RE: The Unfriendly Skies

Before moving to Dallas, I rarely flew on a major carrier. Southwest was much cheaper to fly home from Utah, as was JetBlue when I lived in New York. Now that I cannot fly on either (due to the Wright Amendment, I guess) I am forced to choose between United, American or someone else who will either lose my luggage or break my kid's stroller.

On a recent trip to Salt Lake, for example, we had just sat down for departure when a flight attendant politely told us that she had tried to force our stroller into some kind of luggage bin and busted off a wheel. "I'm sorry," she said with a smile and a shrug. We figured there would be some kind of compensation when we landed. Instead, when we finally got our stroller back (our luggage somehow got lost) the other front wheel was missing. We complained to a guy in customer service, who pointed to a sign that said they were not responsible for broken luggage and handed us a roll of duct tape.

So I wasn't at all surprised when my brother and his wife flew into town Friday without their luggage. When it was finally located Saturday night, a United rep told my sister-in-law that they could not deliver it until the next morning because of some rule prohibiting deliveries to residential addresses after 10 p.m. My sister-in-law made all sorts of threats--her dad was a lawyer, she would never fly on United again--but it didn't do any good. The United rep hung up on her.

I understand that luggage gets lost and broken. What really bugged me in both cases isn't so much that they did it, but that they didn't even seem to care that they did it. In both cases, the people we dealt with weren't even nice. Their attitude seemed to be: "When flying to or from Dallas we know you have no choice in who you fly with, so tough luck."

I don't know all the reasons airlines are losing money, but I know that if given the choice I would fly Southwest any day over American or United. No wonder the powers that be don't want to see the Wright Amendment changed Wright Amendment Facts. --Jesse Hyde

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams