Thursday, January 05, 2006

Another Open Letter to Airlines--or, Why I for Real Hate to Fly, Extra Ramble-icious Style

Some of you may have read my previous post "An Open Letter To Airlines," which I think can be found under the entries from mid-November 2005. In that entry I discussed the horrible hatred that I feel for Airline-Industry-decision-making-type-people, and you should probably check out my archives if you don't know what I'm talking about.
Mostly because I used to be far more interesting than I am now.

Anyhow, I have recently returned from the vacation that was discussed in the above-mentioned post.

And while that vacation was--well--fabulous, to say the least, I would like to take this opportunity to address the one completely sucky aspect of my vacation: flying on airplanes.
So, here we go.

To: Delta, United Airlines, Northwest, Continental, Spirit, Song, American, Southwest, and blah, blah, blah, whatever and ever.
Re: Incredibly Higher Levels of Suck Than Previously Noted
From: Tiffany, Who Hates You Very Much Indeed.

Dear Asshole Airline Type People,*

Why do you refuse to think?
I am confused by this, because I would assume that it would be very difficult to manage to send thousands of people flying through the air to thousands of places every day, and that this job would require lots of thinking.
But apparently, that just is not the case.

For example, you sent me to Atlanta on the way to Salt Lake City from Detroit. This doesn't make very much sense, because it takes 4 hours to fly to Salt Lake City from both Detroit and Atlanta. So the 2 hour flight I was forced to take from Detroit to Atlanta on the way was just extra-bonus flying time, I guess. Only, extra-bonus flying time doesn't exist--so let's just call it what it is, 2 extra hours spent precariously flying 35,000 over the Earth in a very small tin-can looking type compartment with a fat snoring person next to you.

Which leads me to my next complaint...
I know that your industry has taken a hit since 9/11, and I try to feel for you. I bring my own food on the plane because I realize you can no longer afford to feed us on flights that are less than eleventy-hundred hours long. But I just do not understand why you can't sit me next to the people I'm traveling with any more.
I have been flying all over forever (I used to not be scared of it) and I think maybe one time I had to sit apart from the rest of my family. And you airline people were very apologetic about it. Which is not at all what happened on this trip, where you didn't allow us to check in online 24 hours in advance--which I hear is pretty standard these days--and then didn't check us in for our connecting flight when we checked in at the airport in Detroit. We landed in Atlanta 37 minutes before our connecting flight was supposed to leave, and when we tried to check in we were placed in all sorts of random areas of the very large plane (you know, the 2 seat/3 seat/2 seat kind) and were told that it was good news that we could get seats at all.
Good news that we could get seats at all?
Silly us. We thought that the $550 we paid for the tickets would get us a seat.
And also, when I'm sitting next to a lady that is traveling with her 15 relatives, and they're all rowed up happily together on the plane--it really makes me wonder why I can't sit next to the 2 people that I'm traveling with, you know?
Anyhow, we got on the plane.
Because, as stated in the previous post, going on vacation is fun.
And I had taken my xanax and was really doing quite a good job of pretending like I was okay sitting by myself, and I didn't even cry or throw-up on myself when we took off.

But then the next thing I have to complain about happened.
I was seated on the right aisle of the middle three seats of the airplane, in the 2nd row behind 1st class. Which I was initially happy with--because in the middle of the airplane, it's easier to pretend like you're somewhere else--until I realized that one of the things you can no longer afford is enough flight attendants to take care of a Boeing 737.
This was a very disappointing realization.
I was excited when I found out that the movie Cinderella Man was going to be shown on the flight, but no one ever offered me a headset. I asked the flight attendant who was patrolling the aisle 2 seats to my left 4 separate times for a headset, and she told me that someone would be down my side of the aisle to give me a headset. But no one came until they came offering drinks, and then they said they'd be back with a headset. But they never came, either. And so I had to sit there, right under a huge lit-up screen showing a movie that I really wanted to see--with no headset.
Meanwhile, I could see the flight attendant assigned to 1st class hanging out 5 and a half feet in front of me, but I couldn't get her attention. Apparently, it was beneath her to help passengers seated 2 feet behind the first class curtain, even for 4 seconds.
Damnit.

When we returned, we waited in line at the Las Vegas airport for 25 minutes--waiting at the United Airlines desk, because our tickets said we were flying United Airlines. When we got to the desk, we were told that we had to wait in the America West line, instead, because the flight was operated be America West. Even though it didn't say America West anywhere on our tickets or Itinerary.
Then we waited in the America West line for another hour, which culminated with the desk-guy smiling as he gave us our boarding passes--3 middle seats in completely different parts of the plane.
So, I took matters into my own hands.
When we got to the gate, I went up to the desk and started crying, asking them to seat me with at least one person I was traveling with so that I wouldn't throw-up on myself. Which wasn't exactly a lie, because I usually do throw-up on myself on airplanes.
Anyway, the nice gate-lady--apparently the only person of sound mind working in the entire industry--promptly put all of us together.
Which really begs the question, why wouldn't you just put us together in the first place?
Is it too expensive?
Or are you just not thinking?

Work with me, people.

Because I love going on vacation**.

Sincerely,
Tiffany, Queen of Complaints

*Asshole airline type people does not include my cousin, who designs airplane seats. I see that as very separate, indeed.

**A non-complaining type entry documenting exactly how much I loved this particular vacation will follow. Someday.

Meanwhile, please note that I'm struggling here. Now that I'm done with school, I find I have far less to complain about. It's really putting a damper on my style.
Ohh--see?
I can even find a way to complain about life being good.

I knew I had a talent...

5 comments:

Lady Strathconn said...

I hear ya!

I am going on vaca with my parents and husband. Do to last-minute theatrical commitments, my DH and I had to change our tickets from Sat to Sun. However, we got the same flight plan, with a refund (after the charge to change). That had us leaving at 7 am and getting in around 1 pm.

However, now the airline has decided they don't want us to fly on the plane we booked, so instead we are leaving later (by an hour) in the morning, sitting in Minnesota or somewhere, and getting to Mexico at 9:00 PM! I am sorry, 8 hours later than our paid for time?

What the? How can a business do this? Have you ever gone into a restuarant and had them say:

"We can seat you in 15 minutes."
10 minutes later
"We can seat in 25 minutes, but you have to pay $15 more."
25 minutes go by
"We can seat 2 of you in a booth, one of you at a table, and one at the bar, and you will have to leave your coats with us."
You are seated
"We'll be by with your food, sometime."
You finish eating
"Please wait until the table is totally cleared before leaving."
You wait
And wait
You go to get your coat
"I am sorry, our coatroom was overfull and we had to send them out to be hung. Could we get it to you later?"
You leave
You plan to go back, but discover they are only open for lunch from 9 am to 11:30 and dinner from 9:15 to 10:45

I mean really!

Hot Blonde E said...

I agree, the airlines suck. It is amazing I read this today, because let me tell you what happened this morning. My roommate lost his "very importmant to his future career in politics" job today, because of the airlines. This young strapping buck decided to take a vacation to LA to see his favorite DJ and get some action from a girlie he knows from college over the new year. I don't blame him especially since the sexual tension must be brimming from having such a hottie for a roommate. (The show was cancelled due to weather of course)Anyway his flight on Monday that was supposed to take off around 6 pm was continually delayed until 1:45am. By that time he figured I might as well just catch a flight tomorrow (get a little extra action). He was reassigned to United, where as anyone who watches the news knows, they had a system wide computer failure. After waiting in line for 4 1/2 hours he was reassigned to the same flight the next day. That flight was delayed just enough to have him miss the last bus home from the airport that night. He slept in the Denver terminal Wednesday night. He returned home at 6am on Thursday exhausted, had 2 crown and cokes and went to bed. He went to work Thurs at 6pm and worked through the night trying to catch up on the work he missed. He came home Friday at 6am to change and go back. I felt horrible for him. Around 10am he called me and apologized ahead of time if he was wasted when I got home from work because he was asked to resign effective today, because of all of the work he missed. So Tiffany, you're experience, shout it out....complain. I've always had good experiences with the airlines, but seeing this happen to a friend of mine really pisses me off (plus who knows how he'll pay me for half of the rent)

Sincerely,

A fucked landlord

tiffany said...

oh, dear.

Denise said...

I am extremely angered with Delta Airlines and their complete and utter lack of customer service during a delay and missed connection (last flight of the night) I suffered this holiday season. (with no compensation from Delta except a measly $7.00 meal voucher and offer to stay at a Comfort Inn for which I'd have TO PAY $51.50 for!!!) I've sent a complaint letter to Delta, but they are just trying to place blame on the travel agency I went through: Priceline.com.. however, Priceline has a disclaimer on their website in which they are not responsible for any type of airline delays or cancellations. Has anyone else experienced similiar situations with Delta and what are they telling you? As far I am a concerned, they are just trying to shut me up and hope that I stop pestering about this issue. Well, guess what, I'm not going to stop until I get some answers and compensation!!!!!!!!!

Below is part of the complaint I wrote to Delta Airlines:

I am extremely angered with Delta airlines’ lack of customer service during my flight experience yesterday, Dec. 19, 2005.

My flight (# 886) out of San Francisco, CA (heading to Atlanta, GA) was delayed one hour. I was supposed to take off at 1:57pm PT and did not leave until 2:55pm PT. All of the passengers were informed by the flight caption that we would still be able to make our connecting flights on-time with no problems.

I arrived in Atlanta, GA on Dec. 19 at 10:16pm ET. My connecting flight was scheduled to take off at 10:40pm ET. I did EVERYTHING I could to make it to my connection. I hurried off the plane and RAN -- SPRINTED to terminal C. I was sweating and out of breath by the time I reached the gate for my Syracuse flight at 10:40pm. At that time, I was told that I would not be allowed on the plane. This flight was the last flight of the night to Syracuse, NY. My understanding is that Delta was informed of this late arriving plane from San Francisco, CA – so why didn’t they wait a few extra minutes??????? ESPECIALLY since this was the LAST FLIGHT OF THE NIGHT TO SYRACUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have had many experiences in the past in which other airlines will wait for connecting passengers, KNOWING they are coming from late arriving connecting flights.

Delta airlines offered me no compensation except a measly $7.00 meal voucher and an offer to stay at a hotel in which I would have to PAY $51.50 for. I was not about to pay for a situation that was not my fault!!! I have been compensated for identical situations from other airlines in the past. On top of that, Danny from Salt Lake City, UT, (who I spoke with on the Delta courtesy phone) assured me that my checked bag would be pulled from the baggage area so that I could have the usage of my clothes and toiletries. After walking around the baggage claim area and baggage counter and speaking to many Delta employees, my bag was nowhere to be found.

Since Delta would not compensate me for a hotel of my choice, I stayed at the Sheraton Gateway hotel nearby the airport at my expense.

Delta put me on the next flight out to Syracuse, NY in the morning, flight 613 leaving out of Atlanta at 9:20am ET and arriving in Syracuse at 11:29am ET. When I returned to the airport in the morning, I went back to the baggage area to try and find my bag and the Delta employee at the counter told me (after looking at my baggage code number and checking in the computer) that my checked bag had indeed made it to Syracuse the night before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How is it possible that there was enough time to allow my bag on the connecting flight, BUT NOT ME????????????????????????????????????????????????

I have a contact at Delta whom I explained this situation to and she also feels I should be compensated for everything – my flight, hotel, food, lost time. ESPECIALLY since all of this could have been easily avoided, had they waited one more minute for me, due to the late arriving connecting flight. (Who made the decision to close the doors without waiting for connecting passengers and also having many empty seats on the flight???????????)

All in all, this experience was the ABSOLUTE WORST I have EVER had and I will never again fly on Delta airlines, unless I am FULLY compensated. I assist a lot of friends and families in purchasing flights throughout the year and I will never recommend Delta to them nor will I ever have anything good to say about your customer service or staff, unless I am FULLY compensated.

I am now in the process of filing a summons & complaint against Delta Airlines.

NEVER FLY DELTA!!!!!!!!!!

Denise said...

I am extremely angered with Delta Airlines and their complete and utter lack of customer service during a delay and missed connection (last flight of the night) I suffered this holiday season. (with no compensation from Delta except a measly $7.00 meal voucher and offer to stay at a Comfort Inn for which I'd have TO PAY $51.50 for!!!) I've sent a complaint letter to Delta, but they are just trying to place blame on the travel agency I went through: Priceline.com.. however, Priceline has a disclaimer on their website in which they are not responsible for any type of airline delays or cancellations. Has anyone else experienced similiar situations with Delta and what are they telling you? As far I am a concerned, they are just trying to shut me up and hope that I stop pestering about this issue. Well, guess what, I'm not going to stop until I get some answers and compensation!!!!!!!!!

Below is part of the complaint I wrote to Delta Airlines:

I am extremely angered with Delta airlines’ lack of customer service during my flight experience yesterday, Dec. 19, 2005.

My flight (# 886) out of San Francisco, CA (heading to Atlanta, GA) was delayed one hour. I was supposed to take off at 1:57pm PT and did not leave until 2:55pm PT. All of the passengers were informed by the flight caption that we would still be able to make our connecting flights on-time with no problems.

I arrived in Atlanta, GA on Dec. 19 at 10:16pm ET. My connecting flight was scheduled to take off at 10:40pm ET. I did EVERYTHING I could to make it to my connection. I hurried off the plane and RAN -- SPRINTED to terminal C. I was sweating and out of breath by the time I reached the gate for my Syracuse flight at 10:40pm. At that time, I was told that I would not be allowed on the plane. This flight was the last flight of the night to Syracuse, NY. My understanding is that Delta was informed of this late arriving plane from San Francisco, CA – so why didn’t they wait a few extra minutes??????? ESPECIALLY since this was the LAST FLIGHT OF THE NIGHT TO SYRACUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have had many experiences in the past in which other airlines will wait for connecting passengers, KNOWING they are coming from late arriving connecting flights.

Delta airlines offered me no compensation except a measly $7.00 meal voucher and an offer to stay at a hotel in which I would have to PAY $51.50 for. I was not about to pay for a situation that was not my fault!!! I have been compensated for identical situations from other airlines in the past. On top of that, Danny from Salt Lake City, UT, (who I spoke with on the Delta courtesy phone) assured me that my checked bag would be pulled from the baggage area so that I could have the usage of my clothes and toiletries. After walking around the baggage claim area and baggage counter and speaking to many Delta employees, my bag was nowhere to be found.

Since Delta would not compensate me for a hotel of my choice, I stayed at the Sheraton Gateway hotel nearby the airport at my expense.

Delta put me on the next flight out to Syracuse, NY in the morning, flight 613 leaving out of Atlanta at 9:20am ET and arriving in Syracuse at 11:29am ET. When I returned to the airport in the morning, I went back to the baggage area to try and find my bag and the Delta employee at the counter told me (after looking at my baggage code number and checking in the computer) that my checked bag had indeed made it to Syracuse the night before!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How is it possible that there was enough time to allow my bag on the connecting flight, BUT NOT ME????????????????????????????????????????????????

I have a contact at Delta whom I explained this situation to and she also feels I should be compensated for everything – my flight, hotel, food, lost time. ESPECIALLY since all of this could have been easily avoided, had they waited one more minute for me, due to the late arriving connecting flight. (Who made the decision to close the doors without waiting for connecting passengers and also having many empty seats on the flight???????????)

All in all, this experience was the ABSOLUTE WORST I have EVER had and I will never again fly on Delta airlines, unless I am FULLY compensated. I assist a lot of friends and families in purchasing flights throughout the year and I will never recommend Delta to them nor will I ever have anything good to say about your customer service or staff, unless I am FULLY compensated.

I am now in the process of filing a summons & complaint against Delta Airlines.

NEVER FLY DELTA!!!!!!!!!!