Thursday, May 12, 2016

Parting And Arriving Shots

It was just about midnight as we took off from Anchorage last night.  It's summer if you count the seasons by how much light we have.

I'd note there was one Alaska legislator on the plane who took a break from the session to go to his daughter's college graduation.

But LA was fogged in pretty solid as we approached.  Downtown is somewhere down there between the wing and the mountains.  At this point the clouds were broken enough that I could see occasional spots of light.  But as we circled back toward the airport and the ocean, the cover got thicker.  I

counted slowly to 45 from the point we went into the clouds until we came out to this view below.

And then we our flight path to the airport cross the San Diego Freeway.  (When I left LA long ago, the freeways had names, not numbers.)

We were able to get off the plane pretty quickly and to the luggage carousel in ten minutes - just in time to see the first suitcases coming out.  We had our two 13 minutes after the door in the plane opened.  I continue to be impressed at Alaska's ability to make and keep their pledge to get the luggage out in 20 minutes from getting to the gate or you get mileage or a coupon off your next flight.

And then when we got to my mom's house and I read the Dispatch online, I saw that Alaska Airlines was rated as having the best service of the major carriers.  But it also mentioned that people are getting used to all the extra fees (like luggage, food, change) that
"raised $3.8 billion for U.S. airlines last year."
They can charge all these because there are so few airlines left that they can all just copy each others' fees and the traveler has no choice.  And because they have the power to unilaterally say you have to pay $100 just to change your flight to another day.  I understand there was a time when people booked a bunch of flights and then cancelled, leaving the airline with empty seats.  You can handle that more strategically - like charges within a week of the flight, or after the third or fourth change a year.  But these kinds of arbitrary and lucrative charges by the airlines, by banks, and other large corporations are part of the reason we have a growing gap between the rich and the poor.  Especially when the added profit goes to shareholders instead of employees or customers.  But at least Alaska's 20 minute guarantee gives people a reason to check in bags instead of taking them onboard.  No more hour waits for your luggage.

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