Tuesday, May 4, 2010


It’s 7:35AM and I have been up since 3:15AM. Ah, the early morning flight. I can’t sleep on the plane so here I am writing a blog entry. Throughout the airport I was jogging mental notes of what I wanted to write about.
1. Lack of customer service at check-in desk
2. TSA Procedures and the idiots who can’t seem to manage a line when that is their only job.
3. Checked baggage – 2nd check-in
4. Boarding the plane
a. Lack of assistance on plane
5. Baggage claim
I generally try to fly JetBlue, Southwest and Virgin America if at all possible. Oh, and Midwest when the opportunity arises, I love those little grandma flight attendants baking cookies your whole flight! I try to give the legacy airlines another shot over and over but with the lack of entertainment on board and then the almost mean-spirited staff, I go back to the newer airlines.
Complaint #1: I have been up for hours too Ms. check-in desk attendant. I checked in online to make your life and my life easier. All I have to do is hand you my bag. Why do you have to have such an attitude like I am putting you out? Your job is “customer service.” I am a customer and your JOB is to service me, which is simply taking my bag. You chose this job, you could work in the back or choose another job if you don’t like people. Would it kill you to:
1. Smile or even just say hello, good morning or something?
2. Not take 10 minutes between customers to type random stuff into the computer, seriously, what ARE you typing? You aren’t even checking people in, just bags!
3. Not chit chat – or YELL from down the counter to gossip while holding the long line and giving someone attitude for actually coming to your counter when the last person left 5 minutes ago and it does say “Open” above you?
4. Not have on 2 inch nails if you can’t type with them?
Complaint #2: I’m sure this is just a matter of logistics but why do we have to check-in our bag with you and then schlep it over to the TSA scanner. Why do you have a belt behind you running when no one gets to use it?
Complaint #3: Lines. Okay, so security lines are a bear, I get it. People don’t understand that they can be preparing while they are in line and blah, blah, blah. But airport employees whose job it is to manage lines, don’t get mad at us when you are feeding in people to one line from two directions and then blame us when it gets jammed because you weren’t monitoring it. Ever heard of a funnel approach? It can work but whatever you were doing this morning was a mess and you just standing there and gabbing in the corner when some poor old couple who never travels has to block the line because there is no place to go. Don’t come over and give them attitude, they wouldn’t be blocking the path if you had been doing your job. Also, TSA ID checker guy, you could have held back the line when you saw it was jammed. You can do two things at once right?
Complaint #4: I fly big airports like LAX and Logan and small airports like Burbank. How come TSA security procedures are always different? Some tell you to put ALL bags and items in bins, others yell at you to remove them. Again, being polite wouldn’t hurt. This morning I went through the body scanner thing and it didn’t go off but then I had to go back and take off my sweatshirt and run that through the belt. I asked him before if I had to take it off but he said no or didn’t hear me. Oh well. Anyways, I went through Starbucks a few minutes later and they are seriously more consistent than TSA security. I bet if you gave the logistics people at Starbucks a month in TSA, they would have a more consistent “brand image” and have those lines flowing better. I don’t mean to be mean but I seriously wonder if some of these TSA employees could have gotten jobs at McDonald’s. I doubt it because they are too rude!
Complaint #5: This is for both the airline employees and the passengers. First off, passengers, you don’t need to hover around the area until your number is called and create a jam. Just relax, your number will be called and you can board, the plane isn’t going anywhere, well it is but if you’re at the gate already, I think you’ll be okay. Second, flight attendants, how about one of two of you standing in the aisle (some airlines do this and it works) and helping people put items in the overhead bins and watching people so they don’t put their carry-on in the front of the plane when their seat is in the back. Then you wouldn’t have the problem of people in the front not having room or vice versa. Also, announcing over the loudspeaker that there is no more room for suitcases and telling passengeres to go to the front of the plane when there are there are 30 people in the aisle doesn’t help. I know that day after day passengers do stupid, rude and annoying things. I watch it every time I fly but you are there as an employee. I have a job and there are things that annoy me too, if I get burnt out I will get a new job rather than make everyone I help, or don’t help, miserable as well. I know that you are there for the “safety” of the passengers but don’t you think if we could all board in a timely and efficient manner, it would make your job/life easier as well.
Today I witnessed a young guy who had no place to put her suitcase. He ended up putting it overhead and getting in his seat even though it was sticking out. He did this because they already made the announcement there was no more room but he was polite enough to get it somewhere and not block the aisle. But of course, a lady came by and yelled at him and told him he had to move his bag somewhere else, which he knew. Anyhow.
Complaint #5: Baggage claim. Oh, baggage claim. Seriously people, do you have to stand on top of the belt? If everyone took 3 steps back, there would be room for everyone to see their bag coming and have room to actually grab it. I love when there is some idiot standing so close, generally I was standing there first and then they come and stand in front of me. I excuse myself and get in when I see my bag and generally if I check, it’s a big bag. I try to be considerate but seriously, I need a little room and then I get a dirty look for accidently knocking them. Um, you could have stepped back, you knew I was going to be grabbing something big and needing to put it down. I really wish there was a red line painted around the 2-3 feet around the edge and they asked you to stand behind it until you saw your bag.
Legacy airlines. This just happened in the auto industry and they had to hit rock bottom and get government help to bounce back. You already get a ton of government assistance. Newer companies are coming out of the woodwork and don’t have the same overhead you do, I get that. But smiling, being more helpful and thinking of new, innovative, and cost-effective ways to improve your airline wouldn’t hurt. It’s sad then when I fly particular airlines, I expect grumpy miserable employees. Actually having a nice one is a pleasant surprise. I think that the CEO of AA, United or Delta should travel coach once per month in disguise (like Undercover Boss but Undercover Passenger instead). I bet things might improve then!
And I digress.

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