Andrew Pollack's Blog

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Parting ways with my old airline

By Andrew Pollack on 03/16/2004 at 09:32 PM EDT

Breakups are hard. You've been together for years. You know the schedules, the trade-offs, the rules -- you've learned to make things go smoothly even problems arise. The time comes when you have to realize that things just aren't working. You have to make a change.

Ok, too far with that metaphor.

I've been flying almost exclusively on Delta now since 1994. In ten years I've flown several hundred thousand miles. So when have I had trouble? Every single time I try to use a free ticket. This weekend was the last straw. Delta's "what have you done for me lately" attitude, capped on what appears to this frequent flyer like a desperate cutting of costs by a complete lack of direction when it comes to moving the airline in a direction to compete long term against the smaller, faster, competitors.

Changes I've noticed include reducing the staff on board the plane to the FAA minimum - resulting in a recent delay when one of the flight attendants became ill and another had to be flown in from Boston. I'm sure that saved them some money. I had to buy dinner on the flight, like it was one of the low-price airlines, but its not. It was an expensive ticket with no-frills service. Flying home I almost didn't get a seat -- they wouldn't assign the last ones in advance in case they had paying customers. Us free fliers be damned.

So American has this great flight to Heathrow from Boston that I've taken a couple of times anyway, and I guess its time to switch.

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