Friday, April 27, 2012

Travel Advisory: US Airways

So my fifteen hours in Orlando was a success. The gig went off without a hitch, although I couldn't exactly tell you what the conference was. Doesn't matter. I did my job and caught the shuttle to the airport.

I'm flying US Airways, middle seat, row 20. I just had a stopover in Phoenix and now I'm on the final stretch. US Airways is not one I usually fly, and it has some peculiarities. They assign seats, but they also board in "zones." Before they board the zones they first give preference to their gold, silver, platinum, zinc, and magnesium preferred customers, then to their star alliance preferred customers, then to some other preferred customers. As a regular passenger you feel like you’re in steerage aboard the Titanic. Then, finally, they start in with the zones. I was in zone five so I had to wait till the bitter end before I could board. It didn’t matter, I had an assigned seat. The zone scheme guarantees that there will be a pileup in the aisle as the passengers make their way to seats that are randomly scattered all over the plane.

As a guy with some years behind me I appreciate the fact that US Airways hires older flight attendants. It looks like they take the worn out flight attendants from other airlines and put them back to work. Each leg of my journey featured a pink and corpuscular fellow in his late fifties with the broken capillaries in the face from heavy drinking.


Leggy zombie

US Airways has a first class section but it doesn't look like much. The passengers looked unhappy like they’ve been ripped off. Through the thin curtain I watched them being handed hot towels and served unappealing cheese tortellini. In steerage we could buy snacks from a menu in the seat back pocket. I ordered an italian wrap based on the photograph of a nice big cylinder, nine bucks. When I opened the box it was the size of an egg roll.

Seats OK, leg room OK, half hour late taking off from Phoenix. Overall rating C.

1 comment:

  1. OMG I don't do much flying, but I too was recently a Zone 5 passenger on US Airways from Portland to Phoenix. I'm not given much to fits of temper these days, but their seating situation drove me to utter distraction. I stood in front of the line, sure that I would be boarding soon, as they called (as you mentioned) everyone on god's green earth, plus all the animals too, before they finally go to Zone 5! (and let's just say I was having a few words with the lady with the microphone...) By the time I finally got on the plane, I was pissed enough to - as they say - pop open a beer, open the emergency door and slide down the inflatable slide. Instead, because I didn't really want to get kicked off the plane, I began to tear my printed boarding pass into infinitesimally tiny pieces - hundreds of them. My plan was to, in a display of exuberance, release them all over the cabin at takeoff, but instead, because the flight attendants were eyeing me warily, decided just to tuck them inside one of the safety instruction manuals in the seat pocket in front of me, leaving them for another passenger and flight crew to discover.