It’s been almost a year since director Kevin Smith had a very public spat with Southwest after being told he was too girthy to fly. That means it’s time for the Jersey Girl filmmaker to get ticked off at another carrier, and the lucky recipient of his vitriol is Virgin America.
According to Mr. Smith (his real name), he was supposed to be flying on a Virgin America flight from JFK to LAX this morning with his wife and his muse Jason Mewes. The trio had arrived at the airport early, checked their bags and then gone to the lounge to chill until closer to boarding time.
When it came time to board, they zipped through the TSA line no problem (with the assistance of a Virgin concierge) and made it to their gate with 10 minutes to go before departure… only to see Virgin staffers shutting the door to the jetway.
Herewith an excerpt from the missive posted on Kevin’s site:
We pleaded with Manny (the unfriendly face of Virgin America JFK working the gate), pointing out the remaining time (there were still 8 minutes before scheduled departure), and pointing out that the jetway was still attached to the plane. Flying as much as I do (usually up at the front of the plane), I know that the jetway only gets pulled back ONCE THE PLANE DOOR IS SECURELY CLOSED. As we tried to get Manny to realize our bags were under the plane and we’d been checked in for an hour, the jetway stayed in place. The plane wouldn’t pull back from the gate for another 15 minutes…
Manny was joined by Erwin, who identified himself as the person in charge. I pointed out – EXTREMELY calmly – that we’d checked in an hour prior and that our bags were on the plane. He said it didn’t matter, as we weren’t at the gate when they shut the door. We told him we were with sight of the gate and that Manny could’ve held the door – particularly because departure wasn’t for another nearly ten minutes at that point. He said he’d called for us over the p.a. system, but my wife’s name is SCHWALBACH – you say a name THAT distinctive over a loudspeaker, at least two people in an airport are gonna turn their heads: me & Jen Schwalbach. And, the fact that we were going through security mere yards from the actual gate, and we’d heard the last call announcement for the previous San Francisco flight… well, without calling anybody a liar, it’s just REALLY hard to believe that p.a. call was actually made. I didn’t hear my name over the loudspeaker. Jennifer Schwalbach didn’t hear her name. Jason Mewes didn’t hear his name. Dorothy, the concierge service lady, didn’t hear any of our names. Four independent sets of ears, mere yards from the origin point of the alleged p.a. call failed to hear the call; what are the chances we’re all stone cold deaf?
Smith goes on to say that his biggest concern wasn’t making the flight, but in getting his wife’s bags off the plane, as they contained her medicine. Unfortunately, he was unsuccessful in that endeavor too.
Concludes Mr. Smith:
You are a great airline – but the wife and I will be avoiding you like the plague from now on. As will Mewes – who must’ve smoked an entire pack of cigarettes outside afterwards to calm down. As will anyone in my immediate and extended family. As will any of the cast/crew I’ve gotta fly around the country (or out of it) for productions.
I don’t fault you for the petty, lazy, unhelpful behavior of your… desk crew. But if that’s the caliber of customer service/customer satisfaction you’d like to be known for, then it doesn’t matter if you’ve got free wifi on the plane and a kickass, in-flight movie selection. It all starts at that check-in desk; and what started there today was the end of our business relationship.
And you WANT me as a customer, man: I’m a first class fiend and I travel TONS. But this shit may have even put me off Virgin Atlantic, too.
Virgin shuts its legs, I shut my wallet [SilentBobSpeaks.com]