Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Flyin' the friendly skies.

- According to the helpful Northwest phone representatives I spoke with when I was stuck in Detroit during snowstorms a couple of weeks ago, when you are in airline representative holding hell trying to rebook, you should REMAIN SILENT and NOT SELECT ANY NUMERICAL OPTIONS when you get the automated response system. That will bump you immediately to the customer service queue. Also, according to me, if you are using your cell phone during a time of mass flight cancellations and delays, you should immediately hang up and use the dedicated phone lines that you might be able to find in the terminal. They will put you right through. If you stay on your cell phone, however, you will either get bumped off the line repeatedly or wait on hold for the better part of an hour.

- What is the deal with airlines who change their policies about carry-ons from the airline's general policy without noting this in the reservation information? It's always been one briefcase/purse plus one carry-on. I intensely dislike being told upon boarding that I can only carry on one bag, total, and that I need to gate check one of my bags, especially when one bag holds my computer and wallet and the other holds my dvd player, tissues, gum, water, and child-quieting-candy. And when I tell the flight attendant that I need to get on and move the contents of bag 2 into the bags of my travelling companions, I don't appreciate the lecture about how I should have done that before I got on board. Though I did feel badly about making a bit of a scene. Sorry about that. Not your fault, I know, but your airline kinda sucks and should have handled it better.

- A special circle in hell should be reserved for people who put their seats back in coach. There is No. Room. for this kind of behavior. And when I tap you on the shoulder to ask you to please move your seat up because you are knocking the laptop off my kid's tray table, do not ignore me as I tap and "Ma'am?" you and be an ass about it. Just because you're seated directly behind First Class does not entitle you to take up my space. Also, guy in back of me? I totally support you. The gate attendant should not have told you he was going to gate check your bag and then left it there. I'm glad someone picked it up and brought it back to you. The fact that I didn't chime in with a "heck, yeah!" when you pointed out that this was not cool was only due to the fact that everyone on the flight seemed tired and grumpy, and I felt a bit intimidated about speaking up. But I think everyone there had your back.

- Another special circle in hell should be reserved for gate agents who do not announce gate changes. I mean, really, what is up with that? We are all sitting there quietly waiting our turn to get on a plane, and some of us have been there for a long time, so even if you've had a busy day, please, announce the damn gate changes. We're not all watching the boards. Some of us are trying to sleep/read/contain our kids. FWIW, the phone representatives think you suck. The one I spoke with, the one who could hear you announcing that customers should call the phone representatives to rebook, pointed out that she'd been a gate agent for five years, and that she always had to stand there and rebook until the line was gone, and that she was never allowed to tell customers to call the 800 number. She was more than a little pissed about that.

- If you are going to sell $2 half-cans of Pringles and $5 snack boxes, then at least have the decency to have change available. There is just no excuse for that.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about your experiences. On my flight to a job interview in the South, I had to transfer in Memphis. In fact 3/4 of the plane had a connecting flight and we were late leaving Mpls b/c of, surprise de-icing the plane!. I was told by the attendant that I should have made my flight reservations differently (i.e. leaving more time in b/w connections). I told her I didn't make my own reservations for this trip. This was after she chewed out another customer for something else loudly and talked to her like she was two.
But I also had the bag thing on happen on the connecting flight. I think with the smaller planes, this is what happens (I had to gate check my bag with all my suites that I do not want to buy again).
But I do have to NW credit for flying out of this Tundra (Delta told us they couldn't make coffee on the plane b/c it was too cold) and for getting me home a few times when Delta could not b/c of weather! Yes, I paid more, but I got home.

Anna said...

I have found that it pays to (politely) complain when airline employees are crazy. When I flew home for Christmas this year, Delta sent my luggage to another city on a different airline. When the Delta check-in counter agent in Sioux Falls told me she had no time to look up where my luggage was or when it might arrive, I complained to the manager there and on the phone, which got me a $200 voucher. Not bad.

I'm flying back tomorrow and I'm a little terrified of what might happen. I hate those little regional jets.

Plain(s)feminist said...

I was told by the attendant that I should have made my flight reservations differently (i.e. leaving more time in b/w connections).

Funny - whenever I've expressed concern that my layover doesn't allow enough time, I've been told, rather snippily, that hundreds of people make these flights every day! Maybe they ought to make sure there's at least one hour in between arrival and takeoff when they pair the flights for customers...

(Anna, safe flight back!)