Tag Archives: customer service

I didn’t know it was possible for a plane to be occupied by so many children.

19 Nov

Based on this photo, I'm guessing my cabbie was from the Philippines.

Can someone please tell me when the Friday before Thanksgiving became the official travel day for the holiday? I thought the Wednesday of Thanksgiving week was supposed to be the busiest travel day of the year, but based on my experience in LAX yesterday, I’m thinking that’s changed.

The training session that had me in LA for the week wrapped up at 11am, giving me plenty of time to get to the airport for my 1pm flight. However, my cab driver seemed to take it as a personal challenge to get me there in record setting time, flying up the ass of every car in front of him on the 405, changing lanes as if he were in a roller derby.

One of my colleagues was riding with me, so I know I’m not exaggerating when I say: He was the single worst driver I’ve ever ridden with.

Example: We were the second car in line at a left turn arrow. The car in front of us didn’t turn (because there was on-coming traffic) and my driver? He executes a left turn from BEHIND the car that is actually supposed to be turning. Ouch.

I tell you this to explain that I probably wasn’t in the best mood when I tumbled out of the cab curbside at LAX. Actually, I was so car sick, I seriously looked around for a garbage can, thinking I would probably barf before getting my boarding pass. I ran my credit card in the boarding pass kiosk, but instead of it spitting out a piece of paper, I got the dreaded screen announcement: There has been a change to your itinerary. See gate agent. Damn.

Fortunately, the line didn’t seem long – there was only a group of three seniors (traveling together) waiting. Unfortunately, I soon learned that without a line, Delta has no sense of urgency. I waited 20 minutes before actually getting “helped.” I put this in quotes, because the agent who helped me was anything BUT helpful. Here’s how our exchange went:

ME, handing him my license: Hi. I’m hoping you can help me. The kiosk said there’s been a change to my itinerary.

HIM: Hmm. This is an Alaska Airlines flight, not us.

ME: Yeah – it’s operated by Alaska, but all the confirmations and reminders came from Delta and there is a Delta flight number, so I thought I had to check-in at your counter.

HIM, looking at me like I’m an idiot: No. You would NEVER do that.

ME: Apparently I would. So there’s no way for you to generate a boarding pass?  I absolutely need to go to Alaskan Air?

HIM, sighing: That’s what I just told you.

ME: So can you tell me where they are?

HIM: Different terminal.

ME: Thanks for being useless.

I also muttered a swear word as I walked away, but I’m going to blame that on the book I’m reading, which has made liberal use of the word “F*ckwit.” My more mature reaction was to go on Twitter and post, “@DELTA: your check-in workers at #LAX are rude and unhelpful. Not flying you again. Fire the guy at kiosk assistance.” I wish I’d noticed his name.

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When applause means more than, “You didn’t kill us!”

20 Sep

It was kind of like this. But in a bigger plane.

I flew to LA yesterday for work, and I’m about to say something that (I’m sure) will jinx me: I. Had. The. Best. Flight. Ever.

Seriously? I hate flying. Really hate it. I’m pretty sure I’d feel that way just on the basis of how often I do it, but it doesn’t help that in a past walk of life, I was spoiled with First Class tickets and lear jets. Once you’ve seen what’s on the other side of the curtain, it’s kind of hard to go back. Especially when going back means being wedged between a screaming baby and an Arm Rest Hog.

When I fly coach, I’m usually just looking for a safe flight. As a control freak, I spend a fair amount of time concerned that the pilot is either tired or drunk, and that the mechanic was either rushed or frustrated with his employer when he gave our ride the once-over. Every bump of turbulence sends me speculating about how we’ll meet our fiery death. (Will I pass out from a lack of oxygen, or still be conscious when each organ bursts?)

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In which we turn the bus into our personal taxi.

26 Jul

My friend Liz was in town from Atlanta last weekend, so her sister Lisa hosted a small get-together Friday night. Since it was a white wine tasting party, Holly and I decided to take the bus there together so we could enjoy ourselves without wrapping a car around a tree having to worry about driving.

We both have been exploring the bus system and marvel at how surprisingly convenient it is — once you know where you’re going. The maiden voyage to any single destination can be a bit of an adventure, however, because not all of the stops are included on the bus schedule and the drivers exhibit varying degrees of customer service.

We used WMATA’s “trip planner” and deduced that we needed to get off at Ward Circle. On the way there, I started to have second thoughts, so Holly walked to the front of the bus and tried to ask the driver. “We’re trying to get to Chesapeake Street,” she explained. “Is Ward Circle the best stop?”

His response? “I don’t know.”

WHAT? You’re the bus driver! Presumably you drive this route every day. How do you not know if Ward Circle is the best stop for Chesapeake? (For the record, Chesapeake is cross street, allegedly with its own stop – though it didn’t show up on the schedule – so that’s why we assumed he would know.)

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Computer says “no.”

4 Feb

Based on the unemployment statistics, it sounds like the market is filled with overly-qualified people seeking work. And yet I continue to run into people in customer-facing roles whose only demonstrable quality is a pulse.

Last night I went to the library to pick up a book I had put on hold months ago. My book club just selected it as our next pick, so imagine how thrilled I was to receive an email notifying me that the book was ready and waiting for me at the library. Awesome timing!

So yesterday, despite feeling like crap (meaning I was coming down with a wicked cold), I hoofed it to the library on my way home from work, anticipating the reward of a hot bath, mug of tea, and escape into the novel’s initial pages.

But the library had other plans for me. If the librarian helping me had had a sense of humor, she might’ve screamed, “You’ve been Punk’d!” and pretended Ashton Kutcher was going to pop out from under the counter. Instead, she just frowned at the computer screen and said, “Computer says it’s unavailable.”

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Not so funny, but true: A watched pot doesn’t boil – my blood does.

27 Jan

This is what comes up when you google "Snowy Thundercat." In case you were curious.

The East Coast got pummeled with ThunderSnow yesterday. Upon hearing the forecast, my head immediately jumped to ThunderCats, so I was like, “COOL. BRING IT!”

And then I realized it was a snowstorm with lightning, and my revised thought was, “Um. I hope this doesn’t mess up my flight!”

Alas, it did. My 4:30pm flight to Detroit was cancelled at noon yesterday. At the time of the cancellation, the ground was completely dry and there was nary flake in the sky, so I thought USAirways was annoyingly cautious. I called to book another flight, and they attempted to put me on a 6pm flight to Philly that would connect to Detroit with a midnight arrival.

Um, thanks, but if you can’t get ONE plane off the ground when it’s not even snowing, I don’t have much confidence that you’ll be able to swing a two-leg flight that leaves later AND routes through a city that is forecast to receive even more snow than DC. So I asked what else they had that was direct, and got booked for 8:35 am today.

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