Saturday, October 3, 2009

Miscellaneous Ramblings

I'm back home for 35 more hours...

I arrived late yesterday from Williamsburg, Virginia - a total travel time of nearly 12 hrs!

Interesting observation:
I flew on four flights over the last week - all on US Airways, and noticed that none of the flight attendants were under 40 (by my estimates). They also seemed to be hating life (or their jobs) as there were no smiles observed. What a stark contrast to my recent travels in Asia, on a variety of Asian airlines, where none of the FAs were over 35 (again, by my estimates) and they all had permasmiles and really seemed to take pride in what they are doing. No offense GW (I'm sure you are a superstar)!

Another observation:
On one of my flights yesterday, it took the FAs nearly 45 minutes to complete the beverage service in the economy cabin. I think an EVA/ANA/(insert any Asian airline here) crew could serve pre-dinner drinks, meal, and after-dinner drink in the same amount of time.

Does any one actually like US Airways?

I try to avoid US Airways whenever possible, but it's pretty tough as it's the dominant carrier here in Phoenix (along w/ Southwest).

On one of my flights yesterday, I was reading this month's issue of US Airways Magazine. I always find the letter from the CEO segment very entertaining. This month's letter did not disappoint. Here it is (highlights are mine):

The Choice Is Yours

Chairman and CEO Doug Parker

The comforts of home may be hard to find at 35,000 feet, but US Airways is working to give you more inflight offerings to make your travels with us more enjoyable.

Over the past few months, we introduced a variety of popular snacks for sale in addition to our fresh meals and snack boxes, and we began offering several new restaurant-quality cocktails and premium beverages. These choices — more than we’ve ever offered — are all part of a new inflight menu called US Airways MarketPlace.

We’ve selected some well-known brands to offer something different from what you might expect while flying. In addition to our assortment of complimentary soda, juice, coffee, tea, and water, you now have the option to purchase three popular “pick-me-ups”: AriZona Arnold Palmer Lite Half & Half, the classic iced tea-lemonade combo; iced Starbucks® Frappuccino® Coffee Drink; and Red Bull, the number one energy drink in the world.

We’re also pleased to offer you three new, award-winning, all-natural cocktail mixers from Stirrings. You’ll have the choice of a Pomegranate Martini, Mai Tai, or Margarita, all made with real fruit juice, triple-filtered water, and cane sugar.

In addition to enhancing your travel experience with more snack and beverage options, US Airways is helping you make the most of your flying time by turning our aircraft into Wi-Fi “hotspots.”

Beginning early next year we’ll install Gogo® Inflight Internet service from Aircell on our fleet of Airbus A321 aircraft. Customers with laptops, smartphones, and other Wi-Fi enabled devices will be able to purchase full Internet access including Web, instant messaging, email, and VPN access on select domestic flights.

Whether you decide to catch up on work or relax and surf the Internet is up to you, but we know that our new Wi-Fi service will make your travels with us more enjoyable. On behalf of our 33,000 employees, we appreciate that you’re flying with us today. We look forward to serving you in the future.

Doug Parker
Chairman and CEO


I'm pretty certain that Doug Parker did not write this letter. If it a joke?!? How many times does he mention for sale/purchase above? This is the same airline that recently tried to charge for all non-alcoholic beverages and decided to reinstate complimentary beverage service due to the following reason:

"The beverage program was distracting from the outstanding improvements in on-time performance and baggage handling US Airways` 34,000 employees worked so hard to achieve last year," said Parker.

New (for purchase) drink selections and for purchase internet are going to improve customer satisfaction? By the way, the cocktails are $8!!! I walked through the cabin right after beverage service was completed and did not notice any customers w/ a cocktail. Wonder if they'll last...

Other random things:

I canceled our cable and phone land-line. We don't really watch much TV and rarely use the phone. For TV, we'll rely on any free broadcast HD channels that we get.

Why do car rental companies buy the worst cars (i.e. Chevy Aveo, Chrysler PT Cruiser, etc.)?!? It seems like they could save a bunch of maintenance expenses and improve customer satisfaction by using more reliable cars. I'm thinking Toyotas, Hondas, etc here...

That's all for now!

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