Jul 27, 2006

we love to fly - and it shows.

remember that slogan? it was from Delta Airlines.

no? well how about this one: Fly the Friendly Skies of United.

still nothing? what about: US Air...begins with u suck.

OK - i may have slightly altered that last one.

but it's true...at least in my latest experiences with them.

USAir has merged with America West...and neither has what i would call stellar customer service. see, about 9 years ago, Hubbs & i were on our honeymoon in Sedona, AZ. an absolutely beautiful place. peaceful. has an almost zen quality to it. oh, and Hubbs also ate sushi there & got a raving case of food poisoning.

well, duh. eating raw fish in the desert? but, that's another post for another day.

coming home, we were flying out of Phoenix's Sky Harbor airport on America West. Hubbs, still recovering from his sushi experience was making one of his frequent trips to the Lil' Boys room, when i hear the airline make an announcement regarding our flight home.

as in, we're canceling your flight.

what th'...

oh, but it's OK, because after an hour or so delay, they're putting us on other flights, none of which are going in to Long Beach (where my mother-in-law will be picking us up), but into the OC. where they will bus us to Long Beach.

only problem, is we can't reach my mother in law. this was in the day when most of us don't have cell phones. she's not at our apartment (and it's useless to leave a message, she won't work answering machines).

long story short, our luggage was stuck in Oakland before finally making it to Long Beach, where it was then delivered to us. we were stuck in the OC until we finally got a taxi to go back to Long Beach as well, where my mother in law was freaking out.

fast forward to 2006.

on these last trips i've been on to Philadelphia, we've flown US Air back to Long Beach...MUCH easier than flying in & out of LAX. we've had delayed flights, but the customer service was mediocre at best.

then yesterday, my boss calls me at work. she was flying back from her jaunt to PA, and should've been home Tuesday.

she was still in Phoenix. at 7:30 in the morning.

the weather has been such around here, that there's been a lot of thunderstorms going on. and in Phoenix, it was worse. she sat in the plane, on the tarmac for 35 minutes before they decided to cancel the flight, because it was just too dangerous to try & take off.

here's where US Air's customer service doesn't come in to play.

first they inform my boss that her flight out will be Wednesday a.m. and she will be routed into the OC, instead of Long Beach. so, she asks that her luggage be routed into Long Beach because she has no one to pick her up in the OC (don't get me started on why she didn't call me or anyone in her team to pick her up), and she doesn't want to schlepp her luggage.

they say no. they do, however, let her know that she can pick up her luggage (as soon as the storm lets up) from baggage claim, and then go through security again.

did i mention that her luggage was soaked?

so then she asks the Friendly Customer Service Rep if she can have a bottle of water, as most of the kiosks at the airport have closed because of the storm.

nope. it's against Company Policy.

however, another rep hears this and comes over to tell my boss he can give her the little 8oz bottles that the company gives the employees.

hey - it's better than nothing!

so, she spent the night at the airport, because all the hotels were booked. that stressed her out but she came home safely. and weepy.

OK - i'm good with the fact that US Air has no control over the weather. but come on...you can't even spare a bottle of water? or reroute luggage and not offer any explanation?

no wonder so many airlines and businesses in general are in trouble. everyone talks customer service, but very few put it in action. it's just a small gesture, but like the old saying goes - if you have a good experience, you only tell a few people, but if you didn't, you'll tell everyone.

besides - there's that little thing called the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

and a little thing called Valerie's Rule: Karma's gonna get you, if you don't watch out.

let's be courteous out there.

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