As usual, Newark had issues again this Friday afternoon (This time it was due to 1 runway being closed for resurfacing) so traffic was way backed up (as usual). My I-Jet got into the gate 10 minutes late due to ATC but they had all 47 (yes 47 as in 94% load factor) of us loaded and out just 20 minutes later (At the same time another inbound aircraft was being worked so they dealt with 2 planes at once out of 1 gate). As it was now 5:10 PM (Prime Int’l departure time) the traffic back-up had gotten to its even more usual ridiculous back-up.
We pulled out into the “penalty box” and waited for our slot time, finally after 45 minutes we were able to get onto the taxiway. After another 15 minutes we got to the runway. After an extended position and hold (They are landing on an intersecting runway while the resurfacing is going on), we got off the ground (some 70 minutes late) (The good news is that the FAA website said 1 hour and 1 minute average delay and increasing when I left for the airport so I was already prepared).
I knew I would miss my connecting flight at Dulles and I was right. When I got in I went to the gate, they had already rebooked me and had my new boarding pass waiting for me. Another PAX that misconnected to another city was upset about misconnecting and asked for a meal voucher. The Sup gave out a 20 dollar meal voucher instantly for her and her daughter and they were happy campers.
In the mean time no fewer than 4 people asked me if I needed any help as I walked around the terminal for 1 hour killing some time waiting on the next flight.
They have had a person standing by the monitors for a while now to help anyone who looks befuddled and needs help. Also, I needed a receipt for my expense report and to check on my bag. (That is another post. I got to the airport 15 minutes before the flight time –NYC Traffic). The agents tracked my bag, and apologized repeatedly for the misconnect (even though it was ATC related). (I counted 23 planes in line and 10 pushing back when we left EWR at 5:50 PM)
There are worse places to be than IAD, so off to the B concourse to spot the A319 sitting at B38! (It looked great sitting next to the Virgin A340-600), and to get some food.
I came back to board my flight and all 4 of the agents remembered me and asked if I had my bag and flight situation resolved OK. (1 at the “Help” desk by the Kiosks, and 2 agents and a Sup at gate A6. (Last week they also had great staffing).
Finally at 9:45 PM it was on-time departure to BNA some Sun chips, drink and hot towel later on the last flight and on-time into BNA(and my bag was there).
I have been on 833 segments in the last five years (14 very good flights on DH so far) and 1425 total according to my little spreadsheet. I can’t remember any airline ever having 4 different people ask if I needed help at 2 separate times. (With an hour in-between even).
As a passenger, having happy smiling professional agents and FAs makes a HUGE difference, and the fact that I saved 245 bucks for MY customer is even better. Also, as of next week I will already have my first free ticket. I noticed online that my 25 dollar change fee from the other week actually COUNTED toward the free ticket. No other airline does that! I was shocked. When I pay 100 bucks with another airline to change a ticket they just keep the money, no miles! I will be using it on the A319 to MCO in December or January I am sure
Keep up the good work Indy Air, this customer loves it -flying is fun again.