This will be bad news to Expedia Victim – a nice guy who follows me on Twitter. He’s apparently had a bad time with Expedia and I’m very sorry about that. I’d love to commiserate with him, but the problem is, Expedia has been very, very good to me. Whatever gearhead wrote the logic for their site understood me. I can always find what I want and if I go away and come back another day, I can find it again. Buying stuff is easy. I understand what the word “non-refundable” means. They send me nice emails, but don’t bother me with spam. We have a great relationship. From time to time friends and family convince me to go check out the latest, the greatest or the cheapest, but I always end up back at Expedia. I don’t like bidding, and I don’t like playing hide and seek, but I like cheap prices, easy.
I don’t feel the same way about American Airlines. To me, American is sort of the bully of the airport, because I can’t go from A to B without having to deal with them – but I didn’t always feel that way.
WHY I USED TO LOVE AMERICAN AIRLINES, BUT DON’T NOW
As a Dallasite, who’s lived here since the days Love Field was THE airport, I grew up thinking all planes had either Southwest or Braniff on the side. Nonetheless, we were all very excited when DFW was built and American Airlines came to town. Then I started flying on American, but soon I felt that ‘doing what they did best’ meant making my travel experience as miserable as possible. They gave me rotten seats, lost my luggage and made me late – a lot. They probably don’t care, because I’ve never racked up enough frequent flyer miles to matter to them, but when I do fly, I hate it when the only reasonable way to get where I’m going is on an American flight.
FROM CALIFORNIA’S CENTRAL COAST TO DALLAS AND BACK
I won’t pretend American is the only airlines that knows how to ruin an itinerary, but I was living on the Central Coast of California when I decided American was a bully. A teeny tiny little airline started a route between Love Field and LAX. I had to drive four hours to get to LAX, but I’d do it to fly Legend Airlines, because Legend was the only airline flying into Love Field (besides Southwest, which is not part of this story). My elderly parents were scared to death of DFW. Whether they were flying to me, putting my little sister on a plane or coming to pick me up, they felt at home at Love Field.
Legend did a lot of things right, but their schtick was flying planes small enough to bypass the Wright Amendment. However, teeny tiny little Legend bugged great big American. It’s not like Legend was going to put American out of business or anything. Still, American hammered them in the courtrooms of America. As soon as one judge upheld Legend’s right to fly, American would go file another case. Then American reconfigured a fleet of planes so they could fly out of Love Field, too, and set off a price war in which no teeny tiny airline could compete. But did the giant go after Legend so American could serve passengers who wanted to fly out of Love? No – when American won it shut down its Love Field operations.
That’s when I began going out of my way to avoid flying American and that’s why I’m cheering for Expedia. American may not remember Legend Airlines, but I do. Do you?
UPDATE: January 1, 2015 – A lot has changed since 2011. The Wright Amendment has expired, American Airlines made up with Expedia and Southwest Airlines can fly anywhere it wants to. Some things haven’t changed. I still avoid American Airlines and I still love Expedia, but I also love Trip Advisor these days.