In case you haven’t heard, Southwest Airlines was overwhelmed by last week’s winter storm because of their outdated technology and preference to make shareholders more comfortable than employees and customers and canceled over 13,000 flights.
I had two friends scheduled to fly Southwest this week. Rob, flying from California, actually arrived but was three hours late. Chris, flying from Milwaukee, gave up and rented a car and drove from Wisconsin to Washington National Airport where his car was parked on Tuesday. I’m glad they both arrived in Virginia…eventually…because we went out for Korean BBQ last night (I had the Korean fried chicken which made us ask, “What makes Korean fried chicken Korean other than it being made by a Korean?” It was very crunchy), but a lot of other people weren’t so lucky. Thousands have been stranded in airports across the nation, with many booking flights on other airlines, renting cars like Chris did, staying in hotels, or sleeping in baggage claim. And if you have to live on airport food for a few days, it’s very expensive.
Southwest’s reputation was built on customer service. Remember the slogan, “You’re now free to move about the country”? Yeah, there wasn’t a lot of moving about the country with Southwest this week. And now Congress is going to investigate which I’m sure they’ll determine this is all the fault of Hunter Biden’s laptop. Dammit, that’s a cartoon.
I actually like Southwest and I try to use them every time I fly, which has been pretty frequent of late because shit keeps happening. I use them because of their low fares and you get to bring two bags for free. Other airlines murder you on baggage fees. Here’s my advice for flying on Frontier Airlines: Don’t.
There are a few issues with Southwest, however. Like, you often fly over your destination to another city for a layover to your destination. When I went to this year’s convention for the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists in October, my destination was Columbus, Ohio. Southwest flew me over Columbus to Chicago and then to Columbus. When I flew to Memphis to see my kid a couple years ago, they flew me over Memphis to Houston and then to Memphis (I went this year too but they didn’t give me the shenanigans this time and my layover both ways was in Chicago). In February, I’m going to Indianapolis and Southwest is going to fly me out of Washington, D.C, then to Providence, then back over Washington to Tampa, and then to Indianapolis. On the way back, They’re flying me to Orlando and then to Washington. It may take you 15 hours for three hours of flying.
Another thing is, Southwest may not fly to where you wanna go. When I went to Las Vegas last February, I had to fly Frontier. Did I already give you my advice for flying Frontier? If you see that Frontier is the cheapest flight, compare it to other airlines AFTER you add in Frontier’s baggage fees. And if it’s just a few bucks more with the other airlines, go with them because Frontier is the suckiest suck that’s ever sucked in the air. When I went to Vegas, my only bag was my backpack and it cost me $60 per flight. That’s ridiculous.
Back to Southwest. Another thing they don’t do is assign seats. You take whatever seat you want that’s available when you enter the plane. You enter after they call you, which they do in groups, A, B, and C, and there are even groups in those groups. You can upgrade so they call you sooner with the A group which means you will have a better choice of seats. But if you refuse to spend the extra money and don’t mind waiting at the gate ten minutes longer, then you have a very good chance of entering last with the rest of the riffraff, you filthy animal. This means you’re probably going to get a middle seat and it might be between two very fat guys who want to spend the entire flight talking about trapezoids.
I’ve given up on getting a decent seat on Southwest, so what I do is just plan to board last. I don’t need the view, I don’t need to be on the aisle, and I don’t need to even be that comfortable. Just get me there. And then, I try to find two skinny people to sit between. On my return from Chicago to Washington, I was in the middle seat in the very last row, but I was between two petite college girls. Score one for Clay. No, I did not hit on them (I know I’m old and that would have grossed them out)…but I had some elbow room.
Another thing about boarding last is that there won’t be much space left in the overhead bins because everyone needs to travel with two bags because most people don’t know how to pack (but when I have two bags, I really really really need two bags). This means you may have to put your backpack on or under your feet. But if you have about $3,500 of tablets and accessories in your backpack, you’re OK with this.
I’m pretty sure all these cancellations will be worked out by the time I have to fly Southwest in February. But I’m still concerned something else will come up…because it’s Southwest. I had to fly Delta to go to my brother’s celebration of life in Monroe, Louisiana because only two airlines fly into Monroe and there are only two gates in that airport. I had to spend much more to fly Delta to get to a shithole (sorry, Monroe, but you suck), but it was a much more comfortable flight. Delta’s seating is better than Southwest’s, and every seat has a TV. Also, Delta charged me $40 for my second bag but gave me a free voucher for one of the flights, so I only paid that fee once.
My last piece of advice is, if you can, take the train.
I drew a New Year cartoon for CNN which you’ll see Sunday. I’ll blog about that when I post it here.
Facebook Suspension Update: There are 15 days left in my Facebook suspension for typing the word “Taliban.” Here’s Quannah’s countdown clock.
Signed prints: The signed prints are just $40.00 each. Every cartoon on this site is available. You can pay through PayPal. If you don’t like PayPal, you can snail mail it to Clay Jones, P.O. Box 3721, Fredericksburg, VA 22402. I can mail the prints directly to you or if you’re purchasing as a gift, directly to the person you’re gifting.
Notes on my book, Tales From The Trumpster Fire: There are 19 copies of my book in stock, which go for $45.00 each, signed. Also, I have copies of my first book from 1997, Knee-Deep in Mississippi available for $20.00.
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Watch me draw:
Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
Southwest, southwest … “still concerned something else will come up…because it’s Southwest.”
Where I live there is one airline, and in fact, only one plane. It comes and goes twice daily, except no flights on Saturdays. On one flight I was the only passenger. That was strange!
One thing of note: The steward or stewardess is the co-pilot. No one ever calls him/her for help. We passengers take care of ourselves…
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Every year from Thanksgiving to New Years … same shit different year (SSDY).