I'm sorry, got caught up in C/A (well, that and I'm bad at keeping up with forum postings), didn't properly respond here...
Btw, thank you for the good responses- I will admit that I am both young, and very 'idealistic' in my views on customer service... I personally like to think of it as 'I haven't had a reason to become too cynical yet'... and frankly, I'd like to keep it that way.
(FWIW, I'm a 23 year old software engineer in the bay area).
If I may respond/clarify.
My initial hatred of US Airways came from an event the day before thanksgiving, 2000... I was on a Beech 1900 (not EMB 110 like I said originally)... and some brilliant business type at US had decided to overbook the 19 seat puddle jumper by 15 seats (34 tickets sold total)... obviously, the day before thanksgiving the padamonium that errupted when they started asking for bumps was nuts (not to mention, other regional flight customers were at the gate going through the same problem we were, it seemed like _ALL
_ US Airways flights out of ROC
that day were overbooked 40% or more...
call me high maintenence... but it was the first ever aggrevation I had ever experienced flying, and I am probably 'scarred for life' so to speak.
As for the other points-
Perhaps I didn't emphasize this enough, but the largest part of my aggrevations with my recent flight were simply the attitude and helpfulness of the HP
I came in not having done my homework (or hell, even having heard of this website, it was my desire to rant about my experiences that lead me to to a.net)... but you would have thought the ticket counter agent could have taken a quick moment to say 'Oh, you want to go to Chicago? you'll board this flight to vegas" and not _blatantly lie_ (or ignore, as the case may be) to me and tell me that the flight I want would follow afterwards...
As for the seat assignment, I kiosk checked-in... when I noticed the problem (2.5 hours before scheduled departure), I mentioned it to the ticket agent, who very gruffly blew me off and told me to talk to the gate agent... who, as I mentioned, _lied_ to me (or at least mis-informed me) and told me that the flight sitting at the gate was not the one I wanted to board... by the time I realized this was indeed my ticket to Chicago, all I cared about was actually boarding the plane before they closed the door...
Once the flight was boarded, well first there was the seating issue (ok, sure, I should have 'bought the right seats in the first place'... but I was naive, my two travelling options had before, always been 'jetBlue' or 'Other' where other was usually a visit to Priceline or Expedia... I know better for the future)... The most annoying bit of that was simply that, despite the very rude blowoff by the FA
's, the other Pax were more than willing to help us and it turned out to be an absolutely trivial shuffle... come on, you'd think they could have taken the time to at least smiled and tried, eh? Then came the in-flight experience... we never even got a drink-cart on the OAK
leg... The single LAS
cart took well over an hour to traverse the relatively small cabin, and even then, when I asked for another drink 15 minutes later (and if I may quote, my _exact_ phrasing was "Ma'am, when you have a chance, I would love a Heineken") provoked an extraordinarily harsh and biting rebuke "I'm doing _TRASH_ now sir" that was so out of place that it inspired comment and joke from all of the Pax who immediately surrounded us... I didn't dare ask any of the FA
's for another thing the entire flight. (I finally did recieve a Heineken almost an hour later, from another FA
, less than an hour from landing).
The flight back... I guess it was just the gruffness of the whole affair that annoyed me- the fact there were only two Ticket agents on duty (both of whom showing zero confidence, skill, or customer service ability), who were left to deal with 100+ angry pax and a line which had grown out the door of ORD
. I suppose my experience was further 'tainted' by discussions with two TSA
security agents who inquired about our bad mood, and then laughed when we said that the object of our aggrevation was HP
, and suggested that this was an extraordinarly common occurrance with the particular airline and even quipped 'at least next time you'll know better' (come to think of it, I'm sure this was a highly innappropriate conversation for them to be having... the guys looked like they felt rather awkward having me just standing there while another co-worker was running my professional photography equipment (of which I have far too much) through the bomb-detector equipment).
Customer service on the flight back was no better than on the flight out... we did see the drink cart reasonably early in the flight, but we didn't see it again the entire time (fortunately we had met some nice Pax in the terminal and proceeded to talk to them the whole time). The real hell didn't come until we landed in LAS
I actually ended up dumping my HP
reservation in favor of a 0630 WN
flight that put us in to OAK
~0900, just about enough time for me to catch a cab across the bay for my 1000 staff meeting...
Not exactly the best way to spend the night...
So... am I neive for being pissed at HP
corporate for my experience over winter break? well... I sure as hell hope not, let me put it that way... There are many places where the engineer in me saw clear, obvious, and profitable ways for customers to be handed a better experience than they recieved- granted, I will fully admit that such 'knowledge' on my part is quite arrogantly wielded with more than a little bit of sophmoricisim...
I will fully admit though, that this (my naivite) is probably the case. less than a year after my Useless Air overbooking experience, my gf at the time and I screwed up badly and missed her 24 dollar ROC
flight home (we had no good excuse)... The customer service experience we recieved from there (Both the no-fee bump to a later flight on a 24 dollar ticket, and the wonderfully personal (and amusing) response I recieved to my thank-you letter to jetBlue for not taking advantage of my clear error won a loyal customer out of me... and I'll fully admit, I probably hold b6 in higher regard and expectation than they would be capable of fulfilling today...
but the fact remains, I've flown them a dozen times since my missed flight- and each time, whether it be through 'hindsight distortion' or actual experience, every flight I've had on B6
has been a pleasure, and virtually ever flight I've had elsewhere has been a pain... for that very reason, I will fly b6 wherever and whenever I can...
They gave me good customer service once, and I will reward them for it... just as US Airways gave me hell once and I'll punish them for it as long as I can... rational or not, I know I'm not the only person who thinks thus...
and the entire point of such a drawn out and rambling post (granted, the Wine has probably helped this evening) is simple- I am not the only yuppie who harbors such memory and irrationaly loyalties... Companies, of all shapes and sizes disregard customer service at their own risk... what looks good on a balance sheet one year can seem pretty stupid the next year when alienated customers take their business elsewhere...