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Don’t tell anybody, but I have only been on 2 airplanes since June, and one was today! You see, air travel is no longer something I look forward to since it devolved to “bus service in the air” a couple of years ago. It was a long slow death spiral, but consistent and very much depressing.

As long time readers of NPS know, I am no longer a fan of United airlines. After 10 years of being a 100K member and 1,560,787 miles, United finally used up ALL of my remaining loyalty. That’s right. Every drop. I’m stuck with United since I live near a major hub of theirs, but I plan to do what I can to avoid flying with United.

So, for the first trip back from the famed “no fly July” we’re giving Jet Blue a shot. Lets compare and contrast, from the sublime to the stupid.

Why Jet Blue is Better than United (a one trip comparison)
1. flies modern equipment (new embrear regional jet vs United prop (?!) jet)
2. has a better commuter terminal for East coast travel at IAD (Terminal A, the “walmart” terminal sucks)
3. costs less (by $200 to get to Boston and back)
4. people at Jet Blue seem to like their jobs (at United they all know Jeff Smisek sucks and they hate working for him…really)
5. whole cans of soda water by default even in cattle class
6. United loves to talk about what they are “gonna” do, but they never get it done –> WIFI = not that hard
7. Jeff Smisek sucks and he is the CEO of United

Not that Jet Blue is perfect mind you. I don’t like paying $50 for an extra bag as a newb, but I have to have my bag of electronics for this trip. I also don’t like paying $30 more so I can get on first and stow my instruments, but I am sure as heck never checking my precious violin. So that all sucks. This trip will cost me $160 more than planned. Maybe #3 up there is wrong.

In the end it is clear that I need an airplane.

p.s. Here is a comparison between United and Delta FWIW.

Jif:Peter Pan::United:Delta

October 5, 2013

Are all airlines the same? When it comes to short hops on the east coast, I recently found out through some experimentation that the answer is no.

I am a longtime United flyer based at IAD. So I am pretty much stuck in a bad marriage. Watching United’s quality of service plummet and never recover has been a major disappointment. Jeff Smisek is one of the worst CEOs in history from an operations perspective.

Is Delta any better? Well lets compare notes.

Terminal B looks like this.

IAD Terminal B != Walmart Terminal A

IAD Terminal B != Walmart Terminal A

Terminal D looks like this. (FWIW, Terminal A is even worse.)

Terminal D has a gorgeous drop ceiling.

Terminal D has a gorgeous drop ceiling.

A United regional jet looks like this (vine).

A Delta regional jet looks like this (vine).

Delta has wifi. United has stories about how hard it is to install wifi in airplanes.

Delta operations at IAD are smooth and professional. United put us all on a plane, then deplaned us all due to an Easyjet computer operations error. Just amazingly bad. Easyjet is the worst United subcontractor of all, and there are a bunch of bad ones.

All told, Delta won this experiment hands down. Too bad IAD is a United hub. I’m stuck.

But in the end it is all just peanut butter.

Delta Net and other Wonders

September 30, 2013

Since cigital is opening an office in Atlanta, it looks like I will be flying down there more often. Flying to Atlanta is best accomplished on delta of course. So we left United at the gate, and here we are in the air.

So what do we think? Well for starters, Terminal B at IAD beats the bejesus out of Terminal A (which I call the “walmart terminal.”) It is modern, spacious, and has restaurants designed by something other than a chimpanzee.

IAD Terminal B != Walmart Terminal A

IAD Terminal B != Walmart Terminal A

Second of all, the delta flight left a bit early (better than on time) and has wifi available. (This is the first noplasticshowers entry posted from 35,000 feet.) I did have to pay to get moved into “economy comfort” or whatever they call this, and net costs $14 for this 90 minute flight.

Delta wifi.

Delta wifi.

All in all, things seem pretty similar to a United flight on an A320, but there’s net. I think that is good. Right?!