Alaska Airlines sucks

Railing against the modern travel industry where the customer comes last.

If you’ve flown on an airplane in the last few years, nothing I say will come as a shock. Consider it yet another rant from an Andy Rooney wanna-be.

So, I haven’t posted anything to the blog in the last week. This is because I was on vacation to my home town of Chicago. Sure, I had my laptop and an internet connection, but I didn’t really feel like Blogging… until last night when we flew home.

Now, this is maybe my third or fourth plane trip this year, but mostly I’ve been flying for business which means I’m on partly or mostly empty planes. It was on the return trip from Chicago that made me realize how little Alaska Airlines cares for their customers. Now, I’d boycotted them for a while over those stupid new testament prayer cards they were handing out, but then they’d discontinued them and I started flying Alaska again. It turns out that it wasn’t that they’d discontinued them, but I just hadn’t been on a flight with a meal in a very long time. So sitting on my tray with the truly crappiest food I’ve ever had was a little message from the evangelical assholes at Alaska Airlines. Additionally, they are now doing their digi-players instead of an in-flight movie. At first I thought that it was kinda cool, the movies were usually bad anyway and I didn’t like having them going in my peripheral vision as I read or whatever. Then I found out that they are now charging $15 to rent them! I thought that the $4-5 headphone rental of the old days was bullshit. How’d you like to have to rent three of these things for the family?

The seats on Alaska are smaller then they were before and they are more rows than there used to be. On the flight out, I got stuck between two other guys. Neither was very large, pretty much normal sized adult males. Yet the three of us were literally shoulder to shoulder the entire trip. Even if the person in front of me hadn’t lean back, I needed to be yoga master to reach my bag under the seat in front of me. On the way back, I was much luckier in my row-mates, but the person in front of me leaned their seat back the second they were able and left it that way for the entire flight. Now, it is their right to lean their seat back, but it made the flight nearly impossible. I couldn’t see my book if it was on my tray table. I had to rest it on the top of their chair, which I’m sure wasn’t any joy for them. I found myself hating that person’s guts and the person behind me who kept pulling on my chair to get to their stuff. It wasn’t either of their faults that Alaska was trying to wring every dollar they could out of their customers.

I’m really surprised that we aren’t hearing about a lot more fights breaking out on planes. Between the new security rules on the ground and in the air and airlines trying to fit as many people onto a plane as they can everyone around me looked as miserable and pissed off as I was. While I had a great time in Chicago, the plane ride alone made me question how soon I want to fly again, if ever.

Off-shoring and the software industry, a coupla things

This is something close to my heart that I haven’t touched on in this blog yet, I was going to do write something today, but I haven’t got time, so instead here are a couple of interesting links…

Microsoft and other major technology companies are trying to get congress to bump up the indentured servant, er, I mean, H1B visa cap. This is at a time when Microsoft is secretly (and not so secretly) laying off a bunch of people and expanding their campus in India. There was a thing on Slashdot about it .

On the similar theme of high-tech companies treating their employees like crap, there is another post on slashdot about how EA might be facing a class action lawsuit for treating their employees like crap.

Finally for today is an article that I meant to post a link to earlier but haven’t had the change. has an article about a company called Rural Outsourcing, which helps high tech companies reduce their costs without getting rid of American jobs. I really honestly don’t know what to think about that. I guess if we are going to use American corporate dollars to raise the standard of living for someone it is better for it to be Americans since the corporations are getting so much of our tax dollars already as government handouts. On the other hand, it doesn’t really do anything to control the slide of yet another solid middle class profession into a subsistence profession.

The Persuaders

This looks like an awesome show about how marketing is getting progressively more insistent.

I saw a link on wired this morning about a Frontline episode called Persuasders. It is about how marketers are becoming more and more insidious as we are becoming immune to their approaches. I missed it on TV, but luckily they are streaming the whole episode on the web. Check it out, it looks good.