Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I've lost my touch

Conversations between me and the gate agents at the Minneapolis airport yesterday as I tried to get out on an earlier flight than the one for which I was ticketed:

Conversation 1
Me: Hi. I'm booked on the 7:30 flight, but my husband has to stay an extra day. Is there room on this [1:30] flight?

Female Agent: Are you an elite customer?

Me: No, but my husband is.

Agent: We're full.

Am I the only one who doesn't care about the diversity level at a law firm? All I want to know is if they can keep me out of the Big House for the rest of my life. They didn't put that info on this ad at the Minneapolis airport.

Conversation 2
Me: Hi. Is there room on this [3:20] flight? I'm on the 7:30 flight.

Female Agent: Yes. Are you elite?

Me: No, but my husband is.

Agent: Is he flying with you?

Me: No.

Agent: Oh. If he were with you, I could do it. But you'll need to pay a $50 fee.

Me: I'd rather buy shoes.

Agent (sympathetically): I'd rather pay bills!

Conversation 3
Me: Hi. I'm prepared to offer you this bar of high-quality, delicious dark chocolate (I show him the bar of fancy San Francisco chocolate that Ilene left in our room -- that's how much I valued the chocolate, Ilene, as in I viewed it as a precious item that could be used as something almost as valuable as $50) in exchange for letting me on this [5:30] flight in exchange for not charging me the $50 fee.

Male Agent: We are not in the Middle Ages.

Me: Are you saying you don't do barter?

Agent: Nope.

Me: Is there even room?

Agent: Yes. But I can't waive the fee. I'll get in trouble. Talk to the supervisor over there.

Me: Hi Supervisor. Is the 7:30 full? Will that give you the out to let me on the 5:30?

Supervisor: Let me check. Sorry. It's wide open. They watch us like hawks these days. I'm sorry.


Holly said...

I, too, am not "elite" but married to someone who is "elite." (or "gold," "executive platinum," "crown in heaven" etc depending on the airline). Kevin loves to lord it over me--like when his boarding cards says Group 1 but I am in like Group 17. He always threatens to board without me. What a snob.

John0 Juanderlust said...

In their attempt to idiot proof customer service and cut down on bizarre theft schemes they have virtually guaranteed idiotic service. A sharp agent doing something that makes sense, endearing the airline to the customer, is viewed as a wildcat miscreant to be disciplined or fired. I was only able to pull my antics because the system was less technologically rigid. You'd be surprised how many people in your situation got out early because a close relative was on the death bed. Too bad the customer rarely knew their loved one was ill. I had dozens of excuses to cover doing the right thing.

class-factotum said...

John, I thought of you and how easy it was to get upgraded and moved with AirTran and you. You always went out of your way to help customers, especially when it cost the airline nothing. NWA would rather have a seat go unused than make someone happy! I don't know why Chris' status can't attach to me. I am not going to spend my own money to stand by. I'll spend my employer's money, but not mine. But letting me on the plane would have cost them nothing and would have made Chris, a very frequent last-minute (hence expensive ticket buyer) flyer, happy. And isn't that worth something?

Holly. Same thing. Shouldn't a husband's status attach to the wife?

Anonymous Mother said...

Hmmm... I'm thinking about all the times your father stated that (military) wives (in the days when military husbands didn't exist) "HAVE NO RANK". YET, when it came to Officers' Wives' Club "gentry", the wives of the various VIPs were always "Honorary" (or actual) President, Vice-President, etc.

Did not compute...

MeanMommyDoc said...

You're totally entitled to attempt to use the Recchiuti as barter. I'm honored that it is so valuable... and shocked the gate agents didn't realize what they passed up!