Wow, what a week, eh? With all that snow and stuff on the east coast, most of the majors experienced dreadful completion factors, ontime arrival and departure times and spent a ton of money taking care of their customers.
Lucky for me, I managed to get some time off a few days after Christmas and decided to head back home to see my family in Texas. The lines at LAX were horrendous and I knew that due to the weather on the east coast it was likely to get worse before it got better. Thanking my lucky stars I wasn’t from the east coast, I got into line to check in. The bag-drop line was moving along nicely, but the ‘additional assistance” line was backed out the door. I eavesdropped on a conversation between a ticket agent and a frazzled looking woman.
“The earliest I can get you out to the east coast is going to be on the 31st”. she said, smiling weakly.
I noted the date in my head…it was the 27th.
Gosh I don’t miss my days on the front line. The endless hours spent standing in one spot, smiling politely while a customer verbally unloads both barrels on me. I never took it personally, realizing that I was the company representative but it sure gets old after a short time. This particular customer seemed to be understanding but I doubt they were all like that.
I’ve worked many a canceled flight due to weather, mechanical, crew issue, and the like. I’ve had plenty of customers who were understanding and I’ve had plenty who weren’t. I’ve even had a customer take a swing for me across the ticket counter. At the previous airline I worked for we had a thing called the ‘snow desk’ at the ticket counter. Being assigned to that position was meant to be random. It never seemed that way when you were stuck there. We had the benefit of the connect planners protecting the customers on the next available, but often it didn’t meet the customers needs and something else had to be worked out. Often I’d get the customer who was traveling to Timbuktu after their flight to Cleveland and flights to Timbuktu only operated on the 3rd Tuesday in months with an R and the ticket was issued in Mexican pesos and reissued in Deutsch marks and needed to be refigured in U.S. dollars. It polished my ticketing skills, I can tell ya!
For the last 8 months or so, I’ve been working on the operations side of things at my present airline. I love it. I’m outside, I’m riding around on a tug. I don’t have to worry about putting on makeup. I’m getting a helluva workout. The best thing of all? Bags don’t talk back.
I received an email this week from my supervisor advising me that in preparation for my upcoming advanced customer service class…she’s putting me at the ticket counter.