Tag Archives: vacation

The Upside of US Airways

Now that I have cathartically cleansed myself of the main negativity of the experience (writing is good for cleansing), I want to talk about the positives. And I mean more than having some interesting character inspiration for future novels.

Just as my good friend Raymie White pointed out, “we should try to take time to send notes on really good customer service people too.” I actually did take the time to do this, but I admit that I could have done much better.

It’s all on me – I failed in the respect that I didn’t make the extra effort to get the names of the people who demonstrated just how good at their jobs they really are. I provided as much identifying information as I could to US Airways so they could be commended for their commitment to performance quality. Because of this entire experience, I’m going to commit myself in getting the names of those extraordinary people who not only take pride in their jobs, but who also interact with the public in such a way that they are the foundation for building brand loyalty.

Again, I apologize that I don’t have their names, but much heartfelt thanks go out to the following individuals:

The female flight attendant on the flight from Seattle to Charlotte, NC on September 4, 2013. She was not only gracious, but she made my daughter smile, which actually meant more to me than just about anything.

The younger male counter clerk at HTS on September 20, 2013. I know his job with interacting with me was made difficult by the interruptions, but he remained calmed and poised and never once said anything out of the way. Others could most certainly learn from his excellent behavior.

The flight attendant on the flight from HTS to CLT on September 20, 2013. She was not only efficient and polite with her normal duties, but she showed urgency layered with good manner when addressing a passenger she thought was smoking. He wasn’t – he attempted to puff on an electronic cigarette, which is also not allowed. Through the whole episode, she maintained a good, but firm demeanor. Even in the face of confrontation, she handled herself professionally. She is truly to be commended.

The female gate agent at gate B4 in Charlotte for the last US Airways direct flight to Seattle. After the debacle with the special assistance I was supposed to receive, I was in an extreme amount of back pain. She not only showed concern and sympathy, but she even checked on me after I boarded to make sure I was okay. I don’t know her name, but I will never forget her.

The male flight attendant on the CLT to SEA flight on September 20, 2013. He also made it a point to check on me to see if I needed anything and showed concern when he saw me crying. He didn’t have to, but showed the type of humanity and concern for others that is a step beyond the normal expectations for a service position.

Looking back on the experience, I’m saddened that I didn’t get these people’s names. They deserve that much, and I feel like I have disrespected them for not doing so. That was never my intention, and I genuinely hope that US Airways follows through on recognizing them for being the outstanding examples that they are.

Bravo to all of you. You all were truly a refreshing reminder that it’s the individuals that make the impact, not the company.

US Airways Saga Continued

Again, instead of writing about the situation more, I present you with the last e-mail I sent to US Airways customer relations.

Readers, I urge all of us to be more diligent with our interactions with companies. Don’t pay for bad service – if you’re going to spend your hard-earned money, demand the best…or at least demand to be treated with decency and respect.

Also, it’s a good idea to research companies before you give them your money – a lesson I have learned. If you look at customer satisfaction data such as that  from J.D. Power and Associates, you’ll learn that customer service is something that US Airways is not exactly known for in their business.

Text of e-mail:

We finally made it home on the flight the next day, September 20, 2013, but not without further aggravation. 

This Jimenez person – who identified himself as a so-called manager – was there to make matters worse. I know that his explanation will be that I was rude to him on the evening of the 19th. I admit, I did become indignant with him AFTER he was ill-mannered enough to interrupt me when I was talking. 
When my daughter and I arrived at the HTS airport on the 20th, I became concerned because I saw that the flight was delayed by 20 minutes again. I was especially concerned about this because it was the same situation as the day before and Jimenez had advised me that we would be better off staying in Huntington because we would likely get stuck in Charlotte because it was the last available flight to Seattle. I began talking to the counter agent that had checked us in, a young gentleman who was very polite and had assisted us with courtesy and grace. Jimenez was standing beside him. As I was expressing my concerns to the agent, Jimenez felt the need to interject himself into the conversation. I told him bluntly that he was rude to me the day before, therefore I wasn’t talking to him. All I wanted was assurance from the gate agent that although we were facing the same circumstances AGAIN, we wouldn’t have the same fate as before. The agent advised me that the computer screen showed that the flight would arrive just 2 minutes later than scheduled. I did not understand this on how a flight could be 20 minutes delayed, but still arrive pretty much on time. The only thing I could think was that maybe the weather pattern was different and the winds were more favorable in speeding up the trip. The agent couldn’t even get that far in any explanation because although I told Jimenez I was done talking with him, he continued to interrupt and force himself into the conversation only aggravating the situation even further. His display of contempt and rudeness was highlighted by a condescending attitude, and once I got fed up and started to walk away, he offered the solution of canceling the ticket and refunding my money. 
The nerve! This is really how your so-called managers treat people? How US Airways allows someone like this to interact with the public is an absolute marvel to me. For any of the other issues we’ve had to deal with on this trip, he was the absolute worst and made everything else look perfect in comparison. The fact that someone so callous and impolite is a manager at HTS indicates either a serious lack in training or a seriously low standard in hiring practices. He is not only an embarrassment in his inability to de-escalate upset customers, he’s a poor example to the employees who work for him. Instead of handling the situation and making it better, he actually escalated it and made it worse. I urge you for the sake of other customers who may have bad experiences to require him to go through remediation training to learn soft skills. When someone is upset, the last thing you should do is raise that emotion to anger. That is the basics of customer service. Not only that, it’s the foundation of decency when interacting with others, something that Jimenez showed that he is seriously lacking.
Lastly, the icing on the cake in this situation was the fact that on the 19th, Jimenez had tried to assure me that these delays don’t happen very often. THAT’S when I became indignant because my personal and professional travels through HTS have shown me differently. He just kept repeating that same phrase again and again although I had told him that what he was saying didn’t mean anything to me, and I didn’t want to hear it. Well, it’s obvious that he doesn’t listen because he just kept on aggravating the situation. Then what ultimately happened? The very next day the exact same delay happened with the exact same flight (US Airways 4236 from HTS to CLT). So much for it not happening very often.
My daughter and I were able to finally make it home on the 20th. We did arrive at CLT only 2 minutes later than scheduled, just like the counter agent said, but was unable to further elaborate on because of Jimenez’s interruptions. Unfortunately this outcome still makes me suspicious – we were able to make it when the known circumstances were the same as the day before, yet Jimenez had suggested that we stay another night in Huntington and rebook. Why did we get stuck another night? Was there another factor that no one could seem to explain, or does this alleged manager not really know what he’s talking about and only further inconvenienced us with no real reason? I will probably never know. At this point, I’m fine with never knowing. 
The totality of this experience has strengthened my resolve to never fly with US Airways again. If this is the service I pay for when traveling with US Airways, it’s totally not worth it. I can be treated badly for less money – actually, with Delta, I get cheaper rates and better service, making your offering completely superfluous. 
I will also continue to discuss this experience with friends, family and on social media. Further, given the grave indignity of this individual, a physical copy of this complaint is being mailed to US Airways corporate headquarters.

Delta – Flying Woes

Those of you who know me understand that I’m not a person who just lets a company do whatever they want to my purchase/service experience and not hear my feedback and know that I’m taking my business elsewhere. This time around, I had the most HORRIBLE experience with Delta last week. Instead of recreating everything that happened, here is the complaint that I sent to their customer service detailing the events. You be the judge on how you would react to this experience.

On December 20, 2012, I was scheduled to return home from a
business trip. My coworkers and I were all traveling Delta. One coworker
had the same return itinerary as me. When we arrived in Atlanta from
Charleston, SC, we were supposed to be on flight DL 109 leaving from
gate B32 at 5:50 p.m. When I arrived, we were told at the gate that the
5:50 p.m. flight had been moved and we would now have to go to gate T1
for an 8:15 p.m. flight. Not only were we told this at the gate, but I
also checked your web site, which said the same thing – 8:15 p.m. at
gate T1. My co-worker and I stopped to get something to eat then made
our way to gate T1 only to be told that the gate HADN’T changed and that
the flight had already left at 6:15 p.m. We were then told that we would
have to go to customer service and be put on another flight. It was
explained to us that there was a technical error in the system that
magically made the gate switch on a flight that we knew was already
overbooked, which seemed ominously convenient to me. When we got to
customer service, we were told that we would be put on “stand by” for
the 8:40 p.m. fight that was leaving from Gate A5. And not only that, it
was the last flight out to Seattle for the evening. I told the
representative that it wasn’t good enough for us, the error was Delta’s
fault and we HAD to be on a flight to Seattle that night. We were told
to go to gate A5 and talk to the representatives there. When we arrived
at gate A5, we were told – very unapologetically – by the gate
supervisor that we were on stand by, nothing would be done unless people
didn’t show up for the flight, and that if we couldn’t get on, we would
have to take the first flight to Seattle on Friday, 12/21/2012. I
explained again that this wasn’t good enough because my coworker was
leaving for Europe the next day and my vacation was starting – all
because of Delta’s technical error that caused this snafu. The gate
supervisor was stoic, unapologetic, un-empathetic and uncaring. How he
could be responsible for dealing with the public is beyond me. Because
of his uncaring manner, I did lose my temper because of the insult to
injury – first Delta’s errors cause us to miss our flight then the gate
supervisor can offer no empathetic suggestions, not even saying he’s
sorry. This is definitely a person who should be required to go through
customer service training again to develop his soft skills in dealing
with upset customers who have been screwed over by Delta’s errors. Not
all passengers showed up for the flight so thankfully my coworker
– the one who was leaving for Europe on 12/21 – was able to get a seat
on the flight. I, on the other hand, had to spend the night in Atlanta,
completely ruining the beginning of my vacation and causing additional
stress to my young daughter who was at home, crying and waiting for me
to come home. Thankfully Delta had the decency to provide me a bed to
sleep in for the night, but only further insulted me in this situation
by not even offering me a toiletry kit for the night (I had no clean
clothes or anything) and the biggest insult being a food voucher that
was only for $6. I don’t know if you all thought I was going to go to
McDonald’s to get a Happy Meal for dinner or what, but on top of the
horror of convenient technical errors, a missed flight, a rude gate
supervisor and forced stay in Atlanta ruining my vacation – a $6 voucher
for dinner was a slap in the face. This is absolutely the worst flying
experience I have ever had and will NEVER fly Delta again, nor will my
family; and I will be more than happy to tell friends about the
experience whenever given the chance. I don’t know of any response you
could give that would salve the pain of this experience, but if you do
respond, please do NOT send an unpersonalized blurb that only spouts
company policy in treating people like dollar signs instead of human
beings. If that is your intent, don’t bother responding. It will only
make the situation worse.

Delta did respond and at least the agent did say he way sorry. Unfortunately, all that he offered was a detailed explanation of their policy (not helpful to my situation) and stated that he added Sky miles to my account (a ludicrous, baseless offer since I said I was never flying with them again).

We all have choices. Some people, like the person who responded to the review of my apartments, are willing to take their “lumps” and accept that life isn’t fair. Even when “life isn’t fair,” you have a choice. You don’t have to continue to give your money to companies that treat you in a manner that you feel is “unfair.” Companies will continue to treat people this way as long as customers continue to “take their lumps.” If you’re not getting the service that you paid for, go somewhere else.

You have a choice. Rage against it, y’all.