Saturday, October 7, 2017

Flying through Charlotte


Yesterday was a travel day and I had two experiences that I want to share. One was the flight and the other was the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. 

Let me write right up front, I had not flown with American Airlines in many years until this week. I have become somewhat a Southwest snob, meaning I like flying Southwest. They get right what many other airlines can't seem to figure out--like bags in the cabin.

Yesterday was a combination of two less than stellar experiences rolled into one day.

First was the flight from Montgomery to Charlotte. I was aboard a CL-65 commuter jet. 

The seats on the Canadian CL-65 are among the worst in the air. The seat back was not high enough to support my neck and so I couldn't find a way to sleep comfortably. I normally sleep with ease on aircraft. Not on the Canadair CL-65 as outfitted by AmericanEagle. As I was on a 6:15 AM flight and had been up since 4 AM, I really wanted to catch a few Z's on the way to Charlotte.

Added to the discomfort of the seat, I was in the 12th row right in front of the restroom. Since the pilot never turned the seatbelt sign off, there was almost no one moving around the cabin. But it was one on the last seats on the too small aircraft. 

Wall-to-wall People in Terminal B
Charlotte Douglas International Airport
October 6, 2017
And then came Charlotte! Ugh. The airport was wall-to-wall people. I have not seen so many people crammed into one location since the last concert I attended. It was tight, everywhere. 

There were no seats available to sit and wait for my connecting flight. Fortunately, I had a very short layover.

On top of that, here is the spot where American Airlines needs to improve. Baggage. On every flight I took during my trip, the airline was urging people to check their bags at the gate to allow for room in the cabin. This is a direct result, I believe, of their highway robbery baggage fees. 

I know it was $25 for the first bag and then it goes up, possibly $35 or $40 for the second bag. Of course people are not going to check bags to save money. That is what the airline wants. So then at the gate there is the confusion about courtesy checking bags. Courtesy being the key word. So if I want to save money, I take my bag with me and then hope for courtesy checking at the gate. 

What a mess. Total confusion in the terminal and at the gate and it just makes the entire travel experience worse.

Note to self: Avoid flying American Airlines, avoid Charlotte, and stay off the CL-65!

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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