3/19/2007

THIS Is the Way to Complain

All of us who have traveled have airline horror stories. It seems like lately there have been a lot more of them. Here's a couple of great takes on the experience from a guy who used his blog to fight back. (There is some pretty strong language employed, so read at your own risk.) They're both very long, and frighteningly funny.

This part is from one is written in the form of a memo from US Airways:

11. US Airways Licensing can be reached at the 1-800 number formerly used for US Airways Customer Service.
12. The new 1-800 number for US Airways Customer Service will be available only on the new Inconvenience Tickets.
13. We have formally discontinued our practice of issuing Inconvenience Tickets.
14. We have not discontinued our practice of requiring an Inconvenience Ticket to accept a complaint. If you wish to appeal this practice, please call our new 1-800 US Airways Customer Service Line.

15. While we expect you to follow these rules, we expect that our agents will too. We have a strict Uniform Code of US Airways Agent Justice to enforce such compliance. We are aware of one rogue agent at DCA (who some of you deemed “Helpful Lady,” “The Nice and Sane One,” or “The Angel of Mercy,” and who insisted upon a hug from every noncompliant customer she assisted) who continually canvassed the line, plucked from it a handful of people who still could make their flights, and prevented, in some instances, the occurrence of the caterpillar-to-butterfly transformation that we love so much. We assure you that we will not fire The Angel of Mercy. Pursuant to the UCUSAAJ, as soon as we can arrange a fair and expedient show trial, we will execute her.

And this one is in the form of a letter of regret, also ostensibly from the airline:

We regret that we told you at approximately 5:00 that the FAA had grounded all flights out of DCA for the remainder of the day and night. We admit that we should have chosen a better story, since you could see flights leaving from other terminals and in fact we actually boarded and sent out a half-dozen flights throughout the afternoon and night. Believe us, if we could do it again, we would choose a better fiction, perhaps that most of the flights were being held because the terror threat level meter was on the fritz, or because the pilots were almost this close to passing the breathalyzer, or perhaps because their flight numbers were unlucky.

We regret that we told everybody booked on a cancelled flight to get in the customer service line and stay there for rebooking. That line got long, didn’t it? Actually, we don’t regret this, because we had never before seen a line that went from the end of the terminal all the way to the security barrier, and now we have something to tell our children.

We regret that we had only two customer service reps at the customer service desk to handle rebooking for all of the several hundred stranded passengers. That is why, after many hours of waiting, you were told that you should leave the customer service line in the terminal and go to the ticketing lines outside the security area, where there were more agents working.

We regret that we didn’t tell you that "more agents" really meant "only two more agents" (for a total of four) at the ticketing desks and that there were three times as many people waiting for rebooking there. You must admit, that was kind of funny.

Perhaps we should have called in more agents, but there were a lot of people in the terminal, and you kind of smelled bad. Admit it, you did not smell great. Or perhaps that was us. In any event, we regret the smells, and we regret that writing this letter has made us remember them.

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