19 December 2008

Airline Service: This Time It’s Continental

Hello All, BlkAv8tor2003 Checking In!!!

Well this is a good story for me since I worked for continental Airlines for 10 years and loved every mintue of it. I know bad things happen to many people and not everyone loves the airline industry like I do but hey this is real life! This story was posted on another blog and I figured I could add a couple of notes here and there but not to defend or praise Continental in anyway!

December 19, 2008 / 2:13 pm • By Dr. Melissa Clouthier 

Airline service is a non-sequitor. I sit here listening to my daughter sing in the shower, in the Hilton LAX where I’ve been residing since 1:30 a.m. I should be nearly to Sydney, Australia by now. But no.

Airplane travel sucks. As if you don’t know this. Continental, the current baddie, is usually better than this. Although, I’ve battled a bad attitude ever since they started charged $15 a bag. That was for high gas prices and extra weight. Yeah, gas prices have dropped. No, the fees didn’t go away. But still, at least they would give you a drink and throw you some pretzels. On U.S. Air recently, they wanted to charge me $2 for a cup of water–not even a bottle of water. I opted for dehydration.

Yesterday though, was irritating. We had a 7 p.m. flight to LA. At 11:45 p.m. California time, we were to board a plane to Sydney. Three hours should be plenty of time to layover, right? Um, no. When I boarded the plane to CA, after waiting with no sold information for 2 1/2 hours in Houston, I told the main Stewardess, “It’s going to be close, can you call Qantas and tell them?” I could tell by her reaction that she didn’t care. And she didn’t. When we ran to the Qantas counter at 11:45 p.m., the flight to Sydney was delayed, but they had closed up shop. There was no getting through. It was also the first they’d heard of our late flight.

Wow! 2 1/2 hour delay with nothing to do? Did these passengers even know they were going somewhere on a plane that could be delayed. (not to split hairs) She didn't mention if they had items to pass the time away ie. laptop, book, magazine, Ipod but who knows. Also international departures don't let you run up to the podium late and let you expect to get on, it's not the norm for non-American carriers to wait but at least in this situation the airline was delayed. Flight attendants (not stewardess) cannot call other carriers in other cities to have flights held. Now maybe advise a carrier to be on the lookout for runners but like in this case....don't hold your breath thinking it will happen. (Calling a flight attendant "stewardess" today is like calling her a "sky b*tch") so getting anything other than attitude is the card this passenger chose. 

We were at the airport until 1 a.m. sorting out luggage. The line for Continental was at least 250 people deep. The misery index high. Three planes had missed connections by less than 10 minutes. How is it economical for the airlines to fly half-full? I’d really like to know how that’s a good business model.

Sometimes going half full is better than canceling the flight due to flow control in and out of cities. Airlines have set times to leave and windows of time to fly through and if they don't meet them the can pick up excessive delays that will travel with that airplane all day and maybe into the next day. Passengers don't know this or understand this but all the airlines follow it and it's run by the FAA so if your moaning to the airline your barking up the wrong tree. The airline should be telling the passengers something though and many of them are bad at this. When I was flying we were required to make announcements on the plane or in the boarding area every 15 minutes even if there was no new information in a delay situation. The baggage situation you really can't beat but she could have brought personal walkie-talkies and everyone in her travel party could have done shifts (say every 30 mins) in the baggage line that way everyone is not standing in line getting more tired. 

Continental failed at communication, empathy, efficiency and humanity. They knew we’d miss our connections and didn’t inform us so we could plan ahead. They made it seem like we still could get where we needed to go, so we tried to find a solution when they knew there was none, but it deflected immediate pressure. They alternately told us that the problem was one of the engines and the weather. So, we weren’t sure if we should be worried about the plane’s safety.

Passengers kill me with talking about "the planes safety!" Come on people if you think the flight crew (pilots) is going to take a plane flying that is broke to the point that flying could or would cause a crash do you really think that's going to happen??? Be for real!!! They want to live to see tomorrow too, don't you think? Do you get in your car and drive 100 mph knowing that you have 1 lug nut holding the tire on the hub? Well it's the same for airplanes and pilots....don't get it twisted! 

Here’s how bad the service was on the plane: Another Continental pilot was connecting to a flight he was going to be captaining to Hong Kong. His new plane was 2 minutes from lift-off. (Of course it couldn’t go anywhere without him.) The stewardess didn’t arrange for him to get off the plane first. The workers on the plane were absolutely rude to him and the rest of the frantic passengers. They didn’t care.

Good flight attendant that "are commuters" and are aware consciously of other crew members "deadheading" (traveling on company business to or from a trip) will make it so that crew member gets out fast to make his or her trip. Flight attendants can be moody like anyone else and when some people don't care other people feel the after effects. I don't see a pilot quitting his job he has worked so hard to get and maintain just because he has a bad travel experience with a fellow crew member. He can always speak to an inflight manager about the attitude of a flight attendant and how he was treated but most pilots will eat that one or just freeze the flight attendants out and they will remember that!

You know it’s bad when the flight crew disrespects one of its own. What is wrong with these people? The pilot said, “I don’t know how much longer I can work for this company.”

And I don’t know how long these lame ass companies can stay in business. A year from now, they’ll be barking about wanting another bailout and wondering why no one flies. And if all goes the way it usually does, they’ll be bailed out by the very tax payers they defecate on every day.

This is one of those wierd flying stories where many things could have been done differently and the crew didn't help things with the bad attitudes and not taking care of one of their own! This is not how I did things when I was flying and if a flight attendant disrespected a pilot or other crew member like that there better have a very good reason for treating them that way...especially one of our own!

These stories seem to come up more nowadays with the internet and blog sites everywhere and it's nothing new but more people are reading and learning to be proactive! 

Be Proactive Not Reactive!!!

Have a good flight!!!

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