aelphaba_fae (aelphaba_fae) wrote in bad_service,
aelphaba_fae
aelphaba_fae
bad_service

Bad airline service, turned good, ending with a little bit of bad.

A couple of weeks ago, I flew Continental from the Bay Area to Atlanta.  I like to show up at least an hour early for flights, but on this particular morning it was not to be (BART train delays, etc., etc.).  I got to the ticketing agent to get my boarding pass about 45 minutes before the flight.  Pertinent info:  I'm mobility impaired and use a scooter.

Anyway, the ticket agent, upon finding out what time my flight was to leave, tells me she can't let me board and would have to put me on a later flight.  I was disappointed, but figured they had some rule about showing up less than an hour before the flight, so I didn't say anything.

Until the ticketing agent standing next to her called out, "Passengers on Flight #123 for Atlanta, come check in now--last call."  About six people, who were all in line behind me, checked in and headed to security, going off to board the flight I was supposed to be on.


Me:  Um...why are those people able to check in for the same flight?

Agent:  Because of your scooter.  You can't check in this late with your scooter.

Me:  That seems sort of discriminatory.

Agent:  (squatting down so she was eye level with me, which I found to be incredibly patronizing)  No, it's not.  Security needs at least 30 minutes to check your scooter

Now,  I'm used to the TSA giving me the third degree (swabbing my scooter to test for gun powder, patting me down, etc.), but I thought that not being allowed to board because of that was not so cool.

Me:  So can you tell me what the policy is?  How early am I supposed to get here to board with my scooter?

Agent:  Well, for regular customers it's 30 minutes.  For disabled customers, an hour or more.

By that point I'd had enough, and asked her 1) to show me the written policy which said that and 2) to let me speak with her supervisor.  She disappears into the back, and is gone for about 3 minutes.  She reappears, and her tone has suddenly changed.

Agent:  I'll walk you to your gate and make sure you get on your plane.

She and her supervisor proceeded to do just that, making sure I was able to get through security in time to board.  Now, just for clarification, I never thought I was entitled to that when I checked in--I simply wanted the same opportunity to rush to my gate as they gave the other passengers who were running a llttle late.  However, since the ticket agent held me up for so long arguing with me about whether I could board, I felt that it was only right that they made up for the time she wasted.

So I did appreciate the supervisor...and I would have loved to see the conversation that went on between her and the agent behind the scenes.

Anyway, while the eventual service was good, it ended on kind of a sour note.  I got to the gate, and was wheeling a suitcase, carry-on size, but never the less obviously bulky and heavy.  The gate agent asked me, "Can you lift that into the overhead?"

Now, not only was I on my scooter, but I'm also about four feet tall.

"Um, no?"  I responded.  She rolled her eyes, sighed, and grabbed it from me.

WTF, Continental?!



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