I am one of your biggest fans. I know there are plenty of people who would vie for that title, but I’m most certainly a contender. We go way back. My brother and I flew to Oakland on Southwest when I was seven and continued to earn our wings (which I wore proudly on every flight) every year thereafter.
I LOVE SOUTHWEST MORE.
I know, I know, I haven’t posted in forever and I should have read this blog post when it came out last year. But it kind of ruffled my feathers a little. Being the Southwest aficionado that I am, I guess I’m a little jealous as well.
Meh. Maybe someday something cool that I say will end up on their website. Meanwhile, I swear I’ll try and remember to update my blog! Life has been a little hectic for me lately, but believe me, I’m still as addicted to flying as I was before. Stay tuned.
As usual I was waaaay more excited about going to the airport than I was about Las Vegas. I swear there’s something wrong with me. Oh, and I wish I could have gotten a picture of a particular flight crew member on the way home, but that’s a completely different story that I’ll keep to myself. ;)
Now Boarding: Flight 6: Five Random Airline Commercials
I don’t have cable right now. Or broadcast TV for that matter (I live in an area that if you don’t have cable you can’t even get a signal, digital converter box or not.) So I watch airline commercials online every once in a while.
I did notice though, that every time I do watch TV, I don’t see a lot of them anymore, except for during football games. Which is cool, because they’re mostly for Southwest. That rocks. But… I’m not that big a fan of Southwest’s current commercials, the ones with the referee. They’re…just not that funny. (But I still love Southwest, don’t get me wrong.)
So I was trying to think about something to post about earlier and thought, why not airline commercials? Here’s a few that I came up with in no particular order.
First of all, OH GOD WHY IS THIS STILL STUCK IN MY HEAD:
After I first saw this I got the stupid jingle stuck in my head for like a week straight. I have no idea why. And obviously I can’t even appease the gods by flying AirCal, because it doesn’t exist. Frustrating.
No, I do not remember what it was like before Southwest Airlines, and I don’t really want to either.
I swear if I ever make it into another Southwest interview, I’m finding one of those uniforms or making one and wearing it. I would probably need to lose some weight though, haha.
Heh. The lady in that commercial was pretty cute…
…um… what? Ahem. Moving on…
Boy, the 70’s and 80’s loved putting jingles in the commercials, didn’t they? I can’t complain though, simply on the grounds that PSA was pretty cool.
…And just to be stupid, I’d like to end with a cheesy commercial from Alaska, just to prove that not all airline commercials are good. Alaska did have a few good commercials, but damned if I could find any of them.
I think I set out to make a point, but I did not. Random indeed. Have a good night.
If flight delays were really this long, we'd have problems...
First off, I do apologize for the horribly long time with no posts. It does appear though that I’m finally at a point where I can start making regular entries again. Now if I can just come up with something to post about…
Oh, and thanks to my new followers for… uh… following me, even though I haven’t updated in forever.
Kind of weird how this ties in with the weather around where I live lately…
I know I don’t post a lot, and this blog is fairly new, but I’m gonna have to take a short hiatus… no internet where I’ll be, at least for the next three to six months. Hang in there, I’ll be back… eventually. :)
Now Boarding: Flight 5: Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA), and a little about deregulation
Let’s try this again, even though I’m still not quite sure how to put it to words.
Another mini-obsession of mine involves defunct airlines, especially from the 1980’s. If you asked why I’d probably give a variety of reasons, including the cheesy commercials, the fact that you could run up to the gate at the last second and actually get on the plane (and don’t even mention the free food once you boarded)… and don’t even get me started on the uniforms. Seriously. Why the defunct ones, I don’t know. Maybe it has something to do with my other non-airline interests in abandoned buildings and malls, that whole “hey, that used to be there” thing.
Anyways…. Once upon a time in California, there was pretty much one airline that got you around the southwest US often and for cheap. That airline was Pacific Southwest Airlines, otherwise known as PSA, and that’s who I’m talking about today.
Note: PSA has absolutely no relation to Southwest Airlines. Although that would be pretty cool. :)
PSA started out in 1949 with one plane, headquartered and flying out of SAN with runs to OAK via BUR once a week. To make things short and sweet (thanks, Wikipedia), by 1980 they had a hub at LAX and service had expanded to SMF, SJC, LGB, and ONT. Now go learn your airport codes. :)
Then deregulation happened. From what I remember out of the paper I had to write, basically what that means is in the past airfares were controlled by the government, as were routes. There was actually an agency that an airline had to go through to get a new route approved, which was lengthy and expensive as heck. This would probably explain why TWA and Pan Am were so popular, because they had the bucks and the connections to get it done. (If I’m wrong, please correct me).
If I stray off topic one more time, I’m gonna cry. It took a few years; basically after deregulation in 1978, after much court fighting and such, eventually airlines were allowed to control their own fares and routes. This created a huge wave of what I like to call flash-in-the pan airlines, who tried to profit from the new freedom and just didn’t make it. The other problem, which I set out to talk about 5 minutes ago, was a LOT of fare wars. Of course PSA got caught up in this.
PSA continued to expand their route network, and meanwhile due to the fare wars the more powerful airlines were starting to gobble up the others. A lot of the flash-in-the-pan airlines, like I said before, just couldn’t handle the fare competition and either died flat out or were acquired by legacy carriers like Delta and American. However, PSA managed to hang on for a few more years while former California competitors Western and AirCal were merged with… hey, you guessed it, Delta and American.
Eventually in 1988 PSA finally gave up to a “hostile takeover” by my least favorite airline on the planet, USAir. I’m not going to get into the details because a) it’s already on other sites and b) you really don’t want to hear me complain for pages. The last actual PSA flight was April 8, 1988, IIRC between LAS and SAN.
US slowly ditched or integrated with PSA’s route network and by 1994 it was completely gone. There was, however, some good out of this: pretty much every gate and route that PSA left behind on the West Coast, Southwest Airlines picked up and ran with. So really I should be grateful that PSA got eaten, because otherwise it would have been really hard for Southwest to have gotten into the California market.
….Am I even making any sense? Please tell me I am.
I really just like PSA because they shared a lot of the same qualities as Southwest: low fares, awesome customer service, convenient flights, a sense of humor that involved hiding flight attendants in overhead bins, you know. And when I was living in Los Angeles, a lot of people reminisced about PSA like it was the best thing since sliced bread. Oh, and if anyone’s ever seen the movie Zodiac, I actually screamed in the theater at that part where they fly PSA back up to the Bay Area.
Yeah. I think that’s about it. If I’ve confused the heck out of you, here’s some links about PSA to help you out.
I know, I said before that I was going to talk about PSA next. But I’m going through some serious writer’s block. I tried. Seriously. And PSA deserves more than the 2 or 3 half-ass sentences that I just deleted. So here’s a link instead.
It’s actually pretty cool and has won some awards. They talk about a lot of topics, everything from what it’s like to work at Southwest to cool historical posts about what some of the airports they serve were like in the past. Check it out when you get a chance.
I asked a Delta flight attendant once what her favorite airport was, and she couldn’t answer me. Maybe it’s because it’s one of those things where she’s been to so many it’s like a blur. Whatever.
All I know is I love going to the airport just as much as being on the plane. Okay, maybe a little less than being on the plane. I mentioned in my first post my five favorite airports, and this morning I’m going to talk about the reasons why.
Again, in no particular order:
1. BUR (Bob Hope Int’l, Burbank, CA)
I like BUR. It’s small, friendly, and a heck of a lot quicker than LAX. Need I say more?
Southwest started operating here after the *cough* hostile takeover *cough* of PSA (Pacific Southwest Airlines, no relation) by US Airways in 1988. WN picked up most of PSA’s SoCal routes and ran with them. PSA used to pwn Terminal B; nowadays there’s a lone US gate there, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a flight boarding or anything.
2. LAS (McCarran Int’l), Las Vegas, NV
Sure, this place is REALLY hectic and crazy. All the time. Just like Vegas. But they have slot machines. And if there’s another thing I love, it’s gambling. Thus the reason I reeeally don’t mind having a flight delayed here, as long as I’ve got money left to blow, of course.
One thing I miss about Los Angeles is that it’s only 1 hour and 10 minutes gate to gate between BUR and LAS. Fuck yeah. :)
3. CLE (Cleveland Hopkins Int’l), Cleveland, OH
There’s really nothing special about CLE. It’s just a run-of-the-mill airport for a major city. But I have to give it a shout out because I live here.
4. PHX (Sky Harbor Int’l), Phoenix, AZ
First of all, PHX wins my vote for Coolest Airport Name Ever. It’s a really huge place, but there’s plenty of those moving sidewalk things to get you where you need to go. Also it’s got some pretty Native American-ish deco, and the few times I was there the whole place seemed kind of peaceful for some reason. Go figure.
5. MDW (Chicago Midway Int’l), Chicago, IL
I seriously tried to find you guys a pic of MDW that didn’t involve WN planes. But I failed.
If you’ve ever seen the TV show Airline (and I hope you have), this is one of the featured airports. I’m not gonna lie, this is probably the main reason why I love MDW so much. I had one nondescript transfer there before I learned about Airline, and have I been able to visit this airport since then? Of course not! Then again, I’d probably get about 10 restraining orders placed against me for running around like a maniac, going “OMFG YOU WERE ON AIRLINE CAN I HAVE A PICTURE…” and stuff like that. Or maybe I could control myself… who knows. :)
So there you go. Maybe next time you go to one of these airports you’ll share my reasons why.
NEXT FLIGHT: I’m thinking PSA since I mentioned them earlier.
I mentioned in an earlier post something about flight attendants’ awesomeness.
There’s this guy from the Netherlands who owns this awesome site, Uniform Freak. He’s amazingly got photos of 929 different F/A uniforms from 385 airlines worldwide. Some are just laughable, and some are awesome. It’s pretty much up to date as well, and worth checking out when you have some time.
I’m not gonna lie. Ask anyone who knows me what one of my favorite things is, and they’ll either answer a) Las Vegas or b) the subject of this post and my ongoing obsession, Southwest Airlines.
I grew up in a big family, so vacations were within driving distance and few and far-between. I didn’t get the chance to fly until 2002, when I found myself waiting in the usual huge line at LAX for a flight to CLE to visit my family.
I hate to admit it, but this is the only trip described by something one of my favorite comedians, Bill Maher, once said: “You don’t choose Southwest; Southwest chooses you.” I didn’t have a lot of money and didn’t want to relive the experience of sitting on a Greyhound bus for 2 1/2 days. So WN it was.
Seriously, I was a little scared. But that changed veeeery quickly.
I was hooked. Obsessed. In LUV. Where had Southwest been my whole life?
I’m not sure how to better describe my feelings than in a list. (I promise all my posts won’t be like this.) So here we go, in no particular order:
REASONS WHY SOUTHWEST AIRLINES ROCKS MY WORLD
1. This isn’t really a reason, but I’ve never flown any other airline. Seriously. I love WN that much. God forbid I ever need to fly international. I really don’t WANT to fly another airline.
2. The employees. I’ve never had a problem with Southwest’s customer service. In fact, I think it’s phenomenal. I’ve never missed a flight (but maybe that’s because I ALWAYS get to the airport early, hint hint), never been oversold, never had a lost bag….. hell, I have no beef whatsoever. Every time I have to deal with an employee I find them outgoing, friendly, having complete knowledge of their job… you name it. The two times my flight was delayed, once to weather and once to mechanical issues, it was resolved quickly and in a highly professional manner.
Once I was making a connecting flight in LAS and it was cancelled. I was immediately placed on a flight that was just about finished boarding. In the 5 minutes it took me to get from my original gate to the new one and board, both my bags were located and came home to BUR with me. I have a feeling that if it had been any other airline, I would have lost at least one of them.
I wrote Southwest a letter about this and actually got a reply, a form letter combined with someone actually thanking me for my “friendship”. Come on now, what other airline does that?!
3. Uniforms. I may be one of the few people in the country who absolutely loves Southwest’s uniforms. I don’t know how people are justified to call them unprofessional, sloppy, or a billion other terms I’ve heard. They’re just… kind of hot, okay?
4. Convenience. Seriously. If you look at my flight history… I know, it’s pretty shortlived. But as shown there, I’ve made a lot of runs between BUR and CLE. WN doesn’t fly direct on that route, or direct from LAX as far as I know, so there’s always a stop or layover involved: LAS, PHX, this one time at BNA, or MDW.
I don’t mind. Really. I already explained how much I love airports. I looked up a BUR-CLE run on UA once just for the hell of it. For economy class, it took me something like 18 HOURS and a lot of stops (I think it was BUR-SFO-SLC-ORD-CMH-CLE or something ungodly like that). Price? Around $800, if I remember right. No, thanks.
5. Price. Once through a web sale I got a $29 one-way between BUR and LAS. I think for two people it came to around $140 round trip. Now, LA people, go ahead and calculate gas, time, and all those stops in Barstow, Baker, wherever. It’s cheaper, and takes just a hair quicker. Enough said. I’m not just talking about that route, of course. Buy far enough in advance and Southwest usually has some really good deals.
6. Flight attendants. A lot of people, including a DL flight attendant I talked to once, don’t like the way Southwest does their safety demonstrations, deeming it unprofessional. I, however, find it awesome.
If you’ve never flown Southwest before, or are just out of the loop, their F/A’s love to pepper their PA announcements and safety demonstrations with jokes. Here are some examples I’ve heard (don’t quote me on the real part of the PA’s, I haven’t memorized them yet, totally) :
"There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there’s only six ways off of this plane…"
"In the unlikely event of a decrease in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down in front of you from a panel overhead. Stop screaming, then secure the mask around your head, pull on the elastic tubing, and breathe normally. If you are travelling with a child, or someone acting like a child, secure your own mask first…."
"Give your seatbelt a tug and your neighbor a hug, this Boein’ is agoin’ and it’s goin’ real fast." / "Hang on guys, we’re about to go reeeeeal fast." (Right before takeoff; I just thought these were cute.)
"Now I’ll tell you what my daddy told me when I was 18: get your bags and get out."
"The next time you feel the urge to go blasting through the air in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you’ll think of us here at Southwest."
7. Airline. I watched Airline religiously when it was on the air. And now I’m completely stoked that they’re replaying all the episodes on Lifetime. Some of the passengers that were on this show were total idiots, and it’s hilarious to see what they try and get away with. Like that Middle Eastern guy who was complaining about the 1/4” rip in his bag. Or the woman that swore up and down forever that she wouldn’t fly WN again because of a lost bag until it turned up that it had been going around on the baggage carousel the whole time. Sheesh.
My favorite employee on this show has to be Colleen Bragiel from MDW. I can’t think of a better example of someone who displays Southwest’s Positively Outrageous Service. One moment she’ll be comforting a drunk woman who was banned from her flight; the next she’s arguing with stranded passengers concerning hotel vouchers. When something was turning ugly in Chicago, I figured it was time to bring in Colleen, and most of the time I was right. You go, woman.
It’s late, and this is all I can think of for now. Don’t think I’m done with Southwest, however. Expect regular updates on anything I found cool about the most awesome airline in the US.
Meanwhile, I think I’ll go have a chocolate chip cookie.
I guess I should give a little background, even though I’m not good at it. Half the time I leave those little “About Me” boxes blank when I register on a message board.
I’m 27, and I live in northeast Ohio. I was born and raised here. When I was 18 I moved to Los Angeles; I lived there for 8 years and now I’m back. With a vengeance. (Just kidding.) We’ll get into my hobbies… um… now.
Thankfully, my addiction is NOT for drugs, although some people would call me a freak regardless.
I am COMPLETELY, head over heels, obsessed with airlines. I’m not the aviation geek type that can tell you the model just by looking at a plane, but I still can tell the difference between a Boeing 737 and an Airbus. I’m not stupid.
Airline fetishists unite? Here’s 10 of the symptoms I suffer from:
1. I could seriously just go hang out at the airport all day. I know, when I tell people that they look at me like I’m crazy. Most people dread the fact that post/9-11, they have to get to the airport 2 hours early. Not me! Airport terminals are so exciting! There’s just so much going on. Most of the time I just hang out at the gate and watch the employees do their thing.
My 5 favorite airports, in no particular order:
BUR (Bob Hope Airport), Burbank, CA
LAS (McCarran International Airport), Las Vegas, NV
CLE (Cleveland Hopkins International Airport), Cleveland, OH
PHX (Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport), Phoenix, AZ
MDW (Chicago Midway), Chicago, IL
I’ll save the reasons for a later post.
2. Speaking of that, I know my codes. Just in case you’re out of the loop, all airports have a 3 letter code to identify them. Some of them are even called by that code, such as LAX. I started teaching myself, then I had the good fortune of attending part of a community college course on flight attendants. I seriously throw people off by using the code instead of the name. All airlines also have a 2 letter code. I mostly know domestic United States ones, but I’m slowly working on international.
3. I almost know the whole inflight safety demonstration, and will point out the exits along with the flight attendant.
4. I love flight attendants and want to pursue a career as one, but we’ll save that for a later post.
5. I get jealous when other people say they’re flying or stuck waiting at the airport, or when I pass an airport and I’m not going there. Also, I swear sometimes I’m more excited about going to the airport than actually going on the trip.
6. I have seriously considered getting a tattoo of the Southwest Airlines logo. (Again, we’ll discuss my LUV for WN later.)
7. One of my favorite smells is the inside of a plane, right when you board and it’s just been serviced. I don’t know what it is.
8. If I see a plane flying overhead, I’ll stand there and stare at it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to be literally dragged into Fry’s Electronics in Burbank, CA because I’m standing in the parking lot frozen like a statue watching planes (BUR is right next door).
9. I seriously get kind of down when the F/A makes the landing announcement. Also: even though I now know you’re not supposed to do it, ask me about my previous synchronizations of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” with takeoffs.
10. Do not get me started on defunct airlines. Seriously. Someday I’ll tell you why I hate US Airways and my subsequent mini-obsession with PSA.
Whew. That’s a lot for a first post, yeah? So here’s how I’m thinking I’m going to do things around here: when the inspiration strikes, I’ll make a post about one of my various obsessions. Since this may happen a few times a day, we’ll give it a working title of Obsession of the Hour, but I’m sure I’ll think of something airline-related later.
Now, off to clean house.
NEXT UP: I can’t not do it first: my undying love for Southwest Airlines. Prepare for another rant. :)