My condolences to you and your family as well. Nobody deserves to be treated like that, especially in a time of distress. If the airline needs verification (totally understandable), then this can be taken care of after the fact. There's no need to show attitude over the phone. Honestly, I've bitten my tongue after showing attitude when talking to an airline representative on more than one occasion after realizing that my comments were totally out of line, but these people are supposedly trained and paid to deal with customer relations. Let's look again at the Nordstrom shirt example. If you want to compare apples to apples, then look at it like this: I want to buy the shirt, and they do in fact have the size I need, but they simply won't sell it to me at the price I want to pay. UA
had seats available which likely departed without bums in them, so the "we're out of these seats" excuse is not valid.
One thing I'm going to disagree with is the notion that airlines should be "forced to act in the public good". Airlines are businesses with the goal to make money. If a town or the federal government decides to provide subsidies to justify certain otherwise unprofitable routes, then so be it, perhaps the airline will provide the service after consideration of their opportunity costs. However, I agree that good customer relations is a key to making your business profitable, and thus should be a top priority for any service-intense business. One good will gesture on the part of the airline can pay huge dividends in the end; unfortunately, that principle is largely forgotten in this "us vs. them" climate. One thing is certain: if you're going to offer things like "bereavement" fares, you should manage it properly. In your case you'd probably have better goodwill towards UA
if they hadn't offered these fares period and just told you so up front, and if that's the case, the whole purpose of the airline offering bereavement fares (P.R. benefit) is defeated due to poor management.
I totally agree that the front line customer service people make or break the image for the company and that the little things go along way. It's not one bad agent on one bad day that puts the company's image in the toilet; rather, it's a consistent pattern of treating customers like crap time and time again, day in an day out, by obviously disgruntled employees who take no pride in their company. (I'm not talking about everyone, but I'm talking about a significant percentage). I believe the fundamental difference is morale...the employees at Jetblue, Frontier, and Southwest are proud to work for great companies, and this attitude shines through to the customers. Morale at many of the majors is low, and for them, you're just the next whining customer that they couldn't care less about. The leadership needs to shift their paradigm about how they treat people (their employees and customers alike), and those who continue to only give a damn about themselves and their own careers should be gotten rid of. There are more than enough hard working, polite people out there who are looking for jobs.
, just to respond to a few of your comments:
Not trying in the least bit to convince his mother or him to continue flying. They obviously found a good deal with Frontier and enjoyed their service, so that's fine.
Is that seriously how you feel about it? I mean, it appears perfectly okay with you that a potential customer uses your competitor rather than putting money in your pocket. Shouldn't you be bending over backwards to get every customer you can possibly get? I mean, I get better service from the local used car dealer because they want to keep me from buying from the competition, at almost any cost.
At the end of the day, I'll still give them my business, no matter what service I received.
Really? Substandard service is acceptable to you, you'll keep giving them repeat business? It's really all about dollars and cents to you, isn't it?
As for why none of the Legacy carriers want to bend over backwards, it's because they don't have to. They realize it. Bankruptcy is a good reason why they should scramble for every customer, but they know that there will never be a mass exodus or even signifigant loss of business by not offering that fare to one woman. F9 and WN don't have to offer it, either, but they just choose to.
Like I mentioned earlier, it's not one incident. It's a pattern of consistent incidents. One by one, you are losing your customers, as well as many of your potential customers through the almighty "word of mouth" form of advertising.
They're smaller carriers with a "small corporate" feel to them, and recognize the passenger as what they should be recognized as: a valued customer.
Now it seems like you're vindicating the LCC way of doing business. Thank you.
The reality is however (unless you're totally committed) that you will be flying them again if the fare they offer to a destination is the right one.
It's the principle of the thing. If I don't feel like a company deserves my business, I won't give them one cent no matter what the offer is.
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