I am the airlines worst nightmare. Give me a wireless connection to the Net and I will guarantee I know more about the state of affairs, alternative plans, lies and prevarications than the most bored and hapless gate agent can muster.
My last day of vacation and it is being spent inside of Terminal C of LaGuardia, courtesy of US Airways, who two weeks in a row has screwed me with massive delays (and one outright cancellation) while trying to fly from NYC to Cape Cod. Today’s destination is Martha’s Vineyard. The plan was an 11:30 departure, 12:30 arrival, and an afternoon of fishing. Well, that is not going to happen. It is 1 pm and I will be lucky to sit on the plane by 2 pm.
The plane was in Lebanon, New Hampshire up to a few minutes ago. The gate agent just lied or had a bad system, because at 12 he said that plane was in the air. It wasn’t. It was on the ground in New Hampshire and I knew it and he didn’t.
Now I know exactly where it is thanks to Flightview. More importantly, every other pissed off passenger sitting near me also knows where it is. This knowledge is sparking a revolution, with everyone dialing like mad to cover ourselves with alternatives. To US Air’s credit — unlike Southwest — they actually welcome electronic communications.
I just had a terse chat with a rep named Julie W. I received an email with the transcript. I love the last line, the ultimate in happy face insincerity. Anyway, before I launch into the transcript, let me declare no industry — more than the airline industry — needs to get its social media marketing act together (maybe healthcare insurance). Hostage passengers are literally able to blog in real time while stuck on the plane. Every action is captured on cell video phones. There is more information at the passengers’ command than ever before, and we all know what information is.
I hope Congress kicks the airline industry’s butt this week. 70% delay statistics are deplorable.
Julie W: Hello David. Welcome to US Airways online customer support.
I have received your message and am currently researching your question. I will be with you in a moment. David Churbuck: thx Julie W: Please give me a moment to check that for you. Julie W: I am showing that flight 4892 is delayed and has not departed yet. Julie W: It is giving a time for departure at 12:10pm with an arrival of 1:29pm. David Churbuck: It is 12:21, the gate agent said 30 minutes ago it has departed David Churbuck: should I make other plans? I MUST get to Martha's Vineyard today Julie W: She must have more updated information. I am showing the above in my system. David Churbuck: Thank you Julie W: I would recommend speaking with the agent at the airport about rescheduling the flight
if your trip is futile. David Churbuck: They won't commit until they cancel David Churbuck: They did this to me last week on a flight from LGA to HYA David Churbuck: I wait three hours, the delays keep getting pushed out, no one shares any information,
and then it is cancelled Julie W: Do you have checked in bags? Julie W: Did you check in any bags on your current flight? David Churbuck: no Julie W: I am going to see if I can change this for you. The next flight departs at 3:59pm and
will arrive at 1:29pm. Julie W: I mean 5:24pm. Julie W: Would you rather be scheduled on that flight? David Churbuck: Okay -- what if 4801 actually arrives before 4 or does not get cancelled. David Churbuck: This is the last day of my vacation, I'd like to get at least one hour of daylight
at my destination Julie W: If I change this then you would be confirmed on the later flight not the earlier flight
if it arrives early. David Churbuck: no thanks, that would be terrible to see the flight leave because I was impatient.
Are there many seats on the 3:59 pm available? Julie W: I am showing that the flight is approximately 80% full. David Churbuck: okay, I will take my chances on 4801 and if it cancels rush to get rebooked Julie W: Are there any other questions I can assist you with today? David Churbuck: no thank you Julie W: You're welcome. Thank you for choosing US Airways. Have a great day!