cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Like ISPs, cell phone companies, I am fairly convinced that ask enough people or fly long enough, and you will find that All Airlines Suck– sooner or later they will jerk you around, lose your luggage, route you through North Dakota when flying from New York to Miami. When I started work at NMC, my flight plans were not loyal to any one airlines; I booked what was most direct and cheapest… and then I saw my colleagues getting all the upgrades and royal treatment on Continental, so I played sheep and became “loyal”.. and must admit, I got to like the perks once inside the velvet ropes.

While I knew that they were not excited incensed by the news of Continental merging with United, I was remaining not fired up, heck, it might mean a route to the west coast could be done from Phoenix without going through Houston. I was also forgetting a flight on United last year (someone else booked), when the attendent serving us in the back row dissed the food choices he was serving/selling with the unforgettable line:

Does this look like a face that cares?

But now, after a debacle at the checkin for a United flight out of Vancouver… well, I think that beyond breaking guitars, United seems to have a lot of other problems.

Usually on airlines, when you check in online, you can print passes or just use a kiosk at the airport to get boarding passes. However, at the United kiosk, despite being checked in and assigned seats online, the kiosk burped and printed out “see attendant”. We were routed into one of this multiple S-shaped snaking lines. The lady directing others (as it seemed to be happening a lot), put some people in our line, but pushed others into a second line. Both lines were being served by a single staff person; a second person was 15 feet away, but she continually took care of the first class people who just kept walking up.

As it happened, the one person working kept plucking people from the second line before the one we were in, which grew to about 15 people long, although those in the second line were put there well after those in our line.

As it was messy, on my flight today, I decided to see how easy it was for my colleague Rachel to diagram on an iPad, so I fired up my copy of Adobe Ideas and tried to  diagram out the mess:

I have to admit, she makes it look easy! But it was fun to try drawing on the iPad (darn, it is too bad, i did not get the memo that I was only allowed to use the iPad for consuming content! (It’s locked down! It’s locked down! red alert red alert)

It turned out to be not all that big a deal, and we were early, but the people working that day in Vancouver were far beyond, “does this look like a face who cares.”

And if I know anything about running a business, I would guess that it is no way to run a business.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Queuing – a very interesting study in human behaviour. Think about that experience when you are travelling with children. You join the end of the queue, and they know we are going to move forwards, while people continue to join the queue after us. How do you explain the people cutting in, and the ‘teacher’ person in the uniform telling them to?


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