Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Funday: Getting Out Of Town

While the snow storm that was supposed to hit our home office in Lincoln, Nebraska turned out to be kind of a dud, it did give some of our staff and friends a chance to freak out about The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore being in town. It also gave a chance for a little snowstorm daydreaming on Thursday.

We are, after all, planning some trips this spring, around the country - and admittedly, we're a bit concerned about the latest airline merger announcement between American and U.S. Airways.

If you're like most Americans, when you hear the term "airline merger" you likely grimace as some kind of twisted image flows into your head, possibly resembling a cross between the movies 'Kramer vs. Kramer' and 'Airplane.' Given the less-than-stellar track record of airline mergers in the U.S., we understand your uneasiness.

We remember fondly the warm cookies and top-notch service of Midwest Airlines in years past. We also remember that Frontier Airlines nixed that consumer friendly touch when they took over Midwest - along with most other touches that could be considered consumer, labor, or occasionally human friendly.

Now, we're not saying modern airline service in the U.S. is like a fleet of drones, intent on screwing the passenger - even if that's an apt description of what goes on in most airline executive's suites.

There are still a few examples of high quality, high class airline service, and if you get a chance to experience them, we highly recommend it.

The best example in the U.S. is Virgin Airlines - the airline started by media mogul Sir Richard Branson. Flying on Virgin Airlines is generally the kind of experience that could almost make one remember what it was like when flying was glamorous. These days, Virgin even has some relatively affordable fares - and unlike certain other airlines, you won't worry about getting charged a fee every time the Captain cracks the mic.

Sadly, other than Virgin, no other airline company that flies inside the U.S. makes the list of the world's top airline companies - a fact that doesn't surprise us.

We realize that for Americans who fly often, the most important thing is often whether both you and your bags take off and land on-time, in one piece, and in the same place. If you had the time, you might drive or take the train - and we HIGHLY recommend taking the train, if you have the time.

Still, the most important thing about traveling isn't the ticket price, or getting warm cookies. It's not even making sure you don't end up seated between the man with B.O. and the lady with the screaming baby.

The most important thing is to get to where you're going safely, so you can spend time with the people you're traveling to see.

Of course, a warm cookie and a smile from a well-compensated flight attendant wouldn't hurt once in a while.