Topic Author
Posts: 624
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 1999 7:28 am

Fun At The Gate...

Fri Dec 29, 2000 8:24 am

There have been quite a few posts lately regarding different things that can happen at the gate. Some blame the agent (most actually) and some the passengers. As a CSR (customer service rep) for a major airline, I would like to share what can happen in one day of work during the holidays...This may help some of you to understand why some gate agents behave the way they do.

All of these stories are real! This is what happened to me on Dec.23 during my shift....

1630...Arrived at ATO and proceeded to our offices to check what I was assigned to do today (we are cross-utilized between ticket counter and gates). Since it was quite close to x-mas, I decided to wear a Santa Claus suit (costume) to work. I filled a large basket with toy pilot wings, peanuts and pretzels and started walking towards the gate area...

1700...Opened the gate counter for our 1740 departure -B737-300. Long line at the gate and I made an announcement as follows "Ladies and gentlemen If you have checked-in at the main ticket counter and have received a white boarding card showing a seat assignment, there is no need to check-in again. Please remain comfortably seated until we begin the boarding process in a few minutes...Thank You"

Guess what? Everybody stayed in line and 9 out of 10 had their boarding passes! I should not have worn the costume for a lot of people kept asking "Can I have an upgrade Santa? I have been nice this year!"

We started boarding...By row one would pay attention and all tried to board at the same time...
I had to make three announcements in order to restore order to the boarding process...Once the boarding was done and all elite frequent flyers had been upgraded we ended with four empty seats in F class....I made an announcement asking any person celebrating a birthday or anniversary to raise their hand...One lady did and so did a couple, so I moved them to F class and closed the door...On Time!

Our next flight was to be operated by a CRJ and you can imagine the faces on the windows of different planes that taxied by as I stood on the ramp waiting for my aircraft to arrive...

My last flight that evening was an 2316 departure to Las Vegas! A319-Brand new aircraft...full load in economy...112 passenger and not a single seat booked in F class....This aircraft was coming in 30mins late due to weather and ATC delays...Upon telling this to some customers at the gate, the wanted to know how my airline was planning to compensate them for losing 30mins of gambling time in Vegas!...When the aircraft arrived, a customer asked to see a supervisor, I asked him what could I do for him since I was a relief supervisor...He wanted his "Voucher for 300.00". I asked him if he had been bumped from another flight of had been mistreated or severely delayed or even re-routed....He said no to all of my questions (and this flight was only 12mins late after all)...He then told me that when he had checked in at his origin city he had been told that he was on an oversold flight and that he would receive a voucher if he did not make on the plane. I asked him..did you board your original flights? He said yes and that they were great and on time! Then I politely mentioned that the vouchers are for those passengers who were not boarded on the flight...He then demanded that I give him one for the mental "stress" that he suffered for 10 minutes earlier in the day when he was unsure if he would be boarded! I politely turned his request down and gave him our customer relations dept. address to write to....

We boarded the flight and yes, I did upgrade regular coach people...I believe in doing so after I have upgraded elite flyers and deserving employees since it creates goodwill towards my airline and is a nice way to treat a passenger...after all that seat was going out empty anyway....And, yes some passengers leave their brains at the terminal entrance.

My point is that a lot can happen in one day to wear out a gate agent. Some may act a little cold or not be so patient after hours of badgering and trying to please others...but try it yourself see how you would do...

Of course there is never an excuse for rudeness...

Hope you had a great holiday...Thanks
PRINAIR : Puerto Rico International Airlines
Posts: 189
Joined: Sat Dec 09, 2000 4:29 pm

RE: Fun At The Gate...

Fri Dec 29, 2000 3:12 pm

I'm totally in agreement here!

I've had some pretty mean gate agents, but unless they bump me from a flight... i've got nothing to complain about. Their job is to get us on the aircraft as quickly as possible and 99% of the time, that is accomplished!

I have also had two great experiences with agents like Prinair!

The first was a CP agent in YVR upon return to YEG with my high school band. There were 70 kids and 9 chaperones. I, because of my travel experience and general knowledge of logistics, was put in charge of getting the group through the airport process both ways. Because there were 80 of us, we had to take 2 seperate flights (leaving 1hr apart). The agent at YVR was so impressed with how quickly I had the group lined up, organized with luggage in hand, and ready to go that she decided to upgrade me (pretty exciting for a 17 year old kid!)!

The second was on AC158 from YEG-YYZ on May 10, the red-eye! I was on my way to YQB for a convention and had some meetings that morning upon arrival into Quebec City. I had originated in Ft. McMurray 4 hours earlier with a long layover and I looked tired. In McMurray, I was assigned a middle seat for AC158 as that was all that was left. When I re-checked in (I had some stuff to pick up at my place in Edmonton during the stop), I asked the ticket agent if there were any windows or aisles left so I could get a bit of sleep. As usual, I asked in a non-committal way. Like I said earlier, their job is to get you on the plane and they do that pretty well. Well I don't know if it was my pleasant attitude, my appearance (deshevled), or if she recognized me from earlier AC trips that year... but I was granted my request... a window seat... 1A on the A320!

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