Dear Continental

To Those Concerned (aka Dead Letter Office)
Continental Airlines
Houston, Texas, USA


I have no way of knowing whether this is the first letter you have received from a protozoon. Although it is possible to infer, from some of your seating arrangements, that you have quietly begun to target microorganisms as a consumer group – but I am getting ahead of myself. I write to relate some of the experiences my partner and I have had during (ahem) a transcontinental flight we booked with your airline.

We chose Continental for this flight after an experience I had with one of your competitors – the one that continually urges its customers to fly in a position that is both compromising and aerodynamically improbable.

With this competitor, I purchased an Economy class ticket, in the mistaken belief that Economy was Economy. I nearly shed my pseudopodia when I got to the gate and discovered that, instead of the three classes of seating to which I have grown accustomed over the years, there were now seventeen, including something called Economy Plus, all of which had some justification to board the aircraft before my mere-Economy self. And that those of us without any such justification would be jammed together in the rear of the plane, denied access to facilities elsewhere in the aircraft, and loaded in such a manner that those few with any whiff of space for their persons (the aisle seats) had not a ghost of a chance of getting space for their carry-ons in any of the overhead lockers. I half expected the air-conditioning to be turned off for our section during the flight, and for us to be served, as our only available food, rotten corned-beef-and-cabbage from a tureen. At $15 a bowlful, of course.

I was relieved to find, on the first leg of the flight we booked with you, that the passengers were divided into First and Economy classes more or less as I have come to expect. I must report, however, that the relief turned into dismay when I discovered that the entire Economy section received the same treatment as the steerage section on your competitor’s airplane.

At least that flight had entertainment, including the usual video drivel (I hope that Mr. Lebron James is paying close attention to the recent travails of his predecessor in the Demigod: Sports department, Mr. Tiger Woods) and the far more compelling spectacle of a passenger collapsing in the aisle on the way to the one, er, designated lavatory.

No entertainment was scheduled for the second leg of our flight, which was delayed due to mechanical problems, leading to a change of gate and aircraft. We were therefore surprised, if not delighted, to be treated to a show by no less than the captain of the plane, which consisted of an Abbott-and-Costello-style mock(?)-argument exchange between the captain and her ground crew. The captain wanted the plane sealed and pushed back from the gate “because she was late”, the ground crew refused for reasons, apart from “new policy”, that we could not hear, a point that should be brought up with the show’s producers.

We must report to you that, if this performance was indeed an act, it was badly executed and in poor taste. If it was not an act, we can only conclude that it resulted from Continental Airlines policies that penalize flight crews for delays over which they have neither control nor responsibility, and thereby put them at odds with the men and women on the tarmac – a violation of one of the cardinal principles of aviation: “Treat your ground crews well – they keep you in the air.”

Until we hear from you about this situation, which we deem of critical importance, we fear that we must add your company, along with the aerodynamically-improbable one, to our own personal no-fly zone, and advocate the same to our readers.

We are sure that, in these troubled economic times, your other competitors in the air, not to mention the various virtual-conferencing providers now in the marketplace, will welcome the additional business.

Sincerely yours, Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba