Click on the photo above and you will understand why so many airlines are unprofitable. You will also understand why their brands alone no longer permit raising prices.
Consumers' experiences with airline travel suck and paying higher fares delivers no added experiential value. This is one reason why Eclipse Aviation stockholders hope legacy airline executives never realize they could inexpensively solve many of their problems by just improving their experience from curb to curb.
Flights were delayed due to area thunderstorms. No surprise there. It's June and it's Chicago!
Our MD80 aircraft (built for short and slender travelers) was only about 75 minutes late after its 4 hour trip from San Francisco. But, at least the plane was crowded and the seat in front of me was broken and stuck in the full reclining position. I've now seen dandruff up close and personal. It's a terrible affliction.
After landing and while taxiing to our gate, a flight attendant (the one who was more concerned about my notebook computer residing in the seat back pocket than with the broken and perpetually reclining seat inhibiting a speedy exit in case of an emergency evacuation) announced that our bags could be claimed (I know she meant, "re-claimed") at Claim Area 9.
Claim Area 9 looked more like the aftermath of a sold out Cubs game than a baggage re-claim area. There were more people waiting for their bags than attended my high school.
Rather than pushing and shoving my way to the conveyor belt, which was sport of choice, I visited the over-sized baggage claim next to Claim Area 7 to re-claim my golf clubs. The over-sized claim area was empty, but I noticed several golf bags, (mine included) on the Area 7 belt. All the other bags from our flight were also at Claim Area 7, but their owners were still pushing and shoving for position over on 9. I didn't want to disturb them.
It is not pretty when a long heavy golf bag is placed on a narrow belt that travels in the shape of the letter, 'M.' Picture a big executive motor coach trying to navigate the curvy part of San Francisco's Lombard Street. The golf bags got sideways,stopping all the other bags which then started falling off the belt into incredibly haphazard piles. It was not pretty.
Two AA employees were positioned behind a counter (for protection) at the far end of the baggage claim hall, but they thought broken golf clubs and mounds of heavy bags were part of the AA experience. You could have paraded an elephant through baggage claim and these employees would not notice or care. All they wanted was for their shift to end.
After nearly an hour, I re-claimed my bags and left the airport looking forward to not having to return for nearly two weeks.