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My American Airlines Nightmare And The Coming Collapse of The Expectation Society
Others Have Written "Everything Is Broken" Screeds But It's Far Worse Than That, The Deus ex Machina Is Crumbling
Everything Modern Is Crumbling In Front of The Eyes of Those Who Have The Grace And Fortune To See It. - The faux philosopher, Me.
It started as a lovely day as my daughter Reagan and I departed for the Richmond, VA airport from the peaceful and secluded Montfair Farm & Resort in Crozet, Virginia. Crozet is in the heart of Virginia’s blossoming wine country, if you haven’t tried Virginia wines lately and if you can find them, do it. We had a relaxing, daddy daughter chat over the next 75 miles. Reagan dropped me off at 7:40am, 14 June, 2022 a date which shall live in infamy. Seeing my baby girl drive off was the last “normal” moment I would have this day. American Airline and the destructive domino effect of the CoronaDoom™ would now takeover.
EVERY “supply chain shortage” you have heard rumors of, is true. Take that and add a shortage of human beings capable and willing to work in the deus ex machina the Great Reset Cabal has engineered for us and the rest of my story might make sense.
07:45 am EDT - The calamity began at TSA “Precheck” because at Richmond this morning there was no “Pre-check” line (you have to go through a rigorous screening and “prove” your identification, be fingerprinted, FBI background checked, pledge your first born’s organs etc to get the “TSA-Pre” certification, the “Pre-fairy” doesn’t deliver it to you), instead there was the regular TSA line which gave us a “BLUE CARD” signifying I was “Pre”, it did me no good. Twenty minutes later and one confiscated, stainless steel corkscrew later, I finally had my backpack returned to me and could proceed.
This is Expectation Crush # 1: TSA Pre is not “pre” anymore.
08:30 am EDT - My flight was scheduled to depart Richmond at 11:14am, at 8:14 I was informed of a “Delay”, a term I would come to curse by day’s end. The first “Delay” moved departure time back 30 minutes. Eh, no biggie, “a Tito’s Bloody Bess (non-catholics say ‘bloody mary’), pancake-keep, now turned bar-keep!”, I joked. I should’ve enjoyed that laugh because I would order 2 more, 1 for each 30 minute additional delay, and then experience the second Expectation Crush.
This is Expectation Crush # 2: Alcohol is recession proof. BUNK. You can’t even rely on booze deliveries or supply now.
09:30 am EDT - “Sir, we are out of Tito’s and I won’t get any til later this week, is — ok, instead?”
“How can you be out of Tito’s, you’re a bar that serves pancakes!?”
“Don’t know, just know we can’t get any til the end of this week.”
10:40 am EDT - “Sir, I need this table for customers who want to dine with us, can I cash you out, now?”
“Gimme one more, then OK” I replied.
11:45 am EDT - Now kicked out of the bar at Richmond for fear I’d become Jack Nicholson and never leave, I received 30 minute delay number 4 from American; my 11:14 departure was now 12:45 and I will officially miss my original connection flight home to New Awlins’. A nearby AA gate agent after failing his first 3 attempts because he didn’t know how to work the software, got me booked on the 4:30 to NOLA. I would never have gotten that booking if AA’s Derius hadn’t intervened to fix the mistake the current agent was making. Even after my new ticket is issued the first agent hands me 2 copies of the same boarding pass, having placed my original boarding pass to Charlotte in the discard pile. After a brief exchange of words then a show of printed, prima facie evidence I get an “oh, my bad…my bad” and get my get out of the Richmond Jail pass returned. I shouldda just quit then, rented a car and started driving south.
This is Expectation Crush # 3: American Airlines has many employees that don’t know how their own software works; were they even trained on it? Why do they wear epaulettes if they haven’t earned them!?
12:15 pm EDT - Delay # 5 is issued.
12:45 pm EDT - Delay # 6 is issued, still no plane that we could fly at the terminal.
1:15 pm EDT - Delay # 7 is issued but a plane soon arrives at the gate, yay! My 11:14 am will now depart at 2:15 pm.
I am standing at the gate awaiting the call to board when an AA pilot saunters up and asks me a question about the flight. 15 minutes later I finally pry out of him that there is indeed a “pilot shortage” but he swears it isn’t fallout from veteran pilots (he is a vet himself) being fired for refusing the FrankenJab™. He is a kind enough soul so I didn’t pursue the argument even though I knew better than he did.
1:35 pm EDT - We are finally called to board flight 1776 to Charlotte and my AA, Expectation Crush nightmare was just beginning.
2:01 pm EDT - I am seated in an exit row, window seat, a gentleman is seated in the aisle. The stewardess announces that the flight “is completely full…the door will be closing in 1 minute so please finish stowing bags and be seated.” Enter the Incredible Bulk. At this moment a 6’2”, 375 lb., 72 inch wide Incredible Bulk of a man makes his way to our row to announce the middle seat “is mine”. After sizing him up my knee-jerk reaction is “no effing way this dude is fitting in this seat”, and he didn’t. At least 6 inches of him is now overflowed onto my left shoulder and forearm, forcing me into being pinned against the fuselage and him. I had to endure this for 55 minutes and my left shoulder is still sore from the pressure he put on it. This man couldn’t move his arms in large enough circles to operate those exit doors and even if he could, he couldn’t turn laterally enough between the seats to do so (MAYBE on a new Airbus 321A…MAYBE).
This is Expectation Crush # 4: With all the “safety” talk bullshit aboard commercial airliners, they don’t REALLY mean it. It’s a bureaucratic formula that is obeyed to create the patina of “safety” and everyone knows it. The CoronaDoom™ mask mandate made heartless enforcers of fake-science out of many of these folks. Why aren’t they policing the Exit Rows with the same ferocity where safety is an actual issue? All Airlines should 1. require weight disclosures for passengers and then require a 2 seat purchase for the Incredible Bulk’s of the world and 3. actually require some kind of physical screening before selling “Exit Row” seating. This scenario was a real world physical hazard to me personally and the other 178 souls on that aircraft should that door be needed in an emergency.
3:05pm EDT - We arrive in Charlotte YAY! I confirm that I need to make my way to Concourse “B” from “C”, fair enough.
This is Expectation Crush # 5 - Bigger airlines and improved air travel have made travel now efficient and economical! Bull-bollocks. Pre 9-11 air travel was a rare, adventurous joy you might enjoy every other year or so. Now it is a mechanized, soulless, dreaded test of men’s custody of eyes (purity & chastity) and everyone’s temperance. The CoronaDoom™ mask mandates, vaxxed deadly pilots and now pilot and crew shortages have only amplified this. When the The US Gubbmint allowed American to swallow the largely regional (think SEC & ACC) U.S. Air (which had previously swallowed the regional America West which then reverse swallowed US Air) creating the “largest airline in the world” and the greatest example of an out of scale industrial entity in the history of the human race. Unnaturally, American now needed a ginormous hub and it chose CLT. The airport was already out of scale and horrifically crowded and just plain cold and mean. Logic minded thinkers and those aware of the After Virtue horror modernity’s “travel industry” had become, knew what was coming. As expected, modernity is delivering souls at the industrial scale the “travel industry” can offer them. Man was never intended to marinate in this, even if it tried. Charity cannot operate in this environment and without Charity there is no civilization. The "Expectation that being “free to move about the country” would bring about happiness and some warped, bizarro “community” is completely crushed.
3:20pm EDT - I even have 40 minutes to kill before boarding and since I am “ever thus the naive” I proceed to The Summer Loft for a glass of Pinot and nice conversation with a couple from “Saint AugusTEEN, Florida”.
This is Expectation Crush # 6: It is pronounced “Saint Augus-TIN” as in “bin” or “sin” yet every human I have ever met mispronounces it. He’s my Confirmation and Patron saint. Austin Texas is named for him and none of the Rainbow Purification League life shortners call it “AusTEEN” Texas!
Now I am having a conversation with the bartender Allie when she asks me “what’s your flight’s time?”.
Well, it’s boarding at 4:08 so I have 40 minutes to kill but don’t you know, I have figured out American’s game: they wit 1-2 minutes before the official boarding time then they drop the ‘updated departure time’, bomb on you…bastards.”
3:58pm EDT - My NOLA flight departure time is “updated” and moved from 4:30 to 5:00 pm. Allie pours another pinot noir.
4:28pm EDT - My NOLA flight departure is now moved to 5:30 pm. Allie pours another pinot noir
4:58 pm EDT - My Nola flight departure is now 6:00 pm but I see action at my gate, B5 (BINGO!) so I pass on my threat to start shooting Bourbon cause its National Bourbon Day.
5:40pm EDT - Me and 179 other souls have boarded the plane for NOLA. Curiously the cabin door is open and Captain and Co-Pilot chairs are both empty.
6:34pm EDT - My iPad flashes a message that I only catch the last word of “cancelled” and sure as Austin is pronounced AusTIN the attendants announce that our flight has been cancelled and we are to “proceed to the AA Customer Service desk next to Gate B8.”
This is Expectation Crush # 7: Surely American Airlines has a contingency plan to deal with cancellation events like this! Bollocks. There are exactly 3 “customer service agents” at the B8 Gate…THREE to handle the needs of agitated, angry passengers who are now basically homeless desperados in what is probably a strange town. This wasn’t the only flight seriously delayed or cancelled this evening either so now the scale of the entire operation comes to bear on the situation. I didn’t even bother to hit the line, instead I phoned Mittus Chur, gave her all my flight info and aa.com login info and she got me rebooked in 5 minutes, thank you Mother Mary. For extra credit, the first thing that goes right the entire day happens: America immediately updates my iPad reservation then offers me a $60 1st class upgrade (as if I should have to pay!) which I grab as the most happily spent $60 fleece in history.
6:50pm EDT - Now that I realize for the first time in 44 years of flying unfriendly skies that I have to stay the night, I try and find some place in CLT to sit and go to hotels.com. When I can’t find a solitary chair anywhere on the promenade I opt for a seat on the “staircase to nowhere” and, using my own hotspot try a connection to hotels.com but because the CLT airport is now crammed full of Matrix-like “bots” doing the exact same thing, I have equivalent of a 9600 baud modem connection. Were it not for my phone miraculously still charged and working, I called Mittus Chur who made the booking at the nearby Comfort Suites.
This is Expectation Crush # 8: “The Service Industry” isn’t about “service”, it’s about “industry”. All hotels near airports these days have the requisite shuttle bus services and food service. When Pigs Fly. When we finally get Comfort on the phone to ask about the shuttle we are surprised to hear “our shuttle bus broke down a week ago and we can’t find anyone to fix it so we don’t have one, maybe forever. But all the cabs know where we are.” After a $15 cab ride (and another $15 the next morning) I arrive to learn that this hotel is what I have come to call a basically industrialized PPSS (pee, poop, sleep, shower). The night attendee is sympathetic to my plight and she is very cordial. She points me “to the Sheraton across the street…you can walk there.”
The walk to the Sheraton is a tree-hugger’s nightmare cause it was never meant to be made by humans, only machines but somehow I survived. The difference between The Sheraton Airport and the Comfort is a fitting end to this PTSD tale. The Sheraton/Marriott Airport was built in 1985 before the age of the industrialized traveler and it shows. The hotel is made to facilitate an ad hoc community with several spacious lounging areas, a large, well-stocked center island restaurant-bar and an atrium devoid of vending machines. This isn’t an ad for the Sheraton hotel its to make the point that as recently as the mid-1980’s “guests” were treated as people. People in need of something more than the PPSS (not that PPSS ain’t important sometimes), some semblance of community.
This is Expectation Crush # 9: Traveling and tourism are fun. Bollocks. They are extensions of this material obsessed, industrialized assault on our humanity. As Irving Babbitt put it in 1924.
[A]n age that is already immersed in things to an exampled degree is merely to prepare the way for an age still more material in its preoccupations and still more subservient to machinery. This, we are told, is progress. To a person with a proportionate view of life it might seem rather to be full-blown commercial insolence. The reasons for the quantitative view of life that prevails in America are far from being purely political. This view has resulted in a large measure from the coming together of scientific discovery with the opening up of a new continent. It has been possible with the aid of science to accomplish in a hundred years what even the optimistic Thomas Jefferson thought might take a thousand. The explanation, it has been said, of much that is obscure to us in the Chinese may be summed up in the words “lack of elbow-room.” We in this country, on the other hand, have received a peculiar psychic twist from the fact that we have had endless elbow-room. A chief danger both to ourselves and others is that we shall continue to have a frontier psychology long after we have ceased to have a frontier. For a frontier psychology is expansive, and expansiveness, I have tried to show, is, at least in its political manifestations, always imperialistic. - Irving Babbitt - Leadership and Democracy
Like Star Trek, our “final frontier” is travel to the material as materials for the material now; whereas the men of Christendom traveled the interior life to a blessed eternity.
If you have to travel, don’t travel great distances. If you still have to travel great distances, distance yourself from the horror airports belonging to soulless airlines have become. And whatever you do, don’t fly American until they are dismantled then you’ll be flying Allegheny.