Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Random musings on airline travel

  • If they recommend you check-in two hours before departure for U.S/International flights, couldn't THEY be there, say, at least two hours before departure? I had a 6:20 am flight from Toronto to Chicago and on to San Diego last week on United, and they didn't open up their check-in counter until nearly 4:30 am. Not that it really mattered, as the U.S. customs people didn't show-up to do pre-clearance until closer to 4:45 am.

  • Unless I wear steal-toed boots, why do I need to take my shoes off when going through security? And my belt? I'm not from Texas, I don't have a huge buckle, and wouldn't the wand thing suffice to ensure everything is kosher?

  • I had the pleasure of sitting in United's Economy Plus section for part of my journey. I didn't really notice the difference until I was back in regular economy for my next leg. The extra legroom is really noticeable. I didn't buy the ticket, but assuming it doesn't cost too much more it really is worth it.

  • United also has a cool feature on their audio system that lets you listen-in on radio communications between the cockpit and air traffic controllers. As an airplane junkie and son of a former air traffic controller I find it pretty cool. It also game me a preview of some nasty weather on the way to Chicago that built into tornadoes later in the day, cancelled most flights after ours, and gave us a pretty bumpy ride.

  • In today's nickel and dime world of airline travel, isn't it nice when an airline gives you the full can of pop, without asking? Air Canada will usually let you if you ask, but they're sometimes snooty about it.

  • What's the deal with airport loudspeakers? On my way back, at the gate in San Diego I had to strain to hear the announcements (I was 15 feet from the desk) and in Chicago from the same distance they were inaudible. I sympathize a bit more with some of the people on A&E's Airline, although, you're not helping yourself by listening from the bar between cocktails.

  • Finally, why don't more airports offer free WiFi? In fact, I'm only aware of one that does: Las Vegas. I'm the type that gets to the airport nice and early, and WiFi access really helps the time fly, and makes it productive. Getting through check-in and security at the Vegas airport is a pain, but once you're through the free WiFi is a dream. This seems like a relatively cheap and easy perk to offer to your customers. More airports should offer WiFi gratis, rather that turning the service over to a for profit carrier.

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Keegan said...

Free WiFi would be sweet. Sadly the airports I see are attempting to charge for it - screw that. I'll wait till I make Elite and use the Maple Leaf Lounge access, lol...

Alberta Report said...

St. John's has free wi-fi, and works like a hot charm. Newfs are way ahead of the rest of the country.

A BCer in Toronto said...

If only my travels took me to St. John's but it doesn't seem to be a big stop on the technology industry conference circut. What does Orlando have that St. John's doesn't (besides warm weather and DisneyWorld)?

Dave said...

The reason you couldn't hear the announcements is that the speakers in "Boom Trenchard's" are really poor.