U.S. Open

Pinehurst Resort & Country Club (Course No. 2)

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Travel Woes

December 22, 2007

Reader Dave Ebmeyer from Marysville, Michigan, is a cynical man. In his darkness, he's cried out to us:

Last month I took a trip to Southern California to play golf. I arrived at LAX around 10:30 PM on a Monday night and I went to go get my golf clubs and suitcase at the baggage claim. As I was walking to the baggage claim I noticed a man opening my golf bag and loading my golf bag onto a cart and start to walk away with it. I ran him down got in his face and asked him where he was going with my golf clubs. He then stated that the bag looked just like his. I then stated that they were my clubs and pointed to the name tag on the bag. The guy give me a disapointed look and I picked up the bag and walked of. On the bus ride to the rental car place I was thinking he was bummed out he could not sell the Hi-BoreXL Driver , 3 wood, X18 irons, Big Bertha Steelhead Plus 5 wood, or Cleveland wedges on EBAY. I am sure it was the same kind of thief that stole Morgan Pressel's clubs from baggage claim at the Flort Lauderdale airport. I know that there are plenty of delays at airports but it is unreal how someone could just walk in take your suitcase or your golf clubs and just walk out the door. Something needs to be done .

Dave, I was about to write that you need some time off, that you need to stop traveling and chill. Though we've got several letters of late about travel--must be the time of year--I thought you had gone overboard without your boarding pass.

Then I read a front-page story by Jeff Bailey in today's New York Times about the complaints of airline employeesand I thought, you know, maybe that Dave has a point. Here's an excerpt concerning US Airways:

The current US Airways is a result of the most recent big airline merger, with America West Airlines in 2005. [CEO W. Douglas] Parker tried unsuccessfully to acquire Delta Air Lines a year ago. Now, other airlines are mulling mergers as a way of cutting costs to offset high fuel expenses. Such deals could start a broader service decline. In recent months, US Airways had the worst record for on-time flights and misplaced bags among the major airlines and it piled up the most customer complaints at the Transportation Department.

"How long do you think the airline will be around the way it's running right now?" a US Airways worker wrote Mr. Parker in July.

At least Parker is listening. Not sure the next CEO to do a merger like this will bother. If you read the story--about filthy planes, late planes, reservations system that don't work--you'll understand why watching your bags at the carousel might be a low priority and could become an even lower one.

Happy trails.

--Bob Carney