Cranky on the Web: Virgin America and Alaska, Airline Complaints, More

Cranky on the Web, United

Cranky on the Web
5 years later, Continental-United merger still stirs strong feelingsHouston Chronicle
This piece is a look back on how United and Continental have done in their merger, with a Houston focus of course. I spoke with the author a lot about the operational aspects of the merger, and she quoted me here.

Alaska Air buys Virgin America, and may keep a hint of its blingAlaska Public Radio
I talked to a lot of different outlets about the Alaska and Virgin America merger, but this was the toughest. Why? Because I had lost my voice that day, and this one was recorded. It doesn’t sound nearly as bad as I thought, but it definitely tested my voice. You can listen to the 3 minute long segment at the link.

Virgin fans may fret, but Alaska Airlines deal will benefit many on West CoastSeattle Times
This was a broad look at the merger, and it’s a good read. I talked about everything from the impact of the merger in Southern California to whether Richard Branson is really crying about this.

Airline complaints rise even as more planes arrive on timeAssociated Press
It’s that time of the year where the Airline Quality Ratings come out, and the AP decided to write it up. I am not a fan, and was happy to chime in.

Fliers beware: New airfare rule could lead to costly mistakeAssociated Press
I spent a lot of time with the Associated Press this week. This article was about the Cranky Jackass award-earning pricing changes that I wrote about last week.

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11 comments on “Cranky on the Web: Virgin America and Alaska, Airline Complaints, More

    1. When I invented this internet thing a ma-jing, I was afraid that both people would commercialize it the way I have global warming and not be smart enough to figure out back doors through the Houston Chronicle’s unbreakable encryption.

  1. If complaints are up and the typical suspects are down, e.g., on-time, bags, et al, what are they complaining about? There was no insight into the categorization/percentages of complaints offered.

  2. If you google the headline, the first link will take you directly to the story.

    Works on most stories behind paywalls.

  3. Tried to read about the United-Continental merger, but the web page would not let me. *UNLESS* I paid $52 a year for a subscription to a newspaper in which I have NO interest. Thanks anyway-Joel

  4. From the Houston Chronicle article:

    Chris Langdon logged 728,608 miles with Continental and, after its 2010 merger, United Airlines before growing so disenchanted a year ago that he began flying Southwest. The final straw was a dispute over a $50 fee.

    “It was obvious that after a while the United policies and procedures were taking over,” the Richmond resident said.


    That’s funny – do Langdon and the journalist writing the article not realize that the post-merger United was mostly led by pre-merger United executives?

    A lot of pre-merger United flyers feel essentially that the merger destroyed what was good about United. I hope Langdon found a better carrier with fewer fees. But it seems he picked one that has management that once thought that charging for drinks in domestic coach was a good idea.

  5. The article on one-way flights explains why my HNL-LAX-SAN-PHX-SAT AA flight is no longer on Google flights. I didn’t realize that was the reason why. All of a sudden in mid-March, the same time this took effect, the flight disappeared, and all of the flights now are double the price of what was available before then. Of course, I hadn’t booked it since the prices weren’t fluctuating and now I’m stuck.

  6. I only had the priviledge of flying Continental once because they didn’t offer flights from Europe to Chicago. The one time I flew with Continental, I flew to New York and it was a very pleasant flight. I’ve flown United many times, and any service the flight attendants give is given grudgingly. I hate United. I’m used to flying with Lufthansa and they are prepared. Their staff is courteous and German efficient. They know the drill for US customs. They used to pass out pens for people to fill out customs declarations forms. I got so used to it, that the next time I flew with United (it was a code share, not on purpose) that when they didn’t pass out pens I made the fatal mistake of asking the flight attendant if they were going to pass out pens or if I could borrow one. Well you would have thought from the reaction that I just dropped the F bomb in church. She says “we don’t provide pens, get one from a passenger”. So I said, my mistake, your code share partner always provides pens, because they’re organized. The guy sitting next to me was a US Army private returning from a tour in Afghanistan. He also was penless. He turned to me and says, “god what a bi#$%”. United only recently offering 1 alcoholic beverage gratis on international flights, but again, grudging service. United sucks.

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