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Bloviating Zeppelin: Rampant Stupidity Continues

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Rampant Stupidity Continues

Stay away from airline stocks. Any airline.

I had occasion, last year, to take some continuing education which required I fly twice a month up until October. I primarily flew Southwest Airlines (the subject of A&E's "Airline" show), which is a local carrier in Fornicalia with a solely-dedicated fleet of Boeing 737s. All told last year I took 18 flights on Southwest and had occasion to witness flashes of brilliance and stupendous blunders.

And no matter what anyone says, either despite or because of the TSA, regulations vary widely between carriers and between airports.

But no matter what, the stupidity marches on:

SkyWest sorry for not letting passenger use restroom
Desperate, he used air sickness bag for urinary relief
By Paul Beebe, The Salt Lake Tribune

SkyWest Airlines has apologized to a passenger barred from a plane's restroom by a flight attendant.

James Whipple says that after repeated pleas to empty his beer-filled bladder on a recent flight, he finally found relief - with an air sickness bag.

Now, the Sandy man says SkyWest has issued him an apology for his distress.

"It was like I had no choice. I started to urinate on myself. So, thinking the way I thought, I grabbed one of those vomit bags," Whipple said.

"I didn't think I did anything wrong. I could have relieved myself all over my pants. It was almost like that was what she preferred me to do," he said.

SkyWest's position? A spokeswoman said Whipple wanted to use the bathroom while the fasten-seatbelt light was illuminated. That is against Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

Why was the fasten-seatbelt light on? Turbulence? Flatulence? The captain had switched on the fasten-seatbelt light during the hour-long flight because the bathroom was "unusable" - the light was out.

Okay, so let me get this right: no one could piss on that flight because the light was out.

Hey SkyWest, how about this: fix the fucking light? Or didn't you CHECK? No, that would be WRONG because you KNEW the light was out because the CAPTAIN placed the fasten-seatbelt light on. So, that means you're simply NEGLIGENT and then further: STUPID and OPPRESSIVE for refusing to let a passenger do what, after a few minutes, many HUMAN BEINGS must do: urinate or defecate.

Hey SkyWest, how about this: fix the fucking light! Or would that require three workers representing two separate unions managed by a supervisor?

This, and a myriad of other stupidities by the TSA, the carriers, the airports. One example simply from me?

On my final flight last year, during the heinous "no liquids and no gels aboard planes" heresy, I was held up in San Diego because I had packed my Class A uniform (for the class graduation), which naturally contained my badge pinned on my shirt. I was screened by the X-ray process and then pulled aside for a hand search of the luggage. I explained that my badge was in fact not a shuriken (throwing star) but indeed what it appeared. However, gladdening my heart in terms of their scrupulous security, I discovered I had forgotten NOT to pack a few extra things. Every screener, including the TWO who conducted the HAND SEARCH of my luggage failed to discover not only my large tube of proscribed toothpaste, but my three bottles of shampoo.

Passengers have been held captive in airplanes for literally hours and hours due to mechanical and ramp problems. Passengers were held captive recently for 10 hours in thin aluminum tubes in New York. Did they get to piss and defecate? Did the light work? If not, perhaps they shat on the jump seats to the rear. I wonder. . . ?

Also in New York during that same storm, hundreds of Jet Blue passengers were stranded on the asphalt in those tubes whilst thousands more waited inside the terminal for two days, for planes that never took off. From The Week magazine: "Police were summoned to several departure gates after crowds of waiting passengers grew unruly?"

Huh. Imagine that. No communications. Abusive ramp and short-tempered desk personnel. Everyone scared to make a decision. Scared to speak. Scared to tell the truth: we can't handle it.

It's gotten so incredibly stupid that our brain-dead Congress is actually thinking of butting their heads in, mandating that planes be stocked with sufficient food and water to last for "long delays" and a 3-hour cap on how long airplanes can stay on the runway before returning to terminals.

Some have even suggested a Passengers' Bill of Rights. Yes, clearly there are stupid and obnoxious passengers. Hey, reality check: don't let them on in the first place!

I guess, all told, I was lucky: I wasn't forced into a strip search, I didn't endure a colonoscopy, I didn't have to piss my pants in the seat, I didn't lose any luggage (mostly because I insisted on paring my belongings into one carry-on), I wasn't held captive for hours on a hot, toilet-clogged plane.

Ah, the blessings of living in the most civilized nation on the planet, eh?

And the carriers wonder why people aren't flocking to planes? Stay far away from airline stocks!

More and more people are insisting on driving. And with the price of gas now at or over $3 a gallon (I predict: $4 a gallon by this summer), I guess we'll just kill non-mandatory travel altogether?

But that's another post for another day.



Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

I don't know how this relates, or even if it does, but it came to mind. When I was a Union Pacific Railroad Employee in the late fifties I talked to a carman(in charge of upkeep for passenger cars) who was prohibited from repairing a car air conditioner because the railroad managment had come to the conclusion that, since air passenger service was growing quickly, and RR passenger service didn't generate as much income, the railroad was trying to drive the passengers off the trains (this included intentional lateness of trains etc.) I wonder where you go when the planes have driven the passengers off.

Sat Mar 17, 06:44:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Three Score and Ten or more said...

I left off, ass much income as freight in line ten. I add this to avoid any more doofus credit than necessary.

Sat Mar 17, 06:45:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

3S10: excellent -- where WILL people go when they are completely driven from planes? Answer: to their cars -- precisely where Enviro's DON'T want people to go! Imagine that! But, after all, what's left? Camels? Elephants? Well, that would be objectionable to PETA. What's left? Canoes? That would be objectionable to protectors of rapids. Anything else left?

No. Then I guess it remains to simply stay the fuck at home.

Of course, that's so good for our economy.

And being an historian of railroads I know about UP's predilection to kill passenger service -- it wasn't making MONEY then. Not then and not NOW. Which is why Amtrak is BLEEDING cash and has done so for years.

American's don't walk, they don't do studio apartments and they don't do trains or light rail. They DRIVE. Hey, anyone remember our history or "Manifest Destiny?"


Sat Mar 17, 07:13:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Nightcrawler said...

That was a great rant! I'm not sure what the answer to the problem is (even JetBlue has their problems) but I know the answer isn't more government.

Sat Mar 17, 10:58:00 PM PDT  
Blogger BB-Idaho said...

I haven't flown since 1987 and get around the US by car. (sort of like sportscaster John Maddon, I had arrangements with my employer).
I would definitely use rail passenger service if it was as
ubiquitous as back in the 40s. Then, as a youngster with my family, we went all over, stopping at any little town. I have never figured the economics
that make 50 tons of big city compressed garbage more lucrative to haul than humans for the modern

Sun Mar 18, 08:48:00 AM PDT  
Blogger ABFreedom said...

LOL .... give em hell BZ!

Just a couple of things. Southwest Airlines is one of the very few airlines worldwide that is actually turning a profit. I flew with Skywest from here to Chicago. It was a 4 hour flight, and the plane had 1 washroom for around 80 people. They had removed the front washroom to make room for a first class section. Even the flight attendants were complaining, and were controlling who was next in line based on the expression on their face... LOL.. it was pure hell the whole way through. On my return flight, I made sure I never drank anything that morning, and didn't drink anything on the flight ... The CEO's of these airlines need to fly some of the routes they institute these ridiculous policies on.

Sun Mar 18, 09:24:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Thanks all! And the point about Southwest -- entirely correct. Southwest is one of the few airlines actually producing a profit these days.


Sun Mar 18, 09:28:00 AM PDT  
Blogger A Jacksonian said...

You start to do the math when you think about travel, these days:

Time spent in line at the airport or generally waiting: 1.5 hours

Time spent in flight: x hours

Time spent waiting for luggage, getting it and getting out of the airport: 1 hour (more or less by experience for those who have luggage that isn't all carry-on, which is getting prohibitive since you can't carry all that stuff on any more).

So call it 2.5 + x hours.

Driving 2.5 hours at an average of 55mph = 137.5 miles, but call it 137. You do not take a plane for any distance less than that.

Upper limit is per individual, but if you can get 8 hours of driving in and can stand it, that gets you around 440 miles. On the non-urban part of interstates that actually gets you over 500 miles. When I was younger 10 hours per day of driving was a *good deal* and I could push Buffalo to Denver in two days driving solo.

So depending on stamina and number of stops and drivers and such, plus other factors you start looking at a 500 mile trip and say: Lets drive it. Yes it will take nearly twice as long as the entire trip by air... but you know you will get there, you can stop and take a rest, and you are not restricted to a cramped cabin and seats made for munchkins.

I will be moving cross-country and loathe the idea of traveling by air. Driving is not an option as I am no longer safe for that and my lady has limited duration at the wheel and we have two cats to take care of. We won't be coming back, so that limits choices.

For a Nation with so much freedom, we do have very few choices for long distance travel. Perhaps I can get a private jet rental for it... anything but the airlines.

Sun Mar 18, 12:13:00 PM PDT  
Blogger bigwhitehat said...

The funniest thing is the fella's name.

Mon Mar 19, 07:55:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

AJ: I'm with you completely. I would much rather prefer to drive unless absolutely dragged kicking and screaming a great, great distance (or unless someone else pays!). It's simply so much of a pain in the overall ass.


Tue Mar 20, 08:06:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

BWH: Whipple. Isn't that the guy in the market who squeezes the Charmin?


Tue Mar 20, 08:07:00 AM PDT  

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