Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Now THAT'S Customer Service...and other union news...

Dear Readers:

IN AN EFFORT TO TRY SOMETHING NEW, rather than commenting with our usual bluster, we're bringing the news headlines that are posted on, so that we can editorialize on our current (as in right now) travel travails...

Here's what you'll find posted on

Our continuing coverage of the War Within the SEIU...

On a Customer Service Conspiracy Note: It's 'Them'...

If you're anything like we are, part of your job entails some (or a lot) of travel. And, if that's the case, you know how much "fun" it is sitting airports awaiting flights that are scheduled to depart at a certain time but, due to some unforeseen reason (weather, ATC* delays, sleepy or missing crews, etc.), you wind up sitting for hours longer than anticipated...

Well, here I one of those really busy Northeast airports...with a delayed flight...again.

Now, that, by itself, isn't news, as it happens almost every time I fly. It is also arguable whether or not this particular customer service issue is any different than any other routinely delayed flight. However, since several of our readers are in the airline industry (whose airlines shall remain nameless), I thought you (as I did) would find on this particular incident rather amusing.

Only moments ago, our flight was boarding (literally down-the-jet-way-boarding) when one of the gate agents coming from the aircraft, stopped us, turned us around mid-jetway and told us that our flight has been delayed for an hour and one-half.

Now, as previously mentioned, having a delayed flight is nothing new but, for many of us road warriors, the closer you get to a departure without any delay announcements--well, it's sort of like getting an extra birthday or something. You get a little flitter in your stomach as you think to yourself: "Wow! we might actually depart on time!...Oh JOYOUS DAY!"

So, you can only imagine what it feels like to get mid-way down the jetway only then to be told that you're delayed. was like the day your parents told you that Santa Claus isn't real...the tooth fairy is really your uncle get the point. Shock, depression, anger...

Ordinarily, a 1 1/2 hour delay is a piece of cake. However, what made this day interesting is that, when I and a few other passengers arrived at the top of the jetway, one gate agent whispered to the other agent (in a rather conspiratorial fashion) that, instead of the 8:00 pm delayed departure, "it's really 9:30 pm...but don't tell the passengers."

Now, keeping in mind that our original departure was supposed to be 6:30 pm, perhaps I've become just too jaded of a traveler. Instead of getting angry, I found myself laughing.

In this day and age, not only does it seem to be okay to inconvenience your customer, but, more importantly, it's now apparently okay to lie to your customer. Not only that but, instead of merely lying to the customers, these employees didn't bother to take notice of the customers within earshot.

Now, to me, that's a completely
new twist on customer service--lying to your customers so they can hear your lie.

However, that said, it occurred to me as I walked away from the boarding area that when workers wonder why customers become irate, stop coming to their particular store, purchasing their particular product, or eating at their particular establishment, perhaps they should look in the mirror before blaming their employer for their layoff, or "corporate greed" for their unemployment.

I dunno...It's just a thought as I sit here for waiting for another delayed flight to board in an hour and a half (which is really three hours).

So, dear readers, until tomorrow...When I have to board another flight from another airport with, presumably, another delay.

Best wishes for a delay-free week.

For more union-related news, go to


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