Sunday, June 14, 2015

Stupid Airlines

Airline policies are soooooo stupid.  I know you knew that already.  But at least with the ones we usually talk about, primarily the way they have been nickeling and diming us with fees, you could at least see their purpose. These may hurt their customer experience in the immediate term and loyalty in the long term, but they also shore up the quarterly income statements in the medium term. This last one has taken precedence because the airlines have been losing money for generations.

But this one is really silly. I booked a 6:30pm flight home because I didn’t know how long my consulting job would go and I wanted to make sure I didn’t have to cut it short. But it wound up ending very early and I made it through security and to the gate in time at about 12pm.  Which was perfect timing to get on the 12:30, which was boarding.  I asked the gate agent if there were any seats left.  Yes, there were a few. Could I switch to this flight?  Was I a Gold or Platinum AAdvantage member?  I was until a week ago, but Gold status only lasts 9 months now, not a year. So it expired early.

But I would pay the change fee ($75).  No, that wouldn’t be possible. The computer locks out credit card payments 20 minutes before departure (and it was now 12:10). OK, what if I just buy a 1-way ticket on the flight?  Nope.  That requires a credit card payment too. 

So let me get this straight. You would let me switch for free if I still had Gold status.  You will charge passengers’ credit cards on the plane $7 for a beer.  And you will charge passengers’ credit cards on the plane $5 for a snack box. But you won’t charge me $75 to get on a plane that is about to take off with four empty seats and instead will keep me in a seat you could have resold later. And you won’t even charge me $350 to buy the darned ticket. 

Is that what you are saying?  Yup. 

So I took the $75 that I would have spent on the change fee into the bar across the hall.  At least they appreciated it. Which is important considering the score of the Red Sox game that helped me pass the time.  Even more important considering that my flight was delayed 2 hours, so I leave at 8:30pm and get to my house probably around 12:30 or 1am.