Saturday, August 26, 2006

More Fun In An Airport

Situation: I was booked on Flight A which was scheduled to leave from Gate X to Destination City #1 at 8:35 PM. Unfortunately, Flight B was also scheduled to leave from the same gate to a different destination, and had been delayed until 8:30 PM. So, I had the following conversation with an unnamed employee from an unnamed airline (cough) AMERICAN AIRLINES (cough):

Haahnster: Should I be concerned?
Airline Employee: Why?
Haahnster: Well, it's probably a physical impossibility to have two flights depart from the same gate within 5 minutes of each other, isn't it?
Airline Employee: Oh, that could never happen.
Haahnster: Right. But, that's what the screens are showing.
Airline Employee: One of the flights will be moved to a different gate, or further delayed.
Haahnster: That seems likely. So, shouldn't the screens be updated?
Airline Employee: They probably haven't decided yet.
Haahnster: Since we're less than 45 minutes from scheduled take-off...
Airline Employee (interrupting with irritated voice): They probably haven't decided yet.
Haahnster turns to walk away, and mutters under breath (so as not to be flagged as a potential terrorist): A real fucking business would have decided by now.

PS - Our flight was moved to a different gate about 10 minutes later. Then, it was moved again about 10 minutes after that. (No one announced either of these gate changes, mind you. Lesson, which I had already learned on previous travels: WATCH THE SCREENS! Recheck them frequently.)

Our flight, though never officially "delayed," left nearly 1 hour late. But, that's okay, I had already been delayed 2 hours on the previous connection, and thus had missed my original flight by more than 1 hour, which led to a 2 hour layover for the flight discussed above. Bottom line: I was a total of 4 hours late in arriving at my "final" destination. Air travel is fabulous!!!


Blogger Beth said...

God, I've had so many similar situations over the past year. One fight was delayed SIX HOURS last year. Pissed me off that I spent a vacation day sitting at Hartsfield. And does NOBODY in the airline industry understand that they're in the SERVICE industry and thus CUSTOMER SERVICE skills are pretty much required. I would be so fired if I worked with their attitudes and lack of interest. Maybe the airlines wouldn't be as in the red if they focused on getting planes out on time and treating their (highly paying) customers as people.

Sorry your trip home s*cked. I know you were eager to get home to the Haahnster girls.

8:08 AM, August 26, 2006  
Blogger Old Lady said...

Not defending the airlines, BUT, the past couple of days have been unique for those flying, due to people carrying contraband and being discovered. I am sure that the employees are being told not to say anything to upset the customers. That being said, there are ways to make customers happy in the face of adversity and changing schedules.
Complimentary drinks and cookies go a long way to appeasing a weary traveller. Customer service is an art, but some employees don't care and should be canned.

By the way, glad you came up for air. I was beginning to think that Sheriff Buford T. Pusser had gotten hold of you!

1:05 PM, August 26, 2006  
Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

This is why I get on my motorcycle and drive to L.A. for meetings now. It only takes me a day and a half to drive across the country and then I get to see all the cool stuff like Monument Valley on the way.

No more airports for me.


8:35 AM, August 28, 2006  

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