Ten years ago tomorrow, I published my very first post, Welcome from the Cranky Flier. Since then, I’ve published just shy of 3,000 posts, and you’ve left more than 62,000 comments. There have been millions of page views and emails sent. It seems like something worthy of a blog post, doesn’t it? Though I wanted to write about this, I have a lot of content waiting to be published so I hated the idea of taking up valuable space tomorrow. Instead, I decided to do a special Sunday post to celebrate.
When I started in 2006, the airline industry sure looked a lot different. AirTran, Aloha, America West (sort of), ATA, Continental, Northwest, and US Airways were all still flying. Delta was getting ready to build a hub in LA. United had just exited bankruptcy and was thinking about China growth. And American continued to struggle along, trying to avoid bankruptcy unlike the others. (We all know how that went.) Spirit was reinventing itself into an ultra low cost carrier, and we didn’t quite know how successful it would be. The oil spike and housing crash had yet to happen, but airlines were jittery.
While so much has changed, some things have stayed the same. Less than one month into the blog’s existence, I first named Alitalia the worst airline ever. And just a couple days later, United picked up the inaugural Cranky Jackass award for cutting back benefits. Those stories could have been written at almost any point in the last decade.
From my desk chair (or sometimes couch… ok, on rare occasion, bed), I’ve had a view of history being made. In 2006, the Wright Amendment began to die. The next year, the US and European Union signed an open skies deal. The year after, Delta and Northwest merged. That snowballed into a whole host of other mergers, as we all know. Writing about all of these things has been a real privilege. (Also, it has made me want to bang my head against the wall.)
In the process, we’ve seen many airlines disappear, and not just those mentioned above. In my first annual “Airlines We Lost” post in 2006, I memorialized Independence Air, Song, and yes, Hooters Air, among others. The body count piled up each year as more and more airlines went away. Sometimes I dedicated full posts to them. In particular, the day America West officially disappeared was a sad one, since that’s really where I got my start. Doing pricing work at America West was still the best airline job I’ve ever had or could even imagine.
As the blog grew and gained traction, I was able to do some pretty ridiculous things. My first Across the Aisle interview with MAXjet was just the beginning of a series that has allowed me to speak with airline leaders from all over the world. Most of the time they actually wanted to speak with me.
Of course, my “72 Hours With” series, though infrequent, has been one of the greatest highlights. The trip with Korean Air visiting everything from maintenance bases to farms (yes, farms) was one of the most memorable things I’ve ever done. Spending time with United and Hawaiian was also excellent, though utterly exhausting. And speaking of United, the day of flight attendant training in Houston was another one for the highlight reel.
This has been about more than professional experiences, however. You guys were there for my wedding, my honeymoon, the launch of Cranky Concierge, the birth of my son, and the birth of my daughter. Sometimes I forget that I write about these things, and I don’t do it often, but you’ve had a front row seat for the big events in life.
Back to the blog content, it has been a lot of fun for me to peruse what I’ve written over the last ten years. I’ve actually put some lists together which I thought would be fun to share. So, what I’m going to do is over the next five Wednesdays, I’m going to post these lists. I’m sure you’ll have your own thoughts to share in the comments each time. Here’s the line-up.
- August 17 – The Ten Cranky Posts With the Most Comments
- August 24 – Cranky’s 5 Funniest Posts
- August 31 – Cranky’s 7 Best (or, Um, Worst) Photoshop Efforts
- September 7 – Cranky’s 6 Favorite Fights
- September 14 – 7 Cranky Posts That Were Wrong
Thanks for reading and for commenting over these last 10 years. I have no plans to stop now, so hopefully you’ll keep reading and chiming in as you always have.