history repeats – just like before

Oh how the woe continues to flow. And you’d think there was no such thing as corporate PR. We said last August that when brands don’t pay attention, bad things happen. Delays during flight are part of the package. Multi-hour delays while you’re leisurely parked with a full load of frantic passengers continues to amaze.

Imagine finding yourself in the headlines, spotlighted like an upcoming episode of “Lost”. As in, “Starving Passengers Rationed Pringles.” And only one passenger suffers a panic attack? That just has to have major buzz kill written all over it.

Virgin America joins the ranks of Continental, Northwest and, probably not so ironically, Jet Blue in being made to sit in the corner reserved for we’re going to keep doing this in front of national broadcast audiences until we finally, someday, maybe, by God’s grace, get it right.

At some point in time, someone, somewhere, will wake up and realize that parked on a runway doesn’t automatically mean helpless. Call in that Domino’s Delivers two fer order for 120. Take up the collection for an app-discovered taxi commando who wouldn’t mind cruising through Mickey D’s to pick up quarter-pounder combos for 80. Nobody’s going anywhere anyway. How. Hard. Could. It. Be.

Once again, Southwest has the model. Just look. This time, in a major “lessons learned Bob’s your uncle,” moment Jet Blue stepped in as Virgin’s savior. Jet Blue! The same Jet Blue that famously found themselves in dire straights several years ago, and then apparently having said to themselves in a moment of rare corporate candor, “Why hell yes! Hell yes we can! We’re better than that!”

So we say attaboy, Jet Blue! Virgin America? Are you stupid? Props for afterwards immediately volunteering refunds, but on the heels of rationed Pringles and because anyone (“civilians”, I think the term is) trying to help in an ad hoc way was flailed with the full TSA cat-o-nine tails, nothing but scorn and shame. Shame!

I say all these things with the full realization that, if my luck holds, I’ll not have to fly again. That wish is probably a little unrealistic, but the desire is anything but fervent. Gone, long gone, are the days when I found myself at a newly opened DFW for a connection that was missed. Then – then – Delta, that time, provided bus transport, a comfortable room, two meal vouchers, and profuse apologies.