Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Airlines Need to Work on the Whole Customer Service Thing

When I bought the plane tickets for the SVP annual meeting, I booked my flight a day before booking J's flight because I wasn't sure if J would be able to come. I booked my departure flight from home for the 14th and J's for the 16th. Though we're traveling on different flights to the conference, we'll be leaving on the same day, so I booked us the same return flights.

Last night I got an email from US Airways saying that they had changed J's itinerary. After comparing his return flight information with mine, I realized that that we would no longer be on the same return flight, so I called the company to see if we could arrange to fly together.

The woman on the phone assured me that J and I were on the same return flight. I was looking at our itineraries and could see that she was wrong. We had different flights, different times, different flight numbers. I told her this.

Her response? Apparently they also changed my itinerary, but had neglected to tell me. And they changed my departing flight from home so that I would arrive in the connecting flight airport two hours AFTER my connecting flight was scheduled to leave.

The US Airways woman told me that she would fix my itinerary so that I wouldn't miss my connecting flight. "I can get you to Cleveland at 9:45 pm," she said. I was originally scheduled to arrive in Cleveland at 3:30.

"That won't work," I told her. "I'm attending a conference and I need to be in Cleveland at 3:30 or earlier." I REALLY want to go to Neil Shubin's talk, which is at 8:00 pm.

After being INCREDIBLY firm for a while, the woman finally contacted her "superior" and got me on an early flight.

I'm unsettled, though. What if my itinerary changes again? How would I know?

I hate flying and it seems like it's just becoming more and more of a hassle.


Zachary said...

Oh, it is. Alaska Airlines just upped their mileage requirements for a frequent flier ticket, and I don't think they give you any food anymore. AT ALL. And from what I heard on NPR yesterday, many airlines are now charging fuel fees, even on frequent flier flights, so you just can't get a free ticket.

There's gotta be a better way! And how did you know Neil Shubin is giving a talk? Last time I checked, the schedule hadn't been posted on the SVP website...

Amanda said...

I know Shubin is giving a talk because I'm a crazy SVP stalker and have been trying to leech out any information I can get for months!

I think it was in the first circular, which you would get if you were a member.

Zachary said...

I'm not. The $415 registration fee made me angry. I'm not giving them any more money.