DSA wine fest; travel troubles

The tickets to the 15th annual Wild West Wine Fest are going fast. Executive Director Stacie Coe of the Downtown Sheridan Association says there are about 30 left for the big March 7 social at Warehouse 201. Some 22 vendors, auctions and live music will enliven the evening.

Tix & info: 672-8881

 

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The Notebook was scheduled to attend a big newspaper conference in Las Vegas this week —the Inland Press Association’s “Mega-Conference.” It was several days of a vendor exposition, three days of workshops and seminars and of course, the after-hours component — a chance to network with peers, swap ideas, maybe even squeeze in a show, play a dose of golf in 75-degree temperatures, or put down a bet.

The air travel was a “non-starter,” so goes the popular vernacular. As in: uh-uh. No way. A no-fly zone. My luggage made it to Vegas; I hope it’s having a great time.

United Airlines is particularly noted for its fees ($200 to change a ticket, $25 for bags), and it’s lack of sympathy for when one’s personal travel itinerary goes off the track.

“Can you try another airline, sir?” I ask.

“We can’t talk to Southwest or Frontier.”

“Aren’t there other airlines headed that way? It’s Las Vegas.”

“Next in line, please.”

The usual suspects with UA: weather, mechanical, pilot rest, overbooking; the first officer is on another flight, the captain says brightly to the glum passengers and “as soon as he gets here…..”

The bag flies to Vegas, I sit. And sit.

Sympathy is a Latin term for “suffer.” There seems to be much suffering at the United “customer service” counter at DIA. My father used to admonish me jokingly about where to find the word “sympathy” in the dictionary. An old joke, and not worth repeating, but always recalled.

 

Southwest Airlines is famous for its lack of fees, its on-time arrivals — you know, customer service and the upshot for them: devoted fliers. It’s also known for its unique corporate culture and its “sense of fun” with its customers. It’s not uncommon for Southwest flight attendants to do a little “stand up” comedy to liven up the cabin. There’s even a website dedicated to Southwest humor. To wit:

• There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only four exits out of this aircraft.

• From a flight attendant after a “hard landing” in Salt Lake City: “That was quite a bump and I know what ya’ll are thinking. I’m telling you it wasn’t the airline’s fault, it wasn’t the flight attendant’s fault….it was the asphalt.”

• Your seat cushions can be used for flotation and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.

 

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Quotable

 

“Size isn’t everything. The whale is endangered, while the ant continues to do just fine.”

 

—William E. Vaughan, “Starbeams” columnist, Kansas City Star, 1915-1917

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