Saturday, June 03, 2006

service. i traveled to columbus, oh for a meeting on thursday. i'd like to use the experience as a short case study on customer service. and it may well double as a bitch session.

i'm flying US Air, my coworker is flying Continental. thursday we leave for the airport, it's pouring down rain, monsoon like (anyone on the north east probably understands). each of us calls our airline to check the status. continental: canceled, recommends checking with a gate agent for rebooking. us air: on time.

we get to the airport. i check in and am told the flight is delayed 30 mins. coworker checks with gate agent. this guy ends up triple booking him: confirms him for the earliest continental flight in the morning, then puts him on the standby list for my us air flight and a delta flight. tells us to get dinner and check back in 30 mins or so.

we are eating. coworker gets paged to come to the gate agent. us air flight is delayed another 30 mins, but he books him on that flight. we finish dinner, go to the gate. flight is supposed to leave in 20 mins but the plane hasnt landed yet. of course, the departure time hasnt changed. upon inquiry, the plane hasn't left NY (its origination) yet.

another 40 mins passes, coworker is about to bail when an anouncement is made the flight is delayed another hour. they recommend rebooking for the morning flight. coworker bails, gets a hotel. i stay for the off chance the flight goes that night -- the us air gate agent said there is no curfew for the class of plane.

another half hour or so and flight officially gets canceled. i go to the checkin desk.
gate agent 1: earliest flight we have is 12:10pm
me: can you check all new york airports, laguardia, jfk, newark?
GA1: yes, all other flights are fully booked.
me: can you check other airlines?
GA1: there is one at 11 on delta to LGA. is that better?
me: its about an hour better. go ahead and book it.
GA1: (to GA2) why is this thing giving me trouble. what am i doing wrong?
(handing me back my original boarding pass with the delta flight number and time on the back) here is your flight information. do you need a list of hotels?
me: yes, do you have a voucher?
GA1: no, its weather related.
(transactions completed GA1 leaves)
me (to GA2): can you check flight availability for all new york airpots? i find it hard to believe there are no flights earlier than 11am to ny.
GA2: there is a 6:50 on continental into newark, would that be better?
me: absolutely.
i'm not sure if it's incompetence, laziness, or what, but when you compare what continental tried to do for my coworker versus what i asked for and couldnt get from us air the first few times, not to mention the poor communication of status by us air, there is little question on which was the better customer experience.

i had a similar experience with my hotel booking that night, which i won't burden you with. suffice it to say that you get what you pay for, and i ended up staying at the marriot where the hotel told me to take a cab from the airport which they covered.

No comments: