Friday, August 27, 2010

The Friendly Skies???

     Okay class, today we're going to talk about customer service and the airlines.  Yeah, I guess that's a pretty good example of an oxymoron.

     You've seen the stories about people trapped for hours on planes stranded out on the tarmac.  

     You've heard about the countless flight delays.

     And you've heard about the flight attendant who wigged-out, cursed a passenger, grabbed a beer and escaped via the emergency slide.  According to witnesses the flight attendant said he couldn't take it anymore.  You'd think by now we'd have seen stunts like that performed by PASSENGERS.

     I recently flew Delta to Italy for a family vacation and it was a great experience.  At least it was AFTER we left New York's JFK Airport.  The terminal area was small, dirty, noisy and filled with hundreds (if not thousands) of people- standing in lines snaking in several directions.  It was chaos.  There were no airline reps available to tell us what to do.  And there were no signs indicating which line to join.  I had to fight my way up to the counter to ask for directions.  And as luck would have it- because we had checked-in on the internet, all we had to do was turn over our baggage.  But we still had to wait in line because they were frantically trying to process people whose flights were leaving ahead of us.  The Delta people were extremely nice- just hopelessly overwhelmed.  One counter person told me that staffing levels had been cut.

     All this is happening as Delta is blowing its horn about terminal upgrades at LaGuardia.  They've opened swanky restaurants, staffed by fancy-pants famous chefs.  Why is JFK the pits?

     Coming home, the Delta terminal in Rome was spotless, airy, huge- wonderful.  They rushed us through check-in and got us to the gate in a flash.  And to be fair, the Delta planes were new, clean and the actual flights were terrific.
     If a Delta executive flew out of JFK I imagine that person would be outraged by the conditions in that terminal.  And I can't believe that Delta's top brass hasn't been there.  So why aren't they doing something about it?

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