Customer service is quickly becoming an extinct, lost art form; gas stations, grocery stores, post office, but especially in the airline business. Humans are being replaced by “do it yourself” check-in station counters. If you dare check-in with the curbside skycap, you will be charged $2 per bag on top of the usual generous tip given. (I have yet to figure out the reasoning.)
Only after you check yourself in, the ticket agent (basically a luggage tagger) puts your preprinted luggage tag on your baggage and tells you where to take your luggage for security screening; thus, rendering the conveyor belts behind them useless. Once through the security and by the gates, most major airlines have customer service counter for rebooking. It has become common practice for the airlines to replace their “human staff” with an abundance of red phones placed on the counter top with a toll free number posted on the wall overhead, aided by more “do it yourself” check-in stations.
Additionally, when a customer asks an airline personnel where to make a complaint, they are referred to a website, yet another “non-human” contact. Boy, this sure makes me feel appreciated and gives me a warm fuzzy! How about you?
In-flight beverage and food service seems to be an optional choice for the flight attendants. If you have a group of lazy flight attendants, like I did on a recent flight, they won’t even come when the service light is on! They seem to disappear at take off and magically reappear barking orders just before landing. If a service cart does come by, expect to pay high prices for prepackaged, tasteless food and $2 for bottled water.
Since customers are now required to check themselves in and handle their own baggage, I ask, “What’s next? Will be required to fly the plane, too?” Furthermore, to save time and effort for the TSA employees, why don’t the travelers show up naked and put their clothes on after they are threw the security check point?
With airlines clamoring for business, many claiming substantial losses even bankruptcy, why haven’t the overpaid airline high executives figured things out? The airfare price may attract customers the first time, but it is excellence in customer service that keeps them returning and in business.