Two things bothered me this week regarding the trip I took to Chicago. The first was this:

What? United want you to pay for curbside check-in? Why? So they can fire the curbside guys? This is just ridiculous.

Then there is this trend:

Unless you have a cell phone nowadays forget about finding a pay phone. At this kiosk they were all removed except for one weird one from some strange vendor.

Both pics taken at SFO.

  1. Ima Fish says:

    Phone companies claim they lose money on pay phones. My guess is that pay phones are profitable, but not nearly as profitable as cell phones.

  2. Jim Dermitt says:

    Commercial aviation is shot. It’s over with. The fuel is killing the airlines, security is harder than a whores heart and the help is unhappy. I used to follow aviation news. I quit paying attention, it was too depressing and anything that was positive was not the news but puff stories to make it look upbeat. People who are forced to fly commercially for work and business should be paid a nice premium for having to go through this sort of living hell. The government has helped the companies that should of gone out of business stay in business and now you have airlines that are flying on borrowed time, because their credit or cash ran out before their luck. The consumer as a result is just out of luck if he or she has to fly. The smarter people have gotten out of the industry and started over. There’s no future in commercial aviation. Ask the old guys who got screwed by the airlines what they think about it. Stick a fork in it, it’s done.

  3. Olin says:

    Hello, Mr. Dvorak. Been reading your stuff for awhile, both through PCMag and CNET, really enjoy your work. In terms of the pay phones, I would see them as becoming largely unnecessary. The majority of those who travel have cell phones, and airports have service. Done deal?

  4. andrew says:

    sure why not $2.00 for baggage?
    you call the airline and it is $5.00 to talk to a human being.
    Need to pickup your ticket at the airport? $5.00 fee.
    flying economy want to eat? $5.00-$10.00 depending on the food.
    Want a drink with that food? $5.00 per drink.

    Want them to act like they are glad you chose their airline?
    Forget about it, cause it’s not going to happen.

  5. T.C. Moore says:

    Regarding the $2 charge for curbside check-in. Maybe the sky captains/porters/whatever were sick of getting stiffed, so they posted this suggested, minimum amount. I hate to think it’s going to the airline.

  6. James says:

    United needs to squeeze out more for executive salaries and pensions. Hence the lousy service.

  7. Lou says:

    When did Mr. D and some of his minions become communists?

    1. Regarding pay phones: Do you really think they would have been dismantled if they were making money? Cell phones are killing out payphones, end of story.

    2. Luggage Charge: I understand people don’t like to be nickle and dimed at every opportunity, but the airlines (and many other businesses) have to play the psychological – marketing games to get the revenue they need to operate. The curbside baggage handlers want raises every now and then, but how much “productivity increase” can you get out of such a basic manual operation? Personally, I arguably like such line item charges, as if it really does cost the airline $2 a bag to handle it at curbside vs. me hauling it around, I’d rather make the decision to save the money or buy the service rather than the airline just lumping it into a single charge.

    I’m a libertarian on most things, but I’d like to think most people in this country are at least capitalists and understand and respect the market system. Commercial entities can charge what they want, how they want, when they want, within lawful limits. Last I looked, air travel when you want it, how you want it, for the price you want it, is not a constitutional or human right. If a situation doesn’t meet your particular requirements, shop around till you find one that does.

    And if you can’t find an airline/flight that does meet your specs, and you really think that there is a profitable way to do it, go out and form your own airline. Or walk.


  8. site admin says:

    Walk? Hey dude, that airport and most of the others are built with taxpayers money…they are not generously built by the airlines. Thus the public interest requires complaining and action..not whimpering and passivity. I personally do not like businesses walking all over the public after benefitting from public works. We won;t even get into the public cost of air traffic control… It it were all private then you’d have a point. But it is not and never will be.

    And to imagine that it costs the airlines $2 a bag MORE to move it from the curb to forty feet inside you have to be kidding me. This is the kind of phony cost-analysis that is ruining the country. The fact it this was done to end the service. And IN FACT there was noboy there to collect any bags. It was bullshit.


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