of the airline practices were questionable but you can determine that from what we saw:
1) Duplicate Seat #s:  On all 4 flights, several duplicate seat numbers were issued, so there were a number of complications getting people seated before the flights took off.
2) Gate Changes: (This one is understandable) whenever we printed a boarding pass 24 hours before, the departure gates had all changed (on all 4 flights).
3) Seating: I (Rob) sat in a middle seat on all 4 flights because I'm smaller and thinner than most adults. On 2 of the 4 flights a very large man was seated next to me on the aisle (Tom was at the window). Those 2 men spilled over into my seat, took the arm rest and had their legs and elbows into me. Fortunately, Tom was at the window, so I put up the armrest between us and loosened my seatbelt to get away from the 2 inconsiderate fliers. I don't mind that people are large. What I DO mind is that they continually elbow me, overflow into my space and never ONCE say "Excuse me."
4) Weather Delays Not Due to Weather: We flew from Puerto Rico to Orlando. Our connecting plane was grounded all morning in Charlotte because of an "approaching cold front with strong winds." Yes, the front did have strong winds. However, it wasn't and didn't reach the east coast until mid-afternoon. So, instead of beating the front, they flew the plane directly into it by delaying it. Stupid.
5) What if Flights Canceled? We learned that if Air Tran cancels a flight and you have to stay somewhere overnight, they offer you "a small discount at a local hotel." What if it's not in someone's budget to pay a surprise $150-200 for a hotel because of an airline? I thought airlines used to cover that.
6) Baggage Fees: We paid the $20 for each bag (we had one each) on Air Tran. Although I think it's nickel-and-diming people, it's a lot better than trying to battle the 120 or so others for meager space in an onboard compartment. Despite the rules of "one carry-on" many people were wheeling on 2 and 3 bags. Only once did someone get caught and have to check their bag. People need to check their big bags and pay the darn $20. It saves a LOT of time and hassle getting onboard and in-flight.
7) Nice People: I did have the pleasure of sitting next to a really nice guy named John who lives in Orlando as we flew from Puerto Rico. He and I had a great conversation (Tom couldn't hear being near the window, and happily read his book), and that made that leg of the trip really enjoyable. John is in good shape, so I didn't have to worry about "body spillage" into my seat, which was also comforting.
8) Overbooked Every Flight: Every single flight we were on (4) were overbooked and gate attendants begged people to give up their seats for a free trip somewhere. I understand the need to fill a flight, but overbooking EVERY flight is really annoying, especially when people usually don't have the luxury to hang out in an airport for another 5-10 hours and waste a day.

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Gift/Memorial Suggestions

Several of our friends have lost loved ones (human and pets) and we found that one of the best ways to honor their memory is to give to an animal charity.
What better way to recognize a life of love, than by giving another life a chance for love?
We donate to many animal rescues, but because we volunteer with
DC Weimaraner Rescue and Coast-to-Coast Dachshund Rescue, those are our 2 favorites.
Consider giving the chance of life to a dog or cat.

About us

We're two married guys who enjoy the simple things in life, especially our dogs. We volunteer for dog rescues, enjoy splitting dinners, exercising, blogging, helping friends and neighbors, ghost investigations, coffee and tea, Tudor history, weather, superheroes, comic books, mystery novels, traveling, 70s and 80s music, classic country, piano, gardening, writing books on ghosts and spirits, architecture, keeping a clean house, cooking simply, and keeping in shape. You'll find tidbits of all of these things on this blog and more.

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!

Tom and Rob Thinking Hard!
Wondering what home project to do next