I sometimes use my mom (who loves birds, but not really planes) to help guide what we cover on AirlineReporter. Typically if she mentions “Hey did you see this story about an airline?” we have a nice conversation about it, but that typically means it has been well covered and unless we have a unique opinion, we move on. So, it feels special when my mom brings up a story she saw, and I have a few thoughts to add.
If you missed it, Frontier Airlines has opted to ditch their customer care call center, while still providing online support – all in the name of bringing down costs. Unless you are new to following the airline biz, we have seen this sort of thing a few times now. An airline announces some change to “save money to pass down to passengers.” Many media outlets cover it with the tone, “here is an airline looking to screw you over again.” Passengers, some who never have flown the airline, will flow to social media with the tone “HOW DARE YOU SCREW ME OVER AIRLINE, I WILL NEVER, EVER FLY YOU AGAIN!!!”
Even though I have come to roll my eyes with this sort of rinse and repeat narrative, I decided that I wanted to dig a bit deeper on this one. Why does this keep happening? Who is to blame? Is it the “evil” airlines and their greed? Or is it something much closer to home? Spoiler: I found answers!
Amazing that economy class arrives (almost) at the same time as first – Photo: Ben Granucci | AirlineReporter
One conversation between a passenger and a colleague of mine went, ’œHow long does it take to fly to Los Angeles?’
’œAbout 12 hours.’
’œOK, and how long does it take in economy?’
’œAbout 12 hours; it’s the same airplane.’
’œI’ll need to think it over, I’ll call back another time.’
’œYes, sir, economy and business travel take place in the same dimension.’
A couple years ago, I worked at the reservations call center of a major airline. Though every aviation-related profession comes with its share of strange, funny, and horrifying stories, I believe that call center agents get very close to knowing how passengers are thinking and feeling (good and bad). Maybe due to the the personal disconnect of talking on the phone, people often said things they might not be willing to say ’œin real life.’ I wanted to share some of the more memorable (i.e. funny/horrid) stories that happened in my call center. Since these stories are true, the carrier that I worked at will remain anonymous.
I am a big fan of Spirit Airlines. They offer some of the lowest fares and push to promote their a-la-carte-style pricing. Although it seems that many customers see them as the enemy and “extorting” people out of their money, I see them as a viable, cheap option to get from point A to point B. Are they going to be like riding in business class on a Qatar A380? No… not even close. But that is not what they are about, nor should that be the expectation flying them.
I reached out to Paul Berry, who is Spirit’s director of communications, advertising, and brand to see what he thought. Although I was just looking for a few lines, I was very impressed with how seriously he took this complaint; he gave a very thorough reply. Below, you can see how he breaks down each topic and gives a detailed description on how Spirit operates.
It finally happened – one of my greatest traveling fears – I lost my wallet in a foreign country.
Maybe it was the sleep deprivation after more than 20 hours en route, maybe it was the chaos of wrestling with my squirmy 15-month-old, or maybe I’m just that absentminded, but I somehow managed to leave my wallet on the plane after a 14-hour flight from Washington Dulles to Beijing.
I realized it when we were at the baggage claim – far too late to turn around and go back to the gate. Before we left the airport, I contacted United’s baggage services, which had someone check around my seat on the plane for the wallet, without success. I also filed a claim with the airport’s lost and found. But I left the airport that day thinking it was gone forever. What a pain.
Delta Boeing 777 – Photo: Bernie Leighton | AirlineReporter
One of the “benefits” of running an airline website are all the emails that I receive from people complaining about their airline experience. Many have an expectation that we will run a BREAKING story about how a flight was delayed 30 minutes and the person should be compensated. Honestly, many of the emails are just that ridiculous. From time to time I get an email with a legitimate concern, but the way they go about it is all wrong.
They will yell and scream at the airline and demanding things change and it just always rubs me the wrong way. Recently, I was sent an email by a concerned passenger who had contacted Delta, and I thought it was pretty right-on with the tone and explanation of what happened. I wanted to share it as a “how to” guide for writing an airline a letter.