Home > Customer Satisfaction > Flying the Unfriendly Skies (Long Rant – Be Warned)

Flying the Unfriendly Skies (Long Rant – Be Warned)

I don’t think I have ever ranted on my blog. Those of you who know me know that it takes a lot to upset me. I really try to roll with whatever is thrown my way (it is what it is) and keep a cheery disposition. But after another frustrating experience with a certain airline, I needed to express my dissatisfaction.

I travel for business, and like most business travellers, we are pros at getting out the door for a trip in short order. I can pack a bag for a 3 day trip in 10 minutes, breeze through security withoutever setting off the alarms (this does not include getting pulled out of line for hand-swabbing or pat downs – really, do I look like an evil-doer?), and have all required documents at the ready. I really enjoy travelling for work, that was one of the requirements that drew me to my current position. I love meeting like-minded people, talking tech, and getting out from behind the desk. The part I hate about travelling is the flying part. I would rather drive the 5 hours to Ottawa (even with 50 14-year-olds as I did with my daughter’s grade 8 trip last year) than jump on a plane for 60 minutes. 5 years ago when I flew quite often, I learned very quickly which airline I preferred of the 2 main choices here in Canada. I wrote this blog post as I sat on a flight following yet another frustrating check-in, and I promise myself I will never fly with this airline again. I understand delays, hiccups, bad weather, late-arriving luggage; that’s the nature of the beast, but this is the last time I will have this airline make my trip miserable and cause me to be delayed.

Back in January, I had to book return flights from Toronto to Montreal (about 500 km), and I choose this airline because of the timing. I have done this flight several times before, and I know from experience that this is normally a 45 minute flight. Long story short: what should have been a 4 hour trip door-to-door was 9 hours. I could have driven to Montreal, had dinner, and still had 2 hours to kill in the same amount of time. The return trip was better, but not by much, as we were delayed again. Did we receive any compensation? No. Anything? No.

I booked my most recent flight from Calgary to Toronto with this particular airline, again, because of the timing. I was supposed to have a full work day and this flight had the best time for me to leave and arrive home after being away from the kids and the dog for a few days. Between the bad jokes and tight seats, I normally only fly this airline as my second/last choice.

On this trip, I booked with my preferred airline, but the final leg was booked on my second choice. This airline changed their cut off check-in times to 45 minutes prior to departure. I agreed to this as part of the ticket purchase, but really didn’t give it a second thought, as I have never missed a flight due to tardiness. A few hours prior to departing, I planned to check-in online but while I was trying to tie up lose ends before the end of the business day, my laptop crashed; I ended up never checking in online. I arrived at the airport prior to the 45 minute cut off, but by the time I arrived to the departures terminal, I was 4 minutes past the 45 minute check-in. I explained the situation to the kiosk rep and was told I needed to speak to another rep, but it shouldn’t be any issue as I was only a few minutes late and didn’t have any baggage. She directed me to the customer service line, saying the line was moving quickly. Apparently, there is a difference between the meaning of “moving quickly” in Ontario and Alberta. There was nothing fast about that line. By the time I finally spoke to the rep, I had about 20 minutes to get to my gate. She called down to the gate and I was told I couldn’t get on the flight as boarding had already started. And we all know, boarding is a very fast process. If I walked into the terminal at that moment with a boarding pass, I would have made the flight, but the service rep was not being overly accommodating. My choices at this time were already limited as I had to be home that evening, so I had to pay the $50 to get on the next flight. The company motto is “[insert company name here] cares”. Really? I don’t think so.

I was in a similar situation with my preferred airline a few years ago. I was late getting to the airport due to weather and an accident on the highway. I arrived at the airport and spoke to a rep at check-in, as I had baggage that time, and they called down to the gate, told them I was on my way, then proceeded to expediate the security process. Since everything was in my checked baggage, the security check took no time at all; I was then directed to the gate, which I jogged to. The flight crew closed the door to the aircraft as I stepped on the plane. This didn’t delay our flight, as they had just finished boarding. I was more than impressed. By all rights, they could have left me at the gate.

I know that for my story, there are hundreds of others both for and against each of these airlines.

What gives the airlines the right take away our time and not compensate us when it’s their fault? I will do everything I can to avoid using this airline again. I’m tired of being treated so badly and don’t believe we should have to put up with it.

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  1. 03/29/2014 at 11:53 pm

    Sharon I am sorry you had this issue, and from what I can tell it is the airline I suggested you not choose. I really am sorry that they gave you hassles, and hope your future flights are amooth sailing!

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