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pdp
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:38 pm

In central/eastern Europe ticket counters (along with actual ticket agents) are still used by a lot of the older population because that's how they've always done it. They don't have the internet and generally fly with legacy airlines that still have point-of-sale presences. LOT's logo can often be seen in Polish cities in travel agent windows and ticket offices.

Some people actually go out of their way to travel to such a desk at an airport because that's what they'vve done for the last forty years. Strange to us but we are a miniority in the world of aviation.
 
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hongkongflyer
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Fri Jan 03, 2020 2:54 pm

Cory6188 wrote:
I was walking through the (lengthy) AMS departure hallway to the KL check-in counters a few weeks ago, and I was surprised by how many ticket sales counters (both airline-branded and otherwise) that were in the terminal. To clarify, I mean for ticket purchase, not for check-in/bag drop. On a similar note, I was flying out of BLL as part of the same trip, and my flights had gotten rebooked due to a strike on AF, and the check-in agent at the bag drop counter directed me to the ticket office to have the agent there straighten it out. Being a DL flyer normally, I was a little surprised - any time I've had an issue, the regular ticket agent at the counter is able to handle it (or I get sent to "special services" line, but nothing specifically like a ticketing office).

This could be my US bias showing, but I didn't quite understand what the purpose of the ticket sales counters is in airports these days. Is anyone really showing up to the airport in-person to purchase tickets? I've seen a handful of them at JFK T4, but I couldn't think of any other places I've been in the US that have them (admittedly, I haven't been in the international terminals at LAX, SFO, etc. recently). What's the rationale for still having these in the airport? Cash purchases for destinations with low credit card usage? Something else?


Check-in counters, as its name, are for checking in passengers, handling other ticketing matters at the check-in counters means longer waiting time for a normal passenger to get his boarding pass and checked the luggages. Basically it is a stupid idea and I don't understand why someone believes that the rest of the world should follow what USA Airport does, especially when it is clearly not a good idea.
 
VC10er
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:00 pm

usdcaguy wrote:
Oilman wrote:
In 2018, I had to make a trip from ATL-SRQ with no notice. I grabbed my “go bag” and went to Hartsfield. I was really surprised the Delta kiosk couldn’t sell me a ticket. I ended up using the app to buy the ticket and then check-in.


The only way to buy a ticket at Hartsfield without the app is to go to the special services desk and wait in line. Even then, any given agent may need to ask a more senior agent for the right formats. We've reached a state where the work of a "ticket agent" has been dumbed down to almost nothing, and in many cases, the agents have no clue how to issue or even reissue tickets. The deprofessionalization of the ticket agent that started after 09/11 is very unfortunate, and now we pay for their lack of training every time something goes wrong.


This is an interesting issue! Because sometimes I feel like the kiosk is almost unnecessary. I’ve had to make so many changes, buy last minute tickets, change seats, upgrade and so much more from the app. I happen to be a heavy United flier and I would say in the past year only, the United App has improved functionality 10x! It does everything but actually fly you!
The “old fashioned” part of me though, still wants a paper boarding pass: and the heavier weight paper version. I hate the “Deli receipt” paper version.

Happy 2020
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ClassicLover
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Fri Jan 03, 2020 3:31 pm

schernov wrote:
The most comical episode was when traveling on Aer Lingus on BA stock from DUB to LHR to ORD trying to stand by on earlier flight with AA EXP status. After visiting both Aer Lingus and BA and AA counters in DUB- I learned that There was "NO button" for that. Solution was to consume more Guinness and wait for ticketed flight when prior one was 1/2 empty in anticipation of sprinting in LHR to make the long haul segment.


Not sure why that's comical.

You were flying with Aer Lingus, which has no relationship to the oneworld alliance at present. It means nothing that you were ticketed on BA stock, so the answer you were given is correct. Your AA EXP status means nothing with Aer Lingus because American and Aer Lingus have zero relationship apart from baggage interlining.

You do bring up a good point though, it's things like this that people find confusing and must be a large part of a ticket desk's day. I do notice that quite a few of them seem to be outsourced to a handling company though, who handle various airlines who may only have flights once per day into a particular station.
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
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hawaiian717
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Fri Jan 03, 2020 4:32 pm

hongkongflyer wrote:
Check-in counters, as its name, are for checking in passengers, handling other ticketing matters at the check-in counters means longer waiting time for a normal passenger to get his boarding pass and checked the luggages. Basically it is a stupid idea and I don't understand why someone believes that the rest of the world should follow what USA Airport does, especially when it is clearly not a good idea.


I think many US airlines still have separate areas for ticketing and other more complex problems, at least at larger stations. It may just be less obvious since it’s one or two positions with a separate line along the same counter as the check in positions rather than being a separate area away from the check in desks as seen in Europe. This also has the advantage in that it allows staff to easily switch roles as customer demand allows; if there is no one needing ticketing, that agent can call over the next passenger in line to assist with check in without having to move to another location.
 
smartplane
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Fri Jan 03, 2020 6:59 pm

The reasons why check in staff are no longer able to undertake multiple tasks have already been covered - skill, training, outsourcing and risk management.

When you are elderly and polite, staff in airport lounges will arrange amendment of tickets, extra bookings, accommodation, etc, whichever the country, and whatever ticket type you hold.
 
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Polot
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:08 pm

hongkongflyer wrote:
Cory6188 wrote:
I was walking through the (lengthy) AMS departure hallway to the KL check-in counters a few weeks ago, and I was surprised by how many ticket sales counters (both airline-branded and otherwise) that were in the terminal. To clarify, I mean for ticket purchase, not for check-in/bag drop. On a similar note, I was flying out of BLL as part of the same trip, and my flights had gotten rebooked due to a strike on AF, and the check-in agent at the bag drop counter directed me to the ticket office to have the agent there straighten it out. Being a DL flyer normally, I was a little surprised - any time I've had an issue, the regular ticket agent at the counter is able to handle it (or I get sent to "special services" line, but nothing specifically like a ticketing office).

This could be my US bias showing, but I didn't quite understand what the purpose of the ticket sales counters is in airports these days. Is anyone really showing up to the airport in-person to purchase tickets? I've seen a handful of them at JFK T4, but I couldn't think of any other places I've been in the US that have them (admittedly, I haven't been in the international terminals at LAX, SFO, etc. recently). What's the rationale for still having these in the airport? Cash purchases for destinations with low credit card usage? Something else?


Check-in counters, as its name, are for checking in passengers, handling other ticketing matters at the check-in counters means longer waiting time for a normal passenger to get his boarding pass and checked the luggages. Basically it is a stupid idea and I don't understand why someone believes that the rest of the world should follow what USA Airport does, especially when it is clearly not a good idea.

Well most US airports have moved to banks of kiosks for checking in (with agent[s] floating around to assist as needed) to get your boarding pass and even sometimes your baggage tag and the counter is essentially a baggage drop or where you would go for complicated issues.
 
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EA CO AS
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:54 pm

The ticket counters are a holdover from the old stagecoach days, and today while they primarily handle check-ins and bag drops, they are there for special services like pets, unaccompanied minors, large/oversized baggage, and so on, along with reaccommodations for IRROPS etc. Ticket sales are not typically done through them anymore, although they are capable of doing so, but airline CSAs major role today is to move people through the airport environment. Someone showing up to purchase a ticket is usually instructed to book online, or to call reservations for assistance in buying a ticket over the phone. This frees up training time to get new CSAs into their roles more quickly, rather than having them learn complicated ticketing entries and leaving those to res agents who are trained for this.
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max999
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:41 pm

pdp wrote:
In central/eastern Europe ticket counters (along with actual ticket agents) are still used by a lot of the older population because that's how they've always done it. They don't have the internet and generally fly with legacy airlines that still have point-of-sale presences. LOT's logo can often be seen in Polish cities in travel agent windows and ticket offices.

Some people actually go out of their way to travel to such a desk at an airport because that's what they'vve done for the last forty years. Strange to us but we are a miniority in the world of aviation.


US airlines have been the most aggressive at cost cutting and at digitization of their businesses. In their drive towards efficiency, they have eliminated older and costlier methods for sales and customer service (example, no more ticketing counters). They have little sentimentality in the old ways of doing things. It's business attitudes like these that have made the US airlines the most profitable in the world.

In my personal experience, the US airlines are way more digital than the leading European airlines. I have used the Delta app and the Lufthansa app. The Delta app has many more functions than the LH app. The LH app feels old and clunky by comparison.
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usdcaguy
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:05 pm

max999 wrote:
pdp wrote:
In central/eastern Europe ticket counters (along with actual ticket agents) are still used by a lot of the older population because that's how they've always done it. They don't have the internet and generally fly with legacy airlines that still have point-of-sale presences. LOT's logo can often be seen in Polish cities in travel agent windows and ticket offices.

Some people actually go out of their way to travel to such a desk at an airport because that's what they'vve done for the last forty years. Strange to us but we are a miniority in the world of aviation.


US airlines have been the most aggressive at cost cutting and at digitization of their businesses. In their drive towards efficiency, they have eliminated older and costlier methods for sales and customer service (example, no more ticketing counters). They have little sentimentality in the old ways of doing things. It's business attitudes like these that have made the US airlines the most profitable in the world.

In my personal experience, the US airlines are way more digital than the leading European airlines. I have used the Delta app and the Lufthansa app. The Delta app has many more functions than the LH app. The LH app feels old and clunky by comparison.


Trying using the IB app. It’s useless. You can’t even use it to check in in some cases. There are very few cases where passengers on US carriers are spoiled, and using web pages and apps to do business is one of them.
 
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usdcaguy
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:13 pm

ClassicLover wrote:
schernov wrote:
The most comical episode was when traveling on Aer Lingus on BA stock from DUB to LHR to ORD trying to stand by on earlier flight with AA EXP status. After visiting both Aer Lingus and BA and AA counters in DUB- I learned that There was "NO button" for that. Solution was to consume more Guinness and wait for ticketed flight when prior one was 1/2 empty in anticipation of sprinting in LHR to make the long haul segment.


Not sure why that's comical.

You were flying with Aer Lingus, which has no relationship to the oneworld alliance at present. It means nothing that you were ticketed on BA stock, so the answer you were given is correct. Your AA EXP status means nothing with Aer Lingus because American and Aer Lingus have zero relationship apart from baggage interlining.

You do bring up a good point though, it's things like this that people find confusing and must be a large part of a ticket desk's day. I do notice that quite a few of them seem to be outsourced to a handling company though, who handle various airlines who may only have flights once per day into a particular station.


Alliances don’t matter much anymore, though I’m surprised EI hasn’t joined the JV with AA/BA/IB. They have remained strangely separate after being bought by IAG.
 
usflyer msp
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:37 am

2175301 wrote:
Ticket counters are immensely useful in the USA when a CC company puts a "Fraud alert hold" on your CC (always without notifying you in advance); and you find yourself having to change tickets or do other things - and pay cash. My wife and I typically do in fact carry emergency backup cash on trips. I cannot tell you how often that has quickly bailed us out of some situation somewhere.

My other experience is that when things go south because some system is not working (reservations, etc.) and there can be dozens of people affected. Indicating to the service agent that I can pay cash... (and sometimes that I don't need exact change) gets me quick service.

Electronic systems are wonderful... until they don't work. I've never had cash not work.

Have a great day,


I question that, virtually no carriers accept cash for anything at US airports nowadays. You have to have a card or purchase a prepaid one from a kiosk.
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ClassicLover
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:15 am

usdcaguy wrote:
Alliances don’t matter much anymore, though I’m surprised EI hasn’t joined the JV with AA/BA/IB. They have remained strangely separate after being bought by IAG.


Aer Lingus applied to join in December 2018. It is still being processed. Since it's been just over a year, I expect we'll hear the outcome sometime this year.
I do enjoy a spot of flying, especially when it's not in economy!
 
OlafW
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:07 am

They are needed to issue smoking tickets as they aren't available for print-at-home ;)

reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tR4jBtdROE
 
dredgy
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:46 am

Ticket counters are also very commonly used in countries/with people where credit card facilities just aren't widely available and you have to pay cash.
 
TheWorm123
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:53 am

Xcarrier wrote:
6 years working on an airline ticket desk at LHR taught me that one of the main purposes of a ticket desk was to ensure customers had someone to shout at, threaten, gesticulate at or plead with whenever something went wrong, regardless of reason or responsibility. Can't say that I miss it!

Ever watch Airline series that used to be on ITV in the late 90’s to mid 00’s? You just reminded me of when an irate passenger would screech at the EasyJet desk staff for their own idiotic mistakes.
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goosebayguy
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Mon Jan 06, 2020 11:34 am

At MAN they have TUI etc and I was told that some people who live very locally to the airport simply turn up with cases packed and grab a very last minute bargain. If not then they just go home and try again the next day.
 
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SomebodyInTLS
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:30 pm

FGITD wrote:
From my experience there's usually a few agents who how to handle ticketing for an as needed basis. Things like rebooking connections due to delays, etc. It doesn't happen too often but there are certainly people who show up in need of a ticket. More often than not, it's cheaper for them to buy it online while standing at the counters, but all the same...it's an option.


It happens a lot, actually. People turn up with bags when they didn't pay for hold baggage, people wanting to change seats, missing flights, mass rebooking due to weather, etc. etc. Basically, anything out of the ordinary or requiring payment and the check-in staff send you to ticketing.

I do think the end is in sight for at airport ticketing, at least outside of the major hubs. Most issues that are handled at the airport can be taken care of online, via app, or on the phone. It's a shame to lose that face to face interaction, but it does make life easier for pretty much everyone. No more going to the airport, waiting for the office to open, waiting in line...all to change your flight.


Yes and no. In terms of the actual buying of tickets, yes - that is reducing. In terms of all the contingencies and additional payments - someone still has to make the calls (literally and figuratively).
"As with most things related to aircraft design, it's all about the trade-offs and much more nuanced than A.net likes to make out."
 
UpNAWAy
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Mon Jan 06, 2020 2:18 pm

In a generation there probably will be no need for ticket counters, ground personnel or gate agents.
All of those jobs can be 100% automated.
 
FGITD
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Mon Jan 06, 2020 5:52 pm

SomebodyInTLS wrote:
FGITD wrote:
From my experience there's usually a few agents who how to handle ticketing for an as needed basis. Things like rebooking connections due to delays, etc. It doesn't happen too often but there are certainly people who show up in need of a ticket. More often than not, it's cheaper for them to buy it online while standing at the counters, but all the same...it's an option.


It happens a lot, actually. People turn up with bags when they didn't pay for hold baggage, people wanting to change seats, missing flights, mass rebooking due to weather, etc. etc. Basically, anything out of the ordinary or requiring payment and the check-in staff send you to ticketing.

I do think the end is in sight for at airport ticketing, at least outside of the major hubs. Most issues that are handled at the airport can be taken care of online, via app, or on the phone. It's a shame to lose that face to face interaction, but it does make life easier for pretty much everyone. No more going to the airport, waiting for the office to open, waiting in line...all to change your flight.


Yes and no. In terms of the actual buying of tickets, yes - that is reducing. In terms of all the contingencies and additional payments - someone still has to make the calls (literally and figuratively).


Very accurate, but things like extra baggage, seat changes, etc really aren't ticketing. It's really a customer service desk...that happens to have some ticketing capabilities.

Most mass rebookings these days are done by centralized ticketing. (though be it usually somewhat questionable, with concerning connections times, different flights, etc)

Even the extras, seats baggage and so on, I've seen a number of airlines that can now handle it on ipads. The entire check in process as well, all done on iPad. Pretty remarkable software considering not too long ago even kiosks weren't so great.
 
Xcarrier
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:28 am

TheWorm123 wrote:
Xcarrier wrote:
6 years working on an airline ticket desk at LHR taught me that one of the main purposes of a ticket desk was to ensure customers had someone to shout at, threaten, gesticulate at or plead with whenever something went wrong, regardless of reason or responsibility. Can't say that I miss it!

Ever watch Airline series that used to be on ITV in the late 90’s to mid 00’s? You just reminded me of when an irate passenger would screech at the EasyJet desk staff for their own idiotic mistakes.


Not often, didnt need to see anymore agro after a shift, although at least on TV it was happening to other people :-)
 
airbazar
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Tue Jan 07, 2020 1:32 pm

friendlyskies22 wrote:
Don't know about the other guys, but UA requires BE pax NOT checking bags to go to the kiosk or counter to get a boarding pass.
(Can't get one online)
This presumably to let the agent have a look at the pax underseat carryon to insure they aren't trying to pull a fast one...
Gate agents were probably getting hammered with BE pax showing up with rollaboards claiming "they weren't told." Yeah, right.
I think DL & AA now allow overhead storage for BE's, but that just shifts the hassle to the overhead space issue, and slows the
boarding/deplaning process.

I'm not sure this makes a lot of sense, if true. First, paper boarding passes are not needed. who even checks in at the airport if they have no bags to check anyway? I just flew DEN-BOS last week on a BE ticket and a paid checked bag. At DEN I checked-in for the flight and paid for the checked bag using the UA mobile app, I dropped off the bag at the remote bag drop by the long term parking log (great idea by the way), and went straight to the gate without printing a paper boarding pass (boarding passes are stored in the app). The only time anyone would have been able to look at my carry-on would have been at the gate. I also didn't notice the gate agent being particular picky about people's carry-on sizes and they even made an announcement that they were allowing gate checks for free. They must have been in a good mood because of the holidays :)
 
Jetty
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Tue Jan 07, 2020 4:34 pm

dredgy wrote:
Ticket counters are also very commonly used in countries/with people where credit card facilities just aren't widely available and you have to pay cash.

In many countries a debit card is the preferred method of payment, that doesn't need ticketing counters either. Buying on credit is mostly an American thing.
 
CX773W
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:15 pm

I had to use a ticketing counter at MEM early last month, as my UA flight to EWR was delayed by more than two hours. I had to run all the way out from the security area to purchase an AA ticket to PHL instead in order to make my job interview, per directions from my AA app.
 
dredgy
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:50 am

Jetty wrote:
dredgy wrote:
Ticket counters are also very commonly used in countries/with people where credit card facilities just aren't widely available and you have to pay cash.

In many countries a debit card is the preferred method of payment, that doesn't need ticketing counters either. Buying on credit is mostly an American thing.


I meant plastic in general. Go through most of Africa, and a majority of people don't even have bank accounts. It's all cash and mobile payments.
 
findingnema
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Re: Role of in-airport ticketing counters?

Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:52 am

I’m not sure how it’s still done, but going back just over 15 years when I started working for a handling agent in the U.K., ticketing was classed as a particular role and completely separate to the customer/passenger service agent function.

The training course at the time was about three weeks to go through how to use the handling agent’s dummy check in system, understand how to use TIM (the bible for customs and immigration procedures), learn about airside safety, boarding flights, health & safety and security. You then did a very short stint shadowing in the terminal and you were let loose.

As time went on, some people became dedicated to particular airlines that used their own (often more complex) check in systems and sometimes wore the airline’s uniforms. Even though there was no extra pay for this, it was often seen as a more plum role in terms of a more fixed roster, having the airline’s uniform and being a closer liaison with the airline in the event that vacancies came up.

After all of this, some people were picked to take on the ticketing agent role and would pretty much give up check in and airside responsibilities to work on an airline’s ticket desk if they didn’t have their own staff. This meant learning their ticketing system and also being a subject matter expert on their product for the other CSAs.

It was a fun and varied job but at least in the U.K., you’re really reliant on overtime to make it pay. The antisocial hours and demands of the travelling public meant that often people would either stay forever or not last a year, with constant recruitment and turnover, as well as some real old dragons in supervisory and managerial roles. I did love it though.
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