Fly The Friendly Skies was the slogan that United used for many years. Or as us frequent victims (flyers) we called the airline Un-Tied. Sure they would lose your baggage on occasions, and even wreck the occasional expensive piece of electronic equipment that was too large to fit in the overhead bin and had to be ‘checked in’. But this was the risk you took. Pretty much they got you and your gear to wherever you were going. The occasional hole left by an over zealous fort lift operator on a 500lb refrigerator sized computer was the price you paid. The fact that you were in Minneapolis but your luggage was not was not an issue. You knew that weeks later they would find your bag of dirty shirts and deliver them to your home. In some ways it beats the zoo of waiting for the suitcase to hit the revolving luggage carousel at the airport. Three or four hundred rabid dogs waiting for their bags, boxes, etc.

I traveled a lot, in a three month period I racked up over 50,000 air miles all in the lower 48. Loss and breakage became a way of life. But I was always treated well. The airlines always had my best interests at heart. On one occasion I found myself diverted due to weather, it was very late at night, so late that the baggage handlers had left. So it was impossible for anyone to actually get their stuff.

The nice lady on the microphone explained that Un-Tied was paying for us all to stay in a hotel for the night. To ease the pain, each passenger received a ‘package’, a tooth brush, the worlds smallest tube of toothpaste, and a bar of soap.

The Holiday Inn was clean and decent, but it was not quite the accommodations booked 400 miles away.

The point to this story is that people cared. Well ‘cared’ might be the wrong word, but at least they got you mostly from point A to point B without a lot of drama. The introduction of the ‘no frills’ airlines seems to have changed that concept. JetBlue for example now offer an ‘in flight’ dramatic theater service. They have done away with free drinks, free stale peanuts, and my personal favorite, the hot thing in a box. I always liked the ‘hot thing in a box’ it took your mind off whatever you were working on. You could spend a few minutes playing the ‘I wonder what that was in a previous life’ game. I have to admit that I never won this competition, but when on a 10 hour flight it did break the monotony.

I have to admit that JetBlue have a better idea. Just have the pilot go nuts in mid flight. No stale peanuts on JetBlue, these are fresh nuts!   

USA Today has this to offer. The audio is not working for me, but you might have better luck.

The Washington Post has this to say.

Simon Barrett –Bring back the days of stale peanuts, hot boxes of mystery and lost stuff! It was more fun!

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