Airline Recommendations

I’m in a big of a pickle. I have been a loyal American Airlines customer since around 2001 or so. Between flight miles, bonus miles, credit card miles, etc., etc., I’ve banked a metric fuckton of Frequent Flier Miles. Where I live there are only two convenient airports, Stewart/Newburgh (SWF) and Albany (ALB). Six months ago, American pulled out of Newburgh. In September, American is pulling out of Albany.
I simply can’t see driving two hours, dealing with city traffic, etc., etc. to go to a NYC airport that has American Airlines, when there are two airports that are local, very convenient, mostly traffic-jam free, etc., etc.
So now I need to pick out a new “preferred” airline… Here are my options….

  • AirTran (SWF)
  • Delta (SWF, ALB)
  • jetBlue (SWF)
  • Northwest (SWF)
  • US Airways (SWF, ALB)
  • Air Canada (ALB)
  • Cape Air (ALB)
  • Continental (ALB)
  • Southwest (ALB)
  • United (ALB)

So let’s get rid of some of them right off the bat:
Cape Air – goes to like two places. Seen that sitcom Wings? Yeah, it’s like that.
AirTran – Leaving SWF the same day as American, I think.
Air Canada – Only connects through Toronto. I don’t think I want *every* flight I go on to be an international one going through customs.
US Airways – If I fly out of SWF all my flights, and from ALB most of my flights, will fly through their Philadelphia hub, which according to has an absolutely horrendous lost-baggage rate, and a 60% on-time rate. Woot.
Northwest – Has anyone forgotten the way they treated their passengers in the 1999 Blizzard? Did they even apologize? 🙂
jetBlue … oh, jetBlue, how I want to love you. If only you flew to somewhere other than Florida from SWF. Fly me to a major city, and let me partake of your glorious service. Unfortunately, they don’t, and my connecting options through jetBlue are limited to “fly to Florida, and then connect to somewhere else on the east coast, and then fly somewhere west.” It’s just plain silly, and won’t work long-term.
So that shortens the list quite a bit….

  • Delta (SWF, ALB)
  • Continental (ALB)
  • Southwest (ALB)
  • United (ALB)

Southwest is usually cheap (which is sweet) but I really really really hate the cattle-call. It doesn’t usually affect me that much, since (as D can attest) I am always early to my flights, but the fact is that when I connect through somewhere, I can’t be any earlier than my flight drops me off. I’ve got long-ass legs and I want a guaranteed aisle seat so I can stretch them during the flight. So Southwest is really my “last ditch” airline, and certainly not where I want to start banking miles again.
I used to be a rabid United flier, but — in all honesty I have no idea why — I distinctly remember being SO pissed at them about something that I immediately “changed loyalties” to American. My memory is extremely hazy, but I remember that “United fucked me somehow, and American swooped in and saved the day with great customer service,” and I was sold. But I’m not sure if I can hold against them something I can’t remember.
Continental is, by most accounts, awesome to fly on, but you pay for that level of customer service, as I also seem to recall them being one of the more expensive airlines to fly.
Delta… I dunno. I’ve flown Delta recently (when I was flying back from LAX on AA a couple weeks ago, AA cancelled my LAX>ORD>ALB flight for weather (all flights through ORD actually) and AA only connects through ORD, so AA had to throw me on another airline, and hence I got to experience Delta. My Delta experience was ok (heck, they came through for me in a pinch), but my view is a bit jaded by the fact that my connection time was hellishly short (30 minutes), the first leg was late, and I ended up having to haul ass through Charlotte trying to get from my arrival gate to my departure gate.
Anyone got any good long-term experiences with any of these four? Recommendations for or against?

Gordon Ramsay – Man After My Own Heart

I shouldn’t be blogging this from work, but someone forwarded it to me and I have to, before I forget…
I’ve always love Gordon’s shows. He makes for entertaining television, and it’s clear from watching him in various shows (other than Hell’s Kitchen that is) that — to a certain extent at least — there is a bit of a softee behind the loud, abusive, exterior.
One quote I absolutely loved, from a recent interview, which made me realize how much I like him?

TV Guide: What’s your favorite comfort food?
Ramsay: In-N-Out burgers [an L.A. chain] — I absolutely love them.

Oh, HELL YEAH. My boy Gordon likes himself some In-N-Out? I wish the TVGuide reporter had asked him what his favorite Secret Menu item was…..

Virginia Tech

I’ve been thinking a lot about the Virginia Tech thing the last few days. Partly because my brother-in-law is a VT alum, as is my father-in-law. Partly because I also work on a college campus. But I’ve been very reticent to talk about it. Why? Because to a certain extent, I agree with this blog entry about it not being an appropriate moment yet to discuss my real thoughts.
Because oh, do I have thoughts on the topic. But right now is a time to, as Jack Bogdanski says, shut the fuck up about such thoughts.
There will be plenty of time to talk about “where things went wrong” at a macro level, or any of the various blame-game type things. For now, it’s time to let people grieve, to give them the time and support they need to get through the upcoming days. After the worst of that is past, then we can look back and start to try and prevent future occurrences.

Paris Exposed

I’m trying to figure this out.
1.) Paris Hilton abandons her property in a storage unit.
2.) Someone buys that stuff at auction.
3.) They put pictures, captures, MPEG encodings, etc., of their property (they bought it perfectly legitimately through the abandoned-property process) up on the web.
Where, exactly, is the “problem”? Certainly, I can understand that Ms. Hilton may be embarrassed by the content (admitting that you take it up the butt in exchange for some drugs, for instance, may be considered awkward if that gets out, an example I am told is in the collection). However, I’m hard-pressed to figure out what legal standing Paris has over the use of stuff that is no longer her property.
Maybe she can pitch a legitimate fit over the use of her name in the domain name, for example, but what other legal leg does she have to stand on, and why has a court, temporarily at least, sided with her?

The Power Of A Typo

I was reading a CNN story about a guy who ended up in Montana when he wanted to fly to Australia, and while my initial thought was the “hahahaha!” inner-monologue mocking, I remembered that I damned near booked myself airfare and hotels for Portland, Maine during the week of the O’Reilly Open Source Conference being held in Portland, Oregon. (I’d made the hotel reservations, and noticed when American Airlines, unlike the hotel web site, demanded clarification on my input of “Portland”… the hotel had simply fed me the first Portland hotel it could find, which also happened to be a convention center hotel, etc., etc.)
So instead I’ll just say that this serves to underscore the power of a typographical error.

A Note To The Vassar Community

Recently, you received a memo which said, in closing:

If you see open windows in classrooms or dorms on campus when it is cold outside, please close them!

Let me be the first to tell you that if you do that to my window, I will break your fingers, slowly and painfully. OK, maybe I’d settle for just banishing you from my building or something, but work with me here. Pretend like this is an honest to goodness threat here, OK?
Unfortunately, Buildings and Grounds, along with the Sustainability Committee, has drilled it into peoples’ heads that “opening windows in the winter is bad.” And while I might agree that it can be bad, it is not always bad.
For instance, if you have a south-facing room, with large spacious windows, it’s entirely possible that the heat of the sun beating down on your building all day long will heat your office up to the point where you don’t want or need “campus heating” at all, but in fact would much rather they turned on the air-conditioning again.
My office has its own thermostat, controlling JUST my room. I have it set to 55-degrees. It’s 84-degrees in my room. But remember, I’m evil for leaving my window open.
So, word to the wise — don’t touch my window, despite what ResLife is telling you to do.