RANT WARNING: Sometimes I really go off. This is one of them.
Here's just the latest example. I'm up in the Bay Area this weekend. On Friday I tried to check in on line on Southwest Airlines. Pre-check-in site was down, but it said if this continues to call and they provided a number. So after three hours of trying I called the number. Had to wait fifteen minutes. When I finally got someone she said the system is down and there's nothing she could do. I said, "So why did it say to call this number?" She said, "So we can tell you the system is down." I said, "I know that. It's obvious. You're making people wait fifteen minutes to tell them something they already know." "Yes sir", she said proudly.
And this is one of the GOOD airlines.
An article came out Friday saying that three major airlines made a big profit the last quarter. First time since 2007. How'd they do it? By reducing flights and cutting back on passenger services.
They don't give you blankets but they do continue to spend billion of dollars annually on splashy ad campaigns trying to get our business. “Friendly Skies”, “Doing what we do best”, blah blah blah. . And no one’s buying it. In fact, WE ALL HATE YOU.
Traveling is now an ordeal and you’re a big part of it. Security lines are unpleasant but that’s fifteen minutes. The rest of the six hour wisdom tooth extraction is all you. If airlines really want our patronage and loyalty, save the ad budget. There are better uses for that money. Just adopt the following simple policies.
TALK TO US – Even if it’s five announcements in five minutes. We hate to be left in the dark. Don’t worry that the news will upset us. What we’re conjuring up is far worse.
Pilots are real chatty on the PA when they’re pointing out the sites of Lubbock, Texas on your left, but when we’re just stuck at the gate, and we see maintenance men and guys with clipboards coming in and out of the cockpit, tell us what the fuck is going on. When we’re stuck on the tarmac for a half hour let us know why. It’s not like you’re busy. You’re just sitting there in idle like the rest of us.
When our flight is delayed and a hundred frustrated people are milling around the gate, would it kill you to give us an update? You say you do but trust me, YOU DON’T. Instead we have to go up to the counter so you can blow us off individually.
We’re not just doing this to annoy you. Many of us have connections to make.
TELL US THE TRUTH – Not every flight is delayed due to weather at O’Hare. There has to be a different reason the Sydney to Tokyo flight is cancelled. And get your stories straight. Ask two airline officials why a certain flight is delayed and invariably you’ll hear weather problems from one and maintenance problems from the other. (And the truth of course is neither)
Also, you KNOW when a flight gets in late that is supposed to turn right around it’s going to be late taking off again. First you assure us it’ll still get off as scheduled and then you systematically push back the departure time every fifteen minutes. It’s going to take off an hour late. You know this. Tell us.
Arrival times are now padded to make it appear more flights are on time. Don’t crow about your sparkling on-time record. We know it’s bullshit.
One airline justified its charging extra for heavier luggage because they were concerned for their baggage handlers, worried that the additional strain would result in back problems. But that extra fee we pay, does it go directly to the baggage handlers? Does ANY of it go to them, even indirectly? No. Of course not. Just who do you think you’re kidding?
Passengers are tired of being lied to. You must either hold us in contempt or think we’re all really stupid. Either way you have let the credibility gap widen to the length of a cross-country flight.
PRETEND THAT YOU CARE – Okay, we get it that you don’t. That’s very clear. And you’re in a quandary. If you do pretend you give even the slightest rat’s ass about us then you’re not telling the truth again. We’ll give you a pass on this one. I can’t say just act pleasant, that might not compute. So just act like you would if you wanted something from someone.
Now of course I understand that not all airline employees are like this. Some are lovely compassionate people who genuinely want to help. Have them wear badges so the others can see whom to emulate.
Look real busy and active so you give the impression you care that the flight gets off on time. Recently I was on a delayed flight and of course told the reason was weather at O’Hare (I was flying to Hawaii). Then I overheard the counter agents say the pilot was late. He hadn’t shown up yet. Fifteen minutes later this guy strolls in with a Starbucks coffee he must’ve waited in line ten minutes for. Two hundred people arrive late, half of them miss their connecting flights because the woman ahead of the pilot had to ask which muffins were diet.
IF YOU’RE GOING TO CHARGE EXTRA FOR A PIECE OF LUGGAGE THERE SHOULD BE A BIG PENALTY IF IT DOESN’T ARRIVE -- And I don’t mean within the month. I mean on THAT flight. It’s bad enough you lose our bags but now we have to pay you for the privilege?
IF THE FLIGHT IS DELAYED GIVE US THE FUCKING SNACK PACKS FOR FREE. Half the passengers won’t take them anyway because they’re disgusting at any price, even free but it’s a nice gesture.
HAVE ENOUGH BLANKETS AND PILLOWS. You had ‘em before.
GIVE US THE AMENITIES WE WANT. For instance -- snacks
with our drinks. A little bag of peanuts. Those stale pretzel sticks. Is that too much to ask? You say you’re trying to save money? Shit can the goddamn Sky Mall magazine.
And finally….please PLEASE….
STOP APOLOGIZING – It’s so disingenuous and patronizing. You’re not sorry. Not in the least. If you were you’d adopt the above guidelines. And everyone knows you won’t.
That's all. You're now free to go about screwing the public.