19 comments on “Kate Hanni on CNN Headline News

  • I reached the end of my rope with the following situation last year. After this fiasco, I have sworn never to fly again unless I can absolutely avoid it. (I even recently took a transcontinental train trip to avoid a roundtrip air flight.)

    I was abused, temporarily homeless, and stranded in Las Vegas… and I’m not even a gambler. In fact, it was miserable.

    I’ve been a fairly constant flyer for over 15 years, so I know the system well. I booked a red-eye flight from Portland, OR to Philadelphia on USAir via Las Vegas. USAir, as you may know, is in the middle of a merger with America West (HP), so at the time US was code-sharing on HP flights pending a complete merger of the two systems on their booking systems. The way the flight was booked, it was a US flight from PDX to LAS (on a US plane) and an HP flight and HP plane from LAS to PHL.

    We leave PDX on time. As we approach LAS, we start to circle the airport. Storms, the pilot says – one of like 4 times a year Las Vegas gets thunderstorms. Fine, I think; I have 1.5 hours between flights.

    We keep circling. Finally we land in LAS with 30 minutes to spare. The HP flight crew assures us that LAS has been advised of those of us making connections and that flights will be held. The flight attendants do the same.

    We land. I and many other passengers bolt in different directions through LAS. The attendant tells me to go to gate D10 for my HP flight to PHL. Of course, it’s on the other side of the airport. I arrive at D10 only to see a US gate agent closing up shop for a flight to PHL that left 10 minutes ago — NOT my flight.

    Where’s my flight? I ask him.

    Oh, you’re at A10, he says – which was a gate only 5 gates away from where my flight from PDX landed.

    So I run to the other side of the airport again to A10 … to discover tha�t they did not, in fact, hold the HP flight to PHL and it’s gone.

    Now what? The gate agent has no suggestions for me.

    I notice a sea of passengers moving, as one, towards the ticketing counters, and I join them. There are many, many angry faces from many delayed or cancelled HP and US flights. The faces are angry. Very angry. There is screaming, crying, and shouting.

    The faces are so angry, and so many, that a couple of Clark County Sheriff’s deputies move into position. God help you if you get in trouble in Vegas.

    Finally I get to a very frazzled gate agent. I realize anger will do no good, so I use kindness. She tells me that not only did they have dozens of flights delayed and miss connecting flights, but they are having major problems with the computer system, because the America West computers are having great difficulty booking tickets for USAir flights.

    She looks at my boarding pass and her eyes kind of bug out of her head. “How did you book this?” she asks. “On the USAir website,” I said. “Wow,” she replies. “This is making the system go crazy…”

    I ask her how quickly I can get out of Las Vegas. Not until tomorrow morning at 9:30, she says, and then we have to book you through Phoenix. So, where will I stay? I knew that a hotel wasn’t happening, at least not on USAir’s dime. But because I was extra nice to the agent, she pointed me to a crew training room, where couches with pillows and a blanket awaited me and some other lucky passengers (who, apparently, were also nice to their agents).

    But I still needed to be ticketed back home. After 30 minutes of fighting with the system, she gives up and hand-writes me a ticket to PHL, like I was flying 60 years ago, but without the meals on china, curtained windows, and high-heeled “stewardesses”.

    Of course, no food was available, and none was offered. I dug into some trail mix I had in my bag, went to the crew room and crashed out. By now it is 2:00 a.m., whereas my flight was supposed to leave LAS at 11 p.m. Sigh. I pop an Ambien, put on my headphones, and chill.

    At 5:30, a gang of USAir workers turns on all the lights in the room and, with some audible giggling, very unceremoniously kicks all of us out of the room. I now know what it feels like to be homeless and hauled out of a shelter every morning. No consideration, no concern, just rude poking and prodding. And snickering at the bedraggled passengers sleeping in their crew area.

    So, I stagger over to the general vicinity of my gate and watch the sun rise over the city, painting the landscape pink. The Luxor looks very weird in
    this light.

    I find a row of seats behind a status board and snooze for a couple of hours. I wake up at 8, grab an extremely overpriced sandwich ($9.00 for a turkey club?!), and ponder my weird situation.

    Finally, I board my flight to PHX, have enough time to run across the airport to my plane, and leave for Philadelphia at 12 noon. At 7:00 p.m., my flight touches down in Philadelphia, finally. My wife, who has been following my travels via phone calls and text messages with a combination of bemused interest and horror, is at the baggage claim to pick me up. Of course, my bags didn’t make it with me…but lo and behold, they were waiting at the USAir Special Services counter, having come in on an earlier flight.

    At least they got that right.

    This escapade taught me a couple of things.

    First, the airlines don’t give a flying shit about delayed customers if they don’t have to, which is most of the time since the vast majority of delays are due to weather – or, more accurately, “National Aviation System delays”; see here for an example.

    Second, even though airlines don’t give a flying shit, there are still bits of human kindness to be found if you are a stranded traveler as I was, but you have to be willing to smile a lot and remember Ben Franklin’s adage that one catches more flies with honey than with vinegar.

    Third, if I am ever in a situation where I am trapped in an airplane as happened to the poor sods in Austin, LAX, and Detroit, I will do something to gain my freedom, and the FBI is more than welcome to charge me and let me vindicate myself before a jury.

    Fourth, some MBA student out there is going to make him or herself a bundle of money someday by starting an airline which has a specific policy of taking care of its stranded passengers regardless of cause.

  • I’m glad passengers are finally standing up for our rights. I don’t know how I could have managed this situation. By the way I found this site via a link on Drudgereport. Drudge is the devil, yet still I read.

  • I think thats wonderful how a lawsuit is the last choice for you! All too often now people think they can forgo tax-payers money and people’s time, when there are plenty of better avenues to take. Why were we given freedom of speech right.. I feel your frustration with the airlines too. Last year the lines for check-in at the Los-Angeles International Airport were too congested, and I missed my plane.(they put me on another flight at no charge, and I got home a little late. but still had problems.) Best of luck on getting things settled without legislation! Who needs more laws.. 🙂

  • Won’t you guys please find a cause that matters? It’s fun and popular to hate the airlines… but things happen. Life happens. Life is unfair. A storm hits and it causes problems for the airlines… maybe they should communicate better, but you don’t have to portray such anger about it. Who the heck are you?

    I’ve been stuck on a plane for as long as 24 hours (international), and up to 5 hours (domestic)… it’s one of the pains that comes with air travel.

    Think of how good we have it… don’t act like spoiled children. Indeed… you ARE acting like spoiled children.

  • YES!!!
    Another thought for the passenger bill of rights:
    If your flight had been able to take off after 10 hours on the tarmac, it still could have been listed as “on-time” if the plane had pulled away from the gate “on-time”. This is wrong and it buries all sorts of delays between pull away and take-off. The on time stats are just bogus. Bill of rights should include that on-time statistics should be calculated from take-off time.

  • Anything I can do to help, I am stranded in Chicago due to a number of scheduling problems AA has done to me. I am on my way back to Iraq and have had nothing but problems with AA. As it stands I have no idea when I am getting out of here and back to Iraq. I have had more problems and headaches dealing with them then I have had in my year overseas in a war zone.

  • I would think if you buy a ticket to travel during one of the most busiest time of the year, you would consider the consequences of holiday travel. Then you have weather that a pilot has to make the decision to divert if it compromises the safety of the aircraft. People simply need to know how aviation operates. If you don’t like the airline your flying on, fly with someone else or go down a diffrent avenue to get to your destination.

  • Hi

    Today’s (Front Page) Los Angeles Times stressed “Airline’s Service Experiencing a Bumpy Ride.” Having just flown on a variety of airlines and not sure what was worst — the plane’s filth, the complaining or surly flight attendants or my lost luggage, I just heard from some friends that ended up with a case of head lice after chartering a private jet. I was reminded of Jayne Clark’s past article (3/16/06) that dealt with unwanted “passengers” on planes — germs.

    With the airlines continuing to cut back services and amenities, I thought that there might be a possibility that my TravelKleen Headrest Protector could be mentioned as a “special interest product” or a “travel tip” in one of your columns.

    Believe it or not, there is a connection. One of my customers that hikes, camps, climbs and runs happened to mention to me that “Dirt is clean — airplane seats aren’t…” It seems that her comment truly puts things into perspective.
    If you feel that there could be a connection, below is a news release that further explains my product. One other note: My product (with an organization’s logo) makes a great promotional give-a-way that it may have in the near future. Thoughts?

    By the way, my background is quite interesting: Wife (37 years), Mother (4 children), Teacher, Grandmother (with a web page), QA Coordinator (Santa Monica Hi-Tech Company), and now, an Entrepreneur — a great human interest story.

    Please let me know your thoughts.




    Of interest to editors and journalists covering: travel, tourism, health, airline industry, beauty products, human interest for travel and promotion industries

    New disposable headrest cover provides sanitary barrier for the passenger and is a highly-visible branding tool for the advertiser.

    Los Angeles, Ca. – December 17, 2006 – TravelKleen, LLC (www.TravelKleen.com), a leader in travel hygiene, announces a new line of unique headrest protectors for the travel and promotion industry. The new, reusable headrest protector cover provides a sanitary barrier between the traveler’s head and the seat’s headrest. The protector is made from a hygienic fabric featuring a special adhesive that allows the lightweight, attractive headrest protector to easily adhere to seatbacks. The protector easily attaches to fabric, leather and synthetic materials without marring the surface and in seconds, can quickly be removed and put back into its pouch.

    The headrest protector is simple to use, fits all sizes of seats, is adjustable for children, is reusable and inexpensive. The back of the head never directly touches soiled seatbacks providing a fresh and comfortable feeling for the traveler – a perfect item for consumers concerned about hygiene issues.

    When asked about the main point about the product, Arlene Rosenstein, president of TravelKleen said that her TravelKleen Headrest Protector “is the leading sanitary product on the market for the anxious travelers that wish to keep their head clean and fresh while on the move.”

    “The thought of the thousands of people who have put their heads against the dirty headrest was awful” explained Rosenstein. “The headrests are rarely (if at all) cleaned. Trying to ignore the ‘filth and smelly problem’ was impossible. My headrest protector helps me and my fellow travelers.”

    TravelKleen’s headrest (two to a package) comes in a small, vinyl bag that easily fits in a purse, brief case or even a jacket pocket. Although the main emphasis has been trains and planes and is sold at airports, Ms. Rosenstein indicated that her product is also found in beauty supply, luggage and drug stores as well as specialty shops.

    More recently, the TravelKleen headrest protector has become a unique marketing and advertising tool for other industries such as outdoor retail, hi-tech, conventions and other organizations. Ms. Rosenstein started the company earlier this year. When asked if there was anything unexpected in how her company has taken off, Ms. Rosenstein said that she was surprised that industries not directly related to the travel industry “were doing a service for their own customers and clients” by using her TravelKleen Headrest Protector “as a unique way to promote their company and to help people recognize health and hygiene issues in the travel industry.”

    Media contact

    Arlene Rosenstein


    Phone: 310-476-4599

  • I wonder if Mr. Anonymous ever took up a cause he believes in and took a stand for it! It takes courage and strength, stamina and will to survive.

    Let’s give the critical Mr. Anonymous a hand…remember for every finger pointed away from you there are three pointed back at you.

    Why not channel all that negative energy into a cause that you believe in instead of useless comments about our cause.

  • Anonymous said on January 26, 2007 5:10 AM:

    “Won’t you guys please find a cause that matters? It’s fun and popular to hate the airlines… but things happen. Life happens. Life is unfair. A storm hits and it causes problems for the airlines… maybe they should communicate better, but you don’t have to portray such anger about it. Who the heck are you?

    “Think of how good we have it… don’t act like spoiled children. Indeed… you ARE acting like spoiled children.”

    Whoever you are, go f-ck yourself. You’re a spineless coward.

  • I support your efforts to legally mandate airline passenger rights, particularly freedom from prolonged confinement. However, it’s not clear just what I would be supporting if I signed your petition. Does the petition support the principle of an Airline Passenger’s Bill of Rights, or a specific list of demands?

    Chris Jones

  • I support your efforts to legally mandate airline passenger rights, particularly freedom from prolonged confinement. However, it’s not clear just what I would be supporting if I signed your petition. Does the petition support the principle of an Airline Passenger’s Bill of Rights, or a specific list of demands?

    Chris Jones

  • This sitting on the ramp for hours on end is a full crock….whether there’s a gate available or not is irrelevant!!!!!!!…..they have the ability to get near enough and be out of the way long enough to bring some old type hydraulic stairs (used to be called aerostands), unload the passengers and escort them into the terminal. Those stairs are at EVERY airport and are readily available!!!!!! Slower yes but the airlines are flat out lying to the public when they claim they have to be at a gate to offload.

    Respect and courtesy are items in the dim past. I’m glad I no longer fly but still recall 30 years in a type of aviation industry with fondness and we weren’t like today’s system nor like today’s operators.

    Get real!!!! and yes, get some sort of rights for passengers

    Al (Norwalk CA)

  • my disabled fiance was stranded by AA in late Dec. his flight was cancelled due to mechanical problems after the plane sat full of passengers for over 5 hours with no explanation. he was put up in a terrible hotel and given a voucher for $10 for meals. he was forced to take a bus to the hotel, and to retrieve his baggage from claim with no assistance. as i stated, he is DISABLED–meaning he has difficulty walking. after all of this, AA did not provide any compensation to the passengers for the cancellation of the flight. air travel is extremely expensive, and the airlines act as if they are the government when it comes to customer service. we are paying for this. i am glad someone is trying to stand up for consumer rights.


  • I am so thankful to find this site. I too was stranded, in Newark NJ with a 22 month old baby, thanks to CONTINENTAL AIRLINES. Our flight was on July 27 @ 4:30 p.m. nonstop to Phoenix. Our flight boarded @ 4 p.m. and returned to the gate in Newark from the tarmac @ 10:30 p.m. We were instructed to stay in our seats. The flight would be leaving for Phoenix after the plane gets more fuel. My baby was tired and hungry and my intuition told me to deplane. There were still over 70 planes on the tarmac waiting for takeoff.

    When we left the plane I insisted on having my stroller returned to me and the attendant @ the ticket counter refused to release my stroller. My baby was dangling from me half asleep and I was carring other bags. Also I demanded my carseat be released from baggage so I may leave the airport and try my return home the next day. They refused to give me my car seat. After making a scene for about 15 minutes a nice young man from baggage on the catwalk went and found my stroller and carseat for me. Moments later the passengers from the plane started to leave saying the flight has just been cancelled and our luggage would be released in baggage. Went to baggage and turns out that department went home for the night and our bags would not be released. I managed to find someone to come and pick me up at about 12 midnight.

    When I got to a place that I could put my baby to sleep I started phone calls. It was about 2 a.m. For the next 48 hours I was on hold with about 4 different 800 #’s to re schedule my flight and locate my suitcase.

    Since I booked my trip through one of these online travel websites I had a really hard time reticketing. Apparently snce I flew us air to NJ Continental passed the buck to them for me to reschedule my flight. While getting passed around on the 800 # flights were filling up. I was stranded in NJ till monday afternoon.

    Apparently my suitcase was not lost. I knew where it was. Unfortunately having customer service available to get it to me was a bit difficult. After about 12 hours of 800 # calls and being put on hold I decided to get creative.

    973-681-0002. Since that is not their procedure I was hung up on and cursed at a few times but did manage to get some attention purtaining to my lost luggage. It took almost 2 days to get the luggage flown back to Newark from Phoenix and then delivered to me.

    If it was not for the girls at the pageing desk there in the terminal I would have never gotten my issue resolved through the 800 #’s.

    Even though I followed the procedure and filed a lost luggage report and got a tracking # I still could not track my bag. The system was never updated for customer service representitives to assist me with the location. Even through the CONTINENTAL web site lost luggage page I could not retreive my info.

    On July 30 I returned to the airport to try to return home and was delayed 3 hours because of mechanical problems. Then we landed in Tucson for fuel because of weather related problems. We were on the airplane for 2 hours there in Tucson. We arrived about 7 hoiurs late on that flight.

    I called the FAA to file a complaint and there is a certain person that you need to speak with or you will not get ACTION taken.

    If you would like to file a complaint with the FAA:
    FIND OUT WHO THE POI IS (Principal Operations inspector)
    Say you want to FILE A COMPLAINT
    Say you want ACTION TAKEN

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