Many of us who have visited the US from overseas will always comment on how customer focused the country generally is. From staff in shops to waiters and waitresses and basically most customer focused business on the front line you can expect a certain level of friendlyness and helpfulness which is often lacking elsewhere. Heck I know on occassion I find shop assistants too friendly and I cant get rid of them and actually get irked by them when they launch into their "specials" spiel!
However last week I had the "pleasure" of experiencing both airline staff and TSA
staff in a completely polar view at two very different airports.
On the first occassion through no fault of my own I received a boarding pass for a flight from ORD
at -35 mins. I got to the security line and it basically wrapped its way around the snake line for miles. I decided to wait and see and after 8 minutes it was clear I would not make it through in time. I saw a TSA
agent and asked her politely what I should do...the response "Not my problem, you have to ask everyone in front of you"! I did, I had no shame in doing so, but my goodness would it really have been so difficult for the agent who was just sitting there on her behind to lift the barrier and let me slide up to the front?
The next experience.....AA
on my return. I arrived at the airport 2 hours before departure...stood in a queue for almost one full hour even though there was 10 desks open and watched the staff dilly dally their way through taking ages with each customer (even though they werent actually talking to them). I was then lambasted by the check in agent for leaving it so late to check in even though the 60 minute wait was not my fault! I again viewed one AA
agent refuse to bring an old lady to the front of the line whos flight was leaving in 45 minutes because "its not in my power to jump people"! Well whos power is it???
Now I appreciate airlines are always dealing with chancers (having worked in that role myself) however there seems to be no effort made to assist those who genuinely need it. Two airports now and I saw the same thing occur.
Is this normal in the US? Is there a like it or lump it approach to people in lines and a complete lack of basic customer care? I have seen similar incidents at airports all over the world and staff have remained helpful and fair to those genuinly stuck in queues when they need to be at a gate. God knows the wonderful people at LHR
who many times in the past have rescued my travel plans by just being decent human beings in an airport which so often gets criticism!
Also the check in system in the states? Why is it so slow? AA
had self service kiosks everywhere but they seemed useless if you had luggage.
Sorry for the little rant but I must admit, I was appalled by the experience. If it was just one airport I would have ignored it but clearly that is not the case!
My views are my own and do not reflect any other person or organisation.