As Wade and I were off on our canolli, gas, rental return adventure, my cell phone rang. Since i was driving, I handed it to him to answer. What I thought was United calling to tell me to check in, since I hadn't immediately checked in afer receiving my email telling tellmin me to check in, turned out to be a call telling me my flight had been cancelled.
Not delayed. Not moved. Not rescheduled, but canocelled.
I cannot think of a more fitting end to this weekend, than to have my flight cancelled.
Unsurprisingly enough, ONLY my flight was cancelled:
The replacement flight United had moved me to had me leaving at 10:30 in the morning, flying down to Washington Dulles, waiting for two hours then flying up to Chicago from there. The kicker? The only seat available was the middle seat of the last row in the plane on both flights.
So, I checked for other seats on other flights, using the "I want to buy a ticket option" which displays available seats on flights. I was trying to figure out the first flight that had aisle seats available where I didn't have to spend $40 for the legroom any normal (read: non-cheapskate) airline would provide.
That first flight out was at 2:30 PM. Fine. I called the airline to switch my reservation to switch my flight.
After providing my reservation number and last name, the woman immedately stated I was booked on the 10:30 AM flight to Dulles, and then to Chicoago, was tehre anything I cneeded further help with?
I didn't want that flight, can I fly out at 2:31 and reserve an aisle seat please. What was wrong with that flight? Well, I wanted a direct flight for one. Ten second later, i was on the 10:35 flight direct to Chicago, was there anything else she could help me with?
What was my seat assignment, I asked. Last row, middle seat.
No, I explained, I want an aisle seat. Oh, you can just check with the gate agent to be switched to an aisle seat when you arrive, she responded.
I was a little dumbfounded. An entire flight was cancelled. Did she really think that there would be aisle seats available suddenly when I arrived at the airprt? Sure, some people decide not to go, but, come on, if there isn't one now, what is the likelihood of one magically happening overnight? I asked her, again, to please book me on the 2:31 flight direct to Chicago, and assign me seat 18C, which I can see right here on line this available for purchase.
After arguing for a few more minutes with teh woman, explaining that I wanted an aisle seat, and not the middle seat , she finally understood, that the 2:31 flight was the first available flight with an aisle seat available, and that yes, she could rebook me on that flight, I didn't mind if I had to wait a bit at the airport, I was going to sleep in until noon anyway.
So she switched me to the flight, but assigned me to 21C.
Is this really customer service?
Is 18C not available? I asked.
"You're assigned 21C."
Fine, I thought. Hanging up, going online , checking in, and reassigning myself to the empty seat at 18C. Now, was that really so hard? I wondered. Really?
Openness is a good thing. Allowing your customers to help themselves in booking flights is a great thing. Deliberately lying to a customer who can see the same data you can see is not a great thing. There was no reason not to assign me seat 18C. As near as I can tell, the woman didn't assign me that seat out of spite.
Now, does that make more ore less likely to want to fly this airlines again?