Monday, August 11, 2008
Flying the Friendly Skies
And now, after an absolutely jam packed and wonderful trip, I will complain about the level (or lack thereof) of customer service in the airline industry. Once again, we sat...in a plane....on the tarmac...for two hours. This time, we were headed home and we had a connecting flight. Do I want to fly if there is a mechanical issue with the plane? Of course not. But I would like to be treated in a humane and respectful way. Customer service rep on the intercom, "OK, folks, I'm going to be honest with you. All of you that have connecting flights in Las Vegas are not going to make those connecting flights. You have two choices. You can continue to sit on this plane and fly to Las Vegas. You'll have to stay the night there, gamble a little, but then you're on your own to get the rest of the way. Or, you can get off the plane now, go to our ticketing desk and get this sorted out." Hmmm, let me think about that. Should I fly to a destination equally far from home and be out the cost of a flight, perhaps having to replace that flight with multiples (which we did), or get off. So, we got off. Then, we were spoken to in a very rude tone by a "customer service" agent. Really? When I asked her for her name and wrote it down, she was much more accommodating. Should that really be necessary? So, after a loooong wait in line - a line we'd already waited in four hours (at least) prior to this point - we arranged for three flights instead of two. From San Francisco to Chicago, to Pittsburgh, to Philadelphia. At least none of the rest of those flights were delayed. On a positive note, Orbitz calls with updates on flight status. This seemed nice in the beginning. I didn't have to check the website before leaving, I was well apprised of my flight status. Then, when each flight was delayed, I got a voicemail every half hour or so. That adds up to a lot of voicemails saying the same thing. But, I do appreciate the service and would definitely recommend Orbitz for future travel. We stayed in a Hostel called St. Paul Hotel. It was really quite nice and in a neat historic building. This was a good value for San Francisco and conveniently located to the bus and train station as well as walking distance up Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower. By the way...US Air and United, and I will be flying the friendly skies with them again on Thursday. Yay!