Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why People Hate Airlines

Okay, my last rant, for now. My next post will be about shopping in Brighton Beach, I promise.

I am going back to visit friends in Minneapolis so I booked my tickets on Sun Country Airlines. If they fly where you are going the fares are reasonable and I have, until now, found the service to be good as well. So what the hell happened.

My options for returning to New York were, at the time I purchased my tickets, a flight that departed at 6:30 A.M. or 4:20 P.M. I opted for the later departure time and paid and extra $86 a ticket to do so. Figured on getting to the airport early, checking in, taking the neat little train to downtown Minneapolis, having a nice lunch, take the train back and catch the plane. This is what I usually do.

Okay, Sun Country has apparently canceled the afternoon flight so I got a message on my answering machine saying that I had been moved to the earlier flight. I called Sun Country and asked if I would then be credited with the $86 a ticket difference in the price. They said "No," this was not their policy and it couldn't be done. Run this by me again? If this isn't a case of bait and switch what is? You pay extra for a more convenient departure time, they move you to a cheaper flight, and won't reimburse you for the difference in air fare because it isn't their policy to do so. Give me a break. If you were buying a piece of merchandise and paid for, say, a more expensive refrigerator and were then told it wasn't available but you would get a cheaper model and, by the way, have to pay the same price as the more expensive model, it would be illegal.

So here is what I had to do. Call Sun Country and cancel my reservations, which they allow you to do at no charge if it is because they canceled the flight you booked. How nice of them. Then I called again and made reservations for the flight they were going to change me to and I was able to get the lower fare. So, because even though it wasn't their policy to credit me with the difference in the fare, I was able to get it anyway in a round-about way.

Let me ask you, does this make any sense from a customer service perspective? Could it possibly be less expensive for Sun Country to have to do it this way? Are there people who didn't do what I did and will end up paying more for a cheaper flight they didn't want? And then the airlines wonder why they are so poorly regarded by their customers.

Oh, and here is another one. You once were able to reserve your seats online for free. This allowed you to simply print out your boarding pass in advance and check your bags without having to stand in line or take up the time of an airline employee. A win win situation. Now they charge you $6 per person per leg to do this. In other words, they are charging you to use a service that would save them money if you used it. And they wonder why they are losing money.

My favorite, though, is charging extra for a window or an aisle seat. If nobody paid would they fly the plane with only middle seats occupied? Do some people get aisle or window seats for free because there aren't enough middle seats to go around? Do you think these people talk to each other and realize how some of them have been ripped off? I, personally, think that the people who are asked to sit in an emergency exit row should charge the airline for doing so. And make them sign some kind of a damage waiver. You just know someone will sue if you didn't open that door fast enough.

What the hell are these people thinking.

1 comment:

todd r said...

bar man, may you never have to fly spirit airlines. they're so bad that their staffers have to be escorted around la guardia by police officers.