Wednesday, February 6, 2013

They don't even pretend

Austrian Airlines at least pretends that they are pleased to see you and have you fly with them.

US Airlines adopts no such pretense. They are not pleased to see you and they do not want you to fly with them.

Indeed – because you are in fact flying with them they intend to punish you as much as possible to ensure that you do not do it again.

They start this process at the check in counter. Remember these? They were the places where you gave smiling people your bags and they gave you a ticket in return.

These days you do your own check in – at self service counters. This is not always easy and the people behind you sigh and fidget if you make any mistakes.

Then you are charged $25 just for the bare faced effrontery of checking in a  bag at all. I remember when you paid for a ticket and your bag went for free. Not any more.

Austrian Airlines will give you a coke and a snack at no charge. US Airlines will sell you a coke and a bag of chips for $7.

And we you finally escape the aircraft the Austrian Airlines crew stand at the door and smile and say Auf Wiedersehen.

US Airlines staff  go about their business and do not even fart in your general direction. They don’t want you to have a nice day – they just want you to go away.

I couldn’t get Cate interested in the Super Bowl although we did go down to the High Velocity  bar just before kickoff to have a chicken wrap. So I watched the game while she worked.

People here get very excited about football and of course Indianapolis has its very own football, baseball and basketball teams so there is always someone to cheer.

We have had quite a bit of snow and on the weekend it was colder than we have been since we were in Scandinavia in winter.

I was prepared for this and brought my big coat and woolly pants but Cate – despite her baggage being 5 pounds overweight – has not got much winter gear. I am not sure why because before we left I gave her printouts of the weather forecasts for both Washington and Indianapolis.

But this is often the case when we travel. Cate stuffs her bag full of clothes but wherever we go she is often seen staring mournfully into the closet and muttering that she has nothing to wear.

But – here we are back in Washington. I go back to Vienna tomorrow. Mrs. Moneypenny says that the cats are fine. I am looking forward to seeing them. 


  1. My Neighbour is a qantas pilot. his adive to me was- fly with an airline that has british or canadian or australian or american pilots as there is a strong chance you will get an ex airforce pilot. However choose an airline with asian cabin crew. the best airline imo is Cathay Pacific. Keen cabin crew, good pilots too!

  2. Southwest Airlines is pretty good, but I have not flown in 3 years, 5 months, and 3 days. Your cats wiLL be so glad to see you. Hope you have found some Badger compatible Indianapolis spots.

  3. Southwest Airlines is awesome! They entertain you with jokes and visuals while giving the pre-flight blah-blah-blah, and they're always chatty and eager to please.

  4. You reminded me of my hate relationship with Delta. Big Daddy has formed a new hate relationship with American.

  5. Sounds like not much has changed in the flights in US - they were like that when we were there in 1996 - I thought maybe they just didn't like us because we were South African and not black because that seemed to be the most common comment when they heard our accent and asked where we were from !!!
    Have a great day - am sure your cats can't wait for you to get home !!

  6. simon: I used to fly with Cathay quite a bit when I had an assignment in HK. Loved it.

    esb and SK Waller. I hope I can give Southwest a try. esb: Could not find any ducks but I am sure they are there!

    fmcgmccllc: Your relationship with Delta was memorable.

    Me: And they still have the same planes.