Last week I flew out to Chicago for a press check. I hadn’t flown United in a while, so I didn’t have any special frequent flyer account or miles accumulated. I was just a regular Joe.
As it turned out, I was done with my work earlier than anticipated. So, I logged in to the online check-in at noon and put my name on the stand-by list, hoping to get on a 4:30 p.m. flight instead of a 9:30 p.m. flight. I even authorized an additional $75.00 charge on my credit card.
I got to the airport, returned my rental car full of gas, printed my boarding pass, got through the ridiculously inefficient security check line in about 45 minutes, and got to my gate with an hour to spare. When I went to the counter at the gate, I was curtly told to check the monitor for stand-by status, because they didn’t have enough help to load the aircraft and passenger questions. I started off in position 9 on the standby list, but later got bumped to 13 — an unlucky number!
With no explanation, they closed the flight and left me standing there. I tried the next flight and the next. Same treatment–no friendly greeting, no smiles, no assistance, no seats on the flight, no information about seat availability. Nothin’.
When I finally got on my 9:30 flight, full of attitude and anger, I picked up a trade magazine and saw this quote:
Customer service is an attitude, not a department.”