7.50 worth of complimentary drinks at the airport bar. That’s the way customer service is handled in Ireland.
If you’re a Southwest Airlines flier and want the best seats, an entire cottage industry has sprung up. You enter your Southwest Airlines account and password into sites like boardfirst.com, apassonly.com or alineonline.com will automatically check you in online the second Southwest Airlines starts accepting seat reservations. It costs about $5 bucks per use… an excellent deal if you really want to get that extra leg room near the emergency exit door.
Thoroughly filed in the ‘old news’ department, there’s a USA Today article up complaining about just how gosh darn difficult it is to redeem your frequent flyers miles these days. There’s no new information in the article, except a statistic we didn’t know that makes airline stinginess seem even worse: growth in frequent flyer programs increases at a rate of about 13% per year, even as it gets harder and harder to do anything with your points.
All our best correspondents have alliterative names. Consumerist Grant G. decided to use Expedia to book a couple of round-trip flights from Denver to San Francisco. But when his plans changed and he needed to fly back a day later, he was told there would be a $200 extra charge to change the booking.
Apparently, lying to customers is an integral part of United’s strategy for dealing with frustrated travelers. A fter Laura complained to us about United delaying her flight, losing her bags and then unblinkingly lying to her, we received this email from Brian,who details another experience in which United lied to a customer about a lost bag.
Outside of a small child incessantly kicking the back of your seat and being powerless to reach around and slug him, there’s few things more frustrating in travel than flight delays and lost baggage. No one really likes flying… it’s a slightly filthy, slightly scary, rather expensive cattle car experience that leaves even the most seasoned traveler feeling a bit drained. You just want the ordeal to be over, get home or to your hotel as quickly as possible.
Southwest Airlines have launched a pretty respectable example of a half-decent, minimally-manipulative, somewhat-entertaining corporate blog. If you know what we mean. This isn’t McDonald’s stupid “Horse Whsiperer” Corporate Responsibility nonsense. For example, we got a kick out of the entry about a bee hive that was found in the tail of a plane that was being repaired and the bee keeper who was brought in to deal with the problem.
Although I personally love RyanAir for allowing me to fly anywhere in Europe practically for free, I’ve known enough people who’ve worked behind the scenes to know it’s a pretty horrific company to work for — or even fly with — if you know what they know. Cheapness, apparently, doesn’t come cheap… it comes with a huge cost in customer service and, more importantly, competence and safety.
In Ireland, we have a discount flyer called RyanAir. Although flying in a RyanAir jet is hygenically similar to flying through the friendly skies in a Time Square porn theater circa Taxi Driver, you can fly to most of Europe’s hot spots for as little as a couple euros, if you order your tickets a couple months in advance. Of course, where they gouge you is in buying standard airplane amentities. A vacuum-sealed bag of peanuts will cost you more than you paid for your ticket. 250ml cans of soda cost more per milliliter than liquid smack. And so on.
Totally awesome tip from our boy Nick Weaver. The gyst? Travel Southwest whenever you can: