Friday, January 16, 2009
United.. American... All airlines are awful except ANA (in my humble opinion)
If you had a client that payed you a lot of money to drive them somewhere... hmm.. like a limo company, they would give you guidelines as to how they would get you from point A to point B. They might tell you that you had to be at their office two hours priort to the departure time, but that is pretty much it! They certainly wouldn't tell you that if you wanted to place an item in the trunk it would cost you 15 dollars, and oh.. for your second item... 25 dollars. And if your item is over 50 lbs, would they charge you even more?
Lets look at this from the client's perspective....
Let's just say for the sake of argument, that you did show up at their office 2 hours prior to the departure... oh actually, 2 hours and 15 minutes early. When you walked in the front door and saw thousands of people running around in front of you, and no signs anywhere or people willing to guide you where to go, would that surprise you?
So, you finally see the area that you are supposed to wait in line for, and you see about 25 computer terminals in front of about 300 people, and with no organization you realize that you have to just fight for a place in front of one. Now, if you don't have this special code, NQZROSV with you, then you really won't be able to use any of these computers to find your reservation, and then you will have to wait in an even longer line for problem customers.. like you.
Thankfully enough, you pull out your trusty iPhone and retrieve your record locator number, and with in about 15 minutes, you are printed your boarding pass to get your ride. Then you wonder where to go to get your luggage in the vehicle and you realize that there are three lines of about 75 to 100 people waiting to get to a counter where there are 4 people trying to print these little stickers to keep track of your luggage. So you get in line and 50 minutes later, you finally get waved to the counter where a company employee looks at you, does not smile and barks an order at you. "Let me have your boarding pass"
Then she tells you to put your luggage on a scale, and when you follow her orders and put your 2 bags on the scale, she barks another time and scolds you. You find out, that she meant, put one bag on the scale, and then put your other bag on the other scale. You realize you are an idiot and should know better. So, you follow her orders. Then she hands you the two stickers that you have waited almost an hour for, and then this employee of the company that you are hiring to provide YOU a SERVICE, tells YOU to carry your luggage through the crowd of hundreds of people and deliver it to a worker who doesn't speak english, and is going to throw your $2000 worth of luggage and belongings onto a conveyor belt with no care as to whether or not it is damaged or not.
Then you realize that your ride is supposed to leave in about 1 hour and you are confused as to where to go and meet your vehicle. So, you ask one of the employees as they walk by you, and without stopping they just point in a direction and tell you over there...
So, you head "Over there" and when you get "Over there" you see another crowd of people waiting in yet another line. You wait with these people for 40 minutes taking a couple of steps every so often, and then when you finally get to the end of this line, they make you empty your pockets of anything medal, and you damn well do it because if this little speaker beeps when you walk through this cage, they are going to make you feel like you committed a crime, and if you give them any attitude, they are going to make you stand perfectly still, with your arms spread wide, and wave a wand that makes noise, all over your body. They are going to do this right in front of everyone to make an example of you as well. They are going to make you take your shoes off, your coat off, and if you are wearing a hat, that goes off too. Then they are going to scrutinize your purse, backpack or whatever you are carrying, with an X ray machine, that you are paying for with your tax dollars, and if there is anything that even resembles something that they might consider could be used as a weapon...... well you don't wanna know what they are going to do to you or how long it is going to take!
So, you finally get through this line, and realize that you only have 15 minutes or so to get to your ride! You rush down corridor after corridor, and after what seems like a marathon, you get to the place where you are supposed to get into your ride, and the person at the door makes an announcement over a sound system that is so loud it makes your ears bleed, and yet somehow, you can't understand what she is saying. You now wait in another line and when you finally get to the counter, you find out that your ride... isn't really here yet, and because it isn't here yet, you are going to miss the next ride that you paid for. They do however have a solution for you. They are going to let you get in a different vehicle, going to a different place than you agreed to when you purchased your original ride, and they are going to get you to your destination 1 hour later. Oh, and they are only going to get you half way there, because they don't provide transportation to where you are going at that hour. They tell you that they are going to hand you off to a different company once you get halfway there, and they will get you the rest of the way. You ask about the items that you put in the trunk... that you paid 40 dollars for them to transport for you and they look you right in the eye and tell you that you won't be seeing them today, and that once you arrive at your destination, you can file a claim, and then they will try to find them for you.
You agree to all this, and they send you to another area where this vehicle is supposed to be, and when you get there, you hear that this vehicle is not going to be ready at the promised time either. You put two and two together and realize that this is going to make you miss your next vehicle again, and so you stand in line at another counter and meet another employee and tell them your dilemma all over again. This new employee turns away from you because he likes one of his co-workers better than you and it is more important for him to give her a hug and laugh with her, than it is to provide you the service that you paid for. When he is finished with his own priorities, he types away on the computer and then tells you the bad news. There are no more vehicles going to where you paid to go. He then asks you if you can change your destination to a place two hours away from where you paid them to take you. You are pretty shocked that he would think this would be an acceptable solution and you tell him that you can not do that.
He continues typing away, pretty much ignoring you, then stops and asks you again if you would be willing to change your destination to that place two hours away from where you want to go. You tell him no, and then he tells you that you just are not going to get there today. Then he steps back from the computer and waits for you to start the conversation again. You are pretty shocked, and starting to get annoyed, and you ask him the question.... When can I get there? You realize that he won his little game... making you beg for his help.... but you don't care, you just have nothing left in you that cares. He tells you that you can leave tomorrow morning, pretty early, and you realize that you are going to have to wait in a lot of long lines again.
You are a bit concerned with where you will stay tonight, actually, you are more concerned with who is going to pay for the hotel that you are going to stay in tonight. The employee rambles off a list of hotel names that you have no idea where they are, or if they are good places to stay, and you ask which one is closest. He tells you there is a hotel right in the lobby of the building you are standing in, and you tell him that you want to stay there. He gives you a voucher for 10 dollars so that you can eat dinner, and you go walking away not really understanding how a company, that doesn't actually do anything that they say they do, can possibly stay in business.
The thought crosses your mind that if you serviced your clients even once like this, no one would ever hire you again.
And so here I sit in my hotel room in the Miami International Airport... Thanks American Airlines!