Going on vacation, better check for flight availability as soon as possible; you may not be able to book a direct flight!
For many years my wife and I have had the good fortune, to have been able to book a nonstop flight to visit out relatives in Las Vegas. This year we were unable to book a direct flight from Islip McArthur Airport on Southwest Airlines, to Las Vegas.
I must admit that I have, for many years, taken direct flights for granted. In the past I got on the plane at Islip McArthur, and arrived in Vegas about six hours later. "How wonderful;" all I had to do was relax and listen to my iPod for a few hours and voila, it’s party time in Vegas!
I always equate and compare the success of a given vacation to attending Boy Scout Camp; where the Scoutmaster takes care of the details, and I am free to run around in the woods with my friends, chasing Snakes and Frogs.
This year, due to the absence of a direct flight, I was forced to take a flight that required that I change planes in Baltimore, MD. At first I perceived this plane change in Baltimore as a minor inconvenience; unfortunately it ultimately turned out to be a very unpleasant experience. The act of adding any amount of time to a flight, in the form of a layover/ plane change, can have a detrimental effect on a vacation. In my case, the first day of my vacation was transformed into a Biathlon. I go on vacation to escape from the details of life; any distraction from that end is not in the best interest of the customer or the airline.
The connection plane that was to pick us up in Baltimore, encountered some bad weather, and was two hours late. The two hour delay was just long enough to allow the storm to arrive at Baltimore, causing all routes to be shut down. If I had a direct flight, this could not have happened. Our departure from Baltimore also encountered additional delays such as sitting in our plane while on the tarmac, for two hours. What was originally scheduled to be a seven hour flight wound up costing us eleven and a half hours, including missing our Las Vegas transportation connection? None of this would have happened if we would have had a direct flight.
There is now an additional type of flight that you can book which requires a plane change, and in addition, a second landing, before proceeding on route to the final destination. For lack of a better term to describe this type of flight, I will call it a Triathlon flight.
It appears that the Airline Industry has lost touch with the desires of their customers; a Biathlon or Triathlon flight can totally disrupt a festive vacation. These new types of flights add additional burden, to people that have problems with air travel.
In all fairness to Southwest I must say a few good words about my return flight. My return flight was flawless. The crew from both legs of my return flight "entertained" the passengers. A stewardess sang a few funny songs, and made many witty comments, which had the effect of taking the "edge" off of the flight. Other crew members from both flights also created a casual "fun filled" atmosphere, by also making witty comments. Kudos to the Southwest crew for creating a casual and "fun atmosphere," on our return flight.
Southwest said that they do indeed have direct flights to Vegas, but I was unable to find one. My wife and I have been flying with Southwest for many years; hopefully they will find a way to foster more direct flights to Vegas.
May I suggest offering direct flights, six months in advance, advertised via online promotional material; this will help Southwest to fill the direct flight planes, and entice customers to book early! How about querying customers online, asking them when they plan to travel, and if they would like a direct flight; this would provide Southwest with valuable information. This is the online age, and Southwest should be able to take advantage of that!
I am praying that Burger King would go into the Airline Transportation Business, so that I could "have it my way." "Please help send this boy to camp."