This Bloomberg piece asks if United Airlines can improve. Quote: "In October, United failed to provide a wheelchair to a passenger with cerebral palsy; he had to crawl off the plane." I've had scant experience with United, but what I had was dreary. (Personal least-favorite airline is a tie, with Frontier sharing honors.) You may agree:
Every airline has its horror stories, of course—air travel is full of opportunities for customer disenchantment. But United has proved an industry leader: On all major performance metrics—delays, cancellations, mishandled bags, and bumped passengers—United has, since 2012, been reliably the worst or near worst among its competitors. In 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, United was responsible for 43 percent of all consumer complaints filed against U.S. airlines.
Criminey. The chart of habitually late flights singles out their MSP - SFO leg, which was late by an average of 64 minutes last year. As it happens, I took that very jaunt this week on SunCountry, off to San Francisco and back again, and in both instances we were on time. (I'd say we were early, but you never know if there's a smidgen of extra time built into the projected arrival time.) I didn't have to go through Denver. I didn't have to swing to Atlanta and change from Terminal A to Terminal Z in 12 minutes. I like these guys. In a perfect world they'd change their name to North Central and bring back the Herman the Duck, but that's just old chauvinistic nostalgia.
But that's not why I brought up the subject. It's this: someone brought pizza on the plane. Two fresh hot pizzas from the restaurant in the concourse. When he walked through First Class, everyone in their big wide seats and free drinks and hot towels looked up, suddenly aware that there was something better than First Class, and that was Pizza. Everyone in Coach looked up as well, and thought: you fiend, to tempt us so. You genius, to bring such things on a plane; I never thought of that. What I can't figure out is how he secured them during takeoff. It's possible he checked the flight's webpage and saw the middle seat was empty, and secured them with a seatbelt.
Probably not: he was accompanied by wife and small daughter, who was having the time of her life, chattering with happiness about the trip, asking a dozen questions about the plane. You know the age: talkative, confident, happy to have a backpack with a Disney character, dressed in bright spangly colors. She stepped with care over the crack between the jetway and the plane: oooh, I might fall! You remember your own daughter at that age, and you want to tap the dad on the shoulder, and say "you know, pal, this is as good as it gets, in a way. It'll be just as good later, but it'll be different,. You're a lucky man right now, and I hope you realize it."
Of course, you don't. Pity. Who knows? He might have givn you a slice.
Another travel note: UBER might be able to use the airport soon, and I can't wait. The cab I took back from the airport was creaky and aromatic, and the driver did not know where to go. It cost more than twice what an UBER ride to the Airport cost, factoring out the mandatory fee for taking cab. (The mandatory fee is there because . . . because it is.) More often than not, that's the case.
Your experience may vary, but if you're going to SFO and considering that United flight? UBER, SunCountry, and pizza. It's a good start.