Airlines have really been in the news lately. All kinds of stories about poor customer service in so many ways. Most of those stories with people losing seats, or arguments with staff, seem to be just bad training to me. As someone who flies a great deal, there are things that airlines just really need to change to make their service better for the flying public. One of my biggest irks is the fee that is charged for changing your flight. Most anyone who books a flight and pays their money, has the intention of being on that flight. But, things happen in life that are unpredictable, necessitating a change in flight date or time from time to time. When that happens, the flyer gets a charge of about $300.00 for changing the flight, PLUS any upcharge for fare increases. This happens no matter if there are plenty of open seats on the flight you may need to rebook to. Recently, I wanted to re-book to come home a day earlier, on the same flight, a day earlier, where there was plenty of room on the plane. That change would have cost me over $1000.00. That is just about as customer unfriendly as it can be! There is no logical reason for that to happen, other than greed. Fliers have to do all of their own work for the airlines now anyway. We have to book for ourselves online, pay online, print our own boarding passes, and print our own baggage tags. We should be able to go online and change the flight if we need to without these enormous penalties.
The excuse that it costs the airlines to make the change is a bogus one, as it’s just a data entry. Why create ill will among your patrons? Just yesterday, a friend of mine was on a Delta flight that closed it doors and departed 10 minutes early. 19 people missed that flight. What compensation does the airline pay for their time and everyone being inconvenienced and late to their destinations? This is just a one way street here and it’s not right.
I fly every time I can on Southwest. The reason is, I can cancel my flight and retain my funds to use, up to 10 minutes before I fly, and I can change a flight with no “re-booking fee” any time. I still have to pay any applicable rate change though.
The whole airfare rate game is very confusing. We pay more or less for the same seat on the same flight depending on what day we book, how full the plane is, how close to day of flight. It would seem like the price should be the price, and not all of these changes. Sometimes I look at a flight and two hours later it costs more. Flying is necessary for us to get where we are going. I do understand the airlines being heavily regulated and needing to make a profit, and I am all for that.
I just don’t like feeling totally taken advantage of at a time when I am in need. If a person needs to change a flight, it’s for a reason; perhaps illness, or schedule of event change, or a family member or pet needs attention, or any of a number of reasonable reasons to change. If there is an open seat, they should be able to just switch to it, simple as that.
I am also not OK with the overbooking flights. Airlines should not sell a ticket if the flight is full, but can let that next person be on a waiting list if there is a change or cancellation. Putting passengers out when they have bought a ticket is just wrong on every level and needs to stop.
In general, I am Ok with the service I get on most airlines. It used to be far better, but it seems that this is the way we accept it to be these days. I get OK service, not great service on every airline. I feel a bit like cattle when I fly. I try to not fly the airlines that charge the exorbitant change fees. I want our skies to be friendlier to the flying public, with the understanding that we have a pretty symbiotic relationship, the public and the airlines, and we need each other to reach our corporate and personal goals and destinations.
Note: The Saga of the United Van move will continue, as soon as I receive their response to my requests for repairs and compensation.