Airline Travel: Passengers Treated Like Manure


This is Robin Hayes CEO of JetBlue Airlines.  He is seated one JetBlue’s newest plane the Airbus A321.  This picture is in current USA Today (6/29/2015) and I noticed the arm rest is up in the picture.

Mr Hayes, seems like an average size man. Yet in the seat, he looks a bit Snug.

JetBlue is one of my favorite airlines. I’ve flown them for years without incident. A big man, I chose Jet Blue (and most airlines flying the Airbus) because of its superior seating space.

In the USA article Mr Hayes says he was tasked with delivering value to passengers and the carrier’s shareholders at the same time.

Which in passenger speak,  means higher prices and tighter cabins . Passengers now pay for baggage on Jet Blue.  Leaving Southwest as the lone carrier without bag fees for now. Profitability mean the single cabin Jet Blue will have tired cabins on their coast to cost flights like the monster carriers.   With a deluxe and business and economy seating.

Beginning sometime in 2016  we will lose that precious space on the A320 as the carrier plans to squeeze in 15 additional seats.  I’m sure if were  feeling  nostalgic about the former space, we can buy it back.  This practice is common on the big three ( American, Delta, and United)

From the picture, I am convinced Hayes and other airline executives are not passengers on their airlines.

On most airlines anyone over 5.9 and 180 pounds is obese. Southwest Airlines is one of the better airlines however if your are large, you may have to purchase an extra ticket.  From my experience their person of size policy is the most aggressive.

Alternatives and the absence of competition

Before airline deregulation in the late seventies.  The average American took the Bus or the train.  Deregulation brought the cost of the ticket down.   Deregulation took its toll on interstate bus travel leaving Greyhound as the only intercity buses system and today it serves fewer cities.   Passenger rail collapsed  leaving the government run Amtrak.

At one time there were more than 25 airlines, today there are more planes in the air, but fewer airlines.  In the last few years, the giant carrier United merged with giant Continental.   Giant carrier US Airways is now apart of giant American.

With fewer airlines to choose from more than anytime in the last 50 years , the price of travel in the US has increased and the service has deteriorated.    More people are packed on smaller planes with smaller seats and with fewer services.

With high speed rail, decades away, what are the alternatives ?

One airline to watch is the Las Vegas based Allegiance Airlines.  Their fares are often much lower than Frontier, Jet Blue and Southwest.   The carrier buys and refurbish  older planes, notably  the  MD-80 have room to spare at the fraction of the cost of new aircraft. Many of their routes are in third tier airports which have lower fees.  In Northern California, they fly out of Stockton, Fresno and Oakland.    With fares as low as $100 to Hawaii.     I have found the staff is attentive and the airline clean.

This this isn’t an airline for the business traveler.   There are often one to five flights a week to a dedestination.  If a flight is cancelled, you may have to wait a few days up to a week for the next flight.    You cant plan too far ahead  with Allegiance, the carrier has a reputation of cancelling unprofitable routes.

Megabus and the Bolt Bus (Operated by Greyhound)  offers real a alternative to air travel.   A Bus?  Yes.  These buses are equipped with free WiFi and they have power outlets to charge your phone and PC.

Unlike Greyhound, their are no brick and mortar stations.  Only a designated bus stops.  Tickets are pre purchased online and a boarding pass is required for travel.     The buses are generally non stop and is very popular with college students.

Pricing is much like the airlines.  You save $$$$ by purchasing tickets in advance.  It is possible to travel for as one dollar.   Megabus has grown by word of mouth.  All my experiences in the south, here in California and last year on the east coast (The Picture Below is their mammoth bus stop in New York City)  has been positive . The Buses are clean and on time.

NycMega2014 059

The Los Angeles-San Francisco corridor is one of the busiest in the world.  Its an hour flight. When you include wait time its about  3hours and 15 minutes* each way.   Average cost  of an advance ticket is $111 each way.

Travel time on Megabus : Seven hours and 30 minutes. Average Cost $40 each way.  The seats are wider, more legroom and no baggage cost.

A long time ago, there was only one real phone company in America AT&T

 The giant airlines really don’t care about customer service scores.  They are not concerned about the high scores of smaller Carriers  like Virgin ,Alaska and Jet Blue.   A few years ago, the airlines said they needed to charge to baggage to off set high fuel costs.   With fuel cost at their lowest in years, have the airlines reduced costs or eliminated baggage fees?

NO they don’t have to!



Sacramento International Airport and the Great Wall of Denver

slide 1

By CityFella.

Sorry Mayor Kevin Johnson, the most significant building in the Sacramento region is Terminal B at the Sacramento International Airport.   It is the first impression for millions visiting Sacramento for the first time. It a breath taking building filled with award winning art.

A few days ago ,USA Today named Sacramento as having the 1oth best airport art in the country

The Top 10

1. Denver International Airport  2. Albuquerque International Sunport 3. Philadelphia International Airport 4. Pittsburgh International 5. San Francisco International 6. Mineta San Jose International 7.Albany International Airport 8. Austin-Bergstrom International 9. Chicago O’Hare International 10.Sacramento International Airport.

Sacramento International Airport is ranked 4th in North America for customer service by Airports Council International (ASI), the international trade association for commercial airports. The awards were determined by the cumulative results of Airport Service Quality (ASQ) surveys collected in 2014. ASQ Awards recognize the best airports based on passenger surveys, and are the only global survey measuring passengers’ satisfaction while still at the gate.

With over 8 million passengers annually. A replacement was well overdue and the new terminal is likely to meet the needs of the metro area for years to come.   The original terminal goes back to the late 60’s when the metro population was 600,000.

The new terminal cost a little over a Billion (with a large “B”)  to build.   The downside to the large “B” is higher fees.  Northern California’s low cost airport is now one of the more expensive.

I often travel to Chicago and to cities on the Atlantic Coast.  Because of the limited availability I traveled out of the Bay Area Airports.  Then a few years ago Jet Blue began offering non stop to New York’s Kennedy Airport.  I was overjoyed, I could fly from Sacramento avoiding the nearly two hour drive to Oakland followed by the hunt for  low cost off airport parking.

Yes there are other options from Sacramento. I once took Southwest to New York . Greyhound was faster,five legs. The good news was I didn’t have to change planes. The bad news,  I didn’t have to change planes.  If your traveling east from Sacramento, there aren’t many direct flights beyond the great wall of Denver and your likely to be funneled through Phoenix, Dallas or Denver.

When Frontier left Sacramento, it left me with fewer options. In the last few years most of my east coast travel was via Oakland and San Francisco.  Oakland is now the discount airport with Allegiant, Spirit, and Norwegian Air.

There is good news.  In addition to New York  you can now travel non stop from Sacramento to Charlotte,DC, Philadelphia*, Hawaii and  Boston from Sac International.   The bad news is few Sacramentians are aware of it.    Its the secret the airport and airlines are keeping to themselves.

Once again, I was happy when Jet Blue announced non stop service between Boston and Sac.   Last October, it was four legs and a long day on US Air.   I shared this information to friends on Facebook and other social media.  The response was disbelief.   Most if not all were unaware of Jet Blue’s flights to New York.  Nearly all the people I spoke to drove to the Bay if  they were flying east.

At a recent large meeting in Placer County few were aware of the non stops out of Sacramento.   Now this was not a scientific survey, but it occurred to me,  I have never seen any print or advertising from Sacramento International or from any of the airlines advertising non-stop service.

For years, you would see billboards on the east side of the Bay Bridge advertising the non stop destinations from Oakland.   The current ad,  “Easy as SMF” maybe missing the mark.  The airport would like to attract travelers more travelers  from the East Bay and Stockton.  However, in addition to the new terminal, perhaps a new approach is needed.  “Easy as SMF with non stops to……….”

Meanwhile in Oakland, the airport is currently offering five days of free parking on flights to Hawaii and Europe (until 4/14/15)  There are many new International destinations from the airport.  I’m planning a flight to Stockholm in a few months on Norwegian.

As Sacramento was courting Virgin America with yet another flight to Los Angeles.   Reno (a much smaller airport) will offer non-stops to London this winter.

Terminal B is a masterpiece, it elevates the entire region.  It was a billion dollars well spent. In less than two years, a much needed Hotel will open between Terminal A and B.  Parking begins at $10 per day and in the near future, light rail will bring passengers to the airport.




JetBlue will charge baggage fees…….

A crew member loads baggage onto a JetBlue Airways plane at Long Beach Airport in California

And soon there will be one ….

Jet Blue currently charges for a second suitcase but allows travelers to check one for free. The change, which would probably come sometime in 2015, would leave Southwest Airlines (LUV) as the only big carrier that doesn’t charge a fee for checking a bag.

(To read the entire article click link)


Is you bag larger than this?


Not Sure?

Flying this weekend? You may want rethink your carry on……(9X14X22)


By CityFella

(Que Harp Music)

Oh my,look at those smiling faces. There was a time in American Air Travel when travelers could freely pack their Samsonite’s to the max. With the exception of a Briefcase or Make up bag, no one brought their bags on board the plane. They could arrive and hour before their flight, check their bags at the ticket counter and sit on seats wide and comfy enough for Aunt Katie.  In the air, they had snacks and meals that rivaled the best blue plate special at  Woolworth’s. Is that meatloaf and potato’s? yum !


(Que Suspense Music)

A few years ago, the airlines began charging for baggage.  They said they needed the surcharges to offset rising fuel costs.   As a result many people brought their baggage on board with them.

What is a sizer?

The airlines have always had carry on restrictions, but rarely enforced them. However that is changing.  Last  March United Airlines revised its carry on policy. Its previous policy was that no dimension could be over 22 inches and the total overall dimensions no more than 45 inches.  Today to qualify for a carry on, the maximum dimensions of your bag is 9X14X22. American and Delta has updated their carry-on bag policies, including a 14-inch maximum width, So these very specific measurements really change the game, and will be causing a lot of anger and even more headaches at airports nationwide.

It’s interesting that not all airlines have the same size limits. Southwest and JetBlue have a more generous 24 by 16 by 10-inch carry-on limit. for now.


American Airlines,Delta Airlines, and United(Continental) controls over 50% of domestic Market.

Rethink those Shoes

Forgot to includes those shoes and your able to zip the bag.  If those shoe protrude, and does not easily fit in the bag sizer, you’ll have to pay for baggage.

If your travelling on American,Delta, Spirit and United allow extra time. The enforcement of the new rules will delay many passengers.  Some will miss their flights entirely.

Remember those happy people, this is the New World Order in airline travel.

Look for smiles…….

This Scrumptious Meal will Cost you $7.00 to $12.00



Daddy, what’s a Woolworth’s? 

(Using a deep authoritative voice) Well son Woolworth’s was one of the first discount stores, back in the olden days we called them five and dime stores.   They were in nearly every city in the country… The bigger stores had lunch counters where you could order breakfast lunch and dinner.  The world changed and Woolworth closed.  The name lives on in Australia, New Zealand and other countries.     Dad ,why they call them lunch counters if they served breakfast and dinner?  Son, that’s a good……. Is that the new Iphone 6? 

Ok what is the blue plate special? 

Son,I will have the check Wikipedia for this one.

Blue-plate special or blue plate special is a term used in the United States by restaurants, particularly (but not only)diners and cafes. It refers to a specially low-priced meal, usually changing daily. It typically consists of a “meat and three” (three vegetables), presented on a single plate, often a divided plate rather than on separate dishes. The term was very common from the 1920s through the 1950s. As of 2007, there are still a few restaurants and diners that offer blue-plate specials under that name, sometimes on blue plates, but it is a vanishing tradition