Now for a few words about the airlines
Let’s talk about airlines for a moment: Here’s my take: The #*$%#*@#*ing airlines can #*$%#*@#* themselves and the #*$%#*@#*ing horse they rode in on as far as I’m concerned.
There, I feel much better now.
It used to be, at least in my experience, that if an airline cancelled your flight or otherwise made you miss the last flight out, even if the problem was weather related, they would try to take care of you — you know, stuff like getting you a motel room (even paying at least part of the cost) and booking you onto another carrier if that would get you home sooner. It wasn’t that the delay was their fault; it was just customer service.
Man has that changed. Last night, with about 7 or 8 million people stranded in O’Hare, it was made very clear to me that in today’s world in the event of weather related flight problems they believe they owe us nothing, not even respectful treatment.
Forget the fact that I had to pay for my own room. The amazing thing was their attitude about using other carriers.
I was flying the fucking (oops, I mean #*$%#*@#*) friendly skies.
I needed just one leg of around 750 miles to reach my “final destination.” They were booked up and could offer no flights for nearly two full days. Eventually, one option opened up — but it involved flying three — count ‘em — three legs, thus virtually guaranteeing something else would go wrong with that many connections, not to mention making the trip incredibly miserable.
Meanwhile, a perfectly delightful seat was available on a direct American flight, but the aforementioned #*$%#*@#* friendly skies people advised that since it was a weather delay not only would they not transfer me to a competing airline, they would not even refund the unused (return) portion of my roundtrip ticket. I either took whatever they gave me or forfeited the ticket.
There was an almost Godfather like quality to their attitude toward the weather stranded: “You are dead to us now,” as the corporation metaphorically ripped a piece of its clothing.
Since it was a business trip (I wasn’t paying myself) and I had to get home (and there were no rental cars available) I blew $600 for a one way ticket on the American flight and here I sit at home at last.
But have I mentioned the #*$%#*@#* airlines?
July 28th, 2006 at 2:40 pm
That sucks, Steve, I’m really sorry. You’re welcome to crash at my place any time you’re stranded here again - just a short ride on the Blue Line…
My parents had the exact same thing happen last week. They were trying to get out to Lake George, NY to meet up with my sister & her fiancee, and to meet his parents for the first time. The flight from Cedar Rapids to Chicago was apparently uneventful, although it was the same day of/day after that big storm that wiped out St Louis, so a lot of flights in the midwest were all screwed up. So anyway, they knew it could be potentially dicey. So they get to O’Hare to find that all departing flights are cancelled. This was on a Wednesday. They were told that they couldn’t get a flight anywhere - not even back to Cedar Rapids. Plus, they’d already checked their luggage, which they were told was totally unretrievable due to security issues and the sheer volume of luggage that would’ve had to have been sorted through.
So there they sat for five hours in O’Hare, their suitcases already on teh plane(?), trying to get a flight out, trying to rent a car, anything. No cars available in the entire airport. No flights out until Saturday. No luggage. So they were pretty much fucked. No refunds, no work whatsoever on the part of the airline (United, in this case) to smooth things out, not even an apology that I know of. My Mom was hung up on twice when trying to remedy the situation via phone.
Needless to say, they were both pissed off. Fortunately, they were stranded in a town wherein lives their son, Mom’s brother & family and a niece, so they had options for places to stay (all hotels were full). Finally they were able to get a flight to Albany on Saturday and extend their trip accordingly, but it was real close to being cancelled altogether. Either way, it was a total clusterfuck and they were treated like a couple of dried dog turds.
As far as I know their luggage made it to Albany just fine…
Anyway, I too, remember when the airlines would go out of their way to fix a problem, or would at least apologize for an inconvenience. Now? No way. And why bother, anyway? They don’t need to provide any customer service at all. If it really affects their profits that negatively, they can just have the federal government bail them out. Again.
July 29th, 2006 at 10:08 am
That reminds of Lily Thomlin on SNL as the Telephone operator:
” We don’t care, we don’t have to, we’re the telephone company”.
The airlines and the energy companies seems to have adopted that attitude.
August 1st, 2006 at 5:30 pm
Try being a sick person with an implanted medical device and see what it’s like to fly. You’re treated like a criminal. It’s assumed that you must be a potential terrorist, so you’re put through extra scrutiny. Even when you book your tickets and make it clear that you have such a device, so it may be necessary to allow extra time between flight transfers, they’ll ignore you.
And then, when you miss the next flight because they wasted your time for no good reason (because you have metal in your body that is clearly certified in documentation you carry with you and because it’s easier to harrass you than people who are likely terrorists), they do absolutely nothing for you.
They don’t even give you a place to lie down while you wait hours for the next flight, even though they’re at fault for the delay, even though you’re obviously in extreme pain - as the implanted device made clear in my case, since it was a pain pump.
This is routine for people with these devices. It’s not only pure physical misery, it’s also utterly humiliating.
Goddamned fucking airlines! (Maybe you’re too polite to say it, but I’m not.)