Money For Nothing

Yesterday, I made a same day trip to and from the Big Apple via La Guardia….always a pleasant experience, isn’t it? And, this time it was not much different except that the two hour flight delay happened on the ground at Dulles vs. the typical problems at LGA. But, that’s not the focus of this post. I don’t think there’s really any help for that airport (my apologies to those that work there).

This is a post about a combination of my own oversight and United Airline’s uncanny ability (like so many of the airlines these days) to deliver the knockout punch…instead of seizing an opportunity to secure a loyal customer.

I was hurriedly checking in via the e-ticket machine at LGA for my return trip to Virginia. I had arrived later than planned due to a fair amount of traffic, even for a Saturday (I know, my fault for not planning accordingly). Somehow, not paying attention, I ended up buying an economy seat upgrade for $15. I thought I was choosing seats. Of course, had I read the screen more thoroughly, and then had the good sense to “cancel” before committing to the purchase, I would have avoided this entire tragedy. But, I goofed, and didn’t.

So, I end up at the gate, and the following exchange occurred between me and a Ms. Hatchet (I refer to her as Nurse Ratchet from the famed One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest film due to her like demeanor and personality).

Me: Excuse me, I have kind of a stupid question.

Nurse Ratchet: No answer….just a stare.

Me: I just checked-in via the e-ticket machine, and inadvertently purchased this (I showed her the printed receipt). What did I buy?

Nurse: You bought an economy seat upgrade.

Me: Thining….(Duh! I can see that on the receipt Miss personality of a wet towel). I see that, I mean what do I get for the $15?

Nurse: Noth’in

I kid you not, that’s what she said….Noth’in!

So, I ask you United Airlines, what the heck did I receive for my $15? Now, I think I somewhat figured out the game, and the supposed value of the upgrade….to be closer to the front (I guess so I can get my rear off faster if I’m late for a connection which is more than probable coming out of LGA. But, not this time…we were an hour early!)

The moral of the story is this….if you’re going to charge someone for a service, please make sure all of your employees know how to articulate the benefits of the program. In Ms. Hatchet’s case, she has far deeper issues. I wouldn’t have her loading luggage (no offense meant to you folks doing that important job). She certainly has no business paying such special attention and administering her special brand of courtesy to a large percentage of your LGA customers. She needs to go!...for your sake more than mine. Since it’s unlikely I’ll Fly the Friendly Skies anytime soon.