Monday, September 5, 2011

United Airlines : I love thee not

Each time I fly with United, they manage to come up with some fresh annoyance. As I went through the laborious on-line attempt to print my boarding pass for the Dulles to Paris flight (quick tip: don't bother - it takes about 25 minutes, and it's hard to imagine this saves any time), there were two steps that elicited howls of outrage and disbelief. The first was when I was charged $70 for my second checked bag. Really, United? Have things become that desperate that this kind of gouging is considered in order? I have never abused the whole online carry-on allowance, and have tended to despise people who do, but to charge me $70 for my remarkably small second piece of checked baggage smacks of corporate arrogance and/or desperation.

Then there is the invitation to pay $39 to "fly through the airport", that is to skip to the head of the line for security checkin. I am sure that United is not the only airline to offer this convenience to the wealthy, but I disapprove on basic principle, and believe it should be outlawed, on the grounds that it is fundamentally un-American. Or for those of a more cynical bent, perhaps it is all too American. At any rate, it's despicable.

My flight from Dulles to Paris was, thankfully, DSK free. So the United stewardesses were able to dispense with the extra security precautions in first class. Apparently DSK arrived here yesterday, on a flight from JFK. Almost as if his initial fateful flight back in May had never been interrupted. Something that, incredibly, millions of French voters still wish were the case.

French politics continues to offer a kind of bleak amusement. Should one be amused or saddened by the news that former president Chirac's fragile health prevents him from testifying in the case involving 21 fictitious employees during his tenure as Mayor of Paris, from 1977 to 1995. Plus ca change, and all that ...

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