Aspen’s air service hell
Dear Editor: Anyone who flies in and out of Aspen or derives income from tourists who arrive in Aspen by commercial flights should be sharply concerned about the quality of Aspen air service. Over the past 30 years, I have averaged three Aspen-to-elsewhere round trips per month for work, mostly on United carriers. From a historical perspective, customer service on Aspen flights is now at an all-time low, especially in Denver.Several times recently my Aspen-to-Denver flights have departed late because security personnel have opened their processing line late, or are under-staffed, resulting in a failure to clear all passengers before the scheduled departure time. As passenger loads increase during peak winter months, this problem will only be exacerbated, causing more and more fliers to miss connections. In Denver, United Express personnel are often aloof, unaware, uniformed and unhelpful – especially those operating Mesa Airlines United Express flights, who also tend to be curt, rude, even churlish. Anyone who has waited outside DIA’s B Concourse Gate 61, where chaos, confusion and lack of intelligible communication are the hallmarks of the Mesa Airlines boarding experience, then subsequently endured the long, windowless, bathroom-less, virtually chairless corridor beyond Gate 61, has suffered air “service” at its most mediocre (outside of Third World countries). For anyone without a NetJets account, flying has become an unpleasant task under the best of circumstances. But flying to and from Aspen can be everything one hopes to avoid.When Air Wisconsin discontinues its service this spring, there apparently will be no more jet service to town, though Vail will be reachable by larger jets than ever came to Aspen. But, hey, for several hundred dollars in airfare, what should Aspen locals and guests expect from a 130-mile flight? Customer service? Quality? Reliability? Fugedaboudit!Aspen may be a slice of heaven, but getting to and from here by air is all too often a full serving of hell.Greg LewisBasalt
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