Monthly Archives: November 2011

HRC Rankings of Airlines, Hotels, etc. and a Word about United

For those of you that aren’t familiar, HRC stands for The Human Rights Campaign, which is the leading LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered) rights organization.  Okay, so you’re not part of the LGBT community.  That’s fine.  There’s 10% of the population that is, and there are people who will often choose organizations based on their corporate actions (how they treat women and minorities, including LGBT workers).

I’m happy to say that my 3 primary airlines (Alaska Air, American Airlines, and Delta) and my primary hotel chain (Marriott) all have a 100% rating from the HRC.  If you look down the list, there are others; Southwest has a 95 rating, United has an 88 rating, Hertz Rent a Car has a 70 rating, with Skywest one of the lowest at 15, and Frontier and Midwest both with big honking 0 ratings.  (Personally, I didn’t know that about Frontier; I was going to fly them in January to see how they’ve changed since the last time I’ve flown them in 2010; now I know I won’t even bother!).

Now talking about United specifically.

So they have an 88% rating with the Human Rights Campaign, which means they can do better.  And what’s the first thing they should do?  They should address the ugly issue that came up this past weekend where a gay couple was denigrated when trying to use a United Club in Denver, including being called “faggots” and “idiots”, among other stuff.

So come on, United.  Denounce this manager’s action and use it as a teaching opportunity for your entire organization.

Personally, I don’t see this happening.  I’ve flown United a dozen times over the last ten years, and every time (without fail), the customer service is downright horrid.  I mean talking down to passengers, at a minimum.  Last time I flew them, I was standing near the gate desk in SFO, and the 3 flight crew were ten feet from me – and were talking smack about passengers.  It’s like a trained thing for United flight crews; day 1 is emergency training, days 2 through 5 is “creative customer insulting”.

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Add PDX to the Porno Scanner List

I flew out of Portland International yesterday, and was really unhappy to see that the porno scanners have been installed, at least at the ABC checkpoint.  A couple of things.

  1. Like I posted before, the technology these machines use has not been proven to be safe for commercial use.
  2. There are only 3 scanners for the busiest security checkpoint for the airport (the ABC gates clear passengers for nearly 65% of all PDX departures, with the top 3 airlines – Southwest, Alaska, and Horizon accounting for more than 50% themselves).

This is crap.  The machines aren’t safe, for the traveling public, nor for the TSA agents that are forced to stand next to them for hours at a time.

I think I’ll print out a few dozen copies of the Mashable article and leave them around the airport.  That, and obstruct their use at every chance.

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Backscatter Machine Information

This is pretty incredible.  Mashable.com took on “The Science Behind Airport Body Scanners” and did a pretty good job at explaining them.  It’s a pretty damned good article, and you should read it.  But if you only read one sentence, it’s this:

No conclusive studies have been conducted that confirm that backscatter X-ray security scanners are safe for commercial use.

That right there is reason enough for the traveling public to demand that these dangerous machines be shut down and removed from use.  Never mind the privacy concerns.  Never mind anything else.  These X-ray backscatter systems have not been proven to be safe for the traveling public, and put us all at risk!  The group EPIC (Electronic Privacy Information Center) has sued the TSA to stop these machines from being used.  Maybe we should all get behind them – forcefully!

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