June 18, 2012

Flying The Miserable Skies

So I had booked up on the airline to go to the Florida Keys.

You have to go to Miami first and switch flights—it’s a two-legged trip.

But I decided after the first flight to just to stay in Miami and not go on the second flight to the Keys.

Since the flight was overbooked—not only didn’t the airlines lose anything by me not going, they actually benefited by having my empty seat for another passenger—and making money twice off of the same seat.

Yet, the airline demanded that I pay them a change ticket fee.

This is the first time that I heard of being asked to pay extra for not using a product or service.

Common sense and basic business practice is that if you don’t use something, you get a credit or refund, but the airline was actually demanding I pay an extra fee for this so called “change.”

I explained politely that I didn’t change anything and that I just wanted to be able to get home.

They said even by not getting on another flight that is a change—and as the customer service representative (and I choke on even calling him that) then went on to say, “you will pay for that mistake!”

I reiterated that I didn’t make a mistake or any change, I simply decided not to use the second leg of the trip.

I asked to see a copy of the policy or guidelines where I had to pay for not using something, but the customer rep refused this.

He may as well have said, “Who needs right, when we have might?”

Basically, it came down to, “If you want to go home, you will have to pay.”

As if this wasn’t enough, when I arrived at the airport, another airline representative made me put my rolling carry-on into the sizing device to check that it would fit in the overhead.

Dar-gone-it—I bought it specifically for just that purpose, as it was advertised—why go through this?

In the airport, in front of everyone, they made me empty my things out and put some in another bag to skinny the first--“just a little.”

Then they said, uh ha, now you have an extra carry-on we can charge you for—but I didn’t, I only had two bags, total!

Later, in the airport, I overpaid for a stale sandwich and diet soda.

And for the first time, even after going through airport security and showing my boarding pass and picture identification once, I was then asked to do it all over again—while “walking the plank” to board the flight, with suitcase and sandwich in hand. 

Not long after I sat down, an airline attendant literally shoved my seat up straight, and then reminded me put up my seat before takeoff! Yet the seat was already up—the whole time.

Another comes up and asks me if I was the one who asked about the Internet—no, it wasn’t me, but there’s another customer somewhere onboard who did ask about it—they just forget who it was—oh well.

It used to be that the airlines were just overcrowded, the bagged peanuts were skimpy, and the recycled air was nauseating, but now the flying experience is at a whole new level of yuck!

This is no way to run an industry, treat customers, or generally do business.

On the airline, the stewardess gets on the mic and says “welcome to {Blank} airlines” and hope you enjoy the ride—unfortunately, they are riding all of us. ;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Kuster and Wildhaber Photography)


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