So my daughter and I flew east today for our annual summer trip to the Jersey shore with my family. (For my daughter it’s a vacation, for me it’s, well, visiting family.)
At the time we booked the flight we couldn’t get two seats together; the best we could get were two middle seats one in front of the other. Not too much of a concern though, as this has happened before, and seats generally open up 24-hours before departure. And sure enough, when I went to check in online, there was an open aisle seat next to my daughter.
But rather than trying to accommodate a father and daughter flying together, fuckin’ US Airways insisted instead on charging me an extra $15 to upgrade to a “Choice Seat.”
You know, it’s not really the money that pisses me off. In the end, it’s never really the money; I mean, it’s only fifteen bucks. In fact, I wouldn’t even mind paying a little more to fly if I knew I was getting better service and a well-maintained plane. But this endless nickel and diming is just so goddamn irritating and insulting. You spend hundreds of dollars a ticket to fly, and then they want to charge you extra to sit next to each other? Fuck that. I mean, really.
The airlines may be raking in millions on these extra fees, but they’re sure as hell losing money on me. Because I simply loathe forking over money to companies who treat me like crap, I now fly maybe half as much as I used to, and considering they fly the only nonstop from Seattle to Philly, it’s mostly coming out of US Airway’s pocket. This year alone I couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger on tickets for my daughter and I to visit my mother in Florida, or to come in to Philly for my 25th college reunion. That’s four tickets in only a few months that US Airways didn’t sell, not because it cost too much, but because their whole customer experience sucks.
But, you know, they’re the experts, so who am I to tell them how to run their business?
Yes, I know, my daughter and I arrived at our destination safely, and that’s all that really matters. But honestly, how many other legal products or services do we consume, where the most commonly accepted measure of customer satisfaction is not dying? Could we set the bar any lower?