CHAT Just flew home from Arizona...and it was a very strange experience!

Betty_Rose

Veteran Member
Recently, I flew out to Arizona for a work-related thing, and flew home later that day. It was a 22-hour day from start to finish.

I wanted to give a report of what I experienced.

Our flight departed STL (St. Louis) at 6:10 am (Southwest Airlines). I got to the airport about 90 minutes early, which apparently is no longer necessary! I have a "known traveler ID" so I can go through expedited security at the airport.

That didn't matter either. There were two passengers in line in "Pre-check" lines. TWO.

In the regular security lines, there were maybe five passengers. It was surreal.

Terminal Two (dedicated to Southwest Airlines at STL) was a ghost town. There were more workers at the airport than passengers. It truly was like Zombie Apocalypse. Very eerie.

All the food and snack places were open, but those lines were also very short. Even Starbucks, which typically has a line 15 deep, had only two people waiting for their morning coffee.

I have flown out of this airport probably 25 times in the last ten years, and I have never seen it this deserted. Typically, you have to wait in line for the bathroom, and when you step out of the bathroom, you catch the "tidal wave" of people moving toward their gate. I don't think that I saw 200 passengers in the entire airport, and that was while walking the entire breadth of the thing (which I think has 13 "in use" gates).

There's a rule that you are required to don a face mask when you enter the airport, and you're not to remove until you have LEFT the airport grounds at your final destination. That was the hardest part for me.

Several times, feeling like I could not breathe, I slipped the mask down to my chin and just sat in a corner, facing toward the glass (looking out). Within three hours, my mask was wet and gross. You can't walk 1-2 miles in an airport, and not do a lot of serious breathing.

We boarded the plane on time which was a huge relief. Some large number of flights are just being CANCELED every day now.

Here's where it gets even stranger. My flight time from STL to PHX (Phoenix) was 3:15, and that's gate to gate. The airlines pad these times dramatically, so that they're always "on time."

Pre-Covid, the plane often arrived at the final destination gate up to 30 minutes early, and the pilot would announce, "Look how early we are! We get you there on time!"

Our flight departed STL on time and we touched down 3 hours and 15 minutes later. I knew that we were flying slowly.

My brother was tracking my flight and he told me later that once we reached "cruising altitude" our speed was 439 mph. That's about 80 mph SLOWER than normal. I suspect that they're doing it to save fuel.

On the flight, we were offered only a small cup of water (which had to be requested) and a tiny bag of pretzels. If anyone let their mask slip, there were stern and fast admonitions from the stewardesses.

We flew on a 737-700, which on Southwest Airlines holds 149 people. The flight going out had 41 people on board.

Coming home (Phoenix to St. Louis), we departed on time, and that flight had 28 people on board. The estimated flying time was 2 hours and 45 minutes. We departed on time and touched down 2 hours and 45 minutes later. I suspect that was another "slow" flight.

During the course of the flight, I fell soundly asleep. Before I dozed off, I moved my mask down below my nose (still covering my mouth) because it was filthy by now and I was feeling some real anxiety having that thing over my face for several hours. (I got to the airport three hours early in Phoenix for the convenience of my host.)

While I was in the deepest sleep, the stewardess jabbed me hard with her index finger THREE TIMES in my upper arm. It startled me so badly that I screamed as I awakened, saying, "WHAT? WHAT?"

I thought that the plane was being evacuated. It was very disorienting.

She said that my mask had to cover my full face immediately and was very, very rude about the whole thing.

The second I got off out of that airport, I threw my mask into the garbage.

It was a 1,400-mile trip (one way) and a business thing, and there's no way I could do that by car, but flying just got a whole lot worse. This was my first post-Covid flight, and it was mighty unpleasant.

And there's this: How can the airlines continue to operate, flying 28 people on a jet that holds 149? That can't even cover their fuel costs.

The times, they are a'changing.
 

blackjeep

The end times are here.
Thanks for the report, Betty_Rose.
I used to fly very frequently, but since I retired, I fly to funerals, that's it.
The .gov has made flying such a pain in the butt, I hope I never have to fly again.
 

Freeholder

This too shall pass.
I hate the way masks get wet so quickly. I guess the only thing you could do about that would be to carry a whole package of masks and change them frequently, but what a nuisance.

Kathleen
 

White Sunlight

Senior Member
Sounds like a true horror story. I live just outside of St. Louis too and I do not look forward to flying from our airport. Thanks for all the good details, I learned from your writing.
 

amazon

Senior Member
How in the world are the airlines not filing for bankruptcy?

Could you wear one of these?
 

China Connection

TB Fanatic
Like my first trip to South Korea during the winter there. It as still under military control. I looked out the plane window and there were men dressed up in dark gear with military weapons everywhere. It was dark and wet also. Couldn't see a welcome poster anywhere.

Quite a change from Summer in Australia.
 

et2

Veteran Member
How in the world are the airlines not filing for bankruptcy?

Could you wear one of these?
They are getting closer day by day


More than 80,000 airline workers face furloughs as COVID-19 devastates industry

More than 80,000 airline workers face furloughs as COVID-19 devastates industry
By Kate Gibson August 7, 2020 at 8:29 PM EDT - Updated August 8 at 10:05 AM
(CBS News) - More than 80,000 pilots, flight attendants and other airline workers face unpaid time off and an uncertain future as carriers attempt to navigate catastrophic losses stemming from COVID-19.
Beyond vacationers leery of traveling during a pandemic, major U.S. carriers have lost lucrative business travelers as the coronavirus continues its deadly spread, with a day of reckoning coming for tens of thousands of aviation industry workers in the fall.
As Delta Air Lines’ CEO Ed Bastian declared after the Atlanta-based carrier reported a record adjusted quarterly loss of $2.8 billion last month: “I don’t think we’ll ever get back entirely to where we were in 2019 on the volume of business traffic.”
About 17,000 employees, or 20% of Delta's workforce, left the company last week, either through buyout packages or by taking early retirement, according to the company.
The cutbacks are "a difficult but necessary step towards Delta's transformation into a smaller, more nimble airline that will be better positioned to endure the crisis and recover quickly," Bastian wrote in a memo to employees. "We will be guided in the second half of the year by our goal to eliminate our daily cash burn while improving customer satisfaction and building loyalty that will serve us when demand recovers."
Other carriers, also burning through millions in cash daily, have been notifying employees that furloughs are likely, with October 1 looming as an especially dark day for the industry. That’s in large part because airlines that keep workers on their payroll through September 30 would not have to repay funds they received under the CARES Act, which include nearly $50 billion in support to U.S. airlines.
About 25,000 front-line workers at American Airlines could be furloughed October 1. However, the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier recently reached a deal with its 14,000-member pilots union to offer more leaves and early retirement packages to limit the coming carnage. It’s also extending until August 12 a deadline for other workers to decide whether to take voluntary leave with reduced pay or early retirement.
United Airlines last month warned that almost half of its front-line workforce could be furloughed this fall. The airline's tally of 36,000 workers includes 15,000 flight attendants, 11,000 customer service reps and gate agents, 5,550 maintenance employees and 2,250 pilots.
Such notifications are required under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN Act, and are not unexpected, especially in the current economic climate.
Alaska Airlines told CBS News it's sending notices of potential furloughs to 4,200 front-line employees, but expects the final count to be lower. About a third of Alaska Airlines' 3,100 pilots have opted to take voluntarily leave or early retirement, letting the carrier avoid pilot furloughs for now. Overall, Alaska Airlines plans to shrink its workforce by 35%, but market conditions could change the equation.
“We’re making tough decisions to right-size Alaska Airlines for future success, but it means we’re losing fantastic people. We must furlough some people, and those decisions are very difficult,” an Alaska Airlines spokesperson said.
"We're in the midst of the biggest demand contraction in the history of our industry," Alaska Airlines President Ben Minicucci said on the airline's second quarter earnings call.
Other carrier considering cutbacks include:
  • Frontier Airlines, which has notified 35% of its flight attendants and pilots that they may be furloughed as soon as October, with 925 flight attendants and 559 pilots sent notifications at the end of July.
  • Allegiant Airlines, which plans to cut 220 non-union positions after September 30 and expects to warn 275 pilots, or nearly 30%, that they could be facing unpaid time off.
  • ExpressJet, which is seen as likely to wind down its operations after losing its flying contract with United as of next year. The carrier employs 3,000 people.
  • Hawaiian Airlines, which is warning 2,135 of its employees that they could be furloughed, including 226 of its roughly 850 pilots.
  • PSA Airlines, a subsidiary of American Airlines. PSA may layoff 730 pilots and 500 flight attendants.
  • Piedmont Airlines, which has notified 120 pilots they face furloughs.
  • Republic Airlines, where about 1,800 pilots and flight attendants face furloughs.
  • GoJet, where a spokesman for the regional carrier confirmed to CBS News that warnings were sent to all of its 1,185 employees. “The exact percentage of employees who will ultimately be impacted is based on schedule demand and is unknown at this time. However, we expect our schedule to continue to be significantly reduced,” the GoJet spokesperson said.
While unions are lobbying for an extension of the Payroll Support Program adopted in the CARES Act passed in late March, it's unclear whether Congress will include airlines in the financial support package now being considered.
"Flight attendants and other aviation workers burned up congressional phone lines over the past week to gain support for a clean extension of the Payroll Support Program," Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants, said in an emailed statement.
“This provision is the most successful jobs program of COVID relief and maintains service to all of our communities,” added Nelson, whose union represents nearly 50,000 flight attendants at 19 airlines.
 

Satanta

Stone Cold Crazy
_______________
I did not see anything in your story out of the ordinary or strange given the circumstances.

Maybe you are a heavy sleeper and the Stewdress tried to wake you up verbally or, maybe she is constantly dealing with people wearing their masks incorrectly and is tired of it. Believe in Masks or not you ride the ride you still gotta be 'This Tall' and wear a mask.

I carry extra masks but have never had one get soaking and sloppy even carrying bags of cat litter in the heat and humidity-multiple trips. Try breathing thru your nose maybe?

They usually have rides in the airport-if you are older or heavier or whatever you can request one. I use hem because of the stroke and vision issues-I do not fly a lot but have worn a mask on flights since 2001 with no issues.
 

AlfaMan

Has No Life - Lives on TB
It was two weeks ago so I’m officially out of quarantine!! But I am not worried. After dying and being resuscitated two years ago, I don’t worry too much about the Kung Flu!!
I meant flying and flying southwest! That is one scary airline in my opinion.

All the airlines are bleeding money and doing things as cheaply as possible. Southwest has been cheaping up their operations well before corona hit us though.
 

Satanta

Stone Cold Crazy
_______________
It was two weeks ago so I’m officially out of quarantine!! But I am not worried. After dying and being resuscitated two years ago, I don’t worry too much about the Kung Flu!!
My main concern about the Sweet and Sour Sniffles is it might eventually turn people into slavering, flesh-eating Crazies. Maybe it hides in the Brain and re-emerges.

BTW, according to something I saw a Chinese Whitsleblower has come out and said it was lab-made.

May have had it last January. If I start wanting to eat people I'm going to the local college and hiding in the women's shower room-might as well eat what Ib like.
 

Blacknarwhal

TB Fanatic
The airlines are surviving--just barely--on a combination of union concessions and government bailout money. If something isn't done, soon, they'll likely start further firings, and quite possibly, some outright shutdowns.
 

Mary Contrary

Veteran Member
Recently, I flew out to Arizona for a work-related thing, and flew home later that day. It was a 22-hour day from start to finish.

I wanted to give a report of what I experienced.

Our flight departed STL (St. Louis) at 6:10 am (Southwest Airlines). I got to the airport about 90 minutes early, which apparently is no longer necessary! I have a "known traveler ID" so I can go through expedited security at the airport.

That didn't matter either. There were two passengers in line in "Pre-check" lines. TWO.

In the regular security lines, there were maybe five passengers. It was surreal.

Terminal Two (dedicated to Southwest Airlines at STL) was a ghost town. There were more workers at the airport than passengers. It truly was like Zombie Apocalypse. Very eerie.

All the food and snack places were open, but those lines were also very short. Even Starbucks, which typically has a line 15 deep, had only two people waiting for their morning coffee.

I have flown out of this airport probably 25 times in the last ten years, and I have never seen it this deserted. Typically, you have to wait in line for the bathroom, and when you step out of the bathroom, you catch the "tidal wave" of people moving toward their gate. I don't think that I saw 200 passengers in the entire airport, and that was while walking the entire breadth of the thing (which I think has 13 "in use" gates).

There's a rule that you are required to don a face mask when you enter the airport, and you're not to remove until you have LEFT the airport grounds at your final destination. That was the hardest part for me.

Several times, feeling like I could not breathe, I slipped the mask down to my chin and just sat in a corner, facing toward the glass (looking out). Within three hours, my mask was wet and gross. You can't walk 1-2 miles in an airport, and not do a lot of serious breathing.

We boarded the plane on time which was a huge relief. Some large number of flights are just being CANCELED every day now.

Here's where it gets even stranger. My flight time from STL to PHX (Phoenix) was 3:15, and that's gate to gate. The airlines pad these times dramatically, so that they're always "on time."

Pre-Covid, the plane often arrived at the final destination gate up to 30 minutes early, and the pilot would announce, "Look how early we are! We get you there on time!"

Our flight departed STL on time and we touched down 3 hours and 15 minutes later. I knew that we were flying slowly.

My brother was tracking my flight and he told me later that once we reached "cruising altitude" our speed was 439 mph. That's about 80 mph SLOWER than normal. I suspect that they're doing it to save fuel.

On the flight, we were offered only a small cup of water (which had to be requested) and a tiny bag of pretzels. If anyone let their mask slip, there were stern and fast admonitions from the stewardesses.

We flew on a 737-700, which on Southwest Airlines holds 149 people. The flight going out had 41 people on board.

Coming home (Phoenix to St. Louis), we departed on time, and that flight had 28 people on board. The estimated flying time was 2 hours and 45 minutes. We departed on time and touched down 2 hours and 45 minutes later. I suspect that was another "slow" flight.

During the course of the flight, I fell soundly asleep. Before I dozed off, I moved my mask down below my nose (still covering my mouth) because it was filthy by now and I was feeling some real anxiety having that thing over my face for several hours. (I got to the airport three hours early in Phoenix for the convenience of my host.)

While I was in the deepest sleep, the stewardess jabbed me hard with her index finger THREE TIMES in my upper arm. It startled me so badly that I screamed as I awakened, saying, "WHAT? WHAT?"

I thought that the plane was being evacuated. It was very disorienting.

She said that my mask had to cover my full face immediately and was very, very rude about the whole thing.

The second I got off out of that airport, I threw my mask into the garbage.

It was a 1,400-mile trip (one way) and a business thing, and there's no way I could do that by car, but flying just got a whole lot worse. This was my first post-Covid flight, and it was mighty unpleasant.

And there's this: How can the airlines continue to operate, flying 28 people on a jet that holds 149? That can't even cover their fuel costs.

The times, they are a'changing.
How in the fken world do they expect you to eat the pretzels and drink the water with your mask on??? Total Insanity!!!
 

Safetydude

Contributing Member
I think I said 519. ;)

Pretty close!

Point is, they’re now flying mighty slowly!!
I used to travel on the company’s private fleet of Cessna Citation 10X, talk about spoiled. Pullman, WA to Bogota, Colombia in 3.5 hrs! Fastest we did was .986 mach ground speed (~753 mph) flying at 42000 feet going to Chicago metro area 140 knot jet stream on our tail! TSA and the airlines have made commercial air travel a real pain, I will either take the train or drive anymore unless for a funeral or sudden family illness. Can hardly wait to see when Soros starts flying ANTIFA folks on commercial air! :eek:
 

tm1439m

Veteran Member
For some time after CV19 I noticed the sky's getting clearer much like back after 911. Yesterday I was observing the sky and noticed there were chem-trails everywhere. That makes it look like there are lots of flights to me. Just an observation.

I have been randomly watching the sky since I was a kid flying kites. I would get a kite up and flying then tie it off to a stake in the large field I was in and lay there watching it as the wind changed throughout the day. Being near the eastern shores of Lake Michigan we had days in a row that the wind blew constantly toward the east. I would leave the kite flying for many days in a row. One thing I noticed back in those days was how deep blue the sky was less any cloud cover. Also the clouds were generally defined by their edges and the blue was so rich and deep. Then as I got older the sky's became grey behind the clouds and the edges of the clouds seem more hazy. The olny time the sky's have went back to the rich blue of my childhood memories (which I was beginning to think were just my imagination) was after 911 when the planes were grounded. You can bet when the airlines stop running the sky's will be blue again. I wish they would all go bankrupt and the airline industry would shut down.
 

Melodi

Disaster Cat
I have a hunch that as a short-term measure, there may need to be a return to the old-fashioned idea of some government support for at least a national airline or sorts.

That was done in the early days of aviation and it continued in many countries until fairly recently - this time though I wouldn't think it would need to be permanent and it should be above board.

I don't think this is a "great" solution, but just totally shutting down aviation isn't either; at the very least cargo and supply carriers have to keep operating and the US is simply too big to operate on ground transport alone.

That could be changed if/when a real high-speed rail system is put in place, but again that almost certainly take tax-payer investment and that should be balanced with: "if the taxpayers pay for part of it, then they get benefits directly from it - it isn't your predatory/pretend capitalist monopoly masquerading as a 'self-made' corporation that charges what they want because there is no other option."
 

abby normal

insert appropriate adjective here
How in the fken world do they expect you to eat the pretzels and drink the water with your mask on??? Total Insanity!!!
Man Uses Can Of Pringles Chips To Avoid Mask Requirement On Four Hour Flight
 

Laurane

Canadian Loonie
Like my first trip to South Korea during the winter there. It as still under military control. I looked out the plane window and there were men dressed up in dark gear with military weapons everywhere. It was dark and wet also. Couldn't see a welcome poster anywhere.

Quite a change from Summer in Australia.
Same thing for us flying into Seoul S.Korea on way to Australia about 15 years ago...... we deplaned, were marched to the end of the airport, up the stairs and back again, just to let the cleaning staff have time to spray the plane. All the water fountains were closed with signs saying "water not drinkable", so by the time we were back in our seats we were all thirsty, but had to wait till back in the air. No food available in that airport. Lots of unsmiling soldiers with big guns protecting who knows what!
 

waterdog

Contributing Member
Last time I flew the stewardess asked us to vote on whether it would be a smoking or non smoking flight,we won. I got to smoke all the way there. Ain't democracy grand? Heh Heh the stewardess lit my cigarette for me. That was when the stews wore hot pants , go go boots and were all young and pretty. Sigh for the old days!
 

Housecarl

On TB every waking moment
Recently, I flew out to Arizona for a work-related thing, and flew home later that day. It was a 22-hour day from start to finish.

I wanted to give a report of what I experienced.

Our flight departed STL (St. Louis) at 6:10 am (Southwest Airlines). I got to the airport about 90 minutes early, which apparently is no longer necessary! I have a "known traveler ID" so I can go through expedited security at the airport.

That didn't matter either. There were two passengers in line in "Pre-check" lines. TWO.

In the regular security lines, there were maybe five passengers. It was surreal.

Terminal Two (dedicated to Southwest Airlines at STL) was a ghost town. There were more workers at the airport than passengers. It truly was like Zombie Apocalypse. Very eerie.

All the food and snack places were open, but those lines were also very short. Even Starbucks, which typically has a line 15 deep, had only two people waiting for their morning coffee.

I have flown out of this airport probably 25 times in the last ten years, and I have never seen it this deserted. Typically, you have to wait in line for the bathroom, and when you step out of the bathroom, you catch the "tidal wave" of people moving toward their gate. I don't think that I saw 200 passengers in the entire airport, and that was while walking the entire breadth of the thing (which I think has 13 "in use" gates).

There's a rule that you are required to don a face mask when you enter the airport, and you're not to remove until you have LEFT the airport grounds at your final destination. That was the hardest part for me.

Several times, feeling like I could not breathe, I slipped the mask down to my chin and just sat in a corner, facing toward the glass (looking out). Within three hours, my mask was wet and gross. You can't walk 1-2 miles in an airport, and not do a lot of serious breathing.

We boarded the plane on time which was a huge relief. Some large number of flights are just being CANCELED every day now.

Here's where it gets even stranger. My flight time from STL to PHX (Phoenix) was 3:15, and that's gate to gate. The airlines pad these times dramatically, so that they're always "on time."

Pre-Covid, the plane often arrived at the final destination gate up to 30 minutes early, and the pilot would announce, "Look how early we are! We get you there on time!"

Our flight departed STL on time and we touched down 3 hours and 15 minutes later. I knew that we were flying slowly.

My brother was tracking my flight and he told me later that once we reached "cruising altitude" our speed was 439 mph. That's about 80 mph SLOWER than normal. I suspect that they're doing it to save fuel.

On the flight, we were offered only a small cup of water (which had to be requested) and a tiny bag of pretzels. If anyone let their mask slip, there were stern and fast admonitions from the stewardesses.

We flew on a 737-700, which on Southwest Airlines holds 149 people. The flight going out had 41 people on board.

Coming home (Phoenix to St. Louis), we departed on time, and that flight had 28 people on board. The estimated flying time was 2 hours and 45 minutes. We departed on time and touched down 2 hours and 45 minutes later. I suspect that was another "slow" flight.

During the course of the flight, I fell soundly asleep. Before I dozed off, I moved my mask down below my nose (still covering my mouth) because it was filthy by now and I was feeling some real anxiety having that thing over my face for several hours. (I got to the airport three hours early in Phoenix for the convenience of my host.)

While I was in the deepest sleep, the stewardess jabbed me hard with her index finger THREE TIMES in my upper arm. It startled me so badly that I screamed as I awakened, saying, "WHAT? WHAT?"

I thought that the plane was being evacuated. It was very disorienting.

She said that my mask had to cover my full face immediately and was very, very rude about the whole thing.

The second I got off out of that airport, I threw my mask into the garbage.

It was a 1,400-mile trip (one way) and a business thing, and there's no way I could do that by car, but flying just got a whole lot worse. This was my first post-Covid flight, and it was mighty unpleasant.

And there's this: How can the airlines continue to operate, flying 28 people on a jet that holds 149? That can't even cover their fuel costs.

The times, they are a'changing.
That's just it, the airlines, and the support infrastructure for it, can't function like that and keep anything near their daily load capacity. One big impact of this will be the shrinkage of the Civil Reserve Fleet, the US back up airlift capacity.
 

Dafodil

Veteran Member
The airlines are surviving--just barely--on a combination of union concessions and government bailout money. If something isn't done, soon, they'll likely start further firings, and quite possibly, some outright shutdowns.
Of course, they are since my son finally graduates his " Pro-Pilot" studies at his college! I swear the pro-pilot program is more expensive than med-school!
 

Dafodil

Veteran Member
Man Uses Can Of Pringles Chips To Avoid Mask Requirement On Four Hour Flight
I'm sorry, for the passenger next to him. Can you imagine watching someone eat a chip for 2.5 minutes? That would drive me INSANE!
 

Blacknarwhal

TB Fanatic
Of course, they are since my son finally graduates his " Pro-Pilot" studies at his college! I swear the pro-pilot program is more expensive than med-school!
Sure it is. Pilotage is a complex position. Takes a lot of study.

And with so few traveling, there's a lot less call for pilots.
 

Blacknarwhal

TB Fanatic
Man Uses Can Of Pringles Chips To Avoid Mask Requirement On Four Hour Flight
Someone's a Dilbert reader, I see.

 
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