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WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)

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WWW Pull On Superman's Cape
Superman's product of the century (so far):

December 23, 2005
Christmas routes...
Filed in: Current Affairs

December 20th, 2005, America West Airlines counter, Seattle, somewhere in the 'A' gates...

"The plane has a slight maintenance problem" she said at boarding time.

I've heard this kind of thing before. 'Maintenance problem' is what they say whenever they need a cover for what is really happening.

"We'll get back to you in 15 minutes."

45 minutes later...

"We're still having that maintenance problem. We're not sure when the plane is going to leave. If I call your final destination city out, please come to the podium and we'll work on rerouting..."

"Oklahoma City."

"Dallas." (The pilot comes out of the jetway and leaves.)

They never say 'Atlanta'...

An hour and a half later...

Uniformed worker walks out of jetway and tells representative that we can board.

"Everyone please board. We'll be boarding by zone... Zone 1 please board...."

Despite pilot efforts to add a little speed to that original '57 off the line, we arrive in Phoenix a few minutes after the Atlanta connection takes off.

There is a staff person who directs those of us who have missed our connections to a customer service desk. There is one csr behind the desk. There are about 35 people in line.

I called customer service on the phone.

Phone csr: Give me your info...

Me: OK, here you go.

Phone csr: I just want you to know that we have you protected. We've got you booked on a Continetnal flight that will get you to Atlanta by Chirstmas Eve.

Me: Gosh, thanks. That won't work for me.

Phone csr: Sir, you've got to understand - this time of year -- everything is booked.

Me: I understand, but that won't work for me. It's the 20th of December - I'm supposed to be in Atlanta tonight.

Phone csr: Sir, it's the best...

Me: No, the best you can do is get me on another flight tonight. So lets get to working on that. And here's another thing. There are about 35 of us in line here and the first customer has taken 30 minutes. Please call someone at corporate and get some more resources assigned to this desk - or have someone direct us to other resources - we don't know where else we could go.

Phone csr: Sir, I can help you with working on other flights, but I can't affect the resources that are assigned to the desk at the airport.

Me: Look. I can understand mechanical problems. I can understand in a set of complicated schedules that some folks miss their flights. But I can't understand this poor assignment of resources when time is of the essence to all of these customers.

Phone csr: Sir, I can help you with re-arranging your schedule, won't that work?

Me: Sure, you'll do that, but, it looks like I'm going to spend the night in Phoenix right? So, I'll have to get a hotel voucher right? Meal voucher right? Can you produce those for me?

Phone csr: No, you'll have to go to the desk for that.

Me: I know. So call whoever you report to and have more resources assigned to this desk.

Phone csr: Perhaps we don't have the resources available.

Me: I can see three people on your staff loitering around gates just around this section of the terminal. They look like good possibilities to me.

Phone csr: I'll see what I can do. Now, I have another Continental flight I can try...

A few minutes later, one of those loitering folks came over to join our party. In 20 minutes or so, I made it up to the counter. By then had gotten rebooked on a Delta flight in the morning, tickets pushed over to Delta, and I only needed to collect vouchers.

Moral of the story? If you take a one or more hopper these days, you are increasingly at the mercy of airlines that think their carriage contract really doesn't mean timely carriage. Also, no bleating - if a company doesn't really offer acceptable customer service - it is still obtainable - if you repeatedly ask for it and accept nothing less. Being consistently firm and rational helps.

As it was - 14 hours difference in schedule, a good meal on Mill Avenue, a nice suite, and a limo at my disposal - made it all palatable.

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People Pulling

Yikes, I'd have been swearing up a storm.

Hope you have a great Christmas!


Posted by: jlb at Dec 24, 2005 9:37:08 AM

Merry Christmas to you and yours Mac!

Posted by: gail at Dec 24, 2005 2:52:21 PM

That is one of the reasons that if I travel overseas or have to do a connecting flight, I send my luggage 3 days ahead of time via USPS. It might be a slight bit more, but trust me, at least my stuff will get there alright.

Posted by: Sailor Republica at Dec 25, 2005 2:32:35 AM

I absolutely refuse to do anything other than a direct flight unless absolutely necessary. I've learned the hard way that making a connection is a recipe for trouble.

Posted by: Nathan Azinger at Dec 30, 2005 11:32:46 AM


Well for crying out loud, drop me an email and let me know where I can meet you to buy you a beer.


Posted by: Ana at Dec 30, 2005 4:48:38 PM

Hey these stories are pretty cool, MC! Happy New Year, dude.
Just a shout out from one of the clowns at Digital Brown Pajamas!
Oh, and what's this "JEFF'S a nice guy"? What am I? The proverbial chopped liver? Sheesh!

EMCEE: Oops! I probably forgot to put you in the listing because there's been that promise of a cigar out there for some time that I just think may never materialize. Hmmm?

Posted by: Stephen D Oliver at Jan 9, 2006 6:06:42 PM

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