Cranky in the News

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An American Airlines passenger says she was ‘assaulted’ by a gate agent. Now, she wants an apology
May 3, 2019 – Dom DiFurio

People generally tend to be anxious about air travel, setting up a scenario that can sometimes turn volatile when problems arise, said industry blogger and travel consultant Brett Snyder, who runs the CrankyFlier blog.

“One little thing goes wrong and it just sets them off and it just creates these really ugly situations that don’t have to escalate as far as they do,” he said. “It’s usually on both sides that something happens that pushes it to that next level. Then somebody goes over the line.”

The 737 Max is out until August, so how will Southwest Airlines handle it?
April 12, 2019 – Mitchell Schnurman

American picked up corporate customers during that time, especially in Chicago, said Brett Snyder, who writes the aviation blog Cranky Flier. But most cities don’t have a similar level of competition.

“In most places, Southwest is still the most convenient option,” he said.

And Southwest still has a great reputation. Last year, Southwest had the fewest complaints to federal regulators among the large airlines — and far fewer than the average for all carriers.

That doesn’t mean travelers have fewer problems on Southwest; but it probably means that Southwest does a better job of resolving them, Snyder said.

“The difference with Southwest is it usually takes care of those complaints itself,” Snyder said. “They just make their customers happy.”

If you’re going to miss your flight, call the airline. Immediately. And be nice
March 11, 2019 – Catharine Hamm

“If someone simply opts not to take a flight in the itinerary and it’s not due to an airline-related issue, then they are generally out of luck,” Brett Snyder, formerly an airline employee and now president of, which deals with airline questions, and, which offers air travel assistance, said in an email.

Even if it’s not your fault (you miss a connecting flight because your first flight was late), you should call. “If the traveler misses a flight due to an airline-related issue, then it is always best to talk to someone at the airline to make sure that the return isn’t canceled,” Snyder said.

“The systems are automated so that if that flight is missed, the rest of the itinerary cancels. Usually in a situation where the airline knows it’s a missed connection, there are other automated systems that will rebook the passenger on the next flight.”

Call. Don’t leave it to chance. I asked Snyder if my return ticket would have been OK because it wasn’t my fault. “If someone decides to drive the last leg, then that would still cause problems down the line,” he said.

Why American Airlines’ DFW fortress hub isn’t so scary anymore
February 24, 2019 – Mitchell Schnurman

“DFW isn’t really a fortress hub anymore,” said Brett Snyder, who writes the aviation blog Cranky Flier. “Some people will always complain, but with the breadth of options and the affordability, most [travelers] are in a good place these days.”

Southwest Airlines Cancels More Flights Because Of Unspecified Mechanical Issues
February 20, 2019 – David Schaper

SCHAPER: Brett Snyder writes about the airline industry on his Cranky Flier blog.

SNYDER: From their perspective, this is something they think is necessary to make sure that the fleet is fixed and flying, but it certainly would be taken by the union as a shot across the bow. It’s going to ratchet up tension, I would think.

SNYDER: That’s just labor negotiations (laughter). This is almost a standard pattern. You know, one side will claim safety issues, then the other side will push back. It’s part of the tug of war.

50 Years On, Boeing’s 747 Is Fighting for Survival
February 11, 2019 – Sam Blum

Brett Snyder, another industry analyst, echoes what Boeing executives have admitted in recent years: “There isn’t a long-term future for the 747 as a passenger carrier,” he says. “But for the airplane to have served for 50 years as successfully as it has is quite the testament to an incredible design.”

A Hacker Exposed the Ancient Flaw That Makes Airlines So Hackable
January 17, 2019 – Sam Blum

Another airline industry analyst, Brett Snyder points out that airlines rely on a multitude of services to manage their business, many of which are separate from GDS. Writing to PM in an email, he explains that IT is stronger than it used to be:

“Overall, the airlines have started to put a bunch of money into IT and that’s going to pay dividends, but there have been years of under-investment due to chronic financial problems. So there’s a lot of catching up that needs to be done overall, but this doesn’t seem like as big of a security issue as it’s made out to be in my mind. Without knowing the full story, however, that’s just speculation.”

Why issues that delayed flights at BWI are an industry-wide problem
January 15, 2019 – Pete Muntean

Airline seat selection fees: It’s pay to play
January 5, 2019 – Matt Villano

Brett Snyder, a former airline employee who now writes the Cranky Flier blog, described the phenomenon as “effectively a money grab” on the part of the carriers.

Skyrocketing seat selection fees enrage flyers, enrich airlines
December 18, 2018 – Dawn Gilbertson

Brett Snyder, a former airline employee who writes the Cranky Flier blog and runs a travel service called Cranky Concierge, calls that a “completely ridiculous comparison.”

“It’s not like you need a view of the pilot here,” he said.

Snyder calls preferred seat fees a form of bait and switch. Airlines like Delta, United and American created no frills Basic Economy fares for budget sensitive travelers in the past few years, with restrictions including no free advance seat assignments. During booking, they try to get travelers to pay more for a regular economy by touting the perks you get over a basic economy ticket.

Except one of the biggest perks, a seat assignment, now carries a caveat: Fees may apply.

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