Archive for April, 2008

It’s 2008 and Airlines still don’t get it. In this world of technology where I can buy stocks at the click of a mouse, transfer money from one bank to another in seconds, and get a meat lover’s pizza from Papa John’s delivered without talking to somebody, I can’t check in for my flight online.

I’m heading to New York tomorrow bright and early (7:45am flight) to visit our other office and train on a new tool. Booked through our internal service and got my Alaska Airlines record locator. For those that don’t fly Alaska, they have a ton of partner airlines with which they code share. Code sharing, how I understand it, is talking about the same flight but giving it flight numbers according to the booking airline. This particular flight, although marked as Alaska, is being operated by their partner airline American Airlines.  Okay, whatever works for them.

Just like every day before a flight, I wake up (in this case early) to check in online. I absolutely hate waiting at airports. Imagine being in a line to ask for something where you know that 80% of the people in front of you have a problem. How nice do you think the CS is going to be? that’s why I love the internet and the ability to complete transactions without the complication of making things personal. Unless you are on a code share. I have 2 record locators, one for each airline, and I can’t check in online. I can’t even check in on the phone, which I learned after talking to both airlines. What’s my resolution? I have to get to the airport even earlier to check in for a flight that I woke up for this morning.

I can already see what will happen with this. I have an exit row seat booked through Alaska, and if American tries to put me somewhere else I’m going to flip out. I have such a short temper for issues where I deem the situation to be simple. I book a seat on a flight, you give me a seat on a flight. One too many times I’ve arrived at the airport and had my seat changed (or gone missing) because of their overbooking ways. Then it’s “oh we have an aisle seat near the back that is open” or “we can get you on another flight but it’s not direct and leaves 3 hours later” conversations.

What confuses me is why I can’t check in even though I have a record locator for both airlines. More importantly, the CS just nonchalantly says I can only check in at the counter. What magical button do they have at the airline counter and why isn’t that made available to online users. Have they forgotten the fundementals of doing business online? The consumer is saving them money by not having to interact with somebody. Lines at the counter are kept to a minimum, which improves support time, which helps with customer satisfaction, which leads to repeat customers. Really, is it that hard? Give me the ability to save you money while you continue to jack up prices on me. I’m begging you to let me make you money!

I hope I’m just being pessimistic about the situation and the truth ends up being a smooth transaction with limited hassle. But my recent bouts with airlines and travel have not been good lately. I ranted about these before, although my posts were lost during a reinstall of wordpress. They were real gems I tell ya…

Hello World, It’s Me Margaret

Posted: April 9, 2008 in life
Tags: ,

Congrats to one of my best friends Rob on having his baby girl. Margaret “Maggie” Linda Paschal was born April 8th, weighing in at 8 pounds 7 ounces. She has a website – maggiepaschal.com where I have no doubt will be filled with pictures, videos, and whatever else Rob and Carrie have time for. I know one thing she’s got going for her already – she’s better looking than her Dad!

Best wishes from the Left Coast Shaffers!

You know, I really hate when wealthy people want to make fiscal decisions. Obama spoke in an interview with CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo on Monday and declared that he is in favor on increasing capital gains tax. Currently the tax is at 15%, but he spoke about increasing the tax nearly twice as much to the levels under the old Clinton. Those levels were 28%.

MoneyNews reported on this issue and already critics intelligent people are speaking out. Barrack is also talking about getting rid of the Bush tax cuts that are set to expire in 2010.

If I could go off on a rant here… What in the current economic condition screams more taxation? I mean, the market has tumbled over the past 5 months, the mortgage industry has been crushed, and the ripple effect on financial companies and investors is still rocking our pockets.

Taxing a voluntary investment for retirement is counterintuitive. On one hand you have the powdered wigs talking about needing to improve individual savings and providing for retirement. On the other you have them pushing taxes upon taxes on top of these economy building and sustaining tactics. Like this won’t impact savings or the stock market. C’mon man, think about it. I’m already hesistant to buy/sell stocks because of the current rate. What do you think will happen to other concerned and everyday investors when these rates double?

Obama wants to take the money that would be earned from these tax increases and bail out the Federal Treasury. Wow, great idea. Push the buck onto a portion of society that has probably the least amount of use for most of the overspending that has occurred over the past 30 years. He’d also use the money to promote scientific research and green energy. Like there will be any money left after bailing out the Fed, aka bailing out the overspending Congress.

He then goes on to say that the money will be used to “give some relief to middle class and working class families who have been driving this economy as consumers but have been doing it through credit cards and home equity loans. They’re not going to be able to do that.” Hello! Nobody is forcing these people into overspending, buying useless items, and getting into oversized and overpriced homes. How come you want to bail out consumers in debt, but you aren’t looking to cut the fat that you and the rest of the political cronies injected into our society. I’m middle class, and these taxes are going to hurt me, not help. You (politicians) continually talk about making policies that help the middle class, but they never do – you just shift the lines of the middle.

Yeah, the war in Iraq et al cost money and raised our deficit but remember this – we owed money before this war, and if past US leaders had made a stand years ago, this situation may not have occurred.