Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Is Your Blog Libel?

Well, it can be, depending on what you're saying.

I was thinking about this. My trip to Idaho is a mere nine days away.

**Stop the presses!** There is a bright red cardinal right outside my window! It looks so pretty sitting among the green leaves. **We now return to our regularly scheduled blog**

I was going to write a long rant about how United keeps changing my flights, how terribly inconvenienced I am because of it, and how I will make it a point to never fly United again. Then I started thinking; is it bad for me to be publishing that? I'm making a negative statement about a company, somewhat in the hopes that others may see my warning and avoid headaches of their own, which could directly impact their business.

But it's not libel. I am perfectly within my legal rights to speak negatively about a company I've had to deal with. The difference between it being legal or not is, of course, truth (and that statements of opinion usually cannot be proven true or false). See, I am flying here to Boise with United. United did change my flight to something that I never would have chosen for myself. And then they changed it again to something even worse. And then, there's the paradox of air travel; if you make a change, you have to give them money to do it, but if they make a change, they don't owe you a damn thing.

In order for my rant to be considered libel, it would have to be false. But I also think blogs are largely like editorials; most of what is contained is a matter of unprovable opinion. When not presented as a statement of fact, it can't be considered libel in most jurisdictions. What an incredibly tangled web of laws is there!

So, now that I've established that I can rant about my flights, I will do so!

I booked my flights through Orbitz: easy to do, convenient, everything in one place. I used Orbitz last year too. I like the ease of their system, and can find pretty good fares.

I cannot fly direct from the Washington area to Boise, because no one but me in the Washington area wants to get to Boise, I guess! It's illogical to me to fly to, say Los Angeles and then back to Boise, and I don't want to stop more than once. I also don't want to waste my life away waiting in an airport for hours.

So, my flights to Boise are with United. What I chose was to go through Denver (in a state I've never been in, so that would be kind of neat) with a one hour layover before my connecting flight to Boise. This is ideal, perfect. I'm not waiting too long and I still have plenty of time to make my next flight even allowing for some delays. United canceled one or both of those flights, I'm not sure which and I don't know the reason, so they had to find some other way to get me to Boise. They decided to route me through Chicago O'Hare (I've been through Midway before) and then connect to Boise after a two hour layover. I cringe at the thought of sitting around for two hours, though some people have told me that I'll probably need all of that going through O'Hare. Ok, well, I can deal with it. What choice do I have anyway? But, United changed my flights again. I'm still going through O'Hare, but now I have a three hour layover. I am really upset about this.

First off, what if I was meeting someone in Denver? Secondly, shouldn't they strive to get similar times when changing flights on people? What if I had to do something at my destination when I was originally to arrive? And what am I supposed to do with myself sitting on my ass for three hours in an airport? Isn't travel taxing enough but they have to make you wait when you otherwise wouldn't have been waiting? And not only did it inconvenience me, but it inconveniences the people who were going to pick me up in Boise, who already have to take time away from their business to do so, but now have to move things around again to accommodate the later time. And it could be an even further inconvenience, because what if they couldn't pick me up later? Then I'd have to spend more money renting a car or sit around the airport wasting more hours of my life away.

I'm not a super frequent traveler, but I've traveled enough and this has never happened to me before. I will make it a point to never fly United again. And if any of you, faithful blog readers, are air travelers too, remember to consider the experiences of others when making you decisions. That's where you'll get all the things these companies do wrong.

Not libel, because it's all true!


Willow Goldentree said...

Oh, that's it! You have to walk to our house from the airport now!

:D Thanks for the warning, the next time we fly (hopefully soon) we won't go with United.

Fyrecreek said...

LOL! If I recall, your house wasn't that far from the airport! Less than 5 miles, according to the map. I can walk that in about an hour. :P

The heat will probably kill me though!

Willow Goldentree said...

Oh, Fyrecreek! It's horrible here! You don't want to be outside anymore than you have to right now. I'm sure it's hot in your area too - I just felt like complaining. *wink* Bring a swim suit, just in case! :-D