United: The gang that can’t shoot straight

To say that Jeff Smisek’s tenure as CEO of the combined United/Continental airlines has been dismal is probably something of an understatement at this point. In so many ways, he’s taken two airlines that were better separately and made the combined entity worse. Much worse.

So the reporting of ongoing failures is hardly surprising. But in some ways, this tweet from @United sort of summed up the current degree of FAIL at the airline:

UnitedCLE

United Twitter promotion gets a couple of things wrong

So, there are a couple of problems here.

1) Note the team logo. That’s not the logo of the “home team” — that’s the logo of the Washington Nationals. There IS a United hub in Washington, but that’s not what this tweet was supposed to be about.

2) Cleveland was a Continental hub, but was the perfect candidate for the chopping block when the merger was announced, and is in the process of being de-hubbed. So people there are probably not that enthusiastic about the “home team” airline that can’t even get the team’s logo right.

Some nights, one just is not meant to get to Tulsa

Several weeks ago, I had a flight to Tulsa cancel on me about an hour before departure, due to an odd combination of weather and runway construction at the Tulsa airport.

I tried to get on a later flight (full, unfortunately), and ultimately wound up not going (flights with available seats the next day would not have gotten me to the funeral I wanted to get to).

Interestingly, the flight I tried to get on later that night wound up going out late, then diverting overnight to DFW (nearly two hours after leaving IAH). I suspect this was also due to weather conditions at Tulsa and the runway contruction project, although it could also have been for mechanical reasons. Here are a couple of screenshots I grabbed from tracking that flight:

Screenshot_2014-02-01-12-50-58 Screenshot_2014-02-01-12-53-31

What is interesting about this is that apparently the next day’s DFW-TUL flight was created as a bookable flight on United.com. As I was playing around with the United website, that DFW-TUL flight was coming up as a flight I could purchase, and as a flight I could redeem award miles for. Ultimately, it wound up going out too late the next day for me to have made the funeral, but that was once looking like an interesting option had I been able to get myself to DFW early in the day (until its departure time slipped).

Regardless, I found it interesting that the continuation (DFW-TUL) turned out to be bookable.

Scott Chaffin, RIP

News came today that my friend Scott Chaffin had passed, another victim of that damn lung cancer.

Scott Chaffin (photo courtesy of a Facebook friend of his)

Scott Chaffin (photo courtesy of a FB friend of his)

Like a bunch of people, I first ran across Scott via his awesome blog, The Fat Guy.

We became real-life friends in not much time at all. Scott was one of those guys who managed to cheer up everything and everyone when he turned up, and despite being the guy responsible for that, making YOU feel like the most important person in the room.

More than that, he was just a character, in the best sense of the word — and a well-read, fellow Cowboys fan with a great ear for Texas music and a love of tech geekery.

I have no idea why he took such a liking to me, but like so many of his friends, I was much the better for it. I am really going to miss him.

Confusion about who is paying the bills

Various media in Houston report that the Houston Housing Authority has implemented a new smoke-free policy in the public housing it oversees.

At least one resident of the public housing is upset (and a little confused):

“That’s not good, that’s not good at all,” said Georgiane Daniels. “You have lost your freedom. You pay the bills you should be able to do what you want.”

Umm, yes, but when someone else helps pay the bills for the public housing, then sometimes that generosity comes with strings.

A strange “gotcha” from Mitchell Schnurman

This is a strange twitter “gotcha” from Mitchell Schnurman, a columnist for the Dallas Morning News:

Of course, Obamacare represents interference with markets, large government (not small), and patronage (the “Navigator” program is not subject to much in the way of oversight, or even much in the way of minimal qualifications for the job — in other words, it’s a great way to provide jobs to those who support the President and his party, Chicago-machine-style).

Texas conservatives looking to provide SOME guidance as to what qualifications/training a “navigator” should possess have not exactly become anti-market, big-government zealots — and Schnurman’s insinuation that they are being hypocritical or contradictory is just silly.

Of course, Schnurman has a history of being silly (perhaps even biased) when it comes to politics (scroll down to “Houston is role model for pensions” — the column is no longer available, but it was intended as a boost to Bill White way back when). Maybe Schnurman should stick to business.

Some thoughts on Biggio, Bagwell, PEDs, the Hall of Fame, and a forgetful Chron columnist…

… posted over at blogHOUSTON.

The current baseball Hall of Fame voting system is kind of a joke. As an example, Houston isn’t even properly represented by writers who LIVE IN and COVER Houston! Nor are MLB.com writers part of the mix (even though Alyson Footer has long been a great baseball analyst for MLB.com).

Biggio will eventually get in. Bagwell deserves to, but it may not happen under the current system.

Personally, I like Dan Le Batard’s maneuver. Open the process up a bit more — that cannot possibly be worse than the clown show we have at the moment.

UPDATE: The Le Batard story has a Houston Chronicle angle, and that angle doesn’t make the Chron‘s pitiful little baseball/soccer scribe Jesus Ortiz look too good. This may be the only time you ever see me linking Olbermann, but he’s spot on with this!