Even Airline CEOs have Problems with Airlines

It’s not just you. Even the top executives of airlines know how bad flights can be because bad stuff happens to them too. Their own airlines sometimes lose their luggage or delay their flights and we have some recent examples.

Alaska CEO and the Lost Bag

According to the Los Angeles Times, Alaska Airlines CEO Bradley Tilden noted his bag was lost as he traveled  on Alaska to Washington, D.C. – for an airline conference. Kudos to him for making the painful admission publicly and there is a bit of a silver lining because Alaska is the only airline to offer a checked-bag guarantee. If bags do not show up on the carousel 20 minutes after landing, the bag’s owner gets compensated with a $25 credit for future flights or 2,500 miles.

United CEO has a “Doozy” of a Flight

The Chicago Tribune described the recent travels of United’s new CEO Oscar Munoz as a ‘doozy’ of a flight. More color from Aviation Pros:

Two people were denied boarding because the flight was overbooked. The plane was delayed on the tarmac for about a half hour, only to experience further delays upon landing because an airport gate wasn’t ready. Then he had what seemed like a ‘five-hour wait for my luggage to get there’.”

Sound familiar? Munoz said he’s paying close attention to complaints from both passengers and United employees, but he’s also said this is a marathon and what’s wrong with the airline will not be fixed in a day.

Problems for Travel Experts

No, it’s not just you. Travel expert and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney runs into problems from time to time including damaged baggage and cancelled flights. Bloggers are not immune either; yours truly has lost luggage, watched flights get delayed then cancelled, plus has received hands-on security pat-downs in five different countries [no, I don’t know why].

But are Airlines Improving?

There are important indications that air travel, while not perfect, is improving – at least according to the latest Department of Transportation figures for July 2015.

  • On-time performance: The nation’s largest airlines posted an on-time arrival rate of 78% in July, an improvement over June, and an improvement over July 2014.
  • Lost bags: In July, there were 3.22 reports of ‘mishandled bags’ per 1,000 passengers, which was down from June and down from July 2014.

Bottom line: Stuff still happens whether you’re a CEO or an average passenger but lately it seems, not quite as often as it used to.

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Updated: October 5, 2015