Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Robert Crandall and American Airlines

The title of this post was going to be "Rot in Hell, Robert Crandall" but since Mr. Crandall is still alive that seems to be severe. Who is Robert Crandall? The retired CEO of American Airlines. Mr. Crandall had an illustrious career and won several awards from business groups.

What is my problem with Mr. Crandall? He was the "industry leader" who decided that comfort on airplanes was overrated. Pack them in like POWs in tiger cages. Reduce the pitch. Take the padding out of the seats. Reduce the amount of recline. Pack more seats in each plane. (Charge extra for everything came later by people who wanted to be seen as innovative as Mr. Crandall.)

Yesterday I returned from Chicago and a visit to my sons. After a hour delay (caused by the Boston snowstorm, as was my two hour delay when departing Jacksonville) I got on the plane. Now I could have spent $90 for a first class seat. Or $35 for a "better" seat." Or $15 for priority boarding. Or $9 for food. But I passed on all of that.

When I sat down I could not move. My knees touched the seat in front. The width of the seat (never really a concern for me) was so narrow I could not shift sideways. The "head rest" - designed for people 9 inches shorter than me - jabbed into my shoulder blades. And that is how I spent the next 2 1/2 hours - unable to move. At least I didn't have a fat person next to me. Small blessings.

American/US Airways was pleased to announce (on my drink napkin) that they were adding a new plane every day. I am assured that the in flight experience will get worse. Joy of joys.

Fair winds and following seas :)

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