Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fly the Friendly Skies, Continental Airlines Edition

In addition to the earlier post which you should read first... I have to add my observations today about travel and just how disrespectful it all is. This is specific to Continental which fits the definition of a traditional carrier, and this is at their hub at Newark where they should be better.

At the Continental check-in line. They now require a Confirmation # to be typed into the check in kiosk. A man next to me was confused and waived over an attendant. She spoke to him like he was some sort of deaf mute because he wasn't sharp enough to know where that # was on his printed itinerary. Not cool.

Then I wondered: since I paid $25 for baggage handling, can I get the fee back if my bag doesn't come on time? This is now a service I'm paying for, right?

At Continental security lines, there's one line for Elite members to enter and one for Non-Elite. But then at the actual security screening posts, it's not separated. People assumed if they were Non-Elite that they had to wait at the plebian line and bunched up at the one station. All of a sudden the screeners are all "What's your problem people? There's 3 lines. Why are you standing in line?" As if we're total idiots. And then the screeners stared at me, daring me to forget to take off my shoes or not put my laptop on the scan. The assumption is if you're not clearly a business person who's a frequent traveler, you're clearly a freaking idiot.

And then the gem of a stewardess. We were on a smaller 30-seater plane. First we had to wait so a passenger could be moved to the back of the plane. We were told someone had to volunteer or else the flight wouldn't take off. It was up to us, really. She reminded us that our cell phones interfere with the pilots' air headsets. She reminded us of the $1500 fine for standing in the aisles when she's expressly told us not to. Was that a fine for us or the airline? Not sure. She flipped out when an older Indian gentleman asked her if the banana nut muffin was veg or non-veg and went off on a tangent about how it had lard which might be made of animal fat. Which he wasn't exactly going to understand since his range of questioning was fairly specific. (He sniffed it and ate it anyway) Then she complained to me and asked if I could help translate with him. Er, not getting involved in that.

The only nice person the entire trip was a security checkpoint guard in Chicago who actually took the time to smile at each passenger walking by and tell them to have a nice day.

When all of airline travel has become a series of disaffected workers barely getting by while treating the general public with disdain... I'd say other than the house of representatives and state government, this is where it's at.

No comments: