I heard speculation this morning about the United States getting back to work, and it was suggested that the industry that will have the toughest time recovering is the airline industry. I agree with this conclusion but think a lot of the problems with this business began before we started social distancing. I have been down on certain airlines, American is one of them, for a long time. Ruth & I choose Alaska when we can and have occasion to fly. Southwest is in the middle.
I must admit that I wanted to believe the story about American Airlines that I heard recently. An anonymous source reported in Mother Jones that American Airlines flight attendants on March 24, 2020, had only 11 people on their flight and forced them to sit together in the back of the plane because they had bought basic economy fares. The last time Ruth and I flew American, which was in late-November 2019, we flew basic economy. We were in Group 7, the last to board, and could not sit together because we were assigned middle seats near the back of the plane.
The New York Times last Sunday had an article which suggested that airline ticketing policies might get more flexible as a result of the pandemic when things get back to normal. We had no trouble cancelling 2 flying trips when coronavirus struck and got full refunds. We even got our frequent flyer miles back. Others, we have heard, have not been so lucky. The NYT article said that American Airlines policy is, “For flights purchased before March 1 for travel through May 31, travelers can rebook without change fees”. The brief NYT entry on Sunday became a bit complicated, “American will refund a non-refundable ticket if it cancels a flight and the schedule change is 61 minutes or more….”
On April 2, Ben Lucky said about the Mother Jones article that “something about this story doesn’t add up”. I agree with Ben for several reasons. First, I do not trust anonymous sources. Second, as Ben says, “The American flight attendant allegedly claimed ‘we can’t put them further up in the cabin, because that would be an upgrade’, and that’s simply false”. He gives 3 more reason for skepticism on “ONE MILE AT A TIME: tips, tricks, and travel with Lucky” on the internet.
Next, I found a Business Insider report on news media “Trust Levels of News Sources by Ideological Group”. Media sources were ranked from Consistently liberal to Consistently conservative and judged to be “More trusted than distrusted, About equally trusted as distrusted, or More distrusted than trusted”. Pamela Engel said, “These are the most and least trusted news outlets in America”. The Economist, a publication I often read, was #1, The New York Times was #13, Mother Jones was #22, and BuzzFeed was in last place. I had never been on BuzzFeed so checked it out and quickly learned how to make an Easter bunny and where everyone ended up on Modern Family after 11 seasons. I quit after I read a 16 word answer to the question, “Will I get a check from the US Government, and How?”