The Joys of Today’s Airline Service: “I’m Sorry, I Didn’t Get That. Let’s Try Again.”

 

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Sitting on a plane again, I can’t help but be reminded (over and over again) of how much today’s airline attendants can’t stand their jobs.

Long gone are the days when we were met with a friendly face and a smile. Those days have clearly been replaced by people who are treated like cogs (if that) by their management, and just plain so miserable that they need to feed their misery, along with the over-processed junk they call ‘food’ on board, to the paying passengers (often loyal customers of the airline).

I’ve been so graciously reminded this 3 times today as I fly from San Francisco to Barcelona: first upon boarding flight #1, Ms. Grouchy snarled at us; second, also on flight #1, I found the typical group of flight attendants standing in the back of the plane in front of passengers, bitching about their jobs, their short layovers, and their horrible hours; and third, the attendant that just barked at me, therefore causing me to write this Random Critic installment, ‘No!’, and walked off when I kindly asked her if this INTERNATIONAL flight had WiFi. ‘Why?’, I asked, as she started to walk off. ‘Because it doesn’t’, she barked back. Seriously? Are you THAT miserable? (And why exactly isn’t there WiFi on an International flight anyway???)

And by the way airline management, I am hardly blaming these people who make poor wages, and who are probably being treated like 2nd class citizens in your organization! I blame YOU! You put together these fancy videos we sort of watch at the beginning of the flight, telling us why you are the best, and why you’ve made oh so many improvements to your service in effort to cater to your passengers. BOLOGNA, I say! I have been flying alone since I was 4, and quite a bit over the last 20 years for business. I am here to tell you that you all pretty much stink! You can make as many propaganda videos that you want, and I promise you – your passengers do not buy the schtick! Stop wasting your money on videos to boost your egos, and spend that money on programs that will make your employees happier, and therefore, your passengers happier with you!

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And oh, by the way – this flight I am taking right now – from San Francisco to Barcelona to Frankfurt to Rome, and Naples to Munich to Heathrow and back to SFO? It was all paid for with a LOT of mileage that I earned by flying and spending money choosing your silly airline! 2 economy seats cost me 150,000 miles in rewards, and took me 3 phone calls and several hours to book because you have so many restrictions and so few dates available to loyal passengers these days.

And the stress I go through every time I attempt to call your airline! First I have to talk to that damn robot for 15 minutes before I can find a human being to talk with! The robot voice often cannot distinguish between the words yes and no, and so when get done annunciating the word YES for the 7th time, I know I better not swear at the robot because then ‘she’ will say in her annoyingly saccharine voice, ‘I didn’t get that. Let’s try again.’

Of course when I finally reach a customer support agent, it’s a crap shoot if I get the guy who is helpful, or the guy who just says in his lovingly monotone drawl, ‘(Screw you) That’s just the way it is. You can go online and write a note to customer service.’ Rarely is there an attempt to think out of the box to help a passenger paying good money or so many miles.

Oh, I did go online like you suggested, and I did write to Customer Service… 3 weeks ago. I am on my flight now. Still haven’t heard back from them.

Yea, yea – I know. I’m no idiot. I do understand a few things. You DON’T REALLY NEED to do anything. Those mileage programs (funny, I almost gave away the airline by naming the program) keep us coming back no matter how much we hate you. I promise – the day is coming because my mileage expires in the next year, and I did accidentally find one airline I actually enjoyed recently.

I wonder if you ever sat back to think outside of your box about how your business could begin to thrive in new ways if you actually invested any real time and money into figuring out how you really COULD make passengers happy again!??? Hint, it’s not by delivering a survey to passengers with questions from your marketing and PR departments with answers that can easily skew the results in whichever way will make YOU feel good about yourself Mr Airline CEO (so that the cogs in the marketing department can stay in good standing with you).

Want some good, hard feedback? I’m giving it to you now.  Your customers are not thrilled!

Buh-bye! Have a nice day!

PS: An addendum: In Barcelona today we decided to fly to Rome on an earlier flight tomorrow because we didn’t want to waste an entire vacation day taking YOUR silly routes through Frankfurt to get there. It took all of 10 minutes for the Concierge in our hotel to book an inexpensive flight on another airline to Rome tomorrow morning. It took me 2 International calls and 1 hour and 15 minutes of waiting to just let your agents know NOT to cancel our return flights since we would not be showing up for tomorrow’s flights. Pretty disgraceful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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