Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why I hate Horizon Air


I left Burning Man the Friday morning before the burn as I wanted to 
spend my burn week yahoo free.

I got to the Reno airport courtesy of Lance and Jen, with plenty of 
time to spare. I was sitting at the gate when a bizarre sight happened 
to me -- a guy in a straight leg cast wheeled past me, with a wad of 
money *in his mouth*. Then five minutes later, he rolls past again. 
Then he rolls the other way again with money in his mouth. Normally 
I'd think "eh", however this happened *four* times. I was beginning to 
think there was something in the water making me see weird shit.

Over the loudspeaker I hear "Flight XXX, Seattle, is delayed. There 
will be a half an hour delay". No biggie, except I overhear the lady 
at the counter tell someone that they have to safety test the plane by 
starting and stopping the plane three times. This does not exactly 
inspire confidence, especially since I HATE twin prop planes, and 
didn't realize until just then when I looked out the window I was on a 
Bombardier 800.

Finally I board, and naturally I am sitting next to Mr. leg-cast- 
wheelchair-money-in-mouth dude, who has his leg halfway in my seat, 
and he can't bend it. I start laughing to myself, as I just want to 
get home after 11 days on the road. I sit with half my body in the 

We take off. You know when planes level off at 10,000 feet right after 
takeoff? And then ascend smoothly to a comfortable cruising altitude 
of 33,000 feet, and our flight attendants will serve us cocktails for 
$5? That didn't happen...at all. Instead of getting me home, right 
after the 10,000 foot level off, the plane did a 180 and dive bombed 
back to reno. Like steep and deep. The kind of angle you don't ever 
want to see, even with a snowboard on.

The flight attendant gets on the intercom, and says (with a sheep 
stuck in her throat--no shit. You really have to say it in sheep-ese 
for the full effect).) "Umm..laa-aadies and gentle-maaaaan, you maaaay 
have nooooo-ticed we are returning to reeee-no. There is nooo-thing 
wrong with the plaaaaa-ne". She wasn't exactly inspiring confidence.

Then money mouth pushes the call attendant button, and the flight 
attendant (sheep lady) comes over, and he says "Is that a burning 
smell? I smell something burning". The sheep attendant says "that's 
not it", however she wouldn't tell us what the problem was.

I was now pissed, as this guy was clearly aggravating me and my 
perfectly reasonable fear. i would have socked him in the nose, but 
post 9-11 I didn't want to get arrested in case we did make it, plus 
in the position I was in I couldn't even pinch him.

I put my hand on my wedding ring, and start thinking, "shit, I'm gonna 
die next to money mouth. Umm, this sucks." Fortunately, I started 
laughing inside at the thought, and realized I was more likely to go 
out in a tragic cuddle dome accident.

At this point I knew I would be okay, so long as those little masks 
don't drop form above, as that is always a bad sign. Besides, for 
those who know me, I don't want a mask, I want headphones and beats 
if I'm going down (http://www.djdiem.com/ 

We finally landed--hard--and then as we get to the gate, they won't 
let me off the place. At this point I was ready to buy a car on credit 
and drive home and sell it upon return. I go up to the front, they 
tell me if I leave, I can't get back on or a guaranteed seat. Fine! I 
say, return to my seat, grab my stuff, then they announce everyone 
off. I leave second off the plane. Turns out the cargo door opened 
while in the air. Nice one, eh?

I get in line at the counter, and ask what I can do. I am offered 
three options:

1) Wait for this SAME EXACT PLANE to be fixed. Negatory on that 

2) Wait until 4am the next day for the same type of plane....also 

3) Before she says the third option, I ask her what the biggest plane 
she has is, and she said a DC-80 at 12:30 the next day. I take it, and 
she offers me a hotel voucher and food. I take it.

I got to the hotel, and the counter girl asked me where I had been 
(still playafied even though I had a shower). I told her Burning Man, 
and she said "Cool". I then asked her for an upgrade, and she gave me 
a suite. :-)

I made it home safely and without incident the next day. I then made 
it out to Lake Bronson where about 40 burners were for Burn without 
the Bother. I made it all of one night and decided to leave super 
early for home, as I was spent.

So, there you have it.

Since then, Horizon grounded their entire fleet of Bombardier 400's 
(the smaller of what I was on), and IMNSO they should have grounded 
the 800's as well.

Horizon sucks. Don't do it.


Xaqman said...

You were on a Q-400. There is no such thing as an -800. The cargo door didn't 'open', it just gave an 'open' indication that the flight crew was forced to return for. The steep approach was due to the fact that we climb out steeper than we normally approach, so when turning around for a direct return a steep app. would be necessary (but it's NOT more dangerous). Sorry about your lousy experience with us, though. I hope this helps.

Casey said...

I can understand why you'd be frustrated, I would be to in those circumstances.

xaqman is correct, you were on the Q400, a 74 seater turboprop, the Q200 is the smaller version which holds 37 passengers.

Despite what a lot of the public seems to think, turboprops are just as safe to fly as jets. In fact the turboprops at Horizon are more comfortable in the back then the CRJ-700s (the jets) Horizon also flies.

Jet engines are essentially the same as turboprop engines except the jet engines have the propeller component inside the engine and it has many more smaller size blades which provide thrust.

Also, the turboprop you flew on is not authorized to fly above 25,000 feet.

d i e m said...

Awesome! I get two comments on this topic, and didn't even realize I was referring to the *DREADED* Q400:


Umm, hello? Sorry boys, but I HATE prop planes, and the above article agrees with me.

I still love big ass planes, but little props are a no go for yo.

flysk8er said...

Sorry dude, but the article doesn't seem to agree with you. You might want to read it closer. Where does it compare jets to props? Most airline accidents in this country that have taken place in the last 10 years have been on jets. The Q-400 is a NEW aircraft that is more technologically advanced than most jets you probably fly on. If you are going to Reno, you might be more comfortable on Southwest (Don't forget that they got fined millions for not inspecting and fixing cracks in their fuselages. But considering its an invincible JET, you should be fine!). The SAS incidents were found to be a result of shoddy maintenance procedures by that specific airline. Horizon Air has one of the strongest maintenance records in the country, and they will do anything to protect that. I am sorry that you had a bad experience, I hope you experience better air travel in the future. I am being sincere about this, as I know travelling is a gigantic pain these days.

Anonymous said...

AMEN-I would never fly on Alaska- Horizon again....not for free, after they totally jerked my rear around for 2 days with their messed up prop planes...both trips, that should have been 2 hrs, turned into day long fiascos....lucky for me I went to Hollywood a day early, or they would have shafted me from my 300.00 seat for Tom Petty @ the Hollywood Bowl.

Anonymous said...

You are right.
Horizon Air is rubbish.
One time I was at the airport and the flight was delayed. I also heard the same thing had happened on the intercom. They had to start and stop the engines 3 times. I was going to fly with them again and the flight was cancelled. The next time I flew with them the flight was delayed agin. They are rubbish. I feel sorry for all the workers like crew and pilots who are employed with a crap airline.