This really should be about travel in general, but if you give it time you’ll see that it is really about customer service and how a lack of information is bad. I’ve been traveling like its my job lately … last week I drove the family down to Pine Island, FL and got caught just outside of Washington D.C. for the night in a freak blizzard like storm. The next two days were spent fighting traffic and timing stops so my 5 year old daughter could use the bathroom and my 6 month old son could feed … let’s just say it was a very long trip. We arrived to beautiful weather on Pine Island and I got to hang out with the family for a little over 12 hours before I left for the airport to fly to San Francisco to meet with Apple and a handful of other people/companies.
Yesterday I went to the airport with two of my colleagues to catch our return flight to State College only to wait in line for close to two hours at the US Air ticket counter. We thought it was taking a long time and didn’t understand why every single person left there in such a hurry. Turns out the flight was a US Air flight, but it was being operated by United. If you’ve been to SFO the US Air and United desks are not close to one another. By the time we realized what was going on we had missed our flight and were informed that the next flight they could get us on doesn’t leave until tonight at 10 PM. So, another couple of hotel rooms and nearly two more days away from home. All the while my family is enjoying the sun in FL — the bad part is that my two friends’ families are waiting for them to return as well. What a pain in the ass.
This isn’t the end of the travel train for me. Thursday at 5:30 AM I head to Chicago for a CIC Learning Technologies meeting and then fly back to FL to actually see my wife and two children … at this point that is what is keeping me going. Long day coming up and even a longer night on the red eye … all of that could have been avoided with a sign that simply alerted all 300 people in line that this was the wrong line. I understand communication is a novel approach, but in a situation like this it might have worked. I’m not talking about killer web apps that give you up to the second information or anything like that, I am sort of thinking of a person who could just do their job and make an announcement — “Hey, you are all in the wrong line.” Customer Service Representative, right …
So there you have it … I have been off blog for about two weeks while traveling and meeting. It doesn’t look good the next couple of weeks either.