On a recent puddle jump from Los Angeles to Tucson, my experience at LAX was typical.
My airline was Delta by Compass, or something. Our gate was changed three times. The first time was across the room; the second time was a bit of a walk; the third time it was a seventeen minute hike to a neighboring terminal, through a dream-like tunnel lined with fun facts like “did you know that the Dutch are the tallest people in the world, with an average height for men of over six feet and an average height for women of five feet, eight inches.” Well, yes, I did know that, but a couple of the others were new to me.
Our departure time was moved back a few times, from the original time of 3:55 pm to 6:17 pm. We finally took off at about 6:30 pm.
It all seemed a bit disorganized. Delta made this announcement for a couple of their flights:
“We are in an oversold situation for Delta flight number (fill in) to New Orleans. We’re looking for three volunteers to take a later flight. We will pay $500 to anyone who agrees to take the non-stop flight at either 12:45 am or 9:00 am tomorrow.”
At least there was a bar, where I had a couple of drinks and got to know a lovely couple from Tucson. The flight itself was uneventful.
I fly short haul here in Thailand all the time and I must say it is a much more pleasant and predictable experience. I fly out of Bangkok, so all domestic flights are short haul, you can reach anywhere in the country within an hour or so. We almost always take off on time and land early, and I only recall one gate change in ten years.
With airline travel, as with many other things, the self-professed “Greatest Country in the World” should do better.
Maybe I’m being too harsh; maybe it’s a question of volume. But still, none of it is a surprise, and better planning is an option.