I have lived in the Falls since 1968. My great-great grandfather was one of the village founders. I have served the community in multiple ways: Firefighter, various boards and commissions and for many years was president of the Falls Cable Access Corp. Currently I own, and am active in, a restaurant equipment manufacturing company.
Over the past several months I have watched the gradual decline of my favorite airline, Midwest Express.
Following its name change to Midwest Airlines, the company rentlessly terminated its pilots and outsourced piloting to Republic. They reduced other services as well.
More cuts followed, and Midwest became a shadow of its former self.
Last week I had the opportunity to sample Midwest service for a mini winter getaway. We arrived at Mitchell Field at 5:00 a.m. for a 7 o'clock flight to Seattle.
We stood in line for two hours just to check in our bags. There were over 600 people in line in the Midwest line and about half as many waiting at the curbside check -in. There were no lengthly lines at other airlines desks. Midwest was horribly understaffed.
We chose to wait inside - it was warmer there. By 7 a.m. our bag was checked ($20 please( and we were finally released to the tender mercies of TSA.
Did I mention that emotions were at an extreme high following the check-in process which was totally disorganized. Help from Midwest employees directing and organizing the lines was non- existant.
The TSA people were aware of the travelers' frustrations and did their best to move us quickly to the gates.
Thank you very much!
By 7:00 we arrived at our gate for the first leg of the flight which would take us to Kansas City. We saw that our 7 AM flight time had been changed. It was delayed for over an hour. Soon came the announcement that unfortunate travelers going to connecting destinations would be bumped from this flight. (The new owner, Republic, has a policy of never holding delayed flights to accomodate those travelers.)
A cheerful voice speaking on the PA announced that we should go down to the check-in desk to make rebooking arrangements. " The big line is gone and there are no more waiting."
Two hours an 20 minutes later - after standing in the rebooking line - we had a new way to get to Seattle.
The next obstacle was to get to O'hare where we had been rebooked on to a flight from American Airlines. Midwest hired a car for us and we were driven to Chicago. We arrived there somewhere around noon. (We should have been only an hour away from landing in Seattle by that time.)
The American people were very gracioius to accept our flight which had been handed over from Midwest. They couldn't have been more gracious about it.
Our next delay was built-in because the plane wasn't scheduled to leave until 8:30 p.m. We ate a leisurely lunch and waited. And waited. And waited.
Finally our departure was at hand. We were ready to go,seated in the plane, when s*** happened. A couple from New York had smuggled a little dog onto the plane. The cabin attendant caught them and after much ado they were expelled from the flight.
OK No problem. Let's get moving.
But, the Captain announced that in the quest for safety, baggage belonging to other couple needed to be removed from the cargo hold. The ground crew would sort through their bags as quickly as they could.
We finally took off around 11:00 p.m Central time.
We arrived at our destination 16 hours after originally scheduled time. We had already been awake for 22 hours. And yet to come was another 2-1/2 hour car ride until we could hit the bed.
A wonderful three days followed and it became time to leave for home. The Midwest flight from Seattle to Milwaukee was a mere 1/2 hour behind schedule and the rest of the flight was uneventful.
At the flight's end we were looking forward to the freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies that are Midwest's signature Best Care In the Air.
The cookies arrived and were served directly from the refrigerator. Stale! Ice cold!
Close the coffin!