Don’t Come Fly With Me

This is a post I wrote a few months ago.   Every time I recall the flight, the aggravation I feel toward this airline is as strong as ever.  I elected not to mention the airline since it seemed like a moot point…too many people I know have had similar experiences on just about every other airline.  It seems no airline is immune from stupidity, poor leadership and inept management.

Thursday afforded me another opportunity to fly the not so friendly skies and sit in the even un-friendlier terminal. After a two hour weather delay which was surprisingly NOT the fault of the airline, we finally took off on our cross-country journey.

Working for an airline, one would think, ought to require a certain type of disposition since it is a service-oriented industry.  And that may be true.  Just not for the particular airline I flew.  In fact, this airline  consistently ranks amongst the highest in customer dissatisfaction.  And delays.

As the first passengers were invited to board the plane – this group being the elitists, i.e. first class, business class, no class, and those who just happen to have a lot of mileage racked up –  my kids sat patiently, albeit eagerly, waiting for their turn to board and get settled into their seats with their video games and DVDs.

The practice on many airlines following the boarding of passengers with “elite status,” is that adults accompanying small children are then invited to board.

But. once again, not this particular airline.    The airline employee announcing the boarding, Inglorious  Gloria, as I came to refer to her, pointedly and snidely stared at me while I was standing with my children at the gate.  She proceeded to keep calling group after group never allowing the same allowances that other airlines make for people traveling with small children.

Fine, I thought. Let her be subjected to the howling, screaming and whining of my children until she announced our group could board.

Except my kids weren’t screaming, as I previously mentioned.  In fact they were perfectly well behaved.

Why can’t they misbehave and annoy adults when you need them to, I ask?

Recently this airline has been a hauling out a major public relations campaign.  On their outdated in-flight drop-down televisions they feature commercial after commercial boasting of their magnificent new fleet and all the exciting amenities it now offers, including more legroom,  individual televisions with an array of in-flight entertainment options, and sumptuous food.  Amenities its competitors had in place for several years.

Only this particular aircraft didn’t get the corporate memo.  And how could it?  It was a least thirty years old – a veritable fossil in the airline industry.

It would probably have been in better form to regale the passengers with all this information from the confines of one of its newer aircraft and not from one that is in need of being retired and sold for scrap.

Traveling on an airline I swore I would never patronize again, I found myself and my children back in the clutches of this horrific company through every fault of my own.

You see, almost a year ago, I booked a flight on this airline for one reason: the cost.  Airfare last summer (as it was this summer) was obscenely high.  Tickets on this airline were the cheapest – though far from cheap.

On the return, the plane was delayed.  Naturally.  Like I said, this airline ranks amongst the highest in delays.

The flight would turn out to be delayed for a whopping four hours.  And it had nothing to do with bad weather.  Only faulty plumbing.

Because one – ONE –  bathroom out of the five that the aircraft had was out of service,  the flight, it was decided, necessitated a delay.  After four hours it finally occurred to the powers that be that it would be alright to fly with just the four remaining functioning bathrooms.   Something the disgruntled passengers, myself included, had figured out three and a half hours prior.

The unapologetic staff, i.e. flight attendants, compensated the coach contingent with free headsets, though most of the passengers already had their own.  I did too but took their free headsets anyways just because.

I wrote the airline a letter (not my first time doing this, mind you) detailing the miserable ordeal and the imposition it was for me personally in that I was traveling with three children.   Not content to leave it at that, I also detailed for them the stark contrast between their airlines and other airlines who boasted better and newer fleets and a higher level of customer service and satisfaction.

But then a response, bearing an (insufficient) apology arrived shortly after with a four hundred dollar voucher attached to redeem within a year.

And I bit.

I made my reservation within the allotted time to claim the voucher and now I am left wondering if it  was at all worth it. The aggravation, the blatant nonsensical hostility of its clearly disgruntled employees, and lack of amenities compared to the competition, certainly have me second guessing my decision.


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