Cranky on the Web: Bereavement Fares Gone, Schedule Charters on the Rise, US Airlines Aren’t the Best?

Cranky on the Web, Fares

Cranky on the Web

Bereavement Fares Have Disappeared on Most US AirlinesAssociated Press
For anyone who has tried to use one, you’re undoubtedly not surprised to hear that bereavement fares are all but gone. They generally don’t fit into the fare structure that’s out there today, but as I mentioned to the author, we did have someone do this with Delta recently (the last of the big guys with it), and it saved some money.

Scheduled charters a growing air serviceTravel Weekly
I spoke with Travel Weekly about the rise of these niche operators trying to fill needs in specific areas. These are guys like JetSuiteX, for example.

The 10 Best Airlines in the WorldCredit.com
I was asked why it was that no US-based airline cracked the top 10 in the Skytrax awards. Unfortunately most of my quote didn’t make the article. (Would have been better off just ditching the useless quote from Chris Elliott, but I digress.) Here’s what I said in full about why US airlines didn’t make the list.

There could be several reasons. First, we don’t know the geographic breakdown of where the votes came from. That could influence it one way or the other. Another issue is that for years the US airlines have lagged while they’ve struggled to stay afloat. They’re now on firm financial footing and pouring money into improving the business. Right now you have airlines like Delta putting out a significantly improved experience, but there’s still this lasting stigma that people have against US airlines. I could go on and on. Labor regulations, subsidies, and cultural differences can all contribute as well.

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16 comments on “Cranky on the Web: Bereavement Fares Gone, Schedule Charters on the Rise, US Airlines Aren’t the Best?

  1. Don’t know why you and Chris Elliott seem to have an issue. I enjoy reading both of you and have gotten great info from each. You both serve a great purpose and CE site is a great source of assistance to consumers.
    I have purchased your services and plan to again and again! You guys are great :) Kathleen

  2. I remember Bereavement fares when I worked in RES at HP. Depending on the route/market flown, some regular fares were usually cheaper. Seemed to me at the time that Bereavement fares just took advantage of someones misfortune imho.

  3. The reason US carriers are never ranked in the top ten (besides the occasional Virgin America in the North American category) is plain to see for anyone who flies internationally. The flight attendants are ancient. The aircraft are ancient, too, and do not have the latest features. The food is mediocre to non-existent. The customer service is perfunctory. It is just not a pleasant or enjoyable experience overall when you compare to international carriers like ANA, JAL, Cathay, Singapore, etc.

    1. Most passengers can probably not tell whether they are on a 767 or 787. And why should they.

      Flight attendants are ancient? So what do you (or the passengers you cite) suggest: institute discriminatory policies in the US for selecting flight attendants?

      1. It’s not the age of the FA’s; it’s their attitude. For the most part, staff at US carriers dont seem to enjoy their jobs and it shows. The U.S. Legacy carriers do not even come close to the service and value of most Asian/ME carriers.

        1. Then perhaps Brian should not cite the age but the service attitude.

          For what it’s worth, I have come across good and bad (service-oriented) FAs of all ages.

      1. I’m 50. When a woman comes to serve me who looks like she’s my mother, I feel guilty just asking her for water.

        1. Would you call you mom “ancient”? And what’s wrong with asking a woman who looks like your mother for water?

          1. Yes, I would call my 71-year-old mother ancient, especially when she is responsible for the safety of passengers to deal with. Look, you guys can all bemoan my ageist comments here and justify old crew for whatever reason. I’m simply answered what keeps American airlines out of the top 10 of best airlines categories. Hate away, but look at these airlines that are in the top 10 and tell me the average age of their crew and airplanes and the quality of their amenities. They are in the top 10 for a reason and the US carriers are not for a reason.

    2. You can say what you want about customer service. However, I’m more concerned with safety. The US carriers have the most rigorous safety requirements in the world and require more training of pilots and flights attendants than most other carriers around the world (of course, except for the like…LH, BA, KL, SK, etc). Take Asiana, for example. I hear how good their service is, but it doesn’t matter if there are inexperienced pilots flying the planes (SFO incident).

      And sure, when I was younger, I always wanted the young cute flight attendant. However, now that I’m almost 50, I definitely enjoy the ‘senior’ flight attendants that are close to my age – they know how to take care of me! Of course, I always treat my flight attendants nicely and with respect (it goes a long way).

  4. As far as service issues go, how do you think US carriers tend to staff intl flights as to their foreign counterparts?

    What do you think the pay and benefits are like? How many hours do you think some US carrier crew fly as opposed to their foreign counterparts???

  5. I fly for one of the big 3 and the difference in service between US carriers and foreign carriers is palpable. We can argue all day about US virtues and drawbacks when it comes to age, working conditions, subsidies the foreign carriers enjoy and what not.

    At the end of the day, given the choice, I would not ever fly my carrier much less any other US carrier internationally. Given the choice. The experience is so much more pleasant on the international carriers from beginning to end.

    Take out the politics, the nativism, and everything else…at the end of the day given the choice I’ll fly one of the foreign international airlines over a US airline any day of the week hands down no questions.

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