tonystan
Topic Author
Posts: 1434
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:39 am

Customer Service And The US Airports

Mon Sep 17, 2012 6:52 pm

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-LAS with UA 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 in LAS 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.
 
slcdeltarumd11
Posts: 3485
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2004 7:30 am

RE: Customer Service And The US Airports

Mon Sep 17, 2012 8:53 pm

In Las People tend to flood the airport certain days and times or its empty. Very hit or miss
 
DLPMMM
Posts: 2146
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 12:34 am

RE: Customer Service And The US Airports

Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:06 pm

The check in kiosks work for those pad with luggage to check. Just check in then go to the bag drop off counter.
 
tonystan
Topic Author
Posts: 1434
Joined: Sat Jan 07, 2006 7:39 am

RE: Customer Service And The US Airports

Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:09 am

Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 2):
The check in kiosks work for those pad with luggage to check. Just check in then go to the bag drop off counter.

Not easy when the only kiosks outside the queue are for "Handbaggage Only Passengers" and the ones for passengers with checked luggage are just before the desks after you have been in the queue for hours! Its a rubbish system AA operate there and makes no sense!

But back to the point of the thread, why are staff so unhelpful in these airports?
My views are my own and do not reflect any other person or organisation.
 
flymia
Posts: 6909
Joined: Thu Jun 14, 2001 6:33 am

RE: Customer Service And The US Airports

Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:11 pm

Quoting tonystan (Reply 3):
But back to the point of the thread, why are staff so unhelpful in these airports?

You talked about how you noticed US airports and others places to have good customer service and now because of two incidents you want an explanation?
TSA has never been great with customers and never will be
AA has been having a lot of problems lately go to the civ-aviation forum.

Its two incidents. If everyone who had these type of things happen made a thread about it anet would just be all about customer service because it happens all the time.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
Cubsrule
Posts: 12099
Joined: Sat May 15, 2004 12:13 pm

RE: Customer Service And The US Airports

Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:37 pm

Quoting flymia (Reply 4):
TSA has never been great with customers and never will be

It depends on the airport. Some places they are great. Others, they are awful. While it's a ridiculously broad brush, generally the larger the airport, the worse things are.
I can't decide whether I miss the tulip or the bowling shoe more
 
usflyer msp
Posts: 2508
Joined: Tue May 23, 2000 11:50 am

RE: Customer Service And The US Airports

Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:07 pm

So basically you are upset because the airport/airline staff did not treat you special despite the fact that everyone else in the line was in a similar situation. Boo-hoo.
 
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RyanairGuru
Posts: 6730
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:59 am

RE: Customer Service And The US Airports

Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:47 pm

Quoting usflyer msp (Reply 6):
So basically you are upset because the airport/airline staff did not treat you special despite the fact that everyone else in the line was in a similar situation. Boo-hoo.

I think you are missing the point which the OP was trying to make (and it's one I agree with): generally customer service in the USA is fantastic, but as a rule airport staff suck. He was using but two examples to illustrate his point. The question is why the massive disparity between the airport and main street?
Worked Hard, Flew Right
 
AirAfreak
Posts: 720
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:20 am

RE: Customer Service And The US Airports

Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:28 am

Many years ago, and I can only comment for IAD, American Airlines used to have expediters in the queue taking note of departure times versus passengers not checked-in. I thought that was quite helpful.

So your post doesn't bother me. It's pure laziness and lack of customer care, awareness, and sense of urgency to get the flight out on-time and with everyone on board.

I'm sorry for your experience. Stick with Delta. Keep Climbing!!! =]

As far as TSA, I can't comment.

Bon Voyage,

Air Afreak =]
Economy Class. You vision of loveliness; Prince Charles called and he wants you to fill in for him next week.
 
lewis
Posts: 3581
Joined: Thu Jul 08, 1999 5:41 am

RE: Customer Service And The US Airports

Wed Sep 19, 2012 12:40 am

I have noticed that although service in the US is usually very good (bars/restaurants/shops/hotels/you name it), the airports are a completely different story. I am still amazed that Americans, who always demand good service, stand up for this kind of attitude at airports. Maybe the TSA and airline crew should be reimbursed from tips, it seems to be working well for all other industries that do!

Quoting tonystan (Thread starter):
"its not in my power to jump people"! Well whos power is it???
Quoting tonystan (Thread starter):
"Not my problem, you have to ask everyone in front of you"

I do not think this is an indication of lacking initiative. I have seen both check-in and security personnel call for passengers on flights that are about to leave many times, both in the US and abroad.
 
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Coal
Posts: 2365
Joined: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:14 am

RE: Customer Service And The US Airports

Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:22 am

There's no tipping of airport personnel or TSA. That's the issue.

Let's make TSA agents' salary tip-based. It will improve customer service and they will still be making more than they did back at the BK Lounge or Mickey D's.

Cheers
Coal
Nxt Flts: 3K SIN-HKT-SIN | CA SIN-CTU-SIN | SQ SIN-FRA | LH FRA-TXL-FRA | SQ FRA-SIN | SQ SIN-PVG-SIN

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