Since I remain locked into a hub, I am pretty much consigned to fly with United on at least some portion of my flights. United has suffered so much operationally since the merger with Continental that this is very painful indeed. I can say without any exaggeration that operations at United is still completely broken.

I spent 75,000 frequent flyer miles to get up to NH this weekend to write some music. What did I get? Two unsatisfactory flights.

Flight one to Boston was delayed 90 minutes (right through the dinner hour). There was no food on the flight—not even peanuts. The “entertainment” system is that ridiuclous DirecTV system that plays mandatory ads to you while you are strapped in your seatbelt. No wifi. No power to power your own iPad or Nexus.

Flight two never happened. A broken airplane rippled through several flights like toppling dominos. The way this unfolded was classic united. First a 40 minute delay. Then 90 minutes. Then 3 hours and 30 minutes. Then never. I was upgraded to first class on a flight that never happened!! awesome!

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The only saving grace was the red carpet club in Boston which is a beautiful space. If you have to be on the drip delay (united can’t run an airline) the red carpet club is the place to be stranded.

The people at the United club were fantastic. They helped everyone get backup flights and even stayed open an extra two hours. But best of all, this happened. When I finally decided to bail and get some dinner, I went down to the Legal Seafood. As I was having a snack, the United rep came down to find me and let me know that she had booked me on a USAir flight to DCA. I had to run to Terminal B, but I got home thanks to the United club people. Too bad those good people can’t fire Jeff Smisek!

This tweet from United pretty much says it all.

Of course the United flight up to Boston was delayed (90 minutes) and of course there was no wifi on the flight. You see, United spent all kinds of money on that stupid DirecTV system as if everyone in the universe does not have their own nexus or ipad. United, you guys are truly behind the technology curve by a decade. Oh, and there was no food on the flight…at all.

So I was hungry when we finally landed 90 minutes late. We hightailed it to the Highball Lounge to visit my friend Shaher Misif. Shaher Misif is a dangerous man.

The Highball Lounge rocks. After an obligatory authentication shot, we had a delightful Barnyard Punch, recently added to the cocktail list and made as follows:
1.5 oz Bourbon
.5 oz Falernum
.5 oz Suze
.5 oz Lemon juice
.5 oz Raw sugar
2-3 dashes celery bitters
shake, strain, serve on rocks. garnish with mint and lemon moon. (I will cut the sugar down myself when I make this one.)

We also had an outstanding bacon cheeseburger and some tater tot nachos. Delicious.

Then we drove to NH with a warm fuzzy feeling.

The leaves are peaking in NH

The leaves are peaking in NH

My latest United airlines experience leads me to believe that air travel has finally degenerated to bus service. I don’t do bus. Two long-ish hub to hub flights on United (IAD—ORD) were crowded, cramped, and involved mandatory ads displayed on a device you can’t turn off.

United DirecTV CRAP shows mandatory ads.

United DirecTV CRAP shows mandatory ads.

Oh I know all about getting the screen to sleep with the volume control button. But there are several ads that you are forced to watch. They have nothing to do with safety. That is just unacceptable.

How is it that United airlines can get DirecTV to work but can’t get Wifi installed? I guess unlike most Americans, I don’t like plastic showers or TV. Go figure. Maybe I am from the wrong social class.

Did you know that United pays Jeff Smisek almost $10 million per year? Imagine if United spent that money installing wifi on their planes instead.

And how is it that I can no longer be comfortable in economy plus on a United flight? Air travel used to be a bother. Now it is just like riding a bus. An overcrowded South American bus. What’s next, livestock? Worse actually. What’s next is cell phone yabber from sales droids.

Jeff Smisek has absolutely ruined United airlines. I think the time has come for me to drastically cut back on travel and to use another airline when I do fly. Any other airline.

After 1,524,754 miles on United, I am done.

All is not lost in 2013, however. This year I started using Uber. Uber is great. I’ve used it in NY, Boston, Washington, Amsterdam and Paris so far. There is no Uber in Des Moines.

Uber has a name that fits.

Uber has a name that fits.

Try it, you’ll love it. No more broken down crappy taxis driven by clueless drivers lacking communications skills.

Thank the gods that no fly noel is almost here.